A quick guide to Omniweb 5.5 sp6

Omniweb 5.5 is finally a public beta! It felt like it would never see the light of day, but here it is. To get it, you need to register on the new Omnigroup Forums, and then view this thread for download information.

Screenshot of 5.5 on Flickr

Notable changes in this version are:

  • Omnigroup have converted Omniweb to use WebKit, rather than Webcore rendering. In fact 5.5 is using a more up to date version of WebKit than Safari is – its the one that enables unstyled form buttons. (See this post by Dave Hyatt for more information). All Omniweb’s previous problems with sites like Flickr are past!
  • With the change of rendering, Omniweb is much, much faster. I’d say as fast as Safari is on my powerbook. I never thought I’d describe Omniweb as ‘snappy’, but thats how it is!
  • While the system-wide dictionary look-up doesn’t appear in the context menus, the keyboard shortcut – Apple Ctrl D – works just fine.
  • You can now specify CSS rules per site, as part of the extensive site preferences feature. On a site you want to change, select the CSS file to use, and the view is immediately updated! Per site CSS is nothing new to Mozilla browsers, but this has a nice easy GUI, as well as instant gratification!
  • There are still a few Omniweb features that need re-implementing, most importantly the wonderful zoomed text editor. For anyone not familiar with this, it provides a separate window for writing and editing text in textareas. I hope that gets back in soon.
  • Pop up windows are now opened as new tabs.
  • Finally – unified toolbars! Hallelujah!

The focus on this release was very much on the huge code change from Webcore to Webkit, so its nice to see new features like per site CSS sneak in.

Last, but not least, the spanky new Web Inspector (DOM Inspector to you and I) works too. To enable this is a similar process to Safari. Open Terminal and type:

defaults write com.omnigroup.OmniWeb5 WebKitDeveloperExtras -bool true

Next time you launch Omniweb, the ‘Inspect Element’ command is found in the context menu. I love the iLIfe/Aperture style HUD inspector, and use this a lot to look at styles affecting elements in the DOM.

Finally, if you want to hide the stripey ‘Under Construction’ banner in the toolbar, type this into Terminal (as of the new sp7 release):

defaults write com.omnigroup.OmniWeb5 HideConstructionWarning -bool true

While I’m still hoping for updates and improvements to Omniweb’s interface, this release makes it feel great again. This just causes me more browser indecision!

A wee note for anyone using my Omniweb theme. Don’t – not on 5.5 anyway. It adds some images that Omniweb no longer needs, and seems to muck things up a bit. I’ll try and get a revised theme out soon.

The Hickensian is the journal of Jon Hicks, one half of the creative partnership Hicksdesign. Take a look at the work we do.

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