On Safari

Apple’s web browser for the Macintosh is Safari. About a month ago Apple announced that they would be making a verison of Safari available for the Windows platform, and compulsive tinkerer that I am I immediately downloaded the beta.

Which, much to my surprise, worked not at all.

I had no menu bar. I had nothing. I’d start up the program, and it would do…


Well, thought I, this bodes well. It’s beta software, and beta software sometimes has weird issues. But having no real interest—other than compulsive tinkering—to try and figure out what was going on, I went about my merry way, and my love affair with Opera continued.

I’d heard, from following articles of The Register that the first release of the Safari 3 Beta was buggy, and that they had released new, updated versions.

I’d held off, and didn’t download an updated installer for the Safari beta. I wasn’t in any rush.

But my compulsive tinkering caught up with me. And I did.

Amazingly, it works. This time. (Indeed, this post is being written in Safari.)

I haven’t really explored it yet. It’s not as fast as Opera in loading pages (which is an immediate strike against it.)

The rendering engine is… odd. My website looks completely different in Safari—the font weights are wrong, everything seems “heavier.” I don’t quite like the color scheme, and the buttons aren’t intuitively designed. Also, I think the interface has a Netscape 8 look to it—not that I’m complaining about that, it’s just what occurs to me.

One thing I’ve noticed—there’s a feature in the WordPress backend that doesn’t show up at all in Opera, yet it’s there in Safari 3. (It’s not a big deal, the WordPress Bookmarklet, as I found a workaround to add it to my Opera browser bar.)

I’m going to play around with the Safari beta this weekend, now that it’s up and running.

I don’t expect I’ll be giving up Opera any time soon. I’ve been on the Opera bandwagon a long time, and that’s not going to change. But for something to play around with? Safari will fill that hole in this compulsive tinkerer’s life. 😉

ETA: I’ve made my peace with the heavier-than-normal font weights. Unfortunately, things do look a little fuzzy. Some Google searches tell me that’s actually normal for the way Safari works—it renders fonts oddly.

The thing I haven’t made peace with? No ad blocking. In Opera it’s built right into the system. It’s not ad blocking per se that Opera has—it’s a more generalized “content blocking”—but it’s what I generally use it for.

More anon.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

10 thoughts on “On Safari

  1. The font issue is a matter of taste and Safari’s rendering mirrors that of OSX. What it’s doing is accurately portraying the font kerning as if would look on a printed page. Vista/XP’s cleartype forces the type into pixel grid for more sharpness at the expense of accuracy. As a designer (broacast, not web), I really prefer the art of OSX and Safari’s handling. You may come to like it after you shake off the familiarity of Windows’ approach.

  2. OS X font rendering is a p.o.s. Rendering fonts for on-screen reading like they printed is retarded and the less contrast makes it harder on eyes, but dumbass Maczealots tout it of course because it’s from Apple.

  3. Oh yeah. Clearly my post was the rantings of a zealot… unlike your remarkably reasoned comment. Again, it’s a matter of taste, not a case of better or worse. I prefer Apple’s approach as do most people that work with typography and appreciate good looking kerning. I think Windows fonts look too thin and having inferior quality. I’ve never encountered readability issues in OSX. You sound like a apple-bashing tool. Good work.

  4. It’s not a matter of taste, and it’s not about kerning, Mactard, it’s about contrast and blurred letter shape contours without pixel level hinting. You don’t encounter legibility issues until your eyes can compensate the blurry letters, but then… Fonts/hinting optimized for screen reading are not for just taste, only a Mactard would argue about it.

  5. Wow. “Mactard”. Again, your intellegence and authority just overflows from your writing. I don’t know the sub-pixel level details behind the two algorithms. I’m a commercial director, not a GUI programmer. Regardless, countless articles have been written about the two methods by people with far better manners and articulation than yourself. And in the end, it seems to boil down to Apple favoring a more accurate and classically-designed type kerning vs. Microsoft’s emphasis on screen clarity with accuracy taking a back seat.

    I just love how hypocritical you Apple-haters are. You talk about “mac-zealots” yet throw around insults and personal attacks while writing like your word is god. Seriously, man, you sound like a 14 year old little troll. Then again, you probably are, given how upset the issue of font handling is clearly making you. Go back and read my first comment and think about the lunacy of your tone and response. Then again, I shouldn’t really expect rationality from someone on an anti-mac jihad.

    To Allyn, check out the following link. It provides a good example of the differences in the approach. If you don’t like Apple’s way, that’s fine. But don’t underestimate how much simple familiarity can play into preference.


  6. John, thanks for the link. I’d come across something similar yesterday afternoon when I was trying to figure out why things weren’t looking the way I expected them to look.

    You’re absolutely right — years of Windows and I’m used to things looking a certain way. Some things look good to me in Safari, and some things still look odd. It’s an adjustment. 🙂

    We tinker. Yes, we tinker.

  7. Hi, my name is Andrew, and I’m a Mactard….

    As pixel densities increase, Apple’s approach will start to pay dividends as type rendered on their systems will more closely resemble printed type than type rendered using other approaches. Why is this good? High DPI printed type is easier to read than 72 or 96 DPI screen type. Mark my words, Microsoft will be forced to come around to the Apple way because when everyone’s using 160 DPI screens, the market will demand it.

    John, I’m really impressed with how well you kept your cool in the face of that Wintard. From one Mactard to another, well done.

  8. Wow Mactard, what an amazing discovery. When the screens will be 200dpi, screen hinting won’t be necessary! You should get the Nobel prize/a handshake of Holy Steve for this! But *today* most screens are 100-130dpi and that’s what is addressed with Cleartype, Mactard.

  9. …except, of course, my iPhone which had a 160dpi screen and runs OSX.

    Why the hate, man? The article was seeking an answer to the safari rendering difference. You’ve provided no information of use. Grow up. Your opinions aren’t gospel. Many people prefer Apple’s approach. It 100% is a matter of taste. Apparently you don’t have any. And yes, MS is modifying the font spacing (kerning) to snap the lines into the pixel grid. Its not just about hinting and contrast.

  10. I am a pro Mac and Windows animator, and I’ve seen my fair share of zealotry from both sides, I have to say this time Sebhelyesfarku is clearly the biased zealot, and the Mac guys are being reasonable.

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