If you haven't yet migrated to Mac OS X you may not be familiar with the Omni Group, makers of the OmniWeb browser.

Macworld spoke with founder member Ken Case during Macworld Expo New York 2001 to discuss Omni's future plans.

Like the other OS X browser company, the Omni Group is based in Seattle, Washington. Unlike the other company, the Omni Group has "around two and a half developers working on the browser" - though all the team pitch in when needed.

Compared with Microsoft, this is an almost insignificant team, yet the first version of OmniWeb for Mac OS X was faster than the Explorer beta. Both products have now been updated, but the clean interface and nimble performance makes OmniWeb a popular alternative to Explorer.

OmniWeb 4.0.2 is now available in seven languages due to assistance from enthusiasts around the world. A guy who wanted his parents to be able to use the same browser as him translated the German version.

OmniWeb is not beyond the (very) occasional crash. But it crashes in the most polite way ever. Before it dies, it asks if it would be OK to email the Omni Group with a crash report so that bugs can be prioritized and dealt with quickly. A commercial version of this software is being prepared so that other developers can include it with products.

While OmniWeb is free (or US$29 if you choose to buy a licence), other products from Omni aren't - but they offer pretty good value. A new version of Omni Graffle, the company's excellent charting software, is about to be released. The release version of Outliner (for writing outlines, with checkboxes and lists to keep you organized) is also due to be shipped by the end of the month.

In the early nineties the three founder members of Omni, Will Shipling, Tim Wood and Ken Case were drafted in by NeXT to fulfil the software part of a hardware and software deal. Rather than become a part of the consulting company that they were freelancing for, the decided to start their own company – which became the Omni Group. The initial three members of the group have now grown to a team of 20, but they are punching above their weight when it comes to products.

The first versions of OmniWeb were developed on the NeXT platform, so the current version is at 4.0.2. The general compatability with Web sites is being addressed, with Flash 5 compatibility just around the corner. Once compatibility is addressed, Ken will start work on version 5 - which will get a brand-new HTML engine that will deal with cascading style sheets better.

If you are running OS X, you should definitely take a look at what OmniWeb has to offer. You can download it, or alternatively get it from your iDisk.