Continued: 64-bit test builds of OmniWeb now available

Continuing the discussion from Continued: 64-bit test builds of OmniWeb now available:

Excellent points.


Someone above asked what it was about OW that created such a loyal (if small) fan base. I have seen this question asked elsewhere and typically, the answer is the vertical tabs. Those are great to be sure, but there’s a lot more to OW than its tabs. I’ve taken the liberty to write down a few of the things that I like about OmniWeb and that keep me using it on a daily basis. While many of these features are in multiple browsers, it is how they are implemented here that makes them stand out. Neither browsers nor their feature sets are actual commodities. I’m sure I’ve missed some things but the post is long enough so….

At the end, I tacked on a small wishlist of sorts. I hope it’s not too much of a thread hijacking.

###Flexible, consistent toolbars

  • Once you add in the length of the address text area, you can easily make it the size you want (OW5)
  • You can easily hide/show the bars using keyboard shortcuts which allows me to remain focused on the web page rather than rooting around in menus (or just leaving them there)
  • Useful controls can be added. I add the downloads window, view source, font size, page info, domain settings, add bookmarks, view bookmarks, tab bar toggle. Back in the day I used the print and mail buttons as well but I don’t do those so much anymore. I’m not sure that there are any functions that I’d like to see a button for that doesn’t exist. A quick jaunt through the menus came up with nothing.
    ###Favourites Bar
  • It’s easy to add and remove stuff here. It’s also easy to find them in the main bookmarks window. Safari and Firefox both make this needlessly difficult and confusing.
  • There is a command-shortcut for the non-folder items.
    • In my screenshot below for example, Command-4, the right-most icon, will launch this page.
    • Command-1 (or 2 or 3) will save the page as HTML, PDF or web archive in Devonthink respectively.
  • Given that it’s easy to add, remove and use items on the favourites bar, I do a lot of adding, removing and using, whereas with other browsers, I tend to just leave stuff there.
    ###Drag and drop
  • Seems more flexible and useful than with other browsers. It’s not perfect, just better.
  • Often when I drag a link using another browser to a text documents (or OO4), it gets dumped as a full URL, which I generally don’t want. If I want that, I’ll copy and paste the URL from the address bar.
  • With OW, I’ll generally get the link text, which is what I typically want. Of course, this doesn’t really work when dragging to OO4.
  • You can drag a link or shift-drag what the link connects to.
  • I like how I can just click in the address bar and get my cursor where I want it. Firefox requires two clicks and Safari has issues as it tries to minimalize everything.
    ###Tab Drawer
  • This item is what most OW fans will gush about
  • Saves vertical space
  • Usable thumbnails. They can be displayed as a thumbnail letting you know where you are on sites that provide useless page titles. You can stretch it horizontally with minimal effort. You can switch to text-only if you need to cram more tabs while still seeing them all at once.
  • With my current window size, I can see 6 thumbnails or 27 text tabs. And as I suggest below, with a quick drag, I can stretch the drawer to see more of the tab titles. Having said this, I find OW often crashes with too many tabs.
  • With other browsers, you quickly get the tab text area shrunk to a useless size. Add another order of magnitude of tabs and you can’t see them all. Scrolling through tabs is typically a fruitless endeavour. Some browsers offer up the ability to go into a view tab mode which lets you see all the tabs as thumbnails but how useful is this? I find it leads to crashing and still doesn’t make it easy to find wayward tabs.
  • Because it has decent width to go along with its height, it is easy to drag tabs around
  • It’s easy to drag stuff from other windows or browsers onto it
    ###Site Preferences
  • Other browsers have added this feature but none do it as well.
  • I keep the Site Prefs button on the toolbar for easy access, so it’s easy to change numerous useful settings for a specific site. These are a subset of the global settings. Some aren’t especially useful on a site by site basis, e.g. History so they aren’t available by site.
  • However, options like the various blocking tools, style sheets, image loading, page zooming, javascript, cookies, java (only enabled for specific sites, usually on intranet), tab opening rules, and download folders are quickly and easily accessible and therefore, get used a lot. There’s a nice little marble to let you know when the site pref varies from the global pref.
