Fix My Safari

With the latest beta of Safari 3 - Apple's latest incarnation of their browser - Apple has made out that the world should be ready to receive a brand new cross-platform browser with superior capabilities, ready to take on the Internet Explorers and Firefoxes out there already. And from the hype on the website you might believe that Safari was indeed "the World's best browser" but judging from the past offerings, you would probably think differently.

Safari has been around for a while now, and has attracted quite a bit of criticism for its quirkiness both in rendering HTML and executing Javascript. In fact, Safari 1.3 is really quite a pain to support, though it has to be said that the browser has come quite far since those early days. In fact, Safari deserves credit for having pioneered/invented some technologies which are only now becoming widely known and used by the site development community, such as the CANVAS object. In fact, it was the first browser to meet the Acid2 browser test for Standards Compliance. Apple it seems has focussed on bringing its browser up to the standards we have come to expect from mature browsers such as Firefox for this release, bringing its reliability up on a par at least with Opera and close to Firefox.

Safari 3 definitely closes a lot of the bugs that plagued Safari 2, though there are a few small aspects which continue to make development that much more troublesome than it could be. Here are some things that have happily been fixed:

  • The rendering engine has eliminated that most horrible of browser nastiness, the FOUC
  • Javascript now includes support for the Element object doing away with horrible extending of the Object object.

There are however still some minor rendering issues that pop up now and then though their annoyance is more due to the fact that it differs from Firefox than from the issue itself. Among those issues are the fact that Safari still has problems with probably rarely used properties such as backgroundPosition though it has to be said that Firefox has similar issues. Similarly, it can start to hog memory in a big way. But it makes up for this (contrary to Firefox) in its speed. An onDomLoad event would be a nice addition too as this is becoming more and more useful as data is increasingly pulled in from external sites on media intensive pages.

In all though, Safari 3 is pretty solid and as soon as users migrate to the final version when it is out, the better for the site development community. Apart from User Experience qualms (such as not saving tabs properly when closing windows) it is definitely up and coming. Not sure about how much of an impact it will have on the Windows community, but Mac users will definitely benefit.

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