Web Browsers for OS X


I've been using X PB for about a month now, and I've used all four major OS X-native browers that are available for the platform that I'm aware of (IExplorer, Mozilla, iCab, and OmniWeb). So far, none of these browsers have been unusable (although Mozilla comes closest), but none of them have really been impressive, either. I realize that all four of these browsers are beta releases, so it will be interesting to see which ones really become usable in the final releases.

So far, here's how I see it: OmniWeb is by the far the most beautiful of the four. The interface is pure Aqua (even web page elements like forms, buttons, dropdown lists, etc. have been Aqua-fied), the font handling seems the best, and as far as I know it's the only one of the four that was developed using Cocoa frameworks. One the other hand, I run into problems and inconsistencies displaying web-pages much more often with OmniWeb than any of the other three. It has no support for Java that I'm aware of, and indifferent support for Javascript. And it's relatively slower than the other browsers. Its handling of bookmarks and histories seems clumsy to me, despite the ability to drag a URL right to your bookmarks.

Mozilla, on the other hand, is by FAR the ugliest of the four. It makes almost no use of Aqua; in fact the only Aqua element I've been able to see is in the title bar of browser windows. It's also the least Mac-like. There isn't even a Mac menu bar! Menus appear in windows,  la MS Windows. Not even the scroll bars use Aqua elements; they look like some kind of hacky gnome or kde scrollbars. Fonts are ugly, and it seems the least stable of the four. On the other hand, it seems to do a pretty good job of displaying most web pages, and it's reasonably fast; definitely faster than OmniWeb, which seems the slowest of the four.

Explorer seems reasonably stable, and fast, and pretty Mac-like. Its display of web pages seems good, if not very pretty. Overall (and I hate to say this), Explorer seems like a halfway decent browser. I don't like to use it for reasons that have nothing to do with its merits as a browser. :)

But I would have to say of the four, I'm starting to like iCab the best. It's not the prettiest, the fastest, or the best at displaying web pages, but it seems to do a pretty good job of all of these, with no obvious weak areas. I especially like its handling of bookmarks. I might end up making it my default web browser.

So what's everyone else's take on these four? Imagine, a platform with FOUR (more or less) viable web browsers. And for a beta OS? And they say there's no software for Macs
First off I would like to state that I am very happy to see third party browsers like iCab and OmniWeb. I loved iCab on OS8.6 when the other two browsers started to become to salesy. That said, I would love for someone to port the default SuSE Linux browser (Netscape 4.7) to OS X. I have had some serious problems with Exploder crashing on me and I know its a beta so hopefully they will fix these things. As far as Netscape 6... when and if they port to OS X... it might as well be AOL sitting right next to me. Netscape 4.7 does everything I want and just like on my Linux machine I think it would be screaming fast. My other hopes are that OmniWeb can come into the arena and push the big boys to step back and take a notice to what users want and follow OmniWebs lead and create a beatiful and fast browser.
I have used iCab, IE, omniweb and Netscape.

IE... I dont like
iCab... its ok but not my thing
Omniweb...nice aqua interface but one needs funtionality too
my vote is on NEtscape.
ABout mozilla though, lets not forget that mozilla is a
Free Software thing, non commercial, so it might not be
getting much attention, and secondly, omniWeb, and IE were
advertized before OS X even came out, so they were in the works but mozilla was not, so it is logical for it to be a bit behind.

I want netscape on X!

I'm looking very forward to new versions of OmniWeb. It is, in my opinion, the only one that is going to be fully optimized for OS X 1.0 once it's out; & it is of course the only one that *looks good* overall. I'm giving it a lot of optimism, I guess, in that ideally it's not going to have the issues it's got now...

Otherwise, I've looked at the others & the only one I've left installed is IE. It's ok. I'd love a good version of Netscape on OS X (I'd like 3.01 Gold, *not* 6 ;) only it's not likely to occur, IMO. (I look forward to it if it is...) IE's a good option, & it's the one I've got open 80-90% of the time on OS X.

