Monday, January 19, 2009

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."


Louis Gray said...

And here I thought all the lost cookies were my fault. Nice job on the post, even just for highlighting that, Ryan. D'oh!

Ryan said...

Glad you liked it Louis.

Yet another discussion thread on that bug too:

There are also hits if you google "Safari cookie issue"

Toni @ NavinoT said...

Don't we have Ctrl+H already to open History sidebar with today, yesterday, N days ago tree?

Ryan said...

Hey Toni, on the Mac Command-H hides the browser, Ctl-H and Option-H don't work either and I don't see any shortcuts in the History menu.

But even if there _was_/is a shortcut to a sidebar, if the History menu is worth having, it's worth doing right. (I.e., if the sidebar is a perfect replacement, get rid of the menu. The menu is very fast though.)

Ryan said...

Toni/All: The keyboard shortcut for the history sidebar Toni references above on Mac is Command-Shift-H.

Two issues:

1. There appears to be no menu command for this on the Mac. There should be one in the History menu.

2. It looks better than it works because one can only sort OR search history -- when you try to sort search results (always alphabetic), it clears the search text and you go back to a list of all bookmarks. This is on Firefox 3.0.5 on Mac.

Still, better than nothing, so thanks Toni for the heads up.

Anonymous said...

"Drag tab into its own, new standalone window"

Its in the new Firefox 3.5 built-in now.

But the point it:
That 'feature' sucks !! OMG that is unspeakable annoying ! Hopefulle it'l get removed again or at least offable ...