Safari web browser is now also offered for Windows

Just an hour or so ago, Roger and I were talking over e-mail about a completely different topic, when he gave me a tip that a beta of Safari is now available, and it also offers a Windows version!

A picture of the Safari icon on Windows Naturally, I had to download it right away and give it a test drive. Unlike Roger’s experience, it worked fine for me (and he calls himself a web professional… πŸ˜› ), and I have to say that I like the look of it.

A picture of Safari on Windows

My take

Since everyone is cheering and being all positive, so I feel the urge to be the realistic (cynical) one. First, let me sincerely wish that it is a great product and gets the market share it deserves. Personally, I’m not even a big fan of Safari on Mac, so excuse me if I don’t throw my hat in the air and fire off some rounds. πŸ™‚

One of the typical Apple annoyances, though, is that it automatically installs QuickTime (without asking), and you end up with a QuickTime icon on your desktop and in your system tray. Did I ask for that? No.

Anyway, there a couple of more important factors that worry me:

  • Apple’s history of software for Windows isn’t really that good. QuickTime is pretty poor, and while iTunes is decent, it’s no walk in the park.
  • Will it work/render exactly the same as Safari on Mac? Otherwise, it’s kind of back to one IE version for Windows and one for Mac.
  • The web developer perspective: I’m sure many will download it and test it, so unless it’s a spotless clone of the Mac version, we have yet another web browser to cater for. Yay.

But ok, let me positive for a while. A lot of web developers don’t use nor have access to a Mac (although I personally believe that anyone developing public web sites should have one at least for testing purposes), so for them it’s great with a Windows version which they can test in and install in their natural environment.

Safari is, after all, very fast and good at rendering CSS (remember the fairy tale?), and I guess that people used to the lukewarm designs of Internet Explorer and Firefox will appreciate something stylish and pretty.

Apple’s incentive

To me, though, there’s not any doubt on why Apple are doing this. It’s certainly not to make the world a better place, but rather the iPod strategy. You know, give Windows users a tease of how easy and pretty it is in the Mac world, so why don’t you Get a Mac?

Which is fine, it’s just business. So, if you’re a Windows user, by all means, give the Safari beta a ride, kick the tires, and form an opinion (because opinions are golden :-)).

 

PS. I just love that certain computer magazines write reports that Safari on Windows is TOTALLY CRAZY when rendering their own web sites, as well as some evening press magazine web sites. Well, if their interface code wouldn’t suck so hard, maybe they wouldn’t have to constantly live with the forgiving error handling rendering in every web browser. Test a web site with real code, why dontcha? πŸ™‚ DS.

17 Comments

  • I guess Google really must pay for their search field in Safari! If Apple can afford to port Safari (though it's core component is being ported to Windows by the open source community) and earn money on paid search results it really must pay off!

  • My experience was completely the opposite. As usual, it seems I am the only one capable of downloading Apple software that is not bundled with Quicktime (it's just one radio button! ;)).

    Regardless, I really think Safari for Windows belongs in the Netscape-bin of browsers. I am truly happy it is available on Windows as it will make testing much easier, but this will not be serious competition for Firefox, Opera or IE for that matter.

    First, the visual design is awefull. In a Windows environment you're not going to cut it with your non-brushed metallic look as it just looks grey and bland.

    Second, the typography is even worse. What is up with the bevels?! As if their horrible excuse for text anti-aliasing wasn't enough (let's drop Windows' ClearType and make it worse) wasn't enough for destroying my eyes.

    Third, I know it's beta, but the numerous reports and personal experiences resulting in crashes is mind boggling. Apple should know it's being watched, so I really wonder how this went through…

    Sorry. πŸ™‚

  • AndrÃ&A says:

    Don't forget that Apple announced that Safari will be the "SDK" for the iPhone. By enabling windows developers to write apps that work in safari (avoiding those poor excuses of the online magazines) they enable an even bigger community to develop third party services for the iPhone.

    Whether the (online) webapp makes sense in a mobile device, now that's a whole different story. To me, this could very well be the first bump in the iPhone's path. Let's wait and see.

    And I'm with you and Roger… it better render exactly like the mac version.. although the first impressions aren't all that good… typography-wise (see Jeroen's comment above).

  • Robert, I used to be kinda pissed off at apple for making us download Quicktime when downloading iTunes too, until I realized that you actually had a choice of downloading with or without Quicktime. That said, making the default choice Safari+Qt or iTunes+Qt is annoying as hell, and I've downloaded iTunes a couple of times before I spotted the "without Quicktime"-option, being the sloppy surfer I am.

    Tried the Win version of Safari, plugin-handling seems non-existant (couldn't even get the Plug-in information page to display) and it just randomly crashed once on some page (my guess is because of flash content). Otherwise, I think the smooth fonts are nice, but a bit… chunky?

  • Ross Johnson says:

    Safari for windows gave my machine all kinds of hell, including a hard lockup after awhile of thrashing. Anyone else having the issue? Trying to determine if its my computer or just safar.

