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Safari 3 vs. Firefox 2 and IE7 559

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-worth-it dept.
Bobcat writes "Ars Technica has a 'first look' at Safari for Windows, which is interesting because it's written from the perspective of someone new to Safari. It was tested against Firefox 2 and IE7 and aside from the slightly faster page loading, Ars didn't find much to recommend it to Windows users. 'The modest increase in rendering performance is hardly worth the deficiencies, and Safari's user interface simply doesn't provide the usability or flexibility of competing products. If the folks at Apple think that providing Windows users with a taste of Mac OS X through Safari is going to entice them to buy a Mac, it's going to take a better effort than the Safari 3 beta. Even if the final release is more polished and completely bug-free, it still won't be as powerful or feature-loaded as Opera or Firefox.'"
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Safari 3 vs. Firefox 2 and IE7

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  • by bogidu (300637) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:43AM (#19491075)
    Yes, less features and faster? Like a sports car rather than a bloody SUV?? I'll take TWO please!
  • by MoFoQ (584566) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:44AM (#19491095)
    not to mention being W3C compliant.

    From what I found using Safari on Windows, it doesn't seem to support the basic of "tooltips" (aka the TITLE attribute of HTML).

    I'm sure there are other things if I really tried to look.
    I wonder if someone has run the ACID tests on it and how it did compared to FF, IE, and Opera?
    What about compared to Konqueror or Safari Mac?
  • by unconfused1 (173222) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:46AM (#19491115) Homepage
    I've used Safari and Camino on MacOS X for quite some time, and generally use Firefox on Windows...and IE for work pages that won't render on anything else. But from spending an evening browsing around with Safari 3 beta for Windows, it doesn't seem to be nearly as peppy, and it actually had trouble with a couple videos on Apple's own site...which the Mac version didn't seem to catch on.

    They've made it clear that this is BETA, though between so many releases of software feeling like beta tests and Google calling everything a beta for liability purposes...perhaps that description has lost its meaning.

    Overall I agree with the article. It isn't YET worth Windows users switching. But I think that the feature set argument is poor...since Firefox, Opera, and IE are pretty bloated by 'features' in many respects. Perhaps Safari will be worthwhile at the release version, but for now it is the memory-hog, page-fault king. I'm sticking with Firefox.

    Sorry Apple! I still love you.
  • Re:Oh really? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by HistoricPrizm (1044808) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:46AM (#19491117)
    Firefox and Opera are both available on Windows, yet most people use IE. This doesn't mean that IE is better, just that it's already there, and good enough for most people. They probably "don't have any use for any of the extra features in Opera or Firefox extensions".
  • Re:Horrid UI (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:53AM (#19491247)
    '' It astounds me that Apple flips the bird to all of the Windows UI conventions for marketing purposes and nobody seems to care. Everything from their own anti-aliasing algorithm for text, their own custom widgets, to windows that you can only resize from the right corner. Of course, many legit Windows applications do the same thing, but it seems highly hypocritical of Apple to say, "you should stick to conventions when designing UIs" and then hardcode their own ideas in when developing on another platform. ''

    Depends on the target audience. The target audience seem to be Mac users who are forced to use a Windows PC for some reason, and developers who want to make their webpages iPhone-ready.
  • Audience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:55AM (#19491271)

    Even if the final release is more polished and completely bug-free, it still won't be as powerful or feature-loaded as Opera or Firefox.

    I agree. Unless Safari manages some magical plug-i compatibility with Firefox, it is unlikely to ever be as feature-loaded as Opera or Firefox. don't think Apple is aiming at "feature loaded" so much as "better for normal users." Most users don't care if they can create granular block lists and flip javascript on and off quickly, because most users don't do those things. Safari seems to be aiming at the crowd who wants simple and fast. As for power, well that all depends upon your needs and workflow. Maybe I need to have really easy access to a grammar checker, but I don't know squat about configuring computer programs. With Safari, it "just works" (or does it, on the OS X version it does, not sure about Windows). A real world example of power is taking screenshots of Web UIs. This is something I have to do now and again. In the past, I've used OmniWeb because it allowed me to recode the pages on the fly easily, so I could fudge the sizes of text boxes and eliminate useless whitespace (thereby making a clearer, larger image). With Safari 3, I can just drag those text boxes to the size I want, which is more powerful yet and more usable.

