At last – Safari for Windows
written by craig, 12 June 2007
Testing a website on as many browsers as possible is an essential task. Whilst web standards help to make rendering reasonably consistent, there will always be weird quirks and inconsistencies to iron out.
It’s easy to test against any Windows or Linux browser. Free virtual machine technology such as VMware, Virtual PC and VirtualBox allow you to create any number PC configurations and install versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Konqueror, and even Lynx – a text-only Linux browser that’s great for checking accessibility.
However, the big unknown browser had always been Safari. It’s undoubtedly popular, but was almost impossible to test unless you bought a Mac. Until now…
Apple have announced that Safari is available for Windows. This is an intelligent strategy from the company. Windows and Linux-based web developers now have no excuse for not testing their sites and more will become Safari-compatible.
So, what’s it like? The download is surprisingly small and quick to install considering it’s stuffed with other Apple technology you won’t ever need. It’s obviously Mac-based and looks nothing like most Windows applications. Even the font rendering uses Apple’s own letter-smoothing technology rather than Microsoft ClearType.
The browser is an early beta. I crashed it within seconds – ironically, by clicking the “report a bug” icon! Apple’s speed boasts are also highly dubious: it’s no match for IE, Firefox, or Opera at this stage.
I seriously doubt many Windows users will switch to Safari once the final version is released, but I can see it being useful for Mac fans who have to use Windows at work. For now though, it’s web developers who will benefit the most. More browser competition is also a good thing, and helps prevent any one company gaining too much control over the web.