  • Pat says:

    You can't even watch the demo, as it's in quicktime. Go figure!

  • Chris says:

    There's one reason I think it will be hard for Apple to claim a big share in the windows-browser-market:

    There are two kinds of Windows-users; the first is just to dump to install and use anything but IE and the other uses already Firefox. Safari may be nice but for advanced users Firefox' Add-Ons are a killer-feature.

    This view is simplyfied but I think it makes clear that it won't be easy for Apple regardless the quality of ther browser.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Daniel,

    Yeah, maybe. Both of the companies have some money to invest… πŸ™‚

    Jeroen,

    I stand corrected; my bad, I missed that radio button. And I love the term Netscape-bin, I have to use it more often. πŸ™‚

    I think the visual design is ok, by its own, but I agree that it lokks out of place in a Windows context.

    André,

    Absolutely, that's true. Thanks for pointing that out.

    And yeah, I sincerely hope it will render exactly as the Mac version.

    Emil,

    It's somewhat comforting to see that at least I'm not alone making that mistake. πŸ™‚

    Ross,

    Oh, sorry to hear. I've read other reports, though, that it doesn't seem to work all that well for some people.

    Pat,

    Well, of course it is. πŸ™‚

    Chris,

    Yeah, I don't think the ones ditching IE will have Safari as their first choice.

  • will says:

    In a strange coincidence, a client of mine was saying there was a weird display issue on a page I did for him, and he was using Safari. Me without a Mac, I was stabbing in the dark trying to fix it, until I saw the headline that afternoon that Safari for Windows was out.

    I downloaded it (Quicktime-free version, mind you πŸ˜‰ ).

    I looked at the page my client was having trouble with, and it looked fine. He was still having problems. I tried using Browsercamp to get a Safari screenshot, and I saw the problem my client was seeing.

    Thus, I am led to believe that there are differences between the Safari on Mac rendering and the Safari on Windows rendering. Anyone else have evidence to support or negate this theory?

  • Alex says:

    will:

    There aren't necessarily differences between Windows and Mac Safari rendering. The difference is more likely that the Windows version is Safari 3 Beta, where the one your client is using is most likely Safari 2 or earlier.

    WebKit and WebCore (the rendering + layout engine for Safari) have had several bug fixes since the version built into most Macs. That is more likely the cause of the difference.

    By the way: someone mentioned plugins not working on Windows. They worked for me. In fact, Safari on Windows worked perfectly for me, with QuickTime content (thought I downloaded it without QuickTime, it was already installed), PDF content (after re-installing Adobe Reader) and Flash content (after re-installing Flash Player).

  • Robert Nyman says:

    will, Alex,

    If it were the same version, it is troubling indeed. My hope is that Alex is right, that something just works differently in Safari 3 beta (both on Windows and on Mac). But if you encounter something more, please let me know and I can post something about it.

    It is interesting in general to hear the different experiences people has had. On some machines with Windows, Safari seems to work flawlessly, and on others, it has been like opening Pandora's box.

    I guess the Apple team isn't used to so much varying platforms and hardware, where they can't control it all. πŸ˜‰

  • RobertDM says:

    It's very unstable indeed: everytime I open Google and try to enter something it crashes and on other pages I get strange rendering of text and links: words scattered around and links turning in to lines. so it's very much beta (for me the alpha version of Gran Paradiso is already much more stable than this beta)

    Maybe it's Apple's way of finally givin' all the frustrated windows users a chance to finally bash Apple for a change… ;-), just shows nobody's perfect. I prefer OSX over Windows but that doesn't mean I have to love everything Apple does.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    RobertDM,

    <blockquote cite="http://www.robertnyman.com/2007/06/11/safari-web-browser-is-now-also-offered-for-windows/#comment-69214"&gt;

    I prefer OSX over Windows but that doesn’t mean I have to love everything Apple does.

    Exactly! And everyone should have such an attitude; like or dislike things depending on their quality, not on who made it.

  • anthony says:

    Hello, I recently purchased the domains safarihacks.com and .net, due to the recent update of Safari for Windows as well as Safari running on the iPhone. If you or any of your partners are interested in purchasing this domain, please don't hesitate to contact me. ajmctaggartjunk@gmail.com

    Thanks,

    Anthony

  • Tester says:

    I want to know even in its beta fase why it crashed do much on my vista ultimate

    I load it it crashes when it tries to open the start page so I stop it and goto google google loads fine then I goto another site and vista says safari has stoped woring close application.

    It says it over and over I hope Apple doesnt tend to realease this profuct after its 3rd beta release and I look forward to trying the RTM version.

    Hope fully we wont have to pay for such a good web browser so I hope apple takes that into consideration πŸ˜‰

  • Willie says:

    what version of Internet Explorer is rendered in Safari

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Willie,

    Safari is a completely different web browser. It's a competitor to Internet Explorer.

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