Safari for Windows

My first reaction when hearing that Safari was going to be available on Windows was one of pure excitement…and shock. Seriously, who guessed that one?

As far as I’m concerned this is a very good thing for developers. Hopefully, now many of web developers that only design for Windows will at least attempt to make their sites work in Safari. It will also be easier testing sites for me when I’m working on a Windows machine.

Unfortunately, this is Safari 3, and if the WebKit builds are any indication of the improvements, most of the annoying bugs in Safari 2 have been fixed. This means that I’ll still have to continue testing with Safari 2 for some time to come. I read somewhere (can’t remember now) that the Safari 3 beta installer completely overwrites your copy of Safari 2. Damn them! When will companies quit doing this to us web developers/designers? I don’t want to have five computers just to test different browsers.

Despite my excitement about having Safari on Windows, I have no intention of using it as my primary browser. As I’ve said before, a big part of my browser experience is how it fits in with the user experience of the operating system it runs on. I’m not talking about coupling browsers and OS’s (IE), just that a browser should look like it belongs on that system. I’ve never liked using Firefox on a Mac, and now I can definitively say that Safari looks just plain weird in Windows.

Yesterday I was reading various complaints how Safari renders text on Windows. The common complaint seems to be that the text is blurry:

I heard this complaint echoed all over the blogosphere yesterday. My initial reaction was to dismiss most of these people as Windows users used to text that looks like it’s not anti-aliased. As a graphic designer I have to say that I hate the way that browsers on Windows render text (IE7 is much better than the rest). I’ve always preferred the way that text looks on OS X; that’s one of the reasons I prefer it as an operating system.

So last night I tried out Safari 3 for Windows myself. I didn’t have any of the weird installation or crashing problems that many others have noted. Granted, I only took her for a short spin through the tubes. For the most part, I liked what I saw.

Surprisingly (to me), I noted that the text definitely looked a little bit blurry. I suppose after a time I’d get used to it, but I have to say that Safari seems to have gone to the opposite extreme as far as font rendering is concerned. Firefox gives us very pixelated looking text while Safari gives us smooth and blurry. Hmmm.

Overall, I think this is a great win for developers across the board. Hopefully this will increase the awareness that Safari does exist and some people do use it. For the average Windows user, I’d say it’s kind of a non-announcement. People using IE won’t care about Safari, and nobody in their right mind would ditch Firefox for it. Safari just doesn’t offer anything that Firefox doesn’t have for Windows. Also judging from the security exploits that have already been released, it appears as though Apple has something to learn about developing browsers on Windows.

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