Safari Fired

My web feed needs are quite simple, mostly web comics and family’s, friends’, and author’s blogs. So simple that I haven’t bothered to learn the difference between RSS and Atom . Accordingly for years I have just used Safari as my aggregator.

Despite the marketing to the contrary, I have not found Safari 4 to be much of an improvement over Safari 3. In particular, its handling of web feeds is unacceptably broken. There are several feeds for which it would only notify of updates every couple of months. The checking of feeds would consume Safari such that it would be unresponsive for five seconds or more upon startup. At least half the time when I tried to browse to a particular feed Safari would spin for some time and then show an error page saying that there was an IPC timeout in the Mach kernel.

I think that all three behaviors are symptoms of the same cause, probably an architectural flaw in the code for the feeds. This behavior first appeared in the beta for Safari 4 and has not been fixed in the eight months since then. A mantra often associated with Mac software is “it just works”; Safari 4’s web feed handling just doesn’t work. There is no way that the kind of problems I continue to see can be considered acceptable. Simply put, Safari 4 should not have shipped with these failures.

Yesterday I reached my breaking point and went looking for a new aggregator. I chose NewsFire and have been very pleased with it. I have seen no problems at all with any of the feeds, so I know that the problems are not caused by the feeds themselves. I like the NewsFire interface a lot, finding it very usable. And since I’ve removed my feeds from my Safari bookmarks, Safari starts up a lot faster, too.

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2 Responses

  1. […] 4 problems handling RSS feeds Click here to read more.  User had problems with proper […]

  2. Interesting — I wonder if that has anything to do with the slowdowns I have seen with Safari on Slow Leopard.

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