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Safari 3 vs. Firefox 2 and IE7 559

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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  • Pshhh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mockylock ( 1087585 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:38AM (#19491015) Homepage
    I prefer Netscape Navigator 1.0. Simple, yet barely useable.
  • by d474 ( 695126 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:41AM (#19491051)
    Since when are Safari's ever "bug free"?!?
  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:42AM (#19491065) Journal
    What about lynx, or better yet, telnet 80???

    Bonus points for running the javascript in your head.
  • Horrid UI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mattgreen ( 701203 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:47AM (#19491131)
    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.

    It is ridiculous how many vendors insist on ignoring platform conventions for no good reason whatsoever. Why does every application have to have a God complex and say, "I'm so great, I'll put shortcuts in your start menu, quick launch, two tray icons (including an autoupdater) and now I have a custom UI so I look special." Whatever happened to programs just doing their job in an unobtrusive manner?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gnasher719 ( 869701 )
      '' 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
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by seaturnip ( 1068078 )
        That's not what I'm hearing from their marketing materials. They're saying that Safari is supposed to be the best browser on Windows, period. Not the best browser if you happen to be a Mac OS X refugee.
    • Re:Horrid UI (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ip_vjl ( 410654 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:07AM (#19491501) Homepage
      I agree it is out of place as a Windows desktop application.

      Though, if you look at it as the iPhone SDK instead, some of the choices make sense. You'd want to (for example) use the same anti-aliasing mechanism and widgets as the target device so that you know you're seeing things as they will look when deployed.

      I don't plan on using Safari as my primary browser, but for compatibility testing websites, the fact that it isn't using a different Windows-specific rendering style makes it valuable for that role.
    • by Doctor Crumb ( 737936 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:08AM (#19491513) Homepage
      Funny, all of my apps are well behaved, and only put a single entry in the logic part of my application menu. Maybe your apt-get is broken?
    • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:10AM (#19491535) Homepage Journal
      What conventions? "I'm so great, I'll put shortcuts in your start menu, quick launch, two tray icons (including an autoupdater) and now I have a custom UI so I look special." That's every Microsoft app. Microsoft doesn't follow their own UI guidelines on their own platform, so why should anyone else?
    • Re:Horrid UI (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ant P. ( 974313 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:11AM (#19491549) Homepage
      You complain about Safari's nonstandard UI, but you probably have IE7 installed all the same.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by snillfisk ( 111062 )
        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:Horrid UI (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Phroggy ( 441 ) <slashdot3@phroUU ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:23AM (#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:Horrid UI (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:29AM (#19491843)

      It astounds me that Apple flips the bird to all of the Windows UI conventions for marketing purposes and nobody seems to care.


      Microsoft does it with every release of Office, and nobody seems to care, either. And Microsoft is no less firm than Apple in saying that people designing for their platform should follow their conventions, even though Microsoft itself doesn't in its big moneymaking software packages.

      Since I would assume the point of Apple releasing Safari for Windows is either to promote Mac OS X or as a wedge to get people into the Apple style of application to prepare the way for a broader suite of Apple-on-Windows software (or both), I'm not at all surprised that they have not adapted it to the platform UI standards, since the idea is to change expectations, not follow them.

      Whether it succeeds or not is still up in the air, but it wouldn't make any sense for them to go any other way given what clearly seems to be their goal.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Senjutsu ( 614542 )

      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...

      The stated purpose of Safari on Windows is to give web developers a chance to preview their sites in the browser that the iPhone uses.

      How, precisely, do you imagine that such previewing would work if Safari on Windows didn't use the bloody the rendering algorithms and widgets the iPhone will be using? Safari uses different button and form elements on Macs and iPhones, so for Safari on Windows to be the least bit useful for its stated purpose, it has to use those widgets on Windows. Ditto the text r

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
      "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 t
    • It astounds me that Apple flips the bird to all of the Windows UI conventions for marketing purposes and nobody seems to care.

      I feel the same way with every new version of Office.

