Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Apple releases Safari web browser for Windows

Apple's Safari 3 beta web browser is now available for Windows. You can download it from http://www.apple.com/safari/

I downloaded yeterday the beta version of the browser, and at a first look I was not impressed. Feature-wise I haven't seen anything that other browsers like Firefox, IE7, Netscape or Opera don't already have: tab browsing, phishing filter, rss reader, etc.

In fact, comparing with IE7, Safari was worse:
  • I got a first crash in the browser in less than 3 minutes of using it
  • Font smooting on LCD monitors was making text worse to read, at least to my eyes
  • Resizing the windows or zooming, caused elements in page to overlap, making the text impossible to read
  • Sometimes the scripting was not working
See for comparison the rendering of the MSDN scripting page where the left tree is not rendered at all, etc. I guess the Apple developpers have to fix a couple more issues before realeasing the final version of the browser...
Safari rendering the MSDN Scripting pageIE7 rendering the MSDN Scripting page
And the issues don't stop here. There are reported crashing issues with non-English web pages, and a couple of security holes, too. For daily browsing I wouldn't be in hurry to switch to Safari just because it comes from Apple.

So then why is this release a good news?

Well, Safari seems to be the first browser on Windows platform supporting color-managed web browsing for photo viewing. If you don't know what I'm talking about, download the beta and view this Web Browser Color Management Tutorial with both Safari and IE. With a color-managed enabled browser, the color of the photo in the right column won't change when hovering the mouse cursor over it or when clicking the picture. Safari will display correctly the pictures.

If you are viewing photos on web that have embedded color profiles (e.g. created with Photoshop), you might consider doing these tasks with Safari, at least until IE or the other browsers will support color management.

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