Apple recently launched the version 5 of its Safari Web Browser for the Mac and Windows platforms. Other than being faster than previous versions the new release also brings in some new features. Two of these features are pretty amazing – the Reader, and the support for extensions. Let’s look at these two feature in a bit of detail.
Get yourself a copy of Safari 5 from the Safari web page. It’s a free download and works both on the Mac as well as Windows.
The Safari Reader is a new feature in Safari that allows you to read the the content of a web page in a clutter free view. It makes it easy to read articles spanning single and multiple pages on the web by presenting them in a new, scrollable view without any additional content such as advertisements and sidebars. When Safari 5 detects an article, users can click on the Reader icon in the Smart Address Field to display the entire article for clear, uninterrupted reading with options to enlarge, print or send via email.
When you navigate to a web page that has an article, Safari 5 detects this automatically and offers you the Reader option in the address field. Look for a Reader button in the address bar like in the screenshot below. Click on the Reader button to activate the feature for the page you are browsing. Once you do that the Reader view will come up on your screen.
The Reader will look something like the screenshot below. The article you are reading will be presented to you in a clean view, stripped of all the jazz that web designers introduce in their design. This makes the article easy to read. You can also print of email this format of the web page to anyone directly from this view. Take the mouse cursor to the bottom-center of the browser page to view these options. You can also increase or decrease the font size directly from here.
The Reader feature will not work on the home page of most sites as they act as a menu for the articles. It will be automatically activated once you click and navigate to an article on the website.
Another great feature that has been introduced in the latest release of Safari is an extension architecture. Firefox has had a plugin architecture for a while now and there are a few hundred plugins for the web browser. Now that Safari has introduced it we will have to wait and watch what kinds of fancy plugins the Safari fans come up with.
During the Safari 5 demo Apple showcased a very interesting plugin which is under development. This was the Code Notes extension from the fine folks at Panic. This plugin allows users to draw on on web page. Although the extension architecture is pretty new people are already starting to roll out their own plugin. Here’s a website that list a few extensions which you can start using right away.
HTML 5 and other features
Other than the extensions and the Reader Safari 5 has other goodies. The browser has better support for HTML 5, a technology that has received a lot of support from Apple. Another big change has been the introduction of Bing as a default search option along with Google search.