Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Give Safari some love

Category: Editorial

We have had two big pieces of news from the big guys, Google and Yahoo! that have placed Safari on the backburner once more.

Firstly, the new Yahoo! homepage preview had people calling out: “Safari is an “A level” browser at Yahoo! yet you can’t view the new homepage in it yet?”

Secondly, the Google Web Toolkit that people are talking a lot about doesn’t support Safari. Some are calling out to get support added there.

If you just look at the market share stats you see a small number for Safari, but a large percent of the Ajax developers seem to be walking around with an Apple in their backpack.

So, how important is it for people to support Safari?

It takes time to add support to a new browser, and you can see how you may want to get something out before full support is available.

Do you care?

Posted by Dion Almaer at 8:51 am

3.7 rating from 78 votes


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I think anyone developing for the web should support Safari as standard. Yeah, it’s a royal-pain-in-the-butt but it’s a necessary evil in my eyes. The whole essence of the web is about choice and freedom, the freedom and choice to share and publish anything you want. And with that goes the choice and freedom to choose any method to view the web you wish. Saying Apple should drop Safari and package Firefox is just the same and Microsoft shipping IE with Windows. Firefox is there to give people a choice, some people choose to make the switch (Me for one!), and some don’t care … or don’t even know what Firefox is. A relative of mine has a MacBook, but isn’t very computer literate. She can just about manage to surf the internet, and is quite happy to use Safari. Bombarding with different browsers would just confuse her. I think people need to remember that not everyone who uses the web is a web-savvy uber geek, most are probably people who just want to check there gmail account, read the latest news etc and these are the people who web developers need to support. Basic Windows user’s use IE, and the same goes for Apple with Safari, KHTML on Linux period.

We must, as web developers strive to support all the browsers, not limit our applications to just a few and sack off the rest. As this will inherently lose you several potential customers … and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we’re all aiming for, to be successful !? There’s no point having the next uber-cool web app if no-one comes to use it !

Comment by Mic Pringle — May 19, 2006

If there are reasons for trubles with browsers, we have to ignore. Safari runs on KHTML an there are no big Problems (each browser has his little faults). Why support Safari? Because 30’685’899 People on the World use it!

Comment by Dave — May 19, 2006

I’d like to see support for safari. When I’m working on a PC I use firefox, but firefox on a mac just doesn’t seem as fast as safari. (plus FF doesn’t pass the acid 2 test)

Comment by davros — May 19, 2006

If you want your ui candy with the gecko engine, camino does this.

Yet.. Safari is just that bit faster on a mac. You simply have to support it, otherwise you’re losing a lot of new users who are the creative type of people who will use your funky new sites, not someone who just bought a winpc to play games and surf msn.

That reminds me.. i really have to re-design my websites..

Comment by Dave Ashe — May 19, 2006

Mic Pringle says: “The whole essence of the web is about choice and freedom, the freedom and choice to share and publish anything you want.”

Actually, I would argue that the “essence” of the web is *standards* – what if everyone implimented TCP/IP or other protocols in their own “unique” way? – the web wouldn’t work, that’s what.

Add all the tabbed browsing, search bars and bells and whistles to your browser that you want, but for goodness sake – follow the clearly established standards and stop adding your own “interpretations” and proprietary BS.

Nothing “lazy” about choosing not to develop for a minority-browser; it’s simply a value proposition: “Do I want to spend X time (which = $$, BTW) developing for Y users?”.

Comment by Boo Radley — May 19, 2006

Apple choose to start a new browser that now, after a couple of years already, isn’t capable of doing what their main competitor was able to 7 (or more) years ago.

And browsers should never follow standards. They should set them! Where would this site be if MS would have waited for the W3C to think of XMLHTTPRequest?

Comment by Lon — May 19, 2006

My lord! What a bunch of whiny developers this thread has brought out of the woodwork! Personally I don’t understand how developers hell bent on creating standards based sites quibble over support for Safari. Look, you either work to create a site or app that is compatible with all major browsers (considering Safari is the default on OS X its in the major category, unless you just don’t want to support macs) or you don’t and run the risk of pissing off potential customers for your clients. Its as simple as that.

However, many of you need to check your attitude at the door concerning your views on Safari, because its my experience once you start coming up with bogus numbers like “30% more” dev time for Safari (looking at you Brad Neuberg) you run the risk of having clients question why they should even spend the money on you to support Firefox when the overwhelming majority of users browse with IE. Bad mouth one perceived ‘minor’ browser and clients begin to ask why they need Firefox support at all… because, its a minor player as well compared to IE… right?

Comment by Sean Fousheé — May 19, 2006

Go lynx, lets see you AJAX that one …

Comment by Dan — May 19, 2006

I gotta say I’m pretty annoyed by this. Although I’m a professional web developer and I use FireFox on my Mac (mainly for the developer related extensions), Safari IS still the default browser on a Mac and I use it dailly. For the average Mac user, Safari is the default browser for a reason, so that is the browser they use. It is also the third most widely used browser right now.

Ok, it does have it’s annoyances and incompatiblities, but instead of dropping support for it (or in some cases just barring access based on the user agent), we (the collective of web developers) should be actively supporting the development of Web Kit and submitting bugs when encountered.