  • And if you have set site preferences for the current site, an icon shows up in the status bar so you don’t have to guess.
    ###Page Info
  • While this isn’t as unique as it once was, I like having quick and easy access to the components of a web page, which I can open in a separate window, view the source or just save to the drive.
  • It’s laid out well but it does have a couple of shortcomings. Some pages have so many items that it can be a challenge to find what you want and while I’m not sure what triggers it, it often refreshes. Combined with the fixed, relatively small window section, it can be rough on some pages. I’d like for it to be able to identify key images, e.g. background image, main image, so they don’t get lost in all the buttons and arrows that many pages have.
  • This is another area in which other browsers have been catching up but I think OW is better than most.
  • It’s easy to assign a keyword to a favourite. This allows you to type just word and then load the full URL. You can do this without using the mouse, with an already existing bookmark — just a few tabs typically.
  • It’s easy to do the same with search fields on any site. If a site offers search, right click in the text area of the search field and choose Add Search Shortcut…. This lets you then just type your shortcut, a space and then your search string. Again, it’s really easy to do and you can edit the search parametres in the settings at your leisure. For example, I use ‘wiki’ to load Wikipedia and ‘wikis’ to search Wikipedia and load the results.
  • For what it’s worth, I think both of these features belong outside of the preferences and should be invokable from their own menu item, like Open Bookmarks Window. The preferences window is a little small for them, especially since they share the same space. Ad blocking probably falls into this category as well.
  • Link shortcuts… this is something I miss in OW6. A lot. Basically, it lets you use the keyboard and tab key to navigate around the links on a page. The more I can do without having to go to the trackpad or the mouse, the more focused I can be on what I’m doing. I really liked how it was implemented in OW5.
  • All of these features have been added by other browsers but how they’ve been implemented in OW is superior. I feel more constrained, and much more conscious of browser limitations when using other browsers.
  • ‘Next page’ with the Enter key. With forum pages (but not Discourse since it don’t have pages), or with those multiple page articles like John Siracusa’s [OS X reviews], you can just space bar down the page and then hit enter to go to the next page. It makes for relaxing reading. Doesn’t work yet in OW6 though.
  • And using the link navigation I mentioned above, if you want to follow one of the links, you can type the first couple of letters to highlight the link (or use Command-option-Down, or combined these actions) and then type command-return to have it open in a background tab which you can go to at your leisure.
  • This isn’t really a shortcut but… If a site has an annoying GIF (meaning any forum site), it’s easy enough to right-click and filtre that image out of existence although it might require flushing the cache (command-option-u) and reloading the page. You can then go into the ad blocking preferences and edit the link to make it more general (e.g. all GIFs from a given site).
    ###Built in HTML editor and Redisplay button
  • All browsers have the ability to view source, even Safari, although Apple seems to be conflicted about this feature. They move it around, hide it, have a less than obvious shortcut for it and they took many years before they provide colour in the source window.
  • Well Omniweb doesn’t just allow you to view source, it has a fine editor in it, with syntax colouring.
  • You can save locally or remotely.
  • And then there’s the magical ‘Redisplay’ button. You can edit a page, click the button, and it the original browser window will reload the page from your source window, and thus, include your edits.
  • Thus, if a page has some horrific elements that aren’t due to an external, and thus easily blockable script, you can quickly do something about it. Sometimes, I’ll use it just to get rid of some garish text. At work, it might take hours or days to get intranet pages updated or corrected. With this feature, it was possible to generate correct screenshots, etc… with a minimum of fuss and effort.
  • If you have some pages that you want to check routinely during the day, it’s easy enough to set up a workspace for them. Then with a single keystroke, you can switch back and forth.
