Apple announced that their Safari web browser will be available for Windows going forward. That's great! I've given it a little test run this evening and here are some thoughts. Of course, the true test is always months in the making...

The Good

  • SVG support is turned on in Safari 3 Beta. This is great because now it will be available to everyone, not just the web geeks downloading the nightly builds. See my note below.
  • When it comes down to it, really a lot of my own websites and applications just worked in Safari, I was delighted to find out. No need for tweakage. Just fully functional and fast.
  • Commonized keyboard shortcuts like CTRL+K (search bar), ALT+D (focus location bar), CTRL+T (new tab), CTRL+W (close tab) are appreciated

Since this is the first time I could actually experience the browser/engine firsthand I was happy to run the SVG test suite through its paces and report results. Safari 3 Beta is roughly on par with Konqueror 3.5.5 and Firefox 3 Alpha in terms of SVG support (which means it can run my little game demos like SVG Tetris, SVG Solitaire and SVG Freecell). However, Opera needn't be worried about being unseated as Best Native Renderer just yet.

The Bad

On the other hand, here are some of the issues I experienced:

  • Selecting all the text in a multi-line edit control - cannot copy/paste that text to another application. I experienced this in WordPress when this very entry failed to post. This is a big disappointment. I had to copy the text using multiple keystrokes to Firefox in order not to lose it.
  • The Quick edit toolbar is missing in WordPress.
  • Switching tabs is the wonderful keystroke combination Ctrl + Alt + { and Ctrl + Alt + }. Ctrl+Tab please?!?
  • Safari crashed upon first invocation, presumably because it could not get through my proxy server. Disabling the proxy (connecting directly to the internet) only worked when I disabled this in Internet Explorer. Does Safari automatically shadow IE's settings?
  • NO Linux Support! Boo!
  • Did not like the QuickTime and Bonjour options at install time. It would be easy for people to miss those.

There's also the question about just what Apple is trying to accomplish with this move. There are already many high-quality browsers freely available on the Windows platform. Oh, and there's also Internet Explorer, which comes automatically with Windows. I'm sure this has something to do with iPhone or iTunes, but I just can't figure it out quite yet. Are they just trying to make sure that all web developers can test their mobile web applications in Safari?

Hey, this is a great thing for web developers. Now to let the dust settle and see if I can possibly get used to the UI differences in Safari. Will probably end up adding to the "Bad" list above, but that's expected...

§379 · June 11, 2007 · Safari, Software, SVG, Technology, Web, Windows · · [Print]

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