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Safari 1.0 (73)

Apple Computer
Rating:@@@

There should be a fund for the survivors of Safari build 48. Apple have consistently and systematically tried to sweep the incident under the rug, monolithically ignoring the event, all the while unwitting users saw their complete systems trashed and all their work remitted to oblivion forever.

The mistake was corrected in a matter of hours and in a hush, and Safari has moved on. With the collaboration of David Hyatt of Chimera fame, the browser has gone from its original simplistic interface to tabbed browsing and gained somewhat in stability and its ability to render seemingly innocuous web pages more correctly.

Safari is of course not an Apple proprietary coding project, but the outright borrowing of the code to KDE's Konqueror browser; Apple's much-touted ambition to donate code back to KDE remains largely a PR stunt until Safari can perform reasonably. But already the Apple browser runs rings around the Omni Group's pathetic Omniweb, which sports a price off the charts and a propensity to crash in the same class.

Safari's textured window interface really works, and it's not implemented through Cocoa classes either. The interface is completely 'hot-wired', with a plethora of images on disk which are read in to render disabled buttons, pushed buttons, selected buttons, and so on. For the most part, its consistency is high.

Safari has been notoriously weak at doing what comes easiest on the web, so much so that one wondered how good that KDE code really was. Font tags placed outside header or paragraph tags could go ignored; an i or em tag in an unusual place could turn an entire document into an italicised mess; and that little 'no man's land' corner in the lower right is still not adequately taken care of.

Many in the know complain that build 73 is a regression rather than an improvement, because missing functionality has evidently been replaced by poorly coded functionality. If this is true, then one must really wonder what the panic in Cupertino is all about. Borrowing the most of the code from the KDE project, it should be relatively simple to attain an acceptable modicum of performance, and yet things seem to be going downhill already, according to these voices.

Almost all browsers crash now and then: This is just a fact. It seems unnecessary, but in practice this is how it works, and Safari has never been an exception. And Safari 73 crashes too, albeit not often, and although no word has been heard of kernel panics, which should not be possible in a user-mode application anyway (point of the finger towards the Camino crew).

The visual interface is creative and consistent. The Safari team have the ability to bring this baby home. Although there are any number of hoops they still need to jump through, Safari 73 gives more confidence than previous builds that the product will make it.

Safari 74

Very concisely, ADC News #350 states:

Safari Public Beta 2 (v74) improves how Safari validates the authenticity of websites that use SSL certificates.

A 3.2 MB download was all it took to see if they'd fixed anything else at the same time. The sad news is 'no, they didn't'.

Safari is becoming more and more a disappointment, and given that the code was already in place before the project began (it's KDE's open source Konqueror web browser) and all they had to do was make their own Cocoa work, it gives rise to very serious questions about the efficacy of NextStep in its present incarnation, and the competence of Apple programmers in general.

They've had more than enough time; we've given them too much of our time.

Time to wipe it off the drive.

Safari 85

It's here - the 'real' version 1.0 of Safari. No more betas. No more whispers about crashed hard drives. This one is it.

It doesn't take many words to summarise the 'gold' release of Safari - in fact, it doesn't take any words at all.

The graphic floating somewhere on the page down below should say more than enough.

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