    For other workflows, I'm sure Firefox or Opera is more powerful. Apple is aiming at the bulk of users, instead of at all users. I don't now if such an approach will work though, on Windows. The average person on Windows doesn't know anything about browsers and will never download Safari, so unless Apple has a way to get it onto desktops, their seeming target audience and likely target audience are quite different.

  • Re:Oh really? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by snowgirl (978879) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @11:00AM (#19491373) Journal
    I honestly must agree with this. People are starting to complain about the new bulk and bloat put into FireFox, and then other people turn around and complain about the simplicity in Safari...

    I have both Firefox, and Camino available on my Mac, at the simple press of CMD+Space, then type "fire" or "cami" respectively. However, I still use Safari. Why? Because Safari does just about everything I need. Why do I have FF and Camino available? Well, one of my banks doesn't think that I should be able to use Safari with their webpage, so I keep FF around. Also, MSN Passport likes to store a "universal" cookie, and since I have two accounts, I keep two different browsers open to keep them open. Same issue with Google Mail, if I turn on the "remember me" button, then it's quite hard to get two different windows to be setup for different gmail accounts.

    Basically, I keep FF and Camino around just to have another browser as a fall back. Safari does what I need... it surfs the net. I don't need a text editor with a web-browser, and I don't need a web-browser with all the features of FF.
  • Re:Oh really? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @11:03AM (#19491437) Homepage Journal
    Everyone in my office is on Macs and even the biggest Apple fanboy here uses Firefox. I prefer Safari because of its speed and lower memory usage. But I prefer Firefox for the plugins.

    Mac users like myself don't pick Safari because it's made by Apple. They use it because it comes preinstalled, integrates very well with the OS, and doesn't have enough significant issues to deter its use.
  • by CrazyTalk (662055) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @11:07AM (#19491489)
    I love my Mac, but several times a day the Safari web browser crashes (Sorry, "Closes Unexpectedly") for no reason. This is especially frustrating when I go back and click on the exact same link or attempt to do the same action (watch a youtube video, etc) and the browser crashes again in the same way.
  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @11:21AM (#19491695)
    Yes, less features and faster? Like a sports car rather than a bloody SUV?? I'll take TWO please!

    Sorry I prefer a sports car with features.

    There is a reason that all new 'technologies' are usually available on the GM Corvette before they are introduced on other GM vehicles.

    Of course some people prefer cars like the first generation Dodge Viper, which had almost no features, not even power windows or a credible radio option. It was fast 0-60, but 0-100 the Corvette was actually faster because of the technology GM used. The Corvette also had Bose sound, integrated dash computer, and all the FLUFF of luxury cars.

    Why do Apple products have to be FREAKING minimalist? Didn't Apple use to be known as 'luxury'?

    If Apple thinks people are going to 'give up' features to have the 'privilege' of using Apple products, then Apple is insane or delusional. Oh wait, I have see the iPhone ads compared to the featureless iPhone specs, I think Apple is insane.

    Slashdot = Lots of Car analogies...
    (PS If Steve Jobs is your deity, then mark this post -1.)
  • Re:Horrid UI (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3 AT phroggy DOT com> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @11:23AM (#19491741) Homepage

    It astounds me that Apple flips the bird to all of the Windows UI conventions for marketing purposes and nobody seems to care. Everything from their own anti-aliasing algorithm for text, their own custom widgets, to windows that you can only resize from the right corner. Of course, many legit Windows applications do the same thing, but it seems highly hypocritical of Apple to say, "you should stick to conventions when designing UIs" and then hardcode their own ideas in when developing on another platform.
    You're obviously not a Mac user! You'd be far less astounded by this if you understood that Apple has a history of flipping the bird to all of the Mac UI conventions for marketing purposes. I'd say this dates back to about QuickTime 4. Eventually, Apple documented some of their own UI abuses, such as the arbitrary use of the brushed metal theme instead of the standard Aqua theme. It sounds like Leopard will have some convergence between new Mac UI guidelines and the actual UI of Apple's new apps, though, which will be good!
  • Re:*WHOOOOOSH* (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Stevecrox (962208) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @11:29AM (#19491841) Journal
    Bad arguement

    Itunes since version 4 has been a beast on windows, I had switched to it (from Winamp) because it honestly seemed the best music player, but its got bigger, slower and more encumbered since version 4 was released. I'm actually using windows media player 11 right now because it provides me with the features I want in a music player (sync music to phone), its quick and handles all media.

