Miscellaneous Ramblings

iCab 2.9.5: Tabbed Browsing Comes to Legacy Macs

Charles Moore - 2003.08.11 - Tip Jar

Tabbed browsing has been available for some legacy Macs - ones with 266 MHz or faster processors - in the more recent versions of Netscape and Mozilla, but these browsers are no longer being developed for the Classic Mac OS, and they never supported 68k Macs.

However, iCab 2.9.5, the latest version of the lean, powerful, and stable German browser now has tabbed browsing across the board, supporting machines back to ancient 68020 models, such as the 1987 Mac II and 1998 LC II, running System 7.0.1 or newer.

iCab is the only browser still being developed for 68k Macs.

I think tabbed browsing is the greatest Web surfing innovation to come along in years. I've continued to use iCab without it, as I really like this browser, but the tabs are a very welcome addition.

All the new features of the iCab 2.9.5 releases were planned for iCab 3.0, but because so many people asked for tabbed browsing support and because tabs were already implemented and working, iCab decided to release another 2.9.x version before the iCab 3.0 release.

They've done an especially nice job with the implementation, incorporating the best functionality of the tabbed browsing features in both Apple's OS X only Safari and Mozilla/Netscape while adding the most intuitive and customizable tabbed browsing preferences of any browser.

You can bookmark all of the Tabs of a window as "Tab group." The "Tab group" is similar to a folder in the Hotlist, but it will handled as a single item in the Hotlist menu or in the favorites toolbar. Opening such a tabgroup will open all Tabs of the group at once. In the hotlist window you can also modify Tab groups at any time; you can add Web pages or remove pages, for example.

My daughter uses a 133 MHz PowerBook 1400 as her college computer. She has both Netscape 4.8 and one of the Internet Explorer 5.x builds installed. Neither of these browsers is fast or especially stable on the old 'Book running Mac OS 8.6, neither supports tabbed browsing, and both are very big and RAM-hungry compared with iCab.

I downloaded iCab 2.9.5 to Deirdre's computer over the weekend, and she must be a chip off the ol' block, because she especially loves the tabbed browsing feature. iCab is faster than other browsers as well, and it instantly became her browser of choice.

iCab 2.9.5

The user interface has also received a revamp in iCab 2.9.5, with smaller icons and a convenient new search engine field, customizable toolbars, and a new interface theme. There is also a new autocomplete feature in the URL location field. After entering some characters in the field a popup menu will list all known matching URLs. Toolbar elements can now be dragged & dropped.

CSS support is still incomplete in iCab 2.9.5, which can make pages with heavy CSS coding render badly - or not at all. However, this version of iCab works fine on a couple of my online banking sites and on my daughter's CSS-based course signup site.

The next update, iCab 3.0, will include much better implementation of CSS. New CSS implementation requires many internal changes and modifications. Parts of these changes are already finished in iCab 2.9 (albeit not visible, other than the increased speed of iCab), and will be in iCab 3.0, and will make iCab much more compatible with most web pages again.

Returning iCab features include:

Preferences dialog

The Mac OS X version of iCab preferences dialog in the OS X version is similar to the system preferences and shows the Aqua visual effects and behavior. Configuring the favorites toolbar of the preferences dialog now works by drag & drop, as in the system preferences. The new dialog is no longer modal, so it can be open all the time.

Ad blocking

iCab can block unwanted images (using the Filter Manager) and can also prevent popup windows containing advertising from opening automatically (using unique "InScript filters").

Kiosk mode

In Kiosk mode, iCab will cover the whole screen - all other applications are blocked.

Error protocol (Smiley)

iCab records all HTML errors of Web pages. A smiley-face will indicate if the HTML code is okay (has no HTML errors or hazards). In such sites, the smiley face will be green (and smiling). Errors make the smiling face red and sad. By clicking the red smileys iCab will open a window where all the errors are identified with a small description. At http://validator.w3.org/ you can also test Web pages using the official validator of the W3C.

Portable web archives in ZIP format

HTML pages can be stored in a compact Zip-file, including all images of the page. The advantage of the Zip format is that you can use it with DOS, Windows, Unix, Linux, and nearly all other operating systems as well.

Download manager

I prefer iCab's Download Manager to that of any other browser, and it is has been tool of choice for most download chores for years. The path/depth of downloaded files can be configured to get (only) the specified file, all linked files, all html, all images, all files on the same site, or even all linked files from all external linked sites.

Link manager

When selecting this menu utility, a convenient split window opens with all page links identified and listed on the left side. Pick any link, and the respective site appears on the right side of the window. Using the link manager you can comfortably search through long lists of links (for example the result of a search engine) without the need to open any new windows.on sources which are not be useful to you. I also prefer the way iCab handles bookmarks and history to the modes of other browsers.

Source code manager

When selecting this menu utility, the source code of a page will be displayed in any (chosen) editor or directly in iCab. iCab can automatically reload and redisplay the entire page whenever the HTML code is saved in the editor.

No system extensions (Classic Mac OS versions)

iCab doesn't install any system extensions, does not create any invisible files, and doesn't modify the system or any system settings.

Open web page in new window or tab

With this command, a link can be opened in a new window or tab with Command-Click. With Shift-Command-Click, this window or tab is opened in the background so that the main page remains on top and can be read first. When you are finished with the main page you can switch to the underlying pages, which will be fully loaded.

This is all very cool, and it allows 68k and slower PowerPC legacy Macs to enjoy modern, up-to-date browser technology. iCab is definitely my browser of choice for power-challenged Macs, and version 2.9.5 is the best iCab yet. (I use iCab a lot in OS X as well.)

iCab 2.9.5 is only a 2-2.5 MB download (depending on version). It's definitely well worth checking out, whatever speed Mac you own.

New in the iCab 2.9.5 release:

  • Support for "Tabbed browsing". iCab does now support "Tabs" in a very comfortable way.
  • Customizable Toolbars and a much better graphical user interface (GUI) with many new features
  • New autocomplete feature for the URL location field.
  • The Mac OS X version is now an application package which includes many different languages
  • Many other bug fixes and small improvements...

System requirements:

  • Minimum 5 MB free RAM
  • System 7.0.1 or 7.1, if ThreadManager and DragManager are also installed
  • System 7.5 or newer (including Mac OS X)
  • MacTCP or OpenTransport
  • InternetConfig 1.2 (or Mac OS 8.5 or newer)
  • 68020, 68030, 68040, PowerPC 601, 603, 604, G3, G4, or G5

iCab is free betaware.

Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS news feed

Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

Links for the Day

Recent Content

About LEM Support Usage Privacy Contact

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Page not found | Low End Mac

Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories


Try looking in the monthly archives. :)

Page not found | Low End Mac

Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories


Try looking in the monthly archives. :)

Favorite Sites

Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ


The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac

Low End Mac's Amazon.com store


Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories


Try looking in the monthly archives. :)

at BackBeat Media (646-546-5194). This number is for advertising only.

Open Link