2 minute read

Many Mac users are familiar with Omniweb, the web browser. When I first started using OS X, Omniweb was the best game in town. Looking back, that was a rather sad state of affairs, but then again, Mac OS X 10.0 was pretty sad in terms of software support.

Soon Mozilla’s browser started shaping up as it approached 1.0. IE got a little better when it hit 5.2. Then Apple released Safari. We finally had a full array of viable alternatives. Mozilla lured me away from Omniweb’s substandard javascript support. Apple lured me away from Mozilla’s non-standard interface.

In order to respond to Safari, Omnigroup revised Omniweb to 4.5 using Safari’s rendering engine. It, however, still lacked the single most important web browser interface feature: tabs.

Omniweb 5.0 is here and its features are compelling. Workspaces, maintaining state across runs, built-in ad-blocking, full featured contextual menus (Safari’s are mighty sparse), type ahead finding of links, amazing bookmark and RSS feed management, etc. It does have its weak points in its ad-blocking lacking the ability to actually remove ads (blank space is just as annoying as the ad itself) and its tabs.

Quite simply, they are thumbnail versions of the pages themselves. Sounds good right? Not really. I identify pages by the title. Thumbnails take longer to decipher because many websites look the same and I often open tabs of many pages from the same site. Some people may find value in this, but I don’t. Text is just as good at identifying a page. I don’t need thumbnail bookmarks, do I? You can turn off the pictures, but this isn’t a total solution.

Instead of lining them up horizontally like is done in other browsers, they are lined up vertically. This makes it virtually impossible to view a page correctly on my Powerbook 12″. Additionally, I don’t use a wide-screen monitor on my Powermac, so the “advantage” of this is completely lost on me. My eyes scan side to side, not up and down (this is why menus are arranged horizontally).

Give me the option of traditional tabs! I don’t like this space-wasting interpretation. If I could use traditional tabs and ad-blocking removed blocked elements, I would probably buy a license. I’d even overlook the use of an obsolete version of WebCore for now. I highly doubt this will happen, so for now, I’ll be filing in my “That’s nice but…” drawer.