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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Shiira Project

A good friend of mine (and fellow geek) pointed me at the following piece of software earlier today. As people who at times live and breathe inside a web browser, I tend to take notice when she gets really excited about something related to the InterWebz, especially if it's a new browser application. So what is Shiira? Quoted from their website:

Shiira is a web browser based on Web Kit and written in Cocoa. The goal of the Shiira Project is to create a browser that is better and more useful than Safari. All source code used in this software is publicly available.

I'm still, as ever, a fan of Gecko above the rest of the competition, but the KHTML Project and its mutant offspring WebKit are both very good engines as well. But what's so great about Shiira?

Take note that I haven't had the chance to test this software first-hand yet, as I don't have access to a Mac. In fact, I'm living in an exclusively Linux-populated world for the next week and a half. I'll be testing this software myself the first chance I get, but he impressions of the Barista Goddess I've found are trustworthy, especially in the world of Mac.

  • Features: nothing earth-shattering, but still impressive. Tabs, RSS support, download management. It has what it takes to make it a solid everyday normal-use browser, plus a little extra sparkle.
  • Functionality: some of the controls are apparently a little unintuitive, but installation is about as easy as it gets. Bookmarks aren't "imported"--Shiira talks directly to Safari's and Firefox's bookmark locations, so existing backup settings and whatnot won't have to change.
  • Usage: This sucker is fast. Written in Cocoa (OS X native GUI) and using WebKit (rendering engine optimized for OS X) makes this browser extremely snappy. In some cases, it appears to be quicker than even Camino, hands-down the fastest graphical browser for OS X that I've seen. It's even immune to laggy, stuttery Flash performance on a G3 iBook that inflicts all other browsers.
  • Dashboarding: Two words: Shiira Mini. For all of you OS X Dashboard junkies out there, prepare to be thrilled. There's a tiny version of Shiira that is implemented as a Dashboard widget. Quality web browsing from the Dashboard, with the option of quickly kicking out to a full-blown browser.
Will this browser replace one's workhorse browser? Nope. There's still nothing out there that compares to Firefox with a mess of your favorite extensions installed. But for a little quick surfing, this lightweight could be just the thing for you Mac users.

Check out The Shiira Project for more info, screenshots, and the download. Special thanks to Sarah McMenomy for pointing me at this software, and her hands-on testing and reactions.



1 Comments:

  • Great! I'll have a look at it in my Mac Lab. I just love sticking my nose in undiscovered territories. Most OSX users prefer to stick with Safari, but personally, I'm more a Firefox type of girl. Who knows? If Shiira is that fast, I may start using it from time to time (Just like I do with IE).

    By Anonymous Tech Princess, at 2:41 PM  

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