    For a user who doesn't care about features IE7 (which is being pushed in the windows world) is a great browser (with minor tweaking) it opens web pages and is quite quick. Firefox is quite evilly installing itself on machines and it is great for power users (please note I feel Firefox is evil because of all the program installers which default its installation) then you have Opera which I hear does proper rendering.

    Elegent software which has easy to find secuirty problems, huge differences in rendering, buggy as hell, I always though IE7 and Firefox were simple to use and their default setup makes them user friendly. I can't get this bera to even install, Apple made a huge fanfare about this product and I'm finding yet anouther reason not to switch.
  • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75.yahoo@com> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @11:30AM (#19491857)
    If the Windows conventions were good, I'd agree with you. However, anything is an improvement over Windows conventions.

    Come on; it's shocking as a Mac user to see all you Windows guys suddenly defending Safari now that it's available on your PC's. A lot of Mac users hate Safari. Many of us use Firefox.

    Safari on Mac doesn't follow Mac conventions either. It just received its first update in like a year, and it doesn't seem to have helped much. Safari:Mac = IE:Windows. We feel pretty much the same way about it.

    I use Safari on Mac only to test; that's about all it's good for, but its rendering engine always makes things look significantly different than any other browser so, like IE, as a designer you kind of just have to accept its quirks. I run Firefox as my primary browser on both Mac and PC.

    btw, I did try Safari on Windows. The first time I opened more than 10 tabs simultaneously, it froze. Yes, it's a beta, but a pretty unusable one if it fails at its basic core function.
  • by Thunderbear (4257) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @11:42AM (#19492069) Homepage
    For some reason people tend to see this as a browser alternative (which it is usable for), but the real value of this is that it allows developers to target the iPhone with their development. Apple has declared that Safari is the browser on the iPhone, and that we should write Ajax applications for it.

    So, instead of calling it "Safari for Windows" they should just call it "iPhone SDK for Windows" and the original article would never even have been considered :)

  • by Zonk (troll) (1026140) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @11:45AM (#19492131)

    Come on; it's shocking as a Mac user to see all you Windows guys suddenly defending Safari now that it's available on your PC's. A lot of Mac users hate Safari. Many of us use Firefox.
    I am not a Windows user. My primary OS has been Linux since '96. My home computers run a mix of Ubuntu and Fedora. My PowerBook duals with OS X Tiger and Ubuntu Feisty. I don't like Safari much and use Firefox.

    Safari on Mac doesn't follow Mac conventions either. It just received its first update in like a year, and it doesn't seem to have helped much. Safari:Mac = IE:Windows. We feel pretty much the same way about it.
    It does feel more Mac-like than Firefox, though. Still, I prefer Firefox.

    btw, I did try Safari on Windows. The first time I opened more than 10 tabs simultaneously, it froze. Yes, it's a beta, but a pretty unusable one if it fails at its basic core function.
    I haven't tried Safari for Windows yet since I don't have any Windows installations.
  • Re:Oh really? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @11:58AM (#19492321) Homepage
    My objections to IE are:

    It's installed by default and not easy to remove (safari is easy to uninstall on OSX, and you can choose not to have it when you install the OS)
    It's support for web standards is way behind other browsers, and this has resulted in a massive stagnation of the web.
    It's a relatively simple and featureless browser in it's default state

    The bundling doesnt bother me, so long as its possible to deselect it during install as well as remove it post-install. It should also be possible for third party distributors to remove it from their OEM installs and recovery media, and replace it with their own choice of browser (and yes, apple could do with having some third party distributors in the first place).
  • Re:Not the point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xtieburn (906792) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @12:23PM (#19492717)
    'Does anyone expect the submitter think Apple's plan is for Safari to become the dominant browser on Windows?'
    Um, the CEO of Apple...
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/12/apple_brow ser_war_safari_firefox/ [theregister.co.uk]

    I'm amazed at how many people are protecting this current joke of a browser.
    Its not just got less features, its not just different to firefox, its not just beta issues, its a mess. Even the simplist things don't render well in it, (Check the register for more info.) it crashes constantly, its got more security holes than unpatched IE, and it ignores all of the O/Ss GUI conventions. This is supposed to be a beta yet it can not accomplish things that were stable in Opera, IE and Firefox alpha versions.

