Ken Bereskin's Radio Weblog

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Thursday, April 10, 2003

Safari certainly has been a huge hit with Mac users around the world and we are very appreciative about the support, enthusiasm and feedback from everyone. While most of the great features are pretty obvious - performance, Goggle search, SnapBack and bookmark collection to name a few, there's one subtle but extremely important feature that is worth describing further.

Simplifying the download experience was a top goal of Safari. Downloading should be as simple as clicking a link and in most cases, there should be no need to launch helper applications or answer bizarre questions on where and how to download, etc. People shouldn't need to know about different encoding, archiving and compression formats.

To accomplish this, Safari works in concert with "Internet-Enabled Disk Image" technology introduced in Mac OS X v10.2.3. An internet-enabled disk image is one that can clean up after it is downloaded. For example, if you have a Mac OS X application packaged as a single icon, stored in one of these disk images, all you need to do is download it in Safari and the image will be downloaded, decompressed, and the application package will be copied out of the disk image and placed in your default download folder (usually your desktop). The disk image is automatically mounted, unmounted and put in the trash.

If the disk image includes an installer package, you will be prompted that the download requires installation at which point you can continue and the Apple Installer will be invoked (we don't run downloaded apps directly ever).

The net result is very simple. Click a download link and if the download image is Internet-enabled, you'll be left with the very thing you wanted to download exactly where you expect without having to answer a bunch of questions or crumbs of temporary files left all over the place.

Creating an Internet-Enabled Disk Image is very simple. A detailed technote can be found here. There's a command line utility called hdiutil that has options to set the flags to make one of these images and we hope and expect that all Mac downloads will embrace this new format, simplifying downloads for everyone on the Mac.


6:46:29 AM    

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