2017 01: January

<--- Chinese New Year

Setapp – Preliminary Review --->

Safari Developer Menu:

Perhaps another of the slightly misnamed features that we encounter around our computer, the Developer Menu in Safari is not just for Developers. Of course, developers are delighted to have access to a wide range of tools that expose just what is happening within the loading and running of the HTML, CSS and javascript that makes up the essentials of our modern web experience, but there is plenty for others to use as well.

Firstly, let us ask Safari to add the new menu to its menu-bar:
To enable Developer mode in Safari, go to Safari’s preferences and then click on the Advanced tab. Check the box at the bottom at the window that says, “Show Develop menu in menu bar.”

After activating Developer mode in Safari, a new Develop menu appears between the Bookmarks and Window menus. A quick look down the list of functions may be a bit bewildering, but it is not really as intimidating as it seems. Until you feel more confident with all things in the web browser world, it is generally safe to look, but resist changing things without keeping notes of what you do, so that you can later undo any changes that you did not want. In general, the functions are designed to enable you to look, but there are some switches to change how Safari works; so be careful.

Perhaps "Empty Caches" would be the more common that may be generally required. Safari keeps a copy of old web pages that you have visited, and if any of the files accessed are required again, for redisplaying the same page, or a related page, then the common files are already available and don't need to be re-copied from the server machine - and you get to see the requested page much more quickly. These saved files may occupy quite a bit of disk space, so if you are running short, a quick 'empty caches' may save the day. This will not do any harm, but it may slow the displaying of a few web pages immediately after doing it.

I would recommend a few other functions if you are interested in discovering how a web page works, or even how a particular part of the web page does its special magic. It may not be as good as a private tutor at your elbow, but it is certainly preferable to staring at the screen and wondering.

Unless you are the Consumers Institute in the USA, I suggest that you probably won't have a need to change the "Disable Caches" option. The result of this within Safari is predictable - Safari doesn't save the files that have been used, so it is unable to optimise the showing of future web pages. Safari will ping the web server every time a file is required, and reload all the content of a page, even if an element has already been downloaded. To a user, that effects appear to be a little more drastic, with 'randomly varying' times to display pages, and a significant reduction in battery time for you MacBook. The Consumers Institute encountered this 'strange behaviour' in their recent testing of the new MacBook Pro after they disabled caching "to collect consistent results across the testing of many laptops". (Nothing like testing the normal mode of the device, is there?) The problem wasn't resolved until "Apple provided a solution" (and they re-enabled caching!).

<--- Chinese New Year

Setapp – Preliminary Review --->

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