    There is very little to defend here, its _not_ just made for developers, it _is_ a pile of crap, and they need to do a _lot_ more than your normal beta work to make it a viable competitor.

    Also contrary to what some posts are saying I am not particularly annoyed or dissapointed by this and I do hope it will improve considerably, its free and competition is good, it just isnt showing any signs of presenting any.
  • by bwalling (195998) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @12:42PM (#19493023) Homepage

    No, that's not what he said. He said that Safari ignores most Windows conventions. That's bad.
    What are the Windows conventions? Having used Windows since 3.1, I can't tell what the conventions are. Every app breaks them. The behavior when highlighting text varies from app to app. Some apps seem to want to help you by forcing you into highlighting entire words, even when you don't want that. IE7 actually hides the menus until you hit the Alt key. Have you seen Office2007 at all? The "/" to search in Firefox is not a Windows convention - it's from Vi.
  • Re:Horrid UI (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @12:42PM (#19493029) Homepage Journal
    "Everything from their own anti-aliasing algorithm for text, their own custom widgets, to windows that you can only resize from the right corner."
    I know a designer that will be very happy about this. He complains constantly about how Microsoft render fonts compared to his Mac. I haven't played Safari to say I hate the font rendering. It seems fine on my monitor. So I am not too upset about that fonts yet.
    I agree that Safari is jarring. It looks totally out of place on my windows box but I could live with that.
    What I hate is the resizing. Sorry but that is how my Amiga worked way back in the 80s. It was great then but when they came out with hacks that let me resize from any border I never looked back.
    IMHO score one in the UI department for Linux and Windows over OS/X
    I will say one thing. I have not had any crashing issues with Safari on my system and it is very fast rendering script heavy pages.
    So I would say that it isn't bad but if Apple wants it to be a real alternative browser on Windows they are going to have to get it to compromise and follow some of the Windows UI conventions.
    Of course I hear that IE for the Mac did the exact same thing.

  • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @12:49PM (#19493143)
    While Macs are popular with web designers, it's less than 50% of them anyway (although higher than 4.4% in general for users). Developing websites on a Mac is easy, develop to standards, test with Safari/Firefox, with slight workarounds for Firefox, then add some hacks for IE, and away you go. For Windows developers, historically they wrote to IE and then hacked for the others, which is way more work.

    If Windows-based Web developers can use Safari, they can either develop to standards and hack for IE better, or at least test their hacks for Firefox/Safari on their machine.

    I can fire up Parallels and test against IE, Windows guys had no way to test against Safari before Monday.

    So there are two direct strategic benefits for Apple. Had Firefox existed before Safari, I don't know that Apple would have bothered with a browser, but once the spent the time/money to develop it, they might as well keep the revenue stream from the Google search box by keeping the Browser up to date (I doubt it's more than 2m-3m/year in development costs at most), as it's a profitable business, and the Windows port will no doubt cover costs, plus meet strategic needs, iPhone/Safari compatibility. Safari compatibility alone wasn't worth doing it apparently, they prefered to sell some Macs to any shop that cared about 5% of the market (i.e. revenue from Mac Users > cost of a Mac + time to test, a couple of grand in time and equipment, so any site with more than 100k/year in gross margins), but the iPhone gives them a reason to give up a few "testing Mac sales" to get more iPhone penetration
  • Re:Missing the point (Score:5, Interesting)

    by paanta (640245) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @12:53PM (#19493265) Homepage
    I know people who use it by default in OS X. It's actually great that it's the default browser. If you're too computer illiterate to go get Firefox or Opera, Safari is right up your alley. You're not the sort of person who needs powerful features.
  • by Tim Browse (9263) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @02:14PM (#19494717)

    Safari uses its own custom font rendering, so doesn't integrate with Windows font settings, and all the dialogs and dialog controls look like OS X - seriously, try running Safari. It doesn't look like a Windows app at all. Buttons are luminous blue and curved, etc. Some dialogs slide out from underneath the title bar when they appear.

    Precisely the kind of thing Mac users lambasted Microsoft for with Office 6, iirc.

    Still, at least it maximises when you double-click the title bar, which is more than iTunes for Windows managed to do for a few releases. I could do without the Hitchhikeresque Black Text on Dark Grey Background thing though.

