New web browsers out

I just got the Apple OS X update for my Mac, among the many benefits of which is said to be a new version of Safari, Apple’s own web browser. Apparently Safari has had a considerable update, now being based on the same “engine” on which the version of Safari bundled with the upcoming “Tiger” system is to be based. Apparently it’s a bit faster, too.

Well, I’m writing this using Safari, and the biggest problems with Safari are still there. Scrolling is smoother than on any other browser, but then, it always was. It still doesn’t support the editing buttons used by WordPress, which enable the author to select bits of text and make them bold or italic, or to insert the separation tag (‘more’). The text entry font is still tiny (this isn’t a problem with Firefox or Mozilla but it is, strangely, with Camino), and there is a definite slowness when you actually enter text. You still can’t delete your junk mail in Hotmail. And the persistent re-loading you get on some pages (like the comment pages on Safiyya’s blog) is still there. So clearly, it hasn’t been updated that thoroughly.

Also on the verge of release is version 8 of Opera, which is a cross-platform browser written in Norway. I’ve managed to download a beta version, and it has its usual problems. The ‘skin’ feature is fantastic, enabling the user to change the look and feel of the browser, but there are annoying idiosyncrasies, such as having to use Shift+Option+N rather than Option-T to open a new tab. (Option is used on the Mac for the same purpose as Control.) The font in the WordPress editor is even less readable than in Safari, and scrolling is slightly less smooth than in Safari. The Mac version also has the irritating “feature” by which any click on the location bar automatically selects everything in it; normally, you can click and highlight part of the URL (for example, for selecting parts of a site rather than going to a whole new site). The Linux version, which is now final (it has not appeared on Opera’s front page yet, presumably because they are preparing packages for a huge number of Linux variations), does not have either of these problems. In fact, I’m typing this on the Linux version and it’s among the best rendering I’ve seen on Linux. And yes, the text editing “QuickTags” which don’t work on Safari do work on Opera. There is one annoying bug on the Linux version, which is that when you use the scroll bar to scroll to the bottom of a text entry box, the text goes back up a line when you move the mouse away from the scroll bar. I’ll have to see if someone’s reported this. But otherwise, it’s a pretty good browser.

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