What Happened to my Safari?

by Derrick Story

I've noticed little things in the Safari browser (v 2.0) lately that are worrying me.

For instance, when I misspell a word, then CTRL-click on it, I'm not offered a correction for the misspelling. Since I do a lot of typing in web forms, such as this weblog, that's a drag. Just to make sure I wasn't crazy, I tested this function on a machine that has Safari 1.2.4 running on Panther, and it worked just like I remembered. I was offered a correction for the misspelled word.

As a side note, I recommend keeping a machine in the fold running previous versions of the OS and major apps. I realize it's a luxury, but I can't tell you how many times this has saved my sanity.

Back to Safari 2.0 -- is it me, or am I seeing the spinning beach ball more than ever? There are days when the browser just doesn't want to perform. We all need our Jolt I suppose, but where do I add it for this software? Things really seem to slow down when I have Automator open (which I just adore!). Could be coincidence, I guess.

I realize I'm demanding of my hardware and software. And overall, Safari is my browser of choice (with Firefox close behind). But things just don't seem right these days. And I'm wondering, is it Safari 2.0, Tiger, the Internet itself... or me?

PS: If it's me, please be kind...


2005-08-23 11:20:45
I’m not a Mac user and all, so I have no actual experience, but I wanted to remark that I read a lot of Mac readers’ weblogs (maybe two dozen) and I’d say more than half of them has complained about the performance of Safari recently. They usually qualify the comment saying that the rendering is just fine and zippy, it’s UI actions which take a long time. At least two or three of them who used to be Safari-only say they’ve taken to Camino because it’s both Mac-ish (unlike Firefox) and quick.
2005-08-23 11:23:29
Err, that would be Mac readers’ weblogs.
2005-08-23 11:37:16
Me too
I don't use Safari at all anymore except for quick checks for web functionality on pages I'm writing.

Safari sucks on any web pages with JavaScript. Whether that's JavaScript's fault or Safaris, I don't know, but Firefox works fine on those pages.

Safari is also a giant memory hog. I've had many instances of it taking up ALL the available memory on my PowerBook - over 400mb in some cases.


2005-08-23 13:09:48
RE: Me too
The talk in many Mac forums backs up your statement about JavaScript. Also, I noticed that when I was on the Roxio pages yesterday researching Toast 7, Safari had a real hard time parsing their pages. They have a .jhtml extension - Java within HTML I think. Although I'm not sure I'd blame Safari for that...
2005-08-23 13:50:04
Try clearing out your Autofill data
The last time I found Safari's performance unbearable, I saw the same symptoms (i.e. fast rendering, slow UI actions) I cleared my autofill data; it made all the difference.
2005-08-23 14:11:16
RE: Try clearing out your Autofill data
I took a little excursion over to preferences. Much to my horror, I had the "Other forms" box checked, which I don't ever remember doing. Sure enough when I hit the edit button, a long list of sites appeared. I cleared them all.

As I recall, this is a security risk too, right?

2005-08-23 14:17:59
Spell Checking
I've had the same problem...and it also used to auto spell check in input boxes on web pages which doesn't happen at all now. It was one of the BEST parts about using Safari and without it I'm hard pressed to continue using it.
2005-08-23 14:22:40
RE: Me too
That's odd... I just blazed through the Roxio site - Tiger, Safari 2.0. No page took longer than around 2 sconds to load completely.

Not seen *any* problems in general with Safari - just keeps getting better and better....

2005-08-23 14:32:16
It's work
i just go to my other mac which have 10.4.2 to see what you say and it's just work. Spelling is activated in the Edit - Spelling-Check spelling as you type and when i control click on a mispell word it suggest a list with word and the other option of the control click. Don't know what happen to your.Fill a bug report.
2005-08-23 14:45:28
RE: It's work (text area vrs text input)
Thanks for your help about where to turn on Spell Check :)

Here's the test... if you look at the source code, it appears that spell check does work in a "text area," field, but does not work in a "text input" box.

So if you're only testing this in a text area, it appears to be OK...

But, here's the rub. And this is the weirdest thing. When I cleared my Autofill list as mentioned by jfew, the spelling started working in the text area fields (which had previously stopped working).

As for bug reports. Yes I file them. But I like to make sure that it's really a bug and not operator error first.

2005-08-23 15:00:55
spinning beach ball
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one with beach ball issues. Safari has been darn near useless of late. It's especially galling to have the beach ball appear and not be able to click on any other tabs or Safari windows - one's just plain stuck. And it's impossible to predict how long it will spin...
2005-08-23 15:06:40
RE: It's work (text area vrs text input)
To add more craziness to this topic, I've got the text input fields working now after clearing out the "Other forms" cache in Autofill.

Could this really be the connection? We just tested it on another computer here at O'Reilly, that also had the Autofill cache cleared, and got the same result. Spell check started working in the text boxes.

Too weird to be true?

2005-08-23 15:09:26
RE: spinning beach ball
Our current silver bullet is clearing the cache in the Other Forms box in Autofill preferences. Let us know if this has a positive impact for you. I've just tested it on two machines, and it worked.
2005-08-23 18:01:35
safari DOA
safari is now in the same sad shape that netscpe was with ver 4.7 --- ie a monument to badly engineered code (and the design is nothing to write home about iether!)

so sad - apple really has a chance to make a differnce, but didnt/couldnt.

