safari sidebar - beta screenshots (updated)

27 Jun 2004

That’s right. I’ve just received a new Saft beta, with the sidebar that I’ve been bellyaching about for months! To be honest, alhough I pestered Hao for this feature, I never really thought it would be possible, but hey, it never hurts to ask. Hao seems to like a challenge however, and he’s been kind enough to allow me to post screenshots here.

This version works the same as other releases of Saft. The plug-in goes into the Library>InputMangers folder replacing the previous version. Once launched, Safari then has the ‘Show Sidebar’ command in the Safari menu (this is a temporary position).

At the moment, once opened, there is no way to close it (this is a beta after all), but I get the feeling that I’ll probably leave it open most of the time.

Enough talk, here’s how it looks (full size version here)

Thankfully, Hao decided on a Finder-style sidebar, rather than an OS X drawer. These always look a bit stuck on to me (although I’m warming to them more these days).

As you can see, the sidebar sits underneath the tab bar, and its width is adjustable as you would expect. At the moment there are 4 ‘panels’ – bookmark searching, history, Versiontracker RSS and a google search. In the real release, Hao says that “one should be able to add RSS feeds, URL shortcuts like the one for Google, sidebars for local html files”. Superb! I had wondered whether downloads should go in there too, but as the recent builds of Shiira has shown, this could be a bit too cramped.

At the moment, just the bookmark search doesn’t work. Each of the panel buttons toggle the content beneath it (click to show, click to hide). Scrollbars come in when this pushes content below the window.

History is searchable, so although it only shows the last 12 places, as you type in the search field, the history is filtered.

The prelimary RSS panel shows just Versiontracker posts for now, but this works just fine. With all of these panels, command-clicking links opens them in new tabs, as you would expect.

Finally, the google search panel actually loads the google homepage in the sidebar, while search results are automatically opened in a new tab. This gives you a few more options than the toolbar google search, but I’m not sure I’d use this over the toolbar option.

The beauty is, each of these panels is just a html page, which I’ve styled with CSS. Hao explains: “The extended parts of sidebars are really just a mini web page. For history, bookmarks and RSS feeds, there are html templates in Saft’s resources folder. You can just modify it to whatever you like. Also, in the same way as adding RSS feeds, I will add support for sidebar template in a way that user supplies a folder with a plist file, which points to a html file, URL or a script file that generate HTMLs, so you can add almost anything to the sidebar…”(!).

Updated: Hao has done further work into the extensibility of the sidebar, and extra sidebar items can easily be added as .plugin files. As mentioned above. these can other web pages (local or remote – I’ve now got one set up for adding links to my textpattern setup), RSS feeds, and in the future – scripts such as perl or shell. So you can have whatever you want going on in there! The first application of this that I can see is a Safari version of the Firefox Web Developer Extension. Although not all would work in Safari, it would be an easy way to add a large folder of development bookmarklets to Safari.

Here’s an example. I’ve made a simple sidebar plug-in to view my Shortstats in the sidebar:

Thats all there is to say at the moment, except that I’m like a boy who’s just been told he can fly a real X-Wing Fighter. This has got real possibilities!

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