      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 thei

  • by kmcrober ( 194430 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:47AM (#19491135)
    While I love the iTunes Music Store service, the iTunes software is a dog. It's slow, choppy, resource-intensive, and rarely loads the iPod on the first try. (I'm happy to give Vista a portion of the blame, but only so much.) Even worse, when I transferred my library across computers I had to edit the XML file myself to preserve my ratings and playcounts, and an undocumented change in the way iTunes handles certain older MP3s meant that nearly 500 files were lost. Because iTunes didn't report the error, it took me days just to figure out which files were missing from the library, and I had to re-encode them because iTunes will neither load them or report any error with the files. I still don't know what the problem was, and Apple's help desk was no help at all. I wouldn't accept such poor performance and nonexistent error-reporting from shareware, much less a flagship product that's intended to sell me on their systems.

    I used to be on the bubble about switching; iTunes pushed me away from Apple instead of encouraging me to make the leap. I still use it, because the Music Store itself is perfect for my needs, but I'm not surprised to hear that Safari is a poor effort.

    If Apple wants to encourage people to switch, perhaps it should make some its better applications available, at least in a limited form. I love Dashboard and Expose (I think those are the right names), and simple commercial versions of those for the Windows environment might convince people to try an OS with better, smoother versions of those features built in.
  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:48AM (#19491165)
    ...isn't to entice people to buy a Mac.

    It's to act as a development vehicle for iPhone, since all third party iPhone apps will be rich Web 2.0/AJAX applications.

    On this topic, such applications can indeed have the look and feel of iPhone applications, and have access to all iPhone internal services, such as phone dialing, access to maps functionality, and any other iPhone services.

    This isn't just, "Oh, let's bring out Safari for Windows for the hell of it, and let people see how good of a browser it is, and maybe they'll buy a Mac!"

    This is the "SDK" for iPhone.
    • ...of an iPhone "application" [mrgan.com] (view in Safari).

      While it might be disappointing that there isn't a true iPhone SDK that lets developers write native apps to OS X/iPhone frameworks, 1.) "Web 2.0"/AJAX applications can be advanced in functionality, and still have access to all of iPhone's services, and 2.) it's not written in stone that there will NEVER be an iPhone SDK or some mechanism or process for adding native applications to iPhone. But the above app is just a quick and dirty example of what can be done
    • by Idaho ( 12907 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:58AM (#19491319)

      ...isn't to entice people to buy a Mac.

      It's to act as a development vehicle for iPhone, since all third party iPhone apps will be rich Web 2.0/AJAX applications.


      Exactly. In addition, they might be hoping to make some money from search results, in the same way the Mozilla Foundation does:

      "It's not widely publicized, but those integrated search bars in web browser toolbars are revenue generators. When you do a Google search from Safari's toolbar, Google pays Apple a portion of the ad revenue from the resulting page. (Ever notice the "client=safari" string in the URL query?)" - source [daringfireball.net]

      This suggestion seems to be confirmed by the behavior I noticed: when you try to create a bookmark to google.com, or even to set it as your homepage. It'll popup a window asking you whether you really want to set google as your homepage (or bookmark it), as "you can already use the search bar to search google anyway".
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ereshiere ( 945922 )
        Weird, is this only in the Windows version of Safari? I can't get a popup window from either setting Google as my homepage or bookmarking a Google result in the Safari 3 Beta on my iBook.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lpontiac ( 173839 )
      Can we please stop calling them iPhone apps?

      I don't call Google Maps a "Mac application" when it's running in Safari on OS X..
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 )
      Scuttlebutt from WWDC (from a guest on Leo Laport's MacBreak Weekly) is that it's also to grab search engine referral money. Take note that Google sent Mozilla over $25 Million for the favor of referring to Google. I think that amount goes a long way towards app development.

      It doesn't hurt that it might increase Safari's market share. This helps ease checking pages in Safari, not having a Mac is no longer an excuse for not testing for it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      and have access to all iPhone internal services, such as phone dialing, access to maps functionality, and any other iPhone services

      Am I the only person that's terrified by the idea of allowing web browser apps to start dialling people? I really hope they get the security model correct.

    • 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 bette
  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:55AM (#19491267) Homepage Journal
    Ars is being rather presumptious here.

    Maybe I stand alone on this, but when I first read about the Safari 3 launch for Windows, my 1st thought was "Cool, finally Windows based web developers can test against Safari". It never once crossed my mind that it would be something that would woo Joe Sixpack or even get much attention at all from the mainstream Windows user base.