    ###Status bar
  • It’s just a little nicer than others. If a site foists cookies upon you, with a click you can see what they are and whether they were accepted or not, and whether they’re permanent or temporary.
  • If there’s a form element that you have a string for, you get a button.
  • As mentioned earlier, if site preferences have been set, an icon shows up.
  • If images haven’t been loaded, or if there’s a search function available, you also get a button/icon.
    ###Preferences are nice
  • It’s easy to cycle through them as they have function prev/next buttons. In OW6 though, you can’t add favourite preference panes to the top of the prefs window.
    ###I don’t use these often but…
  • It’s easy to pull up a network activity window for active connections, or the error log (w show http requests) to see what’s going on, or what file is choking, or what has gone on.
  • Save as a single-page PDF file
  • Save Linked Image (Needs a shortcut but I can’t seem to add one for it)
  • It doesn’t work in these forums but in most textboxes, you can right-click and then zoom the window to give yourself more window space to write in. I wouldn’t have minded that for this long-winded post.
  • Good written documentation
    ###What’s missing?
  • Well, a number of the OW5 features don’t yet work in OW6. For me personally, the ones I’d like to see most that are not listed above but are proxy and 1password support.
  • Improved Bookmarks window
    • Note that there isn’t a browser I’ve ever used with easy to organize bookmarks.
    • I’d like to see the folders stay shut when you drop a link on them.
    • Also, while the search mechanism will find the bookmarks, it won’t tell you where they are, so if you have a duplicate, it’s not obvious which one should be deleted.
    • I’m not sure what this should ultimately look like but I’m not satisfied with the current approach. Maybe I’d be happy with the ability to export all the bookmarks into the Finder in a folder structure that mimicked that in the bookmarks. Then I could drag them around there until satisfied and import the lot back in. I’d like this feature regardless.
  • Navigation shortcuts re-implemented
  • Web Inspector isn’t an option yet in OW6
  • Extensions. Not expected but since this is a wishlist :)
  • Movement of some items that are in the preferences to their own menu item, e.g. search shortcuts, bookmark shortcuts, etc….
  • One of my small frustrations is that I can’t have my mouse (any mouse) that lets me command-click with a single click. I’d like to be able to force a page to load in a new tab without holding down a modifier key.
    • And there are some evil pages, like Apple’s frustrating support search result pages, that force the existing tab to go to a clicked link even if you do command-click it. So you get the link followed in the current tab as well as in the newly opened (due to the command-click) tab. Who thought of this? So when I am searching for something, I need to control-click and choose to open in a separate tab.
    • Most meeses, (well Logitech and Razer) don’t offer up the ability to assign command-click to a single click. So what I wish for was an option that mapped to something that at least Logitech can do with a mouse.
  • Update the synchronizing bookmarks function to work with something I can find on any of my Macs. Maybe I can set up a webdav server locally but I’m not sure.
  • Same goes for the local HTTP server. Personally, I hate having to guess what folder is meant by whatever instructions are provided. While I’ve gotten these working in the past, it’s still more painful than I’d like and I soon forget (the settings, not the pain). What I’d like to do is drag an index.html file onto the dialogue and have it get all the locations from that.
  • Like most browsers, OW will save passwords for you. I’d like it to wait until after the login was successful before asking me. I rely on memory for most of my passwords and I don’t always know with certainty what the capitalization or odd characters are but I’m right most of the time and almost always I can recall by the second attempt. But the current method requires me to commit prematurely. It’s always better to get it right the first time rather than trying to correct it after the fact. So now when I’m uncertain, I just choose to not save and hope that I remember the next time I visit that site.
  • Unrelated
    • For what it’s worth, I’ve paid for three different browsers over the years, including OW when it was a paid app (my first OG purchase along with OO3). The others being Camino (donation) and iCab. I’d be willing to pay for another release of OW as well.
    • Gack! I just launched OW5 in Yosemite and it doesn’t seem to work at all.

