On Safari

5 September 2005

There’s a new version of the indispensable free Safari add on, SafariStand out which has completely blown me away by adding OmniWeb-style thumbnail tabs to Safari. Thumbnail tabs was one of things I really missed from OmniWeb when I switched to Safari (OmniWeb is simply too slow on my 867Mhz Powerbook), so it’s really nice to have them back.

However, to get the full effect of the screen shot above, you have to do a bit of hackery. The main weapon in the GUI fetishists toolkit is the Apple supplied Interface Builder, and I’m not going to detail how to use it, just the steps I went through to get the look above.

To start, obviously Safari is normally metal, which is the first thing to go, replaced by the swish-ness of Unified Toolbar. Normally, however, Safari doesn’t really work to well when Unified, as I don’t use the bookmark toolbar and hence the tabs and the toolbar bleed into each in a fairly ugly fashion. Now we’ve got the thumbnail tabs, though, we can get rid of the normal tabs (which stick around even if you’ve got the SafariStand thumbnail tabs enabled) and solve the problem.

This is achieved by opening up Safari’s browser.nib file and then making the tab bar near the top of the window only one pixel tall. Then, so we don’t have the wasted space of an empty tab bar, we move it up to the top of the tab bar space, and expand the main web view to meet it.

We’ve now finished editing the Safari nib, which you can download here if you’re not an Interface Builder user (or just lazy. Very lazy.). I also made a small change to the HTSideBar.nib in the SafariStand.bundle to remove the padding round the sidebar as I don’t think it looks right when unified, but I think you guys can work that one out yourself!

UPDATE: For all those that asked, here’s a Metal version of the Browser.nib and also my version of the SafariStand sidebar, which goes in /Library/InputManagers/SafariStand/SafariStand.bundle/Contents/Resources/English.

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