I don’t have a Mac, so I didn’t know that Firefox – even in its latest incarnation – doesn’t run all that well on them. Oh yes, it’ll work – they designed it to be platform and processor independent after all – but it doesn’t take advantage of the hardware and OS niceties that make Apple’s products so efficiently addictive. Enter, stage-left and grinning, Shiira, an open-source browser developed specifically for the Mac.
So what makes it so great? Well, being specifically designed for OS X means it’s fast – Expose-style viewing of all tabs renders in an instant, rather than crunching along slowly as Firefox does, bookmarks are dynamically updated from any other browser you have installed, so you always have an up-to-date set in Shiira. Translucent sidebars show new RSS feeds and a “Page holder” for whatever site you’re currently viewing, a kind of contents page with all the relevant links right there.
There’s even a page-transition effect which looks as though you’re reading the web like a book. Something I think I’d get annoyed by, but there’s bound to be someone out there who likes it and it certainly shows the power of the Mac software.
Shiira is a free download and currently in the beta stages of v.2