jb… a weblog by Jonathan Buys

Keyboard Driven Safari

A friend was explaining his preference for Google’s Chrome browser the other day, and was using 1Password as an example of why he felt that Chrome was a better designed browser. The 1Password extension in Chrome drops down a menu that looks almost like an iOS window, which he felt was more polished than it’s Safari equivalent. In Contrast the “1P” button in Safari drops down a normal cocoa menu. Funny thing is, I’m fairly certain that I had never seen that menu, simply because that’s not how I use Safari.

Chrome is an excellent browser, and got several things right with their design and philosophy, it’s fast, light on resources, and I love that it separates tabs into their own processes. The one thing I think they got spot on right was the name. The browser is a pane of glass that the web shines through. When the browser starts outshining the web there’s an imbalance. The browser really is just the chrome around the content of the web, which is why I choose to hide all of Safari’s toolbars.

I use Safari because it is a proper Mac app, and so it respects the standard keyboard combos that I’ve become used to over the years. I browse the web almost without touching the mouse. Almost, because I still use it to click links and to scroll down a page, but for the most part I use these keyboard combos:

And, for 1Password:

I also use bookmarklets fairly extensively, particularly Instapaper and Yojimbo. Safari let’s me use these keyboard combos to trigger bookmarklets I have saved in the Bookmarks bar. These change a bit more than the others, like once every six months or so, but here’s what I currently have:

As I said earlier, extensions can drag down a browser, clutter the interface, and generally do bad things. However, there are a few absolute gems that I keep around.

New windows and new tabs both open with Top Sites, which I think is just a beautiful home page. My current Top Sites are:

Another part of Safari being a proper Mac app is it’s support for the system-wide dictionary. One of my favorite features of Mac OS X is that I can highlight a word, press ⌘ + ^ + D, and see that words definition in a little window below it. I use it constantly.

At this point i’m fairly invested in Safari. I’ve tried other browsers, but Safari is the one I keep coming back to. Omniweb used to be my go to web slicing and dicing tool, but sadly, it’s been leapfrogged. Safari lets me keep everything out of site, and just a quick keyboard press away. Everything I need, nothing I don’t.

mac setup safari