OmniWeb 5 Beta, mini-mini review

What I like: When you control-click on a bookmark in the Favorites Bar and choose “Edit Label” from the menu, the bookmark label changes into a text box and you can edit the label right on the toolbar without having to use a dialog box. Nice.

What I don’t like: The Form Fill, Cookie, and Image status bar icons don’t simply turn on and off, they slide in and out of the right corner of the bar. I prefer that Omnweb save the animation for something that is actually intended to draw my attention.

Check out the OmniWeb 5.0 beta for yourself.

1 thought on “OmniWeb 5 Beta, mini-mini review”

  1. I have been downloading OmniWeb since the beta days of OS X, and have paid for a lot of their products. I want to like their stuff –any group that can come up with a logo like that excites some very high expectations. But truth be told I don’t like the browser, and am lukewarm on most of the other products. Omni try for way too much, and strike out more often than other developers (most of whom would never think of charging for a web browser –of course, I paid for the OmniWeb licence, so who am I to complain?) There are parts of their philosophy that I really like –particularly having the ability to delve deep into the real-time mechanisms of the Internet. I also like the option of being able to customize a lot of things I could never customize outside the Mozilla universe (and one in a while, even within it).

    things I don’t like and don’t seem to be getting a lot better:

    — OmniWeb is really slow. I don’t understand why it is so slow. Often after waiting what seems an unusual amount of time for a page to load, it is eccentrically rendered. Fixing the preferences to get a correct interpretation is sometimes impossible and always unjustiable given that there are plenty of browsers a fraction the size of this that have no trouble putting a web page together on the screen.

    — OmniWeb is a pain to look at. Despite the hopes raised by their logo, they never use a simple visual cue when a complex and even baroque one will do. This makes for an interface that is way too busy. A lot of the icons are unrecognizable, let alone decipherable.

    — Their notion of GUI is paralleled by their notion of function. The ability to catch sometimes interesting and rarely but sometimes important information on the fly is a nice thing for users to have access to, but in general a web browser should be simple and fast. You should not have to spend an hour on the preferences before you go out and drive. Who else feels entitled/obliged to offer a huge PDF manual for a device that is supposed to get you from one web page to another? You should be able to see the content on the page without being distracted by the show-off shimmying and jiving of the browser.

    The fast and simple browser –in fact the nearly perfect browser– that is a pleasure to use didn’t come from OmniWeb, it came from Apple. OmniWeb is becoming to the GUI what Microsoft is to coding –limitless vendor self-indulgence at the expense of the user. But I still have a soft spot in my heart for Omni because they were there at the beginning, supporting OS X. So I keep my OmniWeb licences, keep the downloads up to date, and keep hoping. But the browser only comes onto my desktop when I need one of the little jobs that Safari, Netscape, or the Mozilla family either don’t do or don’t do quite as well.

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