Apple, Browser, Recommendations, Safari

Safari on Windows: First impressions from a browser developer

Safari LogoI’ve been playing around with the beta release of Safari on Windows XP, and here are my initial experiences and impressions: (I don’t use Safari on the Mac all that often, so I’m not claiming that these are bugs in Safari for Windows only.)

  • Bookmarks importing does not work. It didn’t auto-detect any of my Firefox, Flock, Internet Explorer, or Navigator profiles like the webpage said it would on its first run, and it also doesn’t do anything when I choose “Import bookmarks” from the File menu and give it a bookmarks file to import.
  • The tab and status bars are hidden by default, which is a shame. Tabbed browsing should be given the spotlight, and the status bar is where most people look to see where the link they’re about to click is going to take them.
  • Looking at the browser’s UI and rendered pages literally hurts my eyes. It may be due to some font setting on my computer, but while Firefox/Navigator/IE on my computer all look fine, any text in Safari (including the menu options) is slightly blurry. I won’t be able to stand this for any extended amount of time.
  • Doesn’t support middle-clicking on tabs to close them. This will frustrate me very quickly.
  • Using a blue icon that says “RSS” instead of the de facto standard orange feed icon? Lame. However, their actual feed viewer is very nice.
  • Clicking on the “Add Bookmark” toolbar button and then pressing either “Cancel” or “Add” in the resulting dialog crashes the browser. Every time. (Turns out that the same thing happens when closing the Toolbar Customization dialog.)
  • It doesn’t support adding more search engines, as far as I can tell. Yahoo! and Google are all I can have?
  • I can’t get it to display XML files as anything other than plain text.

So, while I’m glad that Apple has taken the step of releasing their browser for Windows (we welcome any competition), I’m not that impressed with the actual offering. (It kind of reminds me of Firefox 1.0 – much better than Internet Explorer, but not nearly as good as any recent Mozilla (or Netscape) browsers.) I’ll submit these bug reports to Apple and hope for something usable when Beta 2 comes out.

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9 thoughts on “Safari on Windows: First impressions from a browser developer

  1. I kind of suspected fonts would be bad on winSafari. Seems to be one of the bigger ui differences between the two platforms.

    Never understood hiding tabbed browser by default either, but then again, I doubt my parents know of it/would use it. Kind of the whole single-mouse issue usability thing again, I guess.

    good news is I won’t be the de-facto safari-tester-boy over at blogsmith anymore ;)

  2. jasnmb says:

    The Appearance tab in Preferences lets you adjust the font smoothing but none of the options really helped IMO.

    I seems much slower that Firefox for me.

    I do like how it highlights the border of input boxes that are in focus though.

  3. jasnmb says:

    The Appearance tab in Preferences lets you adjust the font smoothing but none of the options really helped IMO.

    I seems much slower than Firefox for me.

    I do like how it highlights the border of input boxes that are in focus though.

  4. On my stock XP SP2 system, it came up with NO fonts. Couldn’t type anything in to the address bar.

    Then it crashed and locked the machine.

    Reboot. Uninstall. Download again. Reinstall.

    Still no fonts.

    Uninstalled. I’ll wait for the next beta. This build is hardly alpha.

    — stan

  5. Chris K says:

    Well, it seems Safari doesn’t like localized versions of XP. Installation on Slovakized XP resulted in Bookmarks crashing Safari, missing fonts, pretty much useless. However, it worked fine on British English XP. So I uninstalled Slovak from the other computer (ended up with US English UI) and now I’m running Safari smoothly. Bar the rather blurry font rendering. But it works just fine:-) My Macs are running Safari 3 without glitches.

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