  • by JAB Creations (999510) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @03:07PM (#19495527) Homepage
    Safari has a few moderate bugs but it also supports a lot of spiffy CSS3. Bugs: displays noscript element automatically if it's not associated with a JavaScript. It also has some box-model issues. It's about the same as Presto or Trident but not as good at rendering as Gecko. It has the most CSS3 support that I'm aware of versus Gecko, then Presto, then KHTML, then Trident. The GUI isn't developed enough...but then again all browsers currently ship with developers and programmers in mind: no the common person who needs a history button to find that page they looked at a week ago and have no clue how to find it. The trend of unusable minimalism needs to end.
  • Re:Missing the point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sgant (178166) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @03:20PM (#19495725) Homepage Journal
    You're looking at someone that uses Safari 100% of the time on my Mac. It's my main browser. I installed Firefox when I first bought my Mac because I thought I'd be using that all the time like I did on my PC, but I haven't touched it since the second day I got my Mac.

    What I was going to do is just test out Safari, see how it was, and then just go back to Firefox after a day or so. That was 4 months ago and I haven't looked back.

    It's very fast...very stable, and works very well with the rest of the OS. I've tried Camino...didn't like it. I tried Omniweb, didn't like it either. Never got into Opera even on the PC.
  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @04:17PM (#19496667)
    Indeed. It's absolutely clear that Apple are wrong to focus on the 80 side of the 80/20 rule, as we can see from the utter market failure of the iPod

    If you think the iPod was successful besides anything but marketing, you are mind-f**king yourself.

    Pick up a Creative Zen Vision M, cheaper, more colors, more features, supports all audio/video formats so you dont' have to convert everything you drop on it, etc.

    The Zen hits the 80/20 rule better than the iPod, as the Zen doesn't force iTunes down your throat, nor does it make you wait 20mintues to copy over a few song files because Apple insists on not support WMA or other formats that your music may already be stored in. Even a Divx movie takes no conversion on the Zen.

    iPod = Marketing/Cool

    This is not a receipe for LONG TERM success, Palms used to be cool as well until market saturation for the 'features' provided peaked.

    If Apple thinks they are going to shove Safari at users that alreayd have a Corvette and tell them that the Miata they are offering is better because it has a Apple logo on it, they are NOT going to win the PC market place.

    This is NOT consumer electronics where the average buyers are cattle. (And sadly Apple continues to do this even with their own computing hardware, want a fast Video Card, Cad/Gaming level laptop, then you sadly CAN'T buy a MAC.

    I am actually NOT a Apple or Mac hater, I would rather they listen to engineers like myself and STOP FORCING crap on users because they know their marketing or fanbase with LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT. I want the Apple that did provide the best Graphics, OS, Hardware, Products, not the lackluster 'good enough' crap of today.

  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @05:00PM (#19497391)
    Of course some people prefer cars like the first generation Dodge Viper, which had almost no features, not even power windows or a credible radio option. It was fast 0-60, but 0-100 the Corvette was actually faster because of the technology GM used.

    A lie.


    Well I owned both, did the whole Indy flight for ordering one of the first Vipers, etc.

    Go look up AERODYNAMICS, and how the lack of aerodynamic design gave the performance edge to the Corvette and especially the ZR1 Corvette in comparison to the Viper. Also notice that Dodge revamped the Aerodynamic design of the Viper because of this embarassment. ;)
  • Re:Horrid UI (Score:3, Interesting)

    by snillfisk (111062) <[on.hdnil] [ta] [stam]> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @05:18PM (#19497645) Homepage
    Yeah, we all know how easy it is to run an updated Windows without IE7... :-D

    But yeah, the UI of both IE7 and Safari is way out there. An example is that the Safari-window can't be resized by any other means than using the lower right corner, instead of all corners or sides for regular windows.
  • Re:Missing the point (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Deiasce (1111589) on Thursday June 14, 2007 @01:06AM (#19501399)

    I think paanta has a point, but has worded his case a little too strongly. I use Safari every day on OS X.

    On Windows, I use Opera. I used Firefox starting with some Phoenix builds and ending with Firefox 2. I'm not incompetent at downloading and installing these applications.

    However, paanta nailed the point with powerful features. I love with Greasemonkey and AdBlock. However, I just don't like them enough to bother installing more browsers. I have Safari (with a nightly build of Webkit) and Camino (based on Firefox) and I couldn't be happier.

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