My Little Corner of the Net

A Windows