Safari 3 Nightlies Are Awesome

Safari is not now, nor has it ever been, my browser of choice. Aside from the fact that KHTML is generally the least compatible of browser engines these days, Safari is pretty barren from a feature standpoint. I rarely use it on my mac. I also find the lack of the “button” widget in Aqua annoying, because it makes Gmail ugly.

When I started using Safari 3.0.1 beta at work, I was impressed, but not impressed enough to ditch Opera. At home, however, I am using Camino, which I love, which is based on Gecko, the underlying Mozilla engine that also forms the core of Firefox. The problem is, as much as I love Camino, it’s tough to use for development: it doesn’t support extensions, it doesn’t have a javascript debugger that works, it doesn’t have draggable tabs, or tab restore, and it’s not very easy to extend functionality. There are lots of tricks at PimpMyCamino, but even today, the most useful add-on, “CamiScript,” is billed as unstable on Camino version above 1.0. Camino 1.0 was released in the first half of 2006. We’re over a year later.

This is not a post to bitch about Camino though. I love 1.5 and it’s serving me well. The thing is, I downloaded a nightly build of Webkit recently. Webkit is to Safari what Gecko is to Camino, and Webkit comes easily packaged in a disk image that requires no installation.

Webkit nightlies are awesome. First, there’s the page inspector. From a development standpoint, this is awesome.

click image to view at full size

The inspector shows you each detail of the page load. You’ve got the entire page transfer size, as well as the page transfer time. You can break it down by element or by element type. You can view the headers sent and received. This is tremendously useful. It’s been very interesting to see what parts of requests are properly cached and compare original load to subsequent page loads.

Then we have “Drosera,” the Javascript debugger.

Javascript debugger
click image to view at full size

I haven’t quite figured out how to use this tool, but I’m excited that it exists. It’s something I’ve needed for some time on a Mac. This is all very promising.

Safari may be mostly bare, but by the time 3.0 final is released with Leopard, plus the fact that Safari exists on Windows, it, or its featureful offshoot based on Webkit, Shiira, just may be my main Mac browser.

You can get Webkit nightlies at

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