Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Safari 4: New look, but what about the engine

Category: Apple, Browsers, WebKit

Great news for Web developers and users, Safari 4 has a public beta, and it comes with some nice features such as: tabs on top and top sites (a la Chrome), full page zoom, history view, and ARIA Support.

The Twitter thumbnail is interesting

But, what about the engine? Here are some of the features as Apple see’s them:

Speculative Loading

Safari loads the documents, scripts, and style information required to view a web page ahead of time, so they’re ready when you need them.
CSS Effects
Pioneered by Safari, CSS effects help developers add polish to websites by stylizing images and photos with eye-catching gradients, precise masks, and stunning reflections that require only a few lines of code.

CSS Canvas
Using CSS Canvas, web designers can position canvas elements anywhere an image can be placed using CSS. Safari is the first web browser to support CSS Canvas.

Acid 3 Compliance
Safari is the first — and only — web browser to pass Acid 3. Acid 3 tests a browser’s ability to fully render pages using the web standards used to build dynamic, next-generation websites, including CSS, JavaScript, XML, and SVG.

Nitro JavaScript Engine
Safari 4 introduces the Nitro JavaScript engine, an advanced bytecode JavaScript engine that makes web browsing even faster. In fact, Safari 4 executes JavaScript up to 6 times faster than Internet Explorer 8 and up to 4 times faster than Firefox 3.1.

HTML 5 Offline Support
Web developers can now create applications that you can use even when you don’t have access to the Internet. Thanks to HTML 5 offline support, designers can build web applications that store themselves on your computer, where you have immediate access to them. Along with the application, web developers can also choose to store the application’s data on your system, so you always have the information you need. Applications and data can be stored in a traditional SQL-like database serving as an application cache or as a “super cookie,” which stores data in the familiar cookie format.

There are some new articles up on how to use the tech, such as:

Have you guys seen anything of interest? Any hidden tech features?

Posted by Dion Almaer at 12:45 pm

4.3 rating from 61 votes


Comments feed TrackBack URI

They’ve also opened http://developer.apple.com/safari/ alongside the beta launch.

Comment by millenomi — February 24, 2009

Don’t you just LOVE Safari? :D

I hope it’s new features make it appealing enough for end users as well – we badly need that.

Comment by LeaVerou — February 24, 2009

>> Safari is the first — and only — web browser to pass Acid 3

That´s wrong. Opera 10 was the first one.

Comment by Simmerl — February 24, 2009

I love the CSS multicolumns.

Comment by Nosredna — February 24, 2009

@Simmerl: Actually, WebKit passed just hours after the internal Opera 10 Alpha (not available to public), and further, it turned out that there was a bug in the test itself, and after that was fixed, for a brief time, only WebKit passed. So, one could argue, Webkit passed first — especially if one includes the “animation smoothness” part of the test.

See: http://ln.hixie.ch/?start=1206578003&count=1

Finally, Safari is currently the only beta+ browser which passes. Opera 10 is still only available in alpha.

Comment by ialexi — February 24, 2009

My gods, the performance destroys Firefox 3.1 TraceMonkey and Google Chrome! My benchmark (http://api.timepedia.org/benchmark) renders at a staggering 88 frames per second on my system, 4-5x faster than FF3.1.

Comment by cromwellian — February 24, 2009

Love the performance claims (which I DO seriously believe), not sure about tabs in the title bar. It saves vertical space but seems like a real OS X HID violation. To those who have more experience in Chrome, what’s your opinion? How does it “feel”/look have tabs there?

Comment by Malic — February 24, 2009

@Malic – my initial impression is that the Safari 4 interface isn’t as good as Chrome’s.

Comment by WillPeavy — February 24, 2009

The more they take from Chrome the better, love the tabs on top. So now that they pass Acid3, what’s next? Besides whining over who got there first.

Comment by Jadet — February 24, 2009

After using Safari 4 today, I went back to Chrome. Chrome gets a million tiny little details right.

Comment by Nosredna — February 24, 2009

For me, Safari isn’t appealing at all. The fact that WebKit is getting faster is great news, as it needs all the speed it can get in mobile browsers (where it really shines).