Thanks for the info you who have been on this forum, it has served me very helpful
a greeting

Recently I’ve tried to download to download the latest built of OW 6. The browser crashes, I get the crash catcher which produces an e-mail crash report which I always send. Can someone tell me which test built is semi-stable or at least open?

Sorry about that! Yesterday’s test build of OmniWeb fixes a number of issues that were introduced in early December with some changes to frameworks that are shared with our other apps.

I had been under the impression that OW was pretty much abandonware, and then today I clicked on Check For Updates. I put my G4 iMac running Tiger out to pasture a month ago in favor of a new Mac Mini running Mavericks.

I paid for OW in November 2006 and used it as my primary browser for years. I LOVE the side tabs—this was the killer feature that made me adopt OW. I also like that I can tweak the settings for different sites. But I’ve also become very frustrated by an ongoing bug. Starting in October 2008, OW would fail to paginate properly when printing a hard copy from some websites. I could fix this by trashing my plist, but that meant losing my autofill data. I’ve reported this bug a number of times over the years, and it’s never been fixed. At one point I also suggested to the support ninjas that autofill data should be put in its own dedicated file so it wouldn’t be lost when the plist is trashed.

I put in some time as a contract software tester 20 years ago, so I know that fixing bugs isn’t a matter of waving a magic wand, but IMO fixing bugs is in a developer’s job description. This is a pretty annoying bug, which I imagine affects other users also. OW was paid at the time I reported the bug, and as I said, I paid for OW. As mbert says, if you take money, you need to offer support. I don’t want to be rude, but if I sound a little testy on this issue, I am.

I recently paid for upgrade licenses for several apps. I bought a $50 lifetime license for the MailMate mail client—haven’t had the time to set it up yet—when I could have continued with Apple Mail for free:

I’d be willing to pay over again for OW 6.0, but I’d want some assurance that bugs would be fixed. Thank you.

I’m not seeing that bug in OmniWeb 6, and you won’t need to pay anything to update to it since OmniWeb 6 is free.

I’m sorry we didn’t point you at a better solution years ago! Rather than trashing your entire plist, you can use Terminal’s defaults remove command to remove specific settings from your plist while leaving the other settings untouched. It wouldn’t be hard to write a script which would remove everything from your plist except for the autofill data that you want to preserve. (But ideally we would have used such a script to narrow down exactly which setting was triggering the problem in OmniWeb 5 in the first place, so we could have tracked it down and fixed it sooner than OmniWeb 6.)

If you would still find a script like that to be helpful, let me know. (Current builds of OmniWeb 6 require Yosemite, and you noted that you’re on Mavericks.)

Thanks for the response! I just printed a Washington Post article from OW6, and I won’t say I got the pagination bug in the exact form I’ve gotten it in the past, but there were no headers and footers (web address, Page X of Y, etc.) on the hard copy at all. Is there some preference in OW6 to say that I want this stuff? If the headers should be there by default, then we have a problem.

I couldn’t find a .plist for OW6, only for OW5, and its timestamp was on the old side. I might be interested in a script, but let’s take it one step at a time for now.

May I assume that the release version will run under Mavericks? Thanks again.

Thanks! The above discussion is useful.

Visual tabs.
Site specific preferences.
Ease of adding new search engines/sites.
“Breadcrumb” browsing.
Functional download window as opposed to Chromium, Safari, Firefox, etc…
What I consider to be “proper” cookie handling (optionally discard when quitting).
Little touches like being able to go forward or backward through the preferences rather than back & forth to the main prefs window.

It’s the little things throughout OmniWeb that make it an exceptional browser.

I am hoping that once the dust settles from all the work on the paid app Ken will find some time to give OW a little love. Works ok, but crashes every time I close a window (not a tab, thankfully).

Many thanks to the “powers that be” for the recent updates and showing my (still) favorite browser some love. There are still things about OmniWeb that just aren’t available elsewhere.

