Apple's Safari Browser
I watched Steve Jobs announce Apple's new Safari Web browser on the MWSF webcast and had it downloaded and running on my PowerBook within minutes. Yes, it was miniscule in file size (less than 3 Meg) and it performed like a racehorse as he said it would. As with every new browser or browser version that comes out, I check out my sites to see if anything nasty has happened – like when IE 6.0 came out and I had to modify over 200 pages because it was centring all the text!
Apart from the raw speed and (pretty good, if not perfect) rendering, Safari boasts a few other interesting features. There is a Google search facility right up there in the toolbar, but that's hardly groundbreaking because I've had an even better one on my PC for some time now which also gives a 'Google ranking' for the currently displayed page.
The 'SnapBack' facility is handy. It takes you back to the top level of a site so, if you have drilled down in Google several levels, for instance, hitting the SnapBack button takes you back to the original search results page so that you can go off in another direction.
The BookMark management is better than in any other browser I've seen and other nice little touches include a menu item (and key combo) for emptying the cache instead of having to go through layers of dialog boxes, like most other browsers.
One feature, which I found by accident, and I've never seen it mentioned anywhere else, is the ability to set a minimum type size. I often have problems with other browsers where the Web designer has specified the type in ems but relative to my default type size, it takes the text below the critical 9 pixels below which fonts become unreadable – there just aren't enough pixels to form the characters. Every browser should do this – sub 9 pixel text makes no sense! Mind you, the ability to increase or reduce the text size on a page with just a key press in Safari is very useful in itself.
Sadly, Safari only works under OSX (Jaguar), which I loathe with a passion - but I won't go into that here. So, I'll not be using Safari, except for testing purposes. Web designer have to know about the quirks in all significant browsers and over a million users is significant. I just hope that it galvanises some of the other bloated and buggy browser manufacturers into cleaning up their acts because it shows what can be done when you really try.
Downloads have already passed the one million mark and some other browser manufactures are going to find it very difficult to compete, but even at that, Safari is not going to do much in the overall scheme of things due to Microsoft Internet Explorer's overwhelming dominance. It will have to slog it out with the rest of the 'also rans'.Pity!
|Safari 1.0 Beta v51|
|Ease of Use||90%|
|Value for Money||100%|
|'Must Have' Factor||85%|
|Summary||Small, fast, elegant, but needs more work.|