2005-08-23 21:14:06
am i glad to see this thread
i cannot believe the ways in which this app has fallen down. how could apple be so neglectful of what was their shining star? i've got beach balls, crashes, slowdowns that resist all fixes. it's certainly not us. and please, firefox is not on a par with what safari was just a version or two ago. something with 10.4.2 has pushed it over the edge. java? i expect a fix . . there's gotta be a fix. somebody tell the steve.
2005-08-23 22:24:30
RE: It's work (text area vrs text input)
The "silver bullet" did not work on my system...I checked the code and ALL of the large text inputs in Movabletype are text area fields and they USED TO work with spell check. I cleared the caches, restarted Safari, and the even rebooted...no dice, it still doesn't work anymore.
2005-08-23 22:41:01
RE: It's work (text area vrs text input)
Ack! Believe me, I feel your pain.

One thing I noticed when I was trouble-shooting this was that I had to keep telling Safari to "Check spelling while you type." For some reason it would forget.

I don't know if it will help you, but I thought it was worth a mention.

2005-08-24 01:50:46
Lost in the Jungle

I indeed noticed some oddities with the latest builds of Safari, the occasional JavaScript-induced slowdown being the most notable -- some forum sites , for example, require a full restart cycle every hour or so.

It looks like the Safari team has had to bring the application to a certain compatibility level very quickly -- probably so as to ease the remaining dependency on the venerable Internet Explorer -- but wasn't given the time and/or resources to put the finishing touches and keep improving other aspects of the code.


2005-08-24 05:37:03
Ya'll are upside down and backwards.
I find Safari has really greatly improved with version 2. Now I can spell check inside of form boxes. It didn't do that previously. Also, I can drag and drop bookmarks all over the place (ex. Bookmarks bar, iChat, Mail icon). It didn't do that previously either, which I found quite frustrating.

So my experiences are exactly opposite to the rest of you. It now does what you complain that it stopped doing. Of course, I'm in Australia, so that might explain things.

In terms of speed and rendering, it seems much like it has been - fairly zippy.

2005-08-24 07:17:40
Speaking of Clearing Caches...
You might want to check out FJ's weblog, "Homebrew Safari."


He's posted an AppleScript that basically cleans every corner of Safari's house. This might do the trick for many folks experiencing sluggishness with the browser.

I haven't run FJ's script yet... I'm going to watch the talkbacks for a day or so first :)

2005-08-24 09:20:38
Something I'm noticing recently
Something I'm noticing recently is that when I scroll a page down to see the rest of it, I hear my hard drive spin and quickly do someting. Maybe some kind of virtual memory or something? I usually have 10 or so tabs at any given time, but I've got a gig of RAM, so I don't know why it would be hitting the disk.
2005-08-24 09:27:59
RE: spinning beach ball
I just checked...I have 175 "other form" AutoFill websites listed. Does that seem excessive? I guess I'll clear it and see how things go. Thanks for the tip!
2005-08-25 07:57:58
multiple OS
I agree with the recommendation of having an earlier revision of the OS handy, but you don't necessarily have to have another Mac for this. I split my hard drive into multiple partitions, with which you can install different versions of the OS. Hard drives are certainly large (and cheap) enough to do this.

Another consideration is to keep these spare versions on an external FW drive. My friend has done this in the past, and it has come in handy. 10.4.2 itself was problematic for us on our campus because of some weird conflict with our Exchange server and the version of Mail that come with it. Being able to fall back to 10.4.1 saved me this time.

Maybe Apple should include a rollback feature.

2005-08-25 09:23:39
I know it's happening, since I keep reading about it, but strangely and for once, it's not happening to me. :) Safari has been really stable and fast in my experience, which is good since it's my preferred browser. This being said, I hope a fix is forthcoming soon for these issues.
2005-08-26 10:29:00
Err, Mac users’ blogs, durnit.
2005-08-26 10:31:10
RE: Try clearing out your Autofill data
Not directly, only if you’ve stored sensitive data and someone else gets to use your Safari setup. So it’s safer to not keep this data logged, but there’s no reason to panic about it if you do.
2005-08-28 13:45:02
Releases have become unpredictable
Safari used to be my browser of choice. Then with 10.3.9 and whatever that Safari release was that uses the same base as 2.0, things started getting shakey and I had to start clearing out caches all the time. Then 10.4 came out with Safari 2.0 and things seemed better. But then from 10.4.1 - 10.4.3 things became unpredictable, with spinning beach balls, very slow response from UI requests. It got to the point where it sucked. Firefox was my second favorite, so I went in and found a skin that looked like Mac and not a circus, improted my Safari bookmarks and threw the Safari icon off the dock until they get it fixed. I might try the script in the homebrew article to see if that helps, but your def right. What was once the snappiest best Mac browser is an unpredictable slug now.
2005-08-29 02:18:27
Spell Checking
For Firefox spell-checking, I use Spell Catcher (Spellcatcher.com). There’s also a free spell-checking extension called SpellBound (http://spellbound.sourceforge.net), though I haven’t tried it.
2005-08-29 16:51:14
Safari Update Now Available
Apple has released Safari 2.0.1 update for Tiger and Safari 1.3.1 update for Panther via its Software Update utility.

Let's test it and see what happens...

2005-09-25 16:15:35
Releases have become unpredictable
So it was 10.4.3 that did it for you, huh? That's kinda interesting. Then again, people are easily swayed to believe the opinions of others. People even fabricate things in order to make their story seem more legit.