Posted by: lsinrc | September 14, 2010

Moving Beyond Safari on the iPad

While Safari is an important piece of the iPad experience, it’s lean feature list leaves users pining for more. My web experience is so much less frustrating since I found two alternative browsers to Safari that have become important enought to be moved onto my dock. Both of these apps, Perfect Browser and Atomic Browser, have common features between them as well as features unique to each. While their feature lists beyond Safari’s capabilities are long, there are two that make them my first choice before Safari: tabbed pages and web rendering.

Tabbed browsing is a no-brainer. You don’t appreciate the extra taps Safari requires for moving between multiple web pages until you start using tabbed browsing. What a difference in user experience! That in and of itself was enough to start me looking for other browsers and I have not looked back.

Another feature for reducing frustration while surfing the web is what Perfect Browser refers to as Web Rendering. One of my huge frustrations with Safari is navigating to a website only to find it forces you to a mobile version of its pages. If you try to work back to the typical pages a computer would see, the web site detects you are using the mobile version Safari and automatically switches you back to its mobile page. While this may have some small justification with small screens like iPhone or iPod Touch, it is infuriating on an iPad. If you are unsure what I am referring to, try using Safari to visit http://www.twitter.com–note that it automatically diverts you to http://mobile.twitter.com.


Both Atomic and Perfect Browser allow you to choose another browser to “fool” the website into thinking you have a computer browser. The offending website will think you are browsing from a computer and let you stay on that page. Note that these browser choices are not emulators–choosing Internet Explorer does not mean you have the features of IE. Rather you are just “announcing” to the website that you are using IE. For example, if you visit a web access to an Exchange server, it will not really display correctly even when you choose IE on your iPad Browser as it would in a real computer version of IE.

Other common features between both Perfect and Atomic that I use frequently:
Tap-hold a link for open in background tab otpion
Private browsing
Search engine bar that is customizable

Switching Between Browsers
Perfect Browser has a feature to add to Safari a javascript bookmarklet that moves the currently viewed webpage to open in Perfect. This script works with both Safari and Atomic to switch a page to Perfect:
javascript:window.location=’perfect://’+location.href.replace(“http://”, “”).replace(“https://”, “”);

This script works with Safari and Perfect to switch a page to Atomic:
javascript:window.location=’atomic://’+location.href.replace(“http://”, “”).replace(“https://”, “”);

[My previous blog iPad Tools for Info Junkies part 1 and Part 2 describes how to add a variety of javascript bookmarklets to make your browsers more efficient for navigating the web[

This feature is important as many other apps have an option to open a web page in Safari–you will want to be able to move quickly to the other browsers from there.I haven’t found a script to switch back to Safari, although Atomic has that as a built in menu option. Also, each browser has unique features where you will want to switch occasionally.

Unique Features

One of the features I like about Atomic is the bookmark Tab Bar at the top of the browser, whereas Perfect you have to pull down the menu for bookmarks.


On the other hand, one feature I like about Perfect is the ability to search for a word or phrase, especially useful on large long web pages.

Ultimately, I use all three browsers, each for specific tasks. Also, some websites work better on certain browsers, e.g. the e-edition of my local newspaper works on Safari and Perfect but not Atomic, while editing WordPress works in Atomic not Perfect. With the switching bookmarklets, I can manuever between the browsers as the needs fit.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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Responses

  1. Your posts on the iPad are informative. I have been looking for the js script to allow me to jump to Atomic from mobile safari on the iPad. So I was excited when I saw it on your page. However it doesn’t seem to work. I copied the script
    javascript:window.location=’atomic://’+location.href.replace(“http://”, “”).replace(“https://”, “”); to a bookmarklet and it didn’t do anything. I’d appreciate any suggestions you might have. Regards,
    Steve

  2. I wanted to add that your link above to part 2 is broken. Hope you can help with the js for opening Atomic.


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