Start using Safari 5.2 now with the the free-of-charge Safari Developer’s Program!

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Apple Safari iconAlong with the Mountain Lion reveal, Safari 5.2 briefly mentioned but not talked about much. Perhaps there isn’t really much to talk about in the new update. And together with Messages beta, Apple has also seeded a developer preview of the upcoming Safari 5.2 to anyone who has signed up to the Safari Developer Program. So there really is two made-for-Mountain-Lion-application that’s available for use today! But what’s not known to many is that the Safari Developer Program is free of charge and once you’ve signed up, you will be entitled to download the developer preview of Safari 5.2 (or any other new versions of Safari for that matter).

Safari Developer Program

Safari Developer Program - FOC!

So now that you know the only thing between you and Safari 5.2 is a Safari Developer Program login. But, should you update it to Safari 5.2 since it is currently only a preview? Does it feel buggy? Would the extensions that you are currently using on Safari 5.1 still continue to work?

These were the same questions that I had before I decided to give Safari 5.2 a test run.

And boy was I glad I did.

Firstly, the browser didn’t feel like it was a ‘preview’ version at all. In fact, I’ve been running it now for a couple of weeks and it’s a pretty stable built!

One of my hesitations to install the preview release of Safari 5.2 is that if it would break the plugins that I absolutely need for my browsing needs. One of it (actually the only one) is the 1Password plugin. If you are not aware what 1Password is, just jump ahead to the iTunes page here and the description will fully explain what it does. But if you’re lazy… in short, it’s the best password management software there is for Mac and Windows which also syncs to the respective 1Password app for the iPhone and iPad.

Anyways, to cut a long story short, I checked with Agilebits, the developer of 1Password, and they ‘unofficially’ stated that they ‘have not yet found any issues with 1Password’ with Safari 5.2! Voila, and there I went immediately installing Safari 5.2.

Safari 5.2 Build number 7535.18.5

Safari 5.2

As you can see from the screenshot above, in a quick glance, there isn’t much difference from Safari 5.1. But if you start to take a closer look at the top part of the browser, you’d notice that the search bar is now missing, leaving only the single address bar!

Address bar revamped!

Searchbar in action

To be honest, this isn’t really new in a browser. Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer had been able to do this for a while now. But it’s a nice welcome for Safari to finally support this unified address and search bar to de-cluter the browser as well as making searching a lot easier.

If you see from the screen grab on the left, you will see that the search isn’t just limited to your default search engine configured on Safari. It also searches through your browsing history, bookmarks as well as a keyword search on the page you’re browsing. If you notice, it also immediately shows your the number of matches of the Find on Page feature!

But in all honesty, I would still use the actual find feature (command+f) as it’s much faster to do so.

There are also other little differences that’s now defaulted in Safari 5.2. One it is the Reading List. Previously, the reading list is by default accessible from the icon (the one with the glasses) that’s available on the bookmarks bar. Now it’s defaulted on the toolbar on the top left just by the address bar.

One thing that’s missing however is the Share button that’s would showcase the native Twitter integration in OS X Mountain Lion. That I guess requires you to install OS X Mountain Lion to have it enabled.

The other subtle difference on the address bar is a permanent Reader button. Reader is a pretty cool feature that formats the current page you’re reading into a reader friendly view thats, well, reader friendly.

Reader in action

So there you go. Not much updates actually but the unified address and search bar is a much welcomed feature and if you have been waiting for this feature for a long while like I did, I find no reason why you shouldn’t install it.

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