Monday, January 19, 2009

Features Safari should steal from Firefox

A companion piece to "Features Firefox should steal from Safari." (Follow link for the backstory.)

  • Remember last tab(s) closed (Safari only remembers last window closed)
  • A tab menu, listing all tabs (Safari will list tabs that don't fit into the window, but it's better to have something that lists all tabs, since tab titles are usually truncated)
  • The Awesome Bar
  • Search within form textareas
  • Scrolling tab bar that animates when you pick a distant tab out of the tab menu
  • A clear target on which to drag URLs to make a new tab when a window's tab strip is full of tabs (in Firefox you can drag onto the New Tab button or the tab menu; in Safari you have to divine the location of a tiny strip at the end of the tab bar, immediately to the right of the last tab, and invisible when the rightmost tab is not active)
  • Option to drag bookmark into bookmarks bar folder without fussing with the title of the bookmark -- much faster.
  • Quick Search shortcuts to search alternate/custom sites via URL bar (or build in something like Inquisitor)

Features Firefox should steal from Safari

I switched from Firefox to Safari about 6 months ago due to frequent crashes in Firefox 3 RC 3 . Now I'm switching back due to a longstanding unfixed cookie bug in Safari (see also).

This post is a journal of Safari features I wish Firefox had. I'll be updating it for a month or two.

(I am on a Mac. Also, I spend 10+ hours per weekday in my browser, blogging, and I use the Web for my email and RSS reading -- I push the browser pretty hard, but also use certain features a lot more than the average person.)

  • Remember last window closed (Firefox only remembers last tabs closed)
  • Don't reload tab when dragging it to another window
  • Remember tab history after dragging it to another window
  • Drag tab into its own, new standalone window
  • A nice long History menu, with lots of items, and submenus for "Earlier today" and past days. Firefox is showing a measly 10 items by default, then you have to open a new window to get more. (Sure, there's probably an about:config setting, but still)
  • Ability to correctly print Web pages without, for example, constantly and bizarrely and silently disappearing more than half the text
  • Preview pages right in the print dialog
  • Easy-to-read search-within-page results (Safari dims all text except instances of search string. First result highlighted/magnified; other results also highlighted, but less so. And when possible it centers screen on search result. By default, firefox only shows first result, with no dimming, and you have to Find Again for other results. Sometimes it doesn't seem to find the first result on the page -- searches from where the invisible "cursor" is?)
  • Right click option to "download link" or "download image" without having to specify save location (uses default download location, usually Downloads folder)
  • Fix bug preventing me from dragging links rendered by Google Reader into bookmark bar folders
  • Stop showing annoying "This site does not supply identity information" tooltip when I'm just trying to drag the URL bar handle into a bookmarks bar folder. It sometimes blocks the folder!
  • When remembering username/password for basic HTTP authentication (the kind that pops up a browser dialog with username and password fields), automatically submit the credentials, don't ask me to click "OK" each time. Safari is so good at this I had forgotten it was doing it.
  • Option to prompt for new bookmark title immediately after dragging URL into bookmark bar folder (shift-dragdrop?) (Safari does this by default, with no option to NOT be prompted for a new title; that's annoying and slow, but I like the idea of it as an option)
  • Keyboard shortcuts for bookmark bar bookmarks (Safar does Command-1, Command-2, Command-3 etc.)
  • Drag file onto standard file upload form control (fills in control with file's path)
  • Animate tab reordering (am surprised I miss this)
I also posted "Features Safari should steal from Firefox."