You can hope and wish Apple will ditch Safari and make Firefox the default browser, but that is not going to make it happen. Remember that Web Kit was (eventually) made [properly] Open Source after the KHTML team complained that Apple were taking what they wanted from the Open Source community without giving back. I doubt very much that Apple would ditch it especially since Safari isn’t the only Apple application running Web Kit, other such applications are Mail & Dashboard.

To sum up: Most of these “Web Toolkits” and “Frameworks” are already having to cater to multiple rendering engines, javascript interpreters and XMLHttpRequest methods. DEAL WITH IT, we’re lucky that there are three main browsers that are pretty closely matched for the most part, there is no NetScape 4 to worry about anymore!


Comment by Poncho — May 20, 2006

@Leland Scott

Comment by Tom — May 22, 2006

@Leland Scott
You’re telling all these JavaScript developers that they don’t know what they’re talking about? Give me a break. CSS != JavaScript by the way. I’m all for browsers passing the ACID test, but if there was a JSACID test, Safari would fail. IE probably would too, but Safari is a big mistake on Apple’s part, and they would get a lot of positive feedback if they put their efforts into FireFox instead.

Comment by Tom — May 22, 2006

[…] Totally simple, and if you have hit this snag its probably second nature. The first time, though, its pretty painful. And of course, this still doesn’t work in Safari. […]

Pingback by Panasonic Youth » Blog Archive » Browser bugs - onblur and onfocus with IFrames — May 23, 2006

[…] Read full editorial here […]

Pingback by Makki Studios » Blog Archive » Give Safari some love — May 26, 2006

It’s not that web developers need to support Safari. Safari needs to support web developers.

Apple needs to ensure that its browser follows javascript standards more closely. Rather than forcing web developers to accomodate how their browser works. They should update their browser to work with how web developers already develop! (It’s in their best interest)

Comment by Stephen Stchur — May 26, 2006

Still nobody has answered my question. What is wrong with Safari? What is broken or whatever.

I’ve been writing web sites for years for Safari and I have never ran into any problems. And yes, lots of Javascript and AJAX stuff.

The only browser that I ever have problems with is MSIE.

Comment by Phill Kenoyer — June 5, 2006

[…] Leland Scott from Musings From Mars has a couple posts highlighting the never ending browser debates, in particular the Safari issue we have covered before. […]

Pingback by Computer Software | Graphic & Web Design | Multimedia — June 12, 2006

Maybe I write bad code but I have never had any issues coding for safari, and I usually wait until the last minute to test in safari. What are the specific issues?

Comment by pdecoursey — June 13, 2006

[…] Leland Scott from Musings From Mars has a couple posts highlighting the never ending browser debates, in particular the Safari issue we have covered before. […]

Pingback by All About Web Technologies » Browser Warfare, Supporting Safari, and the Future of Macs — June 22, 2006

The solution is simple, and was forseen by the folks developing Firefox: Apple will integrate Firefox. Macs are becoming the boutique platform for technophiles world-round! The have the most elegant UI, the savant user base, and a unix interface to the core system… what more could a cpu-enthusiast want for their laptop? what? I’ll tell you… for every webapp produced in the coming onslaught to work, and work correctly! Watch carefully as Mozilla takes over the developer squadrons… then migrates to email-distributable packages, then becomes the auto-browser, then is everywhere via viral-like spreading techniques. You see, what makes the virus powerful is the fact is isn’t technically alive (aka. able to survive where none of the ‘intelligent’ can) so it can spread in environments not suited to typical organic lifeforms… isn’t this the niche Apple sought to thrive in from the beginning? Remember the hammer? I suppose we’ll see how things turn out :)

Comment by maxael — November 3, 2006

My lord! What a bunch of whiny developers this thread has brought out of the woodwork! Personally I don’t get how developers hell bent on creating standards based sites quibble over support for Safari

Comment by wow power leveling — May 21, 2007

it’s a good idea and i like it very much

Comment by wow powerleveling — May 21, 2007

it’s a good idea and i like it very much

Comment by 搬屋公司 — August 10, 2007

Thanks for sharing!

Comment by fingerprint — August 16, 2007

We use OS X in our acency and I think it is a great OS but Safari is definitely not may favourite. We use Contenido to update our homepage and Safari is just causing problems so I use Firefox.

Comment by PhilippSwiss — December 23, 2007

Thanks for this really useful article.Great cheat sheet, I appreciate it very much.

Comment by Kunstforum — February 21, 2008

I really think that Safari could be a winner. The browser is the best performer in the market. I see one thing lacking -the many cool features one gets when opening up the process for add-ins from 3rd party developers. Without the developer support this product will not make it off the launch pad.

The main feature that is missing is full support for chinese (unicode) fonts. One of the best add-ins from Firefox that I leverage is the Chineseperakun add-in which supports on the fly translations of chinese characters which are moused over. A relatively straight forward implementation of divs and language conversion software that is totally inaccessible to one when using Safari …

Wonder if one can build an app that will work in Safari to link in google gears?

I fear opportunity to make an impact is slipping away…

Comment by mingsai — March 8, 2008

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