Wednesday, November 17, 2010

OmniWeb as a Cocoa Documentation Browser

The built in Xcode Documentation browser is okay, and the stuff Apple does to bring some bits of documentation lookup into the code in IDE is not bad. However, until the full documentation browser is it's own app, I don't think it'll ever reach its full potential. One day I saw Peter Hosey use OmniWeb and do a brief run through of what he did to browse documentation.

Since then, I've only made a couple tweaks to this, but I am surprised more people don't use a standalone documentation browser app like this because it's so easy to separate from Xcode and command tab over to and find what your looking for fast.

Download OmniWeb ( )

Here are some of the links I have (you'll need to drag them to your bookmarks bar for them to work)

Core Foundation
Developer Tools
Core Graphics
Core Services
What's New in Mac OS X 10.6 Notes

My Doc/Code Search Templates

ADC Search (Keyword: adc@)
Google ADC Search (Keyword: gadc@)
GoogleCode Search (Keyword: gc@)


nskboy said...

Why OmniWeb? Why not to use (put your favorite browser here) instead?

Brandon Walkin said...

Give Ingredients a try, if you haven't already.

Colin Wheeler said...

Here is why

Safari: it's a great browser but doesn't let you do the custom searches I use in OmniWeb out of the box. I want as minimal a setup as possible

Firefox: Is slow, consumes a lot of resources (relative to omniweb, chrome, safari,etc.)

Camino: could work for this, but OmniWeb has some better keyboard shortcuts imho, largely these days I just don't really use this browser much anymore

Chrome: no custom search template customization out of the box, otherwise it'd be pretty good

While the vertical drawer for tabs would normally be a drag for day to day browsing for me it's a plus when browsing documentation in that it makes it easy to have a number of tabs open and enumerate through them quickly.

So to recap,the reasons I chose OmniWeb are
1. Good Search template customization out of the box
2. it doesn't consume a lot of resources
3. It has great keyboard shortcuts
4. it has a nice vertical tab drawer

Colin Wheeler said...

Ingredients works well, but it doesn't display all the information I need sometimes and can't search apples guides, sample code, etc. Despite all that I do have high hopes for it and like the direction it's going in.

Unknown said...

I was almost at my breaking point with the developer docs being part of Xcode... Cmd+Tabbing when I should have done a Cmd+~... then on top of that, trying to deal with multiple doc windows because there are no tabs. I tried using Firefox with the online docs for a while, but it was still kindof a drag. Then I randomly stumbled on this. I'll give it a try. Thanks!

Laurie Hufford said...

I always use AppKiDo.

I find it to be much more useable, though I still think there is a lot of room for improvement.

Laurie Hufford said...

Colin: there is search templating out of the box with Chrome.

Got to Preferences->Basics and press the Manage button in the Search section.

You can add your own search engines, using %s to match your search string, and give it a keyword to force searching on one site. eg for wikipedia I have the keyword "w" and url

In the latest chrome (from the Dev Channel - v9.0) you can also turn on Instant Search, so it will go to the page as you type. I haven't tried this in practice, but it could be a nice way of working.

Christopher Pickslay said...

Interesting. Going to try this out. Though on my machine I found the documentation under a different path: