Omni Group: Java fixed, Java Web Start added

by Daniel H. Steinberg

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Like many of you, I try a variety of browsers regularly to see where they are with performance and support of features I think I need. For Mac OS X, I check out Opera which is still beta 4 version 5, Mozilla which is supposed to release .99 at any moment, Chimera is at version 0.1.3 and shows promise (although their web site notes that they excel in performance because all they do right now is performance) iCab at 2.7.1 and others. It's not that I have anything against IE, I'm from the choice is good school of thought

Code Bitch at Mac Edition regularly comments on browsers and their support (or lack of support) of standards. CB is not a fan of the Omni Group's browser but I've come to use it as my alternate browser and now that the Java support has been fixed and Java Web Start has been added -- I may use it even more. Download the latest version of the Omni browser from their sneaky peak page.

Omni has had support for Java for a while, it just didn't look right. The applet was rendered a bit too high covering up content that used to be above it and leaving a black band in the space where the bottom should have been. Omni said that this was an Apple bug but it was fixed by Omni between updates from Apple. In any case, Java seems to work fine now.

At the MacWorld Expo in SF I stopped by the Omni booth and asked them about support for Java Web Start. There just didn't seem to be too much involved in this -- you have to map the type to the application (already part of the standard install) that handles it. On most browsers you'll be taken to the Sun page to download the plug-in. Don't do it -- you already have the plug-in. You can, of course, just set files with that file extension to download to your computer and run them from there, but Java Web Start should do this for you seamlessly. The engineer I talked to at the Omni booth looked at the source on the Java Web Start demo page and agreed that this should be an easy fix. In the mean time, they've been busy and I'll admit, the demand for JWS is probably pretty low on their customers' list of desirable features. Never-the-less, I pinged someone at Omni asking when this support might happen and was told that they could have it in the next sneaky peak. True to their word, it's there, it works, and I haven't fired up IE yet today.

The great news is that there are now lots of browsers to choose from on Mac OS X. The selection and feature set continues to improve. Check out the Omni Group offering and see if you like it.

I know browser discussions are religious, what are your thoughts on the state of Mac OS X browsers.


2002-03-04 07:02:42
Many, but unripe...
Choice is good, but all of the OSX candidates seem to still be struggling with the OS somewhat: IE development seems to have slowed to a crawl, which is unfortunate (after the fun of having possibly the best browser around with IE5.0 in OS9). Some known bugs just keep on keeping on (blank page display anyone? Command-a is one way to work around it). Explorer is, however, the browser that I just use without thinking. That is, it takes a mental effort "one more time for Omni..." to dial up Omniweb and watch it jag pages left right and centre, before finally approximating the layout. And then finding that CSS1/Javascript support still doesn't work on several big sites. (Apple's support sites were always a good demo of that, don't know if it's been fixed to work there yet.)

Ramble, ramble: Mozilla is very nice, and the rendering is excellent, but it still goes !!bang!! way too often for me to use as my principal browser. Other folk relate different experiences with it, but I crash roughly once and hour with Mozilla, and maybe once every three or four weeks with IE. Opera is pretty ugly, and not functionally superior in any way that makes me want to put up with that ugliness. iCab is the browser everyone wants (wanted?) to succeed, but it's been soooo long. It also quits way too early and way too often, though later builds seem to be improving somewhat.


2002-03-04 09:24:20
OmniWeb 4.1 Beta
I've been an OmniWeb fan from the beginning of my Mac OS X experience, but I too found myself using IE more and more because of certain situations, such as my iTools work (which wasn't possible in OW4.0).

But then I downloaded OmniWeb 4.1 Beta and have a renewed interest in the browser. For one thing, it has much better JavaScript support than the 4.0 version. Second, its already handsome looks have been further upgraded. And if you set the preference for the browser to identify itself as IE 5.1, you can do just about anything you can in IE, except things look a whole lot prettier.

OW 4.1 is beta, however, and it does crash every now and then. I've been good about submitting the crash reports because I want this baby finished and ready to roll.

So, now I'm happily a two browser guy again.

2002-03-04 17:34:31
OmniWeb CSS support improving
Thanks for noting my work on documenting the standards support (or lack thereof) in Mac and other browsers.

It should be noted that the more recent sneaky peeks of OmniWeb 4.1 have even better standards support than the beta that came out a few months ago. The situation is changing rapidly. Unfortunately the changes are apparently not being documented by Omni Group. We shall have to wait to see if they offer enough information when version 4.1 reaches final release.

2002-03-05 23:55:50
Java working ? I don't think so...
The ultimate test that I want my browser to pass (it does on Mac OS 9), is to be able to run Webmin's filemanager.
This latest version still doesn't make it...
2003-06-26 15:09:32
Java working ? I don't think so...
yes, it's troo. java doesn't work in netscape/safari, at least in the case of webmin's filemanager. i, too, use it as the utlimate test of java support in a browser. IE has it in OS 9, but not in OS X. neither do netscape nor safari. too bad, safari has alot of promise.