A Safari of Net Effects Part 2.

by Timothy Appnel

In the continuing the review and discussion of Safari, Jason Kottke asks the intriguing question why are Safari and Sherlock two different applications? Jason argues that there is little distinction between web browsing and using specialized interfaces for structured data. He provides screen mockups of Safari to illustrate his point. An active discussion in the comment boards follows.


Back in September I wrote as the Internet continues to evolve into an 'Internet operating system'--programmable interfaces, ubiquitous access, and distributed computing resources--the document-centric browser is an awkward solution to a growing number of emerging needs. The browser is not dying by any means; it just needs a mate.


Reading about Remote Application Development with Mozilla, the mod_pubsub open source project KnowNow kicked off and discussions like the one Jason is leading have me reconsidering my view. Does the browser really need a mate in as much as it needs to expand its range?


Could browsers like Mozilla and Safari/Konqueror be the basis of simple lightweight structured interfaces for accessing network resources and microcontent? What if these browser brought bookmarklets and remote XUL to the forefront as equal partners to viewing webpages?


More intriguing questions and experiments lie ahead.



Does the browser really need a mate in as much as it needs to expand its range? Should browsers like Mozilla and Safari/Konqueror be the basis of simple lightweight structured interfaces for accessing network resources and microcontent?


4 Comments

anonymous2
2003-01-09 15:51:26
The problem
We have to resist feature creep, all in one interfaces typically end up bloated and go under utilized. Look at mozilla for instance it's off shoots pheonix and chimera have become almost instantly more popular due to their speed and low profiles. I never once used mozilla mail or the html editor. I think if they expand the scope of safari it needs to be done so thoughtfully that each feature is able to be turned off without a speed penalty to the overall application. Safari is in it's infancy and it's goals at this point should be to become a good *browser* nothing else, let it mature before going island of dr moreau on it.
jasontm
2003-01-11 20:16:45
HTML could be the problem
i've always liked the idea of creating applications that used web browsers for the UI. the problem is the horribly inconsistent way browsers treat HTML and all it's cousins. for the web to be a good UI, it needs to have a level of consistency that doesn't yet exist.


when i write an app using Cocoa, i *know* that it will look and act exactly the same on every mac it's used on.


that can't yet be claimed 100% for the web. i hope some day it can be.


for now, it seems that Java's Swing is probably the only UI kit that is cross platform and remains resonably consistent.


just my two cents. :)

anonymous2
2003-01-11 21:39:01
Not a problem at all.
Apple is doing exactly the right thing with Safari. They've released their updated code back to Konqueror, they've released Webcore and whatever they call the JS framework, and they're promising a Safari SDK in the future.


This way, embedded Safari, and with it the whole web, becomes just another control widget, like a scrollbar or an OK button.


Safari-the-browser should continue to be a browser. Safari-the-SDK can become whatever Dr. Moreau wants. :-) This is what's happening with embedded Mozilla, and tho Mozilla's pretty spiff, it's not nearly as small and tight as KHTML.

anonymous2
2003-01-15 02:17:36
Needs Animation Suppression, Ad filtering
Safari needs the ability to suppress animations, such as animated GIFs, ala OmniWeb and other browsers (this is a VERY basic feature!). I spend up to 18 hours a day on the Internet and animations give me a headache. Until I can suppress this in Safari, I'm not interested.


It would also benefit from sophisticated ad/content blocking ala OmniWeb.