Other World Computing

Is Apple crippling third-party apps?


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In an article title Finding the OS X Turbo Button, developer "Vladimir" details his many troubles in getting Firefox 3 to run as fast as humanly possible. In pursuit of this worthy goal, he came across a number pratfalls--that one might reasonably assume were intentionally--laid by our friends at 1 Infinite Loop--dozens and dozens of undocumented performance caps and hidden throttling methods "designed" to slow down a third-party browser written in Cocoa.

There are now over 100 private "OS-secrets-only-WebKit-knows" in the library, many of which are referred to in a mostly comment-free header file. Reading the WebKit [Ed: Open-source core of Safari] code is pretty interesting; there are all sorts of potentially useful Cocoa internals bits you can pick up, more easily on the Objective C side (e.g. search for "AppKitSecretsIKnow" in the code), but also in other areas as a pile of these WK* methods used in quite a few places. Would any other apps like to take advantage of some of that functionality? I'm pretty sure the answer there is yes...

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Happily, Vladimir and his companions at Mozilla have managed to overcome this nest of snares and booby traps, and Firefox 3 will deliver greatly-improved performance when it ships, including excellent Javascript execution.

Editor's note: Would Apple really sink so low--ie Microsoft--to insure Safari is the fastest browser on the Mac? Perhaps it's a simple case of documentation lagging the shipping product...

What's your take?

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