Wednesday, January 2, 2008 [Tweets] [Favorites]

iCab 4.0

iCab 4 is now available:

iCab 4.0 is completely rewritten and is now based on Cocoa instead of Carbon. It is much faster than iCab 3 has a polished user interface and also some new features.

It seems much improved over previous versions, although it doesn’t take long to notice that Safari is significantly faster and offers better rendering. Still, iCab is full of neat little features like this:

It’s now possible to add userdefined JavaScript code to each Web page that is loaded. Adding a userdefined StyleSheet was already possible in iCab 3. While you can only modify the layout of the Web page with user defined StyleSheets, you can modify the structure and code of the document with userdefined JavaScript. This is a very powerful feature, but it requires that you know HTML and JavaScript code very well. As an example of this feature, you’ll find the “YouTube video download” filter for the filter manager in the archive of this iCab beta. This filter will add a link to each YouTube page which allows to download the video of the page. The filter contains a userdefined JavaScript code which adds this link into the YouTube Web page.

There’s also a new version of iCab 3 that still works with Mac OS 8.5.

Update (2008-01-13): Requiem for a rendering engine.

8 Comments

This is just mind boggling. I'm speechless. Those Germans are nuts! :)

Actually, peeking at it with F-Script, looks like it's using WebKit in there, instead of it's old engine.

Yeah. It turns out that the rendering differences I noticed were due to using different fonts. I still think it feels slower to me, though that could be a perception thing due to UI differences.

I find it interesting that they finally switched to WebKit. I actually asked about their plans back when WebKit was newly announced, and they said that they saw no issues with maintaining their own HTML renderer and would not switch to WebKit. It seems the original iCab renderer was a port from Amiga code. I actually liked the old renderer; it was extremely standards-compliant, and all non-standard behaviours it had could be turned off in the preferences. It did, however, become more and more lacking, and as a result, I haven't used iCab in years, I guess. Fortunately, despite the renderer switch, the iCab smiley is still there, and even option-clicking it still works ("Oh, this page makes me tingly all over!") :-)

The JavaScript injection is an awesome, awesome idea. There's a ton of cool stuff that can be done with it. It's actually tempting me to switch back to iCab.

Unfortunately, they've also copied the annoying "stop and reload are the same button" idea from Safari :-(

Still, I'm really impressed with this latest version of iCab. An unexpected new year's gift :-)

I liked the old renderer, too, though I think switching to WebKit makes sense. The first thing I did was check to see whether the smiley was still there. :-)

Yeah, switching to WebKit was definitely the right move. Not having to keep up with supporting all the HTML idiosyncrasies must free up a ton of time to work on other features.

Also, the combined "stop/reload" button can fortunately be replaced with two specific buttons :-)

I hope iCab's engine haven't been dropped forever (and will be back once it's improved behind the scenes).
The more standards-compiliant engines, the better. I actually used iCab to get 'second opinion' on problematic CSS/HTML.

Sweetest browser there is. Needs sharper icons is all I can think of saying. Loved 3 too, but it was becoming too slow in the end. Still prefer the url below the toolbar as it gives me more url to see (and manipulate).

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