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OmniWeb: the features

Somehow the beta release of this incredibly feature–packed browser leaves me feeling somewhere between elated and exasperated; disappointed and… appointed. Form and function bicker with each other constantly; garbling up my the free space of my brain. One is the jewel in OmniWeb’s crown, the other a dull pain in my ass; so, in a rare break from interface–related bitching, I thought I might discuss some of the functionality of OW5.

History Searching
Searching inside the pages you’ve visited recently. How very long I have craved this. It’s simple, it’s useful, and it’s right there. I do have one question to the browser–makers out there: why give us a ‘History’ icon for the app’s toolbar when clicking it will take us to the bookmark manager? Admittedly, the History folder of the bookmark manager, but the bookmark manager nonetheless.
In a “quick, I need to bookmark a dozen interesting things right now before I reboot” situation, workspaces are practical. But when it’s a case of “quick, I need to launch eight browser windows; one going to my own site, several hitting validation services across the web that check that site for errors, and several related to uh… popularity–voyeurism because I just updated my weblog and I wanna make sure my post is valid”, workspaces are invaluable. I’m setting a few up right now… one for the aforementioned ‘decaffeination’ process whereby I check the validity of new entries (etc, etc) and one for my daily comic intake. I used to run a couple of AppleScripted applications from my dock to automagically open those browser windows, but now I can do it with keyboard shortcuts and pre–specify the size and location of the windows while I’m at it. Brilliant.
Page Marking
I’m of the opinion that any page worth ‘marking’ is worth bookmarking… so I’m not at all sure what to make of this feature, but to say that following Apple’s lead on the whole SnapBack thing isn’t everything.
I’m not a really big fan of tabs these days, they hit their practical limits when your most often–hit tab group is 20–30 different sites. As I’ve said before, I prefer to go with independent windows and just exposé my way out of whatever mess I create. When you’re doing most of your window–surfing via the keyboard, it’s not so hard to command–tab through applications (or command–` through the windows of an application, or control–F4 through the windows of all applications) without getting swamped and without resorting to exposé. That said, I could care less about OmniWeb’s new and controversial implementation of tabbed browsing. More power to ‘em though; the drag–n–drop is particularly cool, along with the animated transition between ‘list mode’ and ‘thumbnail mode’.
Per–site Preferences
Awesome. I can’t recall how many times I’ve thought “Jesus, the text on this site is way too small —even for me— and it’s a pain in the ass to upsize the text every time I visit it”. Likewise, popup blocking is counterproductive when some arty–farty “I could care less about usability” website puts absolutely everything in independent, self–launching windows; so it’s nice to be able to whitelist those sites without making it seem like a whitelist. Not that I ever visit those kind of sites…
And many more…
This puppy has legs, and I’ve only scratched the surface here today. More will come as more intrigues me.