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Sat, 9 Apr 2011

Review: Terra web browser for iPad

I'm going to post a detailed review of the iPad at some point, but for now, here's a review of Terra, a third-party web browser.

Of course, underneath it just uses the same libraries as Safari, and so will render pages in the same way, because Apple, in their wisdom, don't allow third-party renderers. Even so, it's a dramatic improvement over Safari. The Safari page-rendering engine really isn't that bad, Readdle have just wrapped a better user interface around it.

The iPad's built-in browser has two huge flaws: the first is that it doesn't handle multiple pages well, presenting them in much the same way as the iPhone browser does. On the iPhone, which doesn't have room for multiple tabs, that made sense, but on the iPad leaving out tabs is just plain stupid. It's especially stupid when you limit the number of pages that the user can have open at once, although that bug can be fixed if you jailbreak your device. I have jailbroken my phone, but not the iPad, partly because there's less need to, but also because the iPad jailbreaks aren't quite as robust, and the third-party software that you then get to install is also not as robust on the larger device.

The second huge flaw in the iPad's implementation of Safari is uterly inexcusable. It's been a standard feature since the very first days of the World Wide Web, 20 years ago. I refer, of course, to being able to find text in a page. Why Apple didn't bother to implement this is beyond me.

Terra has neither of these stupid flaws, and is therefore infinitely better.

The only problem I've found with Terra is one that is beyond Readdle's control: that you can't make it the system default browser, so that third-party apps will open pages in Terra instead of in Safari. And for this reason alone it doesn't get five stars. It's still, of course, well worth downloading and using, especially considering that it's free.

Readdle are also responsive to users' queries. I've already asked them for a new feature, the ability to somehow save pages and transfer them to other devices. I'm told that they've already added it to their to-do list.

Posted at 23:33 by David Cantrell
keywords: electronics | software
Permalink | 3 Comments

Isn't search in page now accessible through the Google search box in Safari? Type a query and scroll to the bottom for results in

Posted by Adam Auden on Sun, 10 Apr 2011 at 01:29:19

Safari has search in page. It's in the general search box. It was only added recently though. And by using the embedded safari rather than the system one, you lose out on the nitro JS speed improvements in 4.3, which is a pity.


Posted by Liam on Sun, 10 Apr 2011 at 08:25:41

Huh, so it is. It's a fucking stupid user interface, hiding it under a box called "Google".

Posted by David Cantrell on Sun, 10 Apr 2011 at 09:45:17

Sorry, this post is too old for you to comment on it.