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Tiger's Safari and RSS feeds

© Tony Lawrence, aplawrence.com
May 2005

The very first thing I liked about Safari in the new Mac OS X Tiger was the RSS integration. Here's Safari looking at an RSS enabled site:


Notice the blue "RSS" at the right hand side of the address bar? That's there because Safari noticed a tag in the page header:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" href="/lynx.rss" \
title="New jobs listings at lynxinc.com"/>

If you click on that RSS tag, you get this:

http://www.lynxinc.com rss

That's not a page provided by Lynx, Inc.; that's Safari generating its own page from the RSS information. Notice the "feed://" in the address bar. If you typed "feed://www.lynxinc.com/lynx.rss" into Firefox or Internet Explorer, you'd just get an error: this is a Safari only feature - at least for now.

In Safari Preferences, you can set how often to check for new RSS updates, and how to display them in the "feed:" page. If you have the RSS page bookmarked, Safari will show you how many new articles are available from the feed:

Safari RSS Preferences pane

RSS feeds get automatically added to the "All RSS Feeds" that appears in the "Show All Bookmarks" sidebar. There are a large number of feeds Safari includes by default as you can see here:

Safari Bookmarks Sidebar

You can save a group of pages, including feed: views, to a folder that can be opened all at once in tabs. But Safari doesn't seem to be able to set a group of tabs to be your home page as Firefox can. It has a pretty fancy trick of its own though: if you have bookmarked an RSS feed, you can display the headlines a screen saver. In System Preferences, under Desktop & Screen Saver, choose Screen Saver, then RSS Visualizer. Select the RSS feed to display from Options. The current headlines are now your screen saver.

You can also have a kind of "smart bookmark" that searches within a feed. Whenever a feed page is displayed, there's a search box. Type in there, and only headlines matching your search will be displayed. Look lower in that same frame, and you'll see that you can bookmark this also. That's a handy feature.

I'm happy to see Safari add so much RSS support. While most internet users are still blissfully unaware of RSS, additions like this will help them learn about it and improve their browsing.

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