- Currently Listening to:
- Creedence Clearwater Revival — Lookin’ Out My Back Door
Like I imagine the majority of those users who migrated from a Windows PC to a Mac, Firefox has been my primary browser for the last five years (since Firefox 0.8 came out in February 2004). It’s so long ago now in web years that it’s hard to remember, but on Windows, back in those dark days, there really weren’t any options beyond the standard Internet Explorer 6 install.
Microsoft had lost interest in maintaining their browser, having secured 90% of the browser market. For web designers, this was a disaster. When Firefox emerged it was almost instantly better than IE in every regard, so it was an obvious choice. Nowadays, the three most advanced browsers — Firefox, Chrome and Safari — each have many strengths on which to recommend them.
When Safari 4 was released as a public beta in February, I decided to give it a try for a week. You all thought I was mad, many of you requested to be transferred to another peanut factory, but I’m still using it here two months later.
Safari’s main strengths are speed and stability. If you’re a tinkerer, a Firefox install has a Windows XP-style half-life, after which its performance continuously degrades and it becomes significantly more prone to crashing. I tried opening the Safari feature page in my new copy of Safari and my many years-old Firefox, and the difference in performance ellicited an honest-to-God laugh-out-loud. That almost never happens! (I should say that I’m open to the idea that I am wholly responsible for Firefox’s poor performance by loading my profile with too many extensions and customisations. One badly-written extension or Greasemonkey script and the browser can begin to drag.)
Safari is ahead of the game in other ways too though. Full-text search of your history with rendered thumbnails of each page is a killer feature. These are indexed by Spotlight as well and can be searched from apps like Launchbar. The Chrome-style new tab screen is excellent for keeping track of pages that change over the course of the day. The lack of a progress bar when loading a page is a very interesting departure which I find myself liking more as time goes on. The new tab bar does take some getting used to, and has been discussed at quite marvelous length elsewhere. I would favour one of the proposed mockups which give more space to the window controls.
There were two things about my Firefox setup that I did really miss when switching: keyword search from the location bar, and delicious integration. In Firefox you can just type directly into the location bar and it will do a Google search. Even better than that is using keywords to search specific sites — “wp Bell pepper” to open a Wikipedia page for example.
Safari can’t do any of that out of the box, but there is a SIMBL plugin that manages this very nicely, called Keywurl. Delicious support is provided by the Delicious Safari extension, which does the job admirably. Boom.
- Macworld What's with the Mac doomsayers? | Operating Systems
- Apple and Oracle Announce Plans for OpenJDK Java Implementation - Mac Rumors
Oracle and Apple today announced the OpenJDK project for Mac OS X. Apple will contribute most of the key components, tools and technology required for a Java SE 7 implementation on Mac OS X, including a 32-bit and 64-bit HotSpot-based Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack and the foundation for a new graphical client. OpenJDK will make Apple's Java technology available to open source developers so they can access and contribute to the effort.
- Daring Fireball: Regarding the Idea of iPad Apps Running on Mac OS X
- Apple Outsider » Java on Mac OS X
And there’s the rub. Every hour of talent spent on Java is an hour not spent on the next Core Animation; the next Mission Control; the next iPhone. Apple is a consumer-focused company, and the Mac a consumer-focused product. They invested a lot early on in making Java on the desktop viable. It just hasn’t happened. I’m not particularly happy or sad about it, but desktop Java is over.
John Gruber notes that this could conveniently make it harder for Mac owners to develop for Android. I don’t think that had anything to do with the decision. This was a long time coming. Java, like Flash, is a ball and chain for a company that loathes external dependency. And you just can’t argue that client-side Java is important to the internet experience like you can with Flash.
- Lachlan's Rambling: Java and the Mac
The reason isn't that complicated: Apple no longer needs Java. If you make a list of what Steve Jobs sees as the critical objectives for Apple, it becomes immediately obvious that maintaining a Mac port of Java is not helping to advance any of them. Of course, neither does maintaining, say, Apple's port of Python. But Python takes very little effort to port and maintain. The Java port requires a team of engineers permanently dedicated to it. Also, the huge success of iOS has given Apple the confidence that their approach to working with third-party developers is working out great for everyone. The prospect of Java developers and applications abandoning the Mac is no longer remotely scary for them. Apple have decided they'd rather pay the costs of dropping Java than keep maintaining it.
- [Time code]; shoes.drop();
Buried in all the denunciations of “control freak Steve Jobs” and his nefarious skullduggery is a wake-up call that Oracle and the Java community need to hear: one of your biggest commercial licensees, the second biggest US corporation by market cap, doesn’t think licensing Java will help them sell computers anymore. Why does nobody take this screamingly obvious hint?
We know the big use for AWT and Swing, and it’s a terrible irony: measured by app launches or time spent in an app, the top AWT/Swing apps are surely NetBeans and IntelliJ, IDEs used for creating… other Java applications!
- Divvy · Window management at its finest.
Managing windows on Mac OS X can be frustrating, requiring precision control of your mouse or trackpad for clicking, dragging, pushing and pulling your windows to the size and position you desire. Even with all this work, it’s very difficult to get windows exactly where you want them, so most of the time windows are left scattered all over the screen. The solution? Divvy.
- Daring Fireball Linked List: James Gosling on Apple's Java Discontinuation
There’s a difference between Java on the server and Java on the desktop. Mac OS X is overwhelmingly a desktop OS. My understanding is that the iTunes Store, Apple Store, and MobileMe are all still written using WebObjects, and thus, Java. It’s just that they don’t run on Mac OS X. You don’t think Apple is filling that North Carolina data center with Xserves, do you?
- How Mac OS X Lion Brings the Best of iPad to Your Mac
Clerks, designers, engineers, economists, illustrators, architects, gamers, photographers, journalists, film makers, teachers, students, or musicians... for those people, everyone in the planet except a very few, the file structures and the windowed user interface are imposed by paradigms that have long been obsolete, crumbling conventions that have been growing in complexity through the years.
- furbo.org · Multi-touch on the desktop