May 09

Lifehack: Accessing Safari/WebKit tabs via a key stroke

Tech, Web Browsing with tags: , , 3 Comments »

I love how Firefox lets me hit Apple (or Splat as James Strachan calls it!) plus a number to go to the given tab in the browser window.

I often follow the pattern of “open new link in a tab and go to it at the end” and also have windows open with known apps up in the same tab location so I can get to them quickly, without even thinking. Being able to Splat-9 to go to the end is key to this of course.

Although Firefox does this by default, WebKit/Safari does not, so I changed it via a simple hack that others have mentioned. Some people saw me doing this at JavaOne and asked me how I did it, so I decided to quickly show how it is done in the window below.

The steps to follow are:

  • Generate AppleScripts to tell Safari and WebKit to go to the right tab. This is talked about here, and I have a slightly modified version that I will paste at the end of this post
  • Tie together the AppleScript to the browsers. I tried to use simple keyboard bindings in the keyboard pref panel, but that didn’t work, so I ended up using Quicksilver triggers

See how it all fits together below!

Nov 19

Still much room for browser competition

Tech, Web Browsing with tags: , , , , 2 Comments »

I am in a weird hybrid browsing situation at the moment. I have Firefox running as my Firebug client. WebKit nightly gets downloaded every day, and it is my general browser of choice due to its speed. I have also experimented with Opera, and I have to say I am quite impressed there too.

The real shame is that although WebKit is fast, I still prefer the Firefox experience. I would love to see a world that conjoined Firefox the browser with WebKit the renderer and Tamarin/other super duper JavaScript VM for long living apps.

What do I prefer about Firefox as a browser?

  • Tab implementation: I am a keyboard user. That doesn’t mean that I am disabled as Apple seems to claim all over their documentation. The way I navigate tabs is via Apple-NUMBER. I load up windows with tabs with constant order. I know that Apple-1 is my email on “that” kind of window. I also jump to the end for Apple-9. I never iterate through my tabs, as I have to do when I am in WebKit/Safari via Apple-[ / Apple-]. This seems like such a small thing, but I really miss it.
  • Greasemonkey: Using Gmail without Mihai’s scripts is painful. The same goes for the subtle little tweaks that I have made on other sites. I miss not having “my Web”.
  • The toolbar add-on is fantastic. Using Safari bookmarks again? Ugh.
  • AdBlock: Nuff said.
  • Misc: There are other tiny random add-ons that I like.

I know that you can get some features via Safari add-ons such as Stand, but I have never found quite the same feel.

Although many are moving to Safari for its speed, it is still lacking in features, so Mozilla has room to maneuver. Apple also seems to really dislike keyboard shortcuts which drives me nuts.

What if Mozilla started a new browser project to do experiments? Zoomable UI, Vertical tabs, and totally rethink the browser as we know it.