Safari 3 for Windows not quite ready

June 12th, 2007

RSS readers are a great invention; they let you keep up with news and blogs without needing to surf the web all the time to find out what’s new. I have quite a variety of feeds in mine and I follow personal blogs as well as technical ones, on a range of different subjects. Of course sometimes it happens that the same news hits me twice – especially when it was posted on a popular website first.

Yesterday afternoon however, it seemed there was no other news in the world than the fact that Safari is now available for Windows! As a web developer who still hasn’t bought any flavour of Mac, of course I jumped to the opportunity and immediately downloaded Safari 3 for Windows. Installation went really fast and painless, and before I could decide on where to surf first in this brand new browser, the homepage was there. Looked perfect too.

But then I looked up my own site.

And some other sites I built…

To see why my enthousiasm was gone instantly, take a look at these screenshots of my site on any contemporary browser (I call it Firefox 😉 ) vs the same site on Safari for Windows:

screenshot of on Safari for Windows on Firefox

screenshot of on Safari for Windows on Safari on Windows

Comparing various sites in both browsers shows that on some sites, Safari won’t display headings, anything between <em> or <i> or <strong> or even simple <span> tags, or certain list elements.

Thinking it was just me (comparing notes with John confirmed not everybody has these problems), I figured I must have b0rked my installation of XP or something, especially since I already encountered visibility problems in a game before, that also works on other people’s computers without fault. I nearly decided to do a complete re-install of XP today! Thanks to the fact that *everybody* seems to be blogging about the new Safari, I found this page today, where the consensus seems to be that this new Safari is really US-only, and just fails to work properly with any other OS than the US versions of Windows. Something to do with the UTF-8 encoding, which is indeed what I use on any new site I build. No idea what the encoding could possibly have to do with displaying headings in a browser, but it seems to be crucial here.

On one hand a relief that it isn’t just me, and even better, that I won’t need to do another reinstall of XP, but on the other hand a great disappointment, that even though Apple managed to get Safari out for Windows, I won’t be able to reap the benefit 🙁

8 Responses to “Safari 3 for Windows not quite ready”

  1. They do say it’s only a beta version, so significant bugs are to be expected. That said I’m not sure what Microsofts excuse for IE’s bugs is 🙂

    I predict that Safari for Windows will eventually replace Firefox and Opera in terms of popularity, due mainly to Apple’s marketing power.

  2. Els says:

    If they manage to make it secure enough (in the eye of the consumer), I believe it could get quite popular indeed. So far it’s only the slick look that I’m impressed with. Oh, and the one-click-send-problem-description-with-screenshot option! No idea if they actually see/read/parse those notes, but it certainly feels good to be able to write "bad rendering bug – see screenshot" 😉
    Other than that, I like Firefox better. I’m planning on buying a MacBook soon though (not incentivised by this Safari version btw), so who knows I might convert to Safari. I’ll post my findings once I have used the real thing 🙂

  3. Looks like the rendering bugs are fixed with the updated version 3 beta

  4. Toby Inkster says:

    Although an Opera fan, I do find myself mostly using Safari on my iBook. It starts up quickly; it’s got a very sleek and simple user interface and it works in a Mac-like manner — i.e. follows all the Mac user interface guidelines, and behaves the way you’d expect a Mac application to behave.

    On my (Linux) desktop though, you’d have a hard time trying to convince me to switch away from Opera. When I’m not working on a Mac, I don’t really want a browser which behaves like you’d expect a Mac application to behave!

  5. Jeff at says:

    Really, the true value is for developers looking to build program for the iPhone…

  6. Els says:

    @Andrew – no idea what they fixed exactly, but not whatever is wrong with the rendering on my XP. After I read your comment I uninstalled the one I had, downloaded a new one (there wasn’t any acknowledgement of an update on the site?), and it had exactly the same problems as before…

    In the mean time though, I did buy a MacBook, so it’s not as bad anymore that I can’t use Safari on Windows now 😉

  7. Els says:

    @Toby – I agree – especially Safari’s Mac-window-buttons on the left just don’t make sense when you’re using Windows. At the same time I think it’s what Apple wanted on purpose: give Windows users a taste of Mac, get them to want a Mac after seeing all the typical Mac slickness.

  8. Els says:

    @Jeff – I know that’s what (they claim) is the reason for distributing Safari for Windows, but they could easily have done that without the chrome following Mac’s look and behaviour instead of Windows’.

    If it would really only be for developers to be able to design for the iPhone, why not have a Windows Safari that looks like a Windows browser and just renders like Safari? I definitely think it’s pure marketing why they kept the Mac-look in the Windows version, and not just for the iPhone.