Safari Browser For Windows

Last fall Firefox 2.0 and IE7 changed the way we develop sites. On Monday Apple released a beta version of its Safari web browser which you can download and run on a Windows machine. If you’re like me and develop sites on Windows this is welcome news.

Safari already owns a 5% share of the browser market, which is enough to make you want your sites to display well on it. No doubt that market share will now increase at least a little, giving us all even more reason to test sites in Safari. Until now this has usually meant developing to standards as best as you can and then using a site like Browsershots or an alternative to capture a screen shot of how your site looks in Safari. Now we have the real thing or something very close.

I’m sure there will be some differences between the Mac and Windows version of the browser as each will likely have its own quirks, but testing in a live browser is a whole lot better than waiting for a screen shot, making a change, and waiting for another screen shot.

I downloaded and installed Safari last night and was impressed by its speed, which Apple claims is one of its main advantages. The interface is a little different than what I’m used to and it will take a few days to get around in it fully and find where everything is, but Safari is elegant and has some nice visual effects living up to the Apple reputation for design.

Firefox will continue to be my main browser for both surfing and development (I’m too reliant on many of the extensions I’ve installed), but it’s easy to see how Safari can gain market share and become the primary browser for many.

You may or may not end up using Safari as your primary browser, but by all means download it so you can begin testing your sites on it.

Does anyone know if there are ways to extend Safari or if there are sites to get different themes?

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

8 comments

  1. Though I was initially excited about the prospect of running Safari on my Windows machine, I seem to have hit one of their beta bugs. My machine has over 800 fonts installed on it, and the navigation bars and menus will not appear at all on my Safari install as such. At first I thought maybe I’d interrupted the install process somehow, or just needed to reboot. After a clean uninstall, reinstall, reboot the same issue persists. I submitted my feedback to Apple via their web site, but overall am very unimpressed.

    Apple is going to need to do some serious damage control after this beta Windows release. Over 18 major security bugs have been found in the first day of its release, with a security 3.0.1 patch released this morning. At this point, I’m not sure how Apple is going to win me over to want to use Safari.

  2. Weird Kristen. Admittedly I haven’t used Safari much other than an hour or so when I first installed it, but I haven’t seen any bugs yet. I imagine I’ll find a few. So far I’ve been happy that sites I checked in it have all been looking like they should.

    Hopefully when it moves out of beta it will work for you. It’s going to be useful for testing.

    One of the things I found interesting in the article I linked to at the end was how some of the bugs are being found on the Mac side as well. Apple in some ways has had a free pass on bugs and security because it has never been as popular, but if they’re going to move the browser to the Windows side they’re going to be held to more scrutiny.

    Ironically the only browser I’ve never been able to get working on my machine is IE7. I’ve installed it about a dozen times and it immediately freezes after launching. I’ve given up trying and just use IE6.

  3. I’ll be looking forward to the YOUmoz post and I’ll keep my fingers crossed it gets promoted to the main blog. I need to start writing and submitting some posts to YOUmoz myself. I’ve been meaning to since the beginning, but never find the time. Reminder: Make Time.

    “Apple, welcome to Windows” is a great line.

    I do think there’s truth in the lack of market share contributing to the lack of bugs found in OSX. I think some of that would also apply to Linux too, though I’d bet both are still more secure than Windows.

    I love Firefox. I have so many extensions installed that I really couldn’t liev without anymore. I wish they would fix the memory leak problems though. Lately if I view a video or two in a new tab not only does Firefox slow to a crawl, but all of XP. I’ve taken to not watching videos until late at night when I’m planning on shutting down.

  4. Strange indeed! It’ll be interesting to see what happens for sure. I’ve submitted my “Safari experience” to SEOmoz, not sure if it’s really appropriate for their site though. You might not like the story if it’s published, it’s a bit of a slam on Apple [note to self, start writing posts that aren't slams in the near future]. In case it doesn’t get approved, one of my favorite sentences in it is “Apple, welcome to Windows”.

    Totally agree with you that Apple has seemed to get a free pass on bugs & security, and I think that with their move into Windows they are going to get the light shined on them in a big way.

    I’ve become a pretty loyal Firefox fan. Cheers!

  5. I don’t think will increase the safari browser share by too much. The people prepared to use a different browser other than IE on windows already use firefox.

    And getting firefox users to switch will be like convincing communists that capitolism is good.

    Still, It’s good that windows users have another browser to test thier sites in.

  6. Maybe it won’t cut into anyone’s market share too much, but it Safari will probably grab a few percentage points here and there. You’re right though that it will be hard to convince Firefox users to switch. I know I’m not switching because I have far too many extensions installed that I use daily. Until another browser can duplicate the functionality in the majority of them I won’t be switching.

    But I will be testing sites and maybe occasionally exploring the web in Safari. And the browser will get some to think what life might be like on a Mac instead of a PC.

  7. My original concern with this is that itunes installed it without asking and it was riddled with critical security flaws. very poorly planned by apple. But hey i do some web development so im happy to see anything non IE come out. Althought Im pretty excited to see IE8. If it is really 100% standard rendering im going to be a happy man.

    • I wasn’t crazy about the iTunes install either. I don’t mind having iTunes, but don’t like to have to install it. In the time since writing this post though I’ve become a Mac user so I have both Safari and iTunes by default.

      Hopefully IE8 is a good browser. I’m not too hopeful when it comes to css compliance though.

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