    Considering the only times I have issues with having Safari as my primary browser is with heavy AJAX stuff, getting the browser in front of developers seems a logical step to improve the existing Safari users experience.

    Perhaps we can finally see an AJAX HTML/TEXT editor that works in Safari with version 3's new features and Windows support.

    So hey Ars, Safaris appearance on the Windows platform has a definite value. Just not in the obvious ways you're thinking of.
  • Audience (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:55AM (#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.

  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @09:58AM (#19491331) Journal
    I gave this a try for most of the afternoon, yesterday, on my XP box at work.

    For a very first attempt releasing the browser for Windows, it's ok, in my opinion. You have to start somewhere... But right now, no - it's not exactly going to win a lot of users over from Firefox or even IE.

    The ability to drag a tab out to form a new window is pretty slick, but of questionable usefulness most of the time. Faster rendering and launching of Java applets is always a plus, but just like Ars concluded, it's not important relative to stability and compatibility.

    I was able to crash Safari on several occasions just by doing things like hitting the "back" button a couple times after submitting a form on a page and getting dialog boxes popping up asking if I was sure I wanted to re-submit it. I haven't tried it yet myself, but I've also read that it has some bugs with printing multiple pages to a printer if you tell it to start anywhere but on page 1.

    I didn't think Safari's text rendering looked quite as "crisp" or easy to read as Firefox or IE does in Windows either. (On a Mac, it looks fine to me, by comparison.)

    All in all though, I don't see why anyone would think this release is a "bad" thing? It's free, for starters - and it allows a hard-core Safari-using Mac owner to feel very comfortable if he/she has to browse on a Windows box on occasion. It surely needs testers to keep reporting bugs in it, so it can be improved. But by the time it gets to a release version and out of beta, I think it has potential to be at least another solid, free browser choice for Windows -- if not really a "superior" one.
  • Missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by proxima ( 165692 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:02AM (#19491403)

    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

    That isn't surprising, because it doesn't seem like "feature-loaded" was Apple's goal (is it ever?). There's probably a market for a fast and safe(r) browser to replace IE. You might say that Opera fits this bill quite well, but Apple's marketing will mean that less technical users will hear about Apple's new Windows browser. Apple has never been about including tons of features; they've always seemed to include the most popular features and add some UI polish (which doesn't fit in very well with Windows, IMO).

    That being said, I was personally a little surprised by this announcement. iTunes allows iPods and the iTMS to work on Windows, hugely expanding the available market. Quicktime means that videos can be viewed on most computers. What does Safari mean? If a website is designed to work with Firefox, it'll probably work with Safari. Do they care enough to have websites start saying, "Please upgrade to IE v. X, Firefox v. Y, or Safari v. Z to view this site properly"?

    When Safari comes out of beta, I wouldn't be surprised to see a Safari + iTunes + Quicktime bundle as one (default) download when you visit Apple's site.
  • by CrazyTalk ( 662055 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:07AM (#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.
  • 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.

    Based on all the server logs I look at, just about everyone is someone new to Safari.

  • I will use it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cybereal ( 621599 ) on Wednesday June 13, 2007 @10:58PM (#19501041) Homepage
    • When it has .Mac sync support
    • When I'm rebooted into Windows instead of using Fusion
    • When I'm testing my website for compatibility at work
    • When I'm writing AJAX applications targetting the iPhone at work
    • When I don't feel like waiting for another browser to load, as Safari is coming up and loading pages faster than any competitor on my machine. YMMV obviously
    • For the sake of comfort, I (unlike much of the /. crowd apparently) really appreciate a simple browser like Safari, and like FF was back in the day

    It doesn't have to be a killer app. It's just another option, and I think it's fairly obvious that it's to assist people who want to develop applications that are likely to work on the iPhone.

    Further evidence indicates it may have come to the point where so much of Safari was already included in iTMS support in iTunes that they "may as well" release the whole browser, and see how people react.

    I find it endlessly amusing how Slashdot is repeatedly posting Apple bashing articles since WWDC. It looks like Jobs spit on taco's car or something. There has to be some kind of grudge here. And as for the rest of you, why do you complain about a free product like this? Are you Apple investors or something?

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