in Mac apps

OmniWeb is now free

OmniWeb is now a free browser. I’m a huge fan. I purchased OmniWeb long ago to take advantage of this browsers powerful features. It used to cost $15, but now cost nothing as of last Wednesday.

There are many features of this browser that make it special.

OmniWeb can manually store a set of pages in a ‘workspace’ so that you can easily recall them later. For instance, I have created a named workspace with five sites I use for work; a named workspace with sites related to house hunting; and named workspaces for two different projects I’m currently researching. Handy.

It also displays thumbnail previews of open pages in a fly-out window, which is a nice way to visually navigate between sites.

The best part is that it allows you to save unique settings for individual domains. This is useful for anyone, but particularly useful in terms of accessibility. My father-in-law, for example, has bad eyesight and is not computer saavy. So I set him up with an OmniWeb workspace. All he has to do is click on his workspace, and all his favorite financial sites load. For each site, I used OW’s per-domain settings to boost text size to the largest settings possible without breaking each respective site. I also set up each of his favorite sites to open at a particular place on the page so he doesn’t have to scroll around to get to the sections he most wants to read. And I set per-site ad blocking: this feature is fine-grained enough to select blocking of known ad sizes, pop-ups, third-party sites, and/or blocked URLs. OmniWeb allows you to optimize an individual domain so you get only what you really want to see. Again, handy.

There’s a whole lot I like about OmniWeb, so I was glad to read that the browser will continue to be updated by OmniGroup (at least through version 6.0 — it’s now at 5.9). I’d like to see it go open source some day, but that’s not going to happen in the short term. By the way, the browser runs on WebKit, the same engine used by Safari.

The Omni Group also made several other apps free last week, including the screen effects and presentation tool OmniDazzle, the memory optimization tool OmniObjectMeter, and the disk cleanup tool OmniDiskSweeper.

  1. I was a big fan of OW as well, but I went back to Safari when I got an iPhone, simply for bookmark synchronization. The only things I miss are the per-site preferences (I used it to disable cookies for some sites) and the info pane (that made saving embedded content, such as flash movies, very easy).

    I’ll definitely try OW 6 when it comes out, but for the moment I’m sticking with Safari (4, of course).

    Alan

  2. Great to hear from you! Well, I have to say that I’ve been using the new Safari beta pretty heavily as of late because it’s so fast. And I, too, like that the bookmarks sync with my iPhone. OW does have some nice features, but there’s a chance I could become a Safari convert. I was pleased to discover Glims from a Twitter post you made, and yesterday found a shareware plugin to add Delicious bookmarks to it as well. Pretty nice. Still heavily rely on FFox, too, I should add.

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