However, until Safari makes it as easy as FF to write extensions – speaking as someone who likes both writing and using extensions – I really see no reason whatsoever to move from FF3 to Safari.

I know the Chrome team is working on an extensions framework, which is great. Is there anything like this on the horizon for Safari?

Comment by sos — February 24, 2009

It definitely feels speedy. I do use a few Safari plugins like Web Snapper and 1Password, so it is certainly possible to extend. But such extensions are written in Objective-C, quite unlike FF using XUL/JS. One the plus side, Safari bundles in the essential developer tools, the equivalent to Firebug.

My biggest issue with Safari, as a web developer, is that I would like an obvious Apple-supported way to test with older versions of WebKit.

Comment by nathany — February 24, 2009

It makes me incredibly happy to finally see the tabs on top. Tabs underneath the URL bar *never* made any logical sense when you think about it — we just got used to it because it’s been that way for so long. Now if they can just get it multi-process so that one crash doesn’t bring down all 20+ things I’ve got going on at any given time…

Comment by jgw — February 24, 2009

I’ve been using it most of the day today. I have to say that this is the best browser that I’ve ever used. I love it.

and Safari Stand still works, so that’s a plus. I just can’t browse without my thumbnail tabs. I’m constantly jumping from window to window. I have 6 spaces with three browsers running. Each with more that four tabs. So, yes, I use the heck out of it.

Comment by pkenoyer — February 24, 2009


I prefer the tabs at the top, Chrome style. Since I switch in between tabs rather frequently, having the tabs right at the edge of the window allows me to use Fitt’s Law to change tabs.

That being said, before I used to use a Firefox extension (called MileWideBack) that also takes advantage of Fitt’s Law.

Comment by Jordan1 — February 25, 2009

I’ve been using the beta for the past day after reading about it here – and I have to say it’s great. The first shock of seeing the window’s top used as the tab area quickly converted to the sense that “man, that makes sense. Thanks for not wasting my monitor’s real-estate anymore.”

It also feels much faster than I expected. It might be like getting a scheduled oil change for your car – it feels like it runs smoother, but it’s mostly in your head. But I’m really pleased at how responsive the interface is.

In addition, Firefox has for some time supported true zoom support. It’s very nice to see Safari join the game. Command – +/- is instinctual for me, and most websites aren’t layed out with ems. So real zoom is a huge plus.

I have not had one problem with the beta – no unexpected behavior, no crashes, etc. Very good job.

Comment by DanielN — February 25, 2009

Apple products should not look as ugly as this thing does on Windows XP.

I mean, I know it’s beta, but seriously. It’s hideous.

Comment by mdmadph — February 25, 2009

“Speculative Loading

Safari loads the documents, scripts, and style information required to view a web page ahead of time, so they’re ready when you need them.”

Hrmm…. I wonder how (if at all) they’re guarding against the browser inadvertantely loading a “delete all” link on a page and helpfully erasing all your data. I recall this was a “feature” with some “web site optimizers” in the 90s that google or someone had to later remove.

Adding CSRF checks on links such as “delete all” should be standard practice and hopefully this would prevent this sort of problem with Safari 4, but the browser shouldn’t really assume that all web sites are aware of and have implemented web security best practices.

Comment by drlongghost — February 26, 2009

cromwellian your results seem to differ from mine:

Chronoscope FPS Benchmark (on AMD X2 @ 2.5ghz)
Chrome 2.0: 39.4
Chromium 2.0: 37.9
Safari 4.0: 28.7
Firefox 3.1: 15.3
Opera 9.5: 15.2

But firefox’s renderer is long overdue for a serious overhaul.

Comment by ck2 — February 27, 2009

Oh and Opera 10 alpha jumps to 28+ FPS

So Firefox is being left in the dirt with 3.1 :-(

Comment by ck2 — February 27, 2009

nice list of updates but it definately isn’t good for older machines.. takes like forever just to load itself

Comment by YangombiUmpakati — March 14, 2009

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.