Tiger Primer: Safari 2.0

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The arrival of Tiger next year will also spell the arrival of Safari 2.0, a revised version of Apple’s Web browser that will feature support for the emerging world of RSS feeds, plus several other new features.

RSS, short for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, is a technology that lets Web publishers generate small text files that contain basic information about Web content. If that sounds vague, it is—but when paired with a program that can process RSS files, it can radically change the way to deal with information on the Internet.

Using a RSS-reading application such as Ranchero Software’s NetNewsWire, you can get a summary of all the latest news and information on your favorite Web sites—so long as they offer an RSS feed. It sure beats having to visit every one of your favorite Web sites in turn in order to figure out which ones have posted new items.

Safari 2.0’s new Safari RSS feature integrates RSS right into the browser itself, bringing the strengths of RSS to a whole collection of users who might not otherwise have even known RSS existed.

With Safari 2.0, if you go to a Web site that offers an RSS feed, a blue RSS badge appears on the right side of Safari's address window. You can click on the badge to read the RSS feed, a simplified view of the site's content with headlines and story descriptions. You can also view more than one feed at a time, creating your own personal channels full of, for example, news stories from organizations such as the New York Times, the BBC, and ESPN. (It appears that clicking on the RSS button in Safari displays a feed: URL; this means that if you used an RSS reader other than Safari, clicking on the RSS badge would automatically transfer you to that program.)

Apple’s also added an RSS search box to Safari 2.0. Type in a query in the RSS search box and Safari will search the contents of all of your bookmarked RSS feeds. It’s a quick way to find information on a topic without scouring the entire Web via Google.

But RSS isn't all that's new in Safari 2.0. The new Start Private Browsing command under the Safari menu basically makes Safari black out, forgetting everything that it's doing while you're browsing privately. Everything you do during Private Browsing is ignored—the pages you visit, the passwords you type in, you name it.

Fans of Internet Explorer's excellent Web Archive feature, which let you save a web page to disk (including embedded images) will be happy to know that Safari 2.0 will let you save out Web archive files as well. Although saving a PDF from Safari works okay today, it's not the same as being able to save the actual web page.

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