Archive: January 10th, 2003

Reading on the move

Now that I’m getting ready to head off to Arizona, I’m faced with the usual dilemma of choosing the right reading material for the trip.

I’m in the middle of reading Pilgrim by Timothy Findley but it’s a bit too bulky to be convenient airplane material.

I was faced with the same problem when I was in Ireland. I ended up reading The Pleasure Of Finding Things Out by Richard P. Feynman which is a conveniently pocket-sized collection of essays and interviews.

Before that, I was reading the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman which was okay. It’s been turned into a rather good radio play on BBC radio 4.

As I’ve said before, I like to read cyberpunk when I’m travelling. Unfortunately, the only cyberpunk book I have right now is Distraction by Bruce Sterling which I find incredibly dull.

I do have a PDF of Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow but it isn’t so convenient to whip out out the iBook every time I want to read a few words.

Luckily, I picked up a second-hand copy of Weaving The Web recently. A book written about the web by the man who invented it. Sounds perfect.

Surfing Safari

It looks like I made it back just in time to witness the birth of a browser. It’s a nifty little app from Apple called Safari.

My first impressions are pretty positive. It’s certainly very fast - a lean, mean, browsing machine.

Standards support is also pretty good - it’s based on the Konquerer engine.

Mark Pilgrim has been extremely quick off the mark in tracking down problems with Safari. As quick as he finds them, the developers are patching them. One of them even has a blog where he posts up to date bug fixes.

Bearing in mind that this is just a Beta release, it’s remarkably good. There’s even a built in bug-reporting button so that everyone can help to improve the browser. I’ve used it myself already to report what seems to be a problem with the CSS “overflow” property (which you can see in action on the hi-tech theme here at adactio).

The Google search bar is terrific, you can block pop-up ads and the bookmarks are very easy to manage. However, there’s one thing that Safari lacks that will stop it usurping Chimera as my browser of choice: tabbed browsing.

Once you get used to tabbed browsing, it’s very hard to go back. I never used to understand what all the fuss was about when Opera users would rave about tabbed browsing but now I know. It really does kick rear-end.

Hopefully by the time that Safari is out of Beta most of the bugs will be ironed out and maybe tabbed browsing will be introduced. If that were to happen, Safari could well become my browser of choice.

One other thing worth mentioning, and Zeldman already has, is that standards compliance is no longer an optional extra - it’s a requirement. If you’re bringing out a new browser, it needs to have good standards support to stand any chance of surviving.

The message has gotten through to the browser makers. Now it’s time to take it to the web developers.