[quote]Version 6.0 test

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Tab Sidebar — Drawers are deprecated in High Sierra (and were causing some misbehaviors like sending the parent window to the back every time you opened a drawer), so this seems like a good time to make a long-overdue change: tabs now live in a sidebar rather than a drawer.
High Sierra compatibility — Tab thumbnails generally draw correctly now on High Sierra (instead of showing empty or clipped content).
Tab Drops — You can once again drop tabs directly onto the main area of a browser window to move or copy those tabs to that window.
Tuesday, June 14, 2017

High Sierra compatibility — Fixed some crashes encountered on beta builds of High Sierra when displaying the completions for an address and when opening the print dialog on a Mac with a Touch Bar.[/quote]

@supporthumans: Receiving the update notice this morning, I clicked to update to R292308 and then get the following message:

OmniWeb cannot be opened because of a problem.

Check with the developer to make sure OmniWeb works with this version of OS X. You may need to reinstall the application. Be sure to install any available updates for the application and OS X.

Click Report to see more detailed information and send a report to Apple.

I’ve tried back to R292159 with the same results. I’m guessing that something on my end got corrupted? Is there something I should clear out or delete?

Some more information:

Application Specific Information:
dyld: launch, loading dependent libraries

Dyld Error Message:
Symbol not found: OBJC_CLASS$_NSNotificationCenter
Referenced from: /Applications/
Expected in: /System/Library/Frameworks/AddressBook.framework/Versions/A/AddressBook
in /Applications/

I’m having the same issues with the current builds as well. One bounce in the dock, then nothing.

The last one that worked for me is r291920. I’ve applied each update, but then have to unzip the saved copy of 291920 to get back to having OW work.

I’ve dutifully sent in the crash logs via the feedback link, so hopefully Ken will see them.

On 10.11.6 here, don’t see anything noting an upgrade in the OS requirements.

If anyone has a similar issues, please chime in.



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Many thanks for that! None of the available test builds worked for me, but plugging 291920 into the link format allowed me to download it and at least get OmniWeb working for me again:

Fixed (hopefully!) in the upcoming r292311 build, where I’ve added this release note:

  • fixed - El Capitan and Sierra compatibility — Recent test builds of OmniWeb (after r291920) were failing to launch on 10.11 El Capitan and 10.12 Sierra due to a linker bug in Xcode 9 beta 3. Worked around the bug so OmniWeb should work once again on shipping versions of the operating system. (That said, there are some really great changes coming in 10.13 High Sierra that will finally make it possible for OmniWeb to migrate from WebKit 1 to WebKit 2, so at some point these builds are going to drop support for earlier versions of the OS. But that day isn’t today.)
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Please give some notice of the last build to support El Capitan. My Mac Mini won’t support Sierra, so that is as far as I can go, but I would like to be able to get the last build possible for it. Even better would be to have downloads available for the last build available for any given OSX version. Whether due to hardware or needing legacy software, there are those of us who cannot upgrade to the latest and greatest OS.

Despite not being actively supported, OmniWeb is still my main browser as it just has functionality that none of the other browsers give me.

I’d like to stress that I’d be willing to spend some money on it. Maybe we can think of a different model? Something like a donation system? Once people have donated enough to finance some serious work on it, Omni goes ahead. On can even bind donations to feature requests.

I’m all for paying for OW.

I get a lot more done with OW than without.

At the moment, I feel like I’ve lost hours of productivity simply because I’m using inferior browsers that don’t work as well as OW did.

I’d like to see how many people really want to pitch in to pay.

I know Ken has a lot of other, more important, projects on his plate, but if the committed interest is there (e.g. payments made/charged), I’m hoping he can justify the time to work on advancing OW.


I was excited this morning to see a OW 6 test build posted on MacUpdate, but unfortunately it’s still the build from September 2018 that isn’t working correctly on Mojave.

Once again, I’d like to reiterate my willingness to pay for OW. I’m far less productive in other browsers.