I've been using Netscape on the Mac since about version 1.0 (I think it might even have been an alpha release I picked up somewhere). I'm now using 4.73 on an NT box (don't hit me; it's the machine I have to use at work), and 4.76 on my non-OS X Mac at home. Even thought it has a reputation for being unstable, non-standards-compliant, and not as feature-rich as the Windows version, I still have to admit that I've been pretty happy with Communicator for the Mac at least since v. 4.0. It does a pretty good job of rendering most web pages, it's reasonably Mac-like, its handling of fonts isn't completely terrible, and it's well-integrated with Messenger (which is a decent-enough mail client)--I love being able to send people web pages merely by clicking on "Send Page."

Mozilla, on the other hand, doesn't even begin to meet the standards set by Communicator. It doesn't feel like a beta release, or even an alpha release. It looks, and feels, like a more-or-less graphical version of an old DOS program.

I think if Netscape just Carbonized and Aquified Communicator 4.x and called it 5.x, they'd have a pretty decent application. But that's not going to happen.

So, what I'd like to see instead, is OmniWeb get to the point where it's as feature-rich as Navigator, has better integration with SOME e-mail client (Mail would be a good place to start), and remains as beautiful as it is. Making bookmarks a bit easier to deal with, say, as a drop-down list as well as a slide-out drawer, would also be cool. Then, I would finally have an OS X web browser I genuinely enjoy using.
When people say that Communicator is a non-standards browser I just want to crack ther skull
open (no not you my friends with the NT ;) ).
WHy is this ?
Well because I am a web developper and Iuse both IE and Netscape to test my stuff.
IE "enriches" it's browser with non-standard stuff (ie extra HTML commands
and extra javascript methods that are not in the standards of html andjavascript)
and this drives me insane because you NEED to have IE in order to run some scripts.
IF people wrote coded using the standards we would not have this fiasco!
(A good example, I went on sonys VAIO web site and it told me that it would run better on
IE, so I go on IE and it ran crappier! everything was out of place!, in communicator
the site was a gem!)

Further more, I code pages in HTML and I write them in English and in Greek. Now whoever
knows anything about non-roman languages, there are many standards. As it happends for greek
it's ELOT928 (or ISO8895-7 i think). In communicator, no matter what machine I write my
greek (or russian or whatever language) on it will be able to understand it because it's a standard
BUT microsoft seems hellbent to promote ITS OWN standards so if I write my greek on
a macintosh, people using IE on a PC or even on a Mac wont be able to see what I wrote! Gibberish
comes out! So what do I have to do ??? I have to fire up SoftWindows and write my Greek there
in Windows-1253 standard in order to get results!

Communicator is the one that goes by the standards and not IE.

--Glad I got that off my chest :p --
At this point, I use Omniweb for the most part. Why? Because of Microsoft. Namely, because my Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer does not work (scroll) with Microsoft's own web browser, but it does scroll in Omniweb. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that Omniweb is Cocoa? As far as I can tell, the scrolling wheel works with Cocoa apps, not Carbon, with the exception of the finder file-navigation windows, which used to scroll but now don't.

But a little more on Omniweb--the rather clumsy way it handles favorites and history makes me kinds of wary of the whole "drawers" thing in OS X. Why is Apple so stuck on slide-out drawers? Everyone knows how much the favorites drawer in Quicktime sucks, and Apple has rectified that in the newest version. Why in OS X?

But maybe OmniWeb seems so "counterintuitive" just because we've been TRAINED by IE, Netscape, iCab. For instance, the button bar layout is pretty different, and I really like it. I think the overall effect of Omni's going against the grain is pretty impressive, and I would probably buy a license for the finished version.
So they say. But I only got bookmarks in the menu to work once, and then I couldn't get them to appear in the menu anymore. I've checked about half a dozen times, and I do have this feature turned on in preferences.
I do agree that Netscape 6...well...to put it lightly SUX... and I do not use it. I know it is bugridden and that it is unusable, at least by me, I do not know if any other are using netscape 6 successfully.

I think I was quoted in endian's post. if this is correct I am refering to version 4.7 of communicator and not the alpha (or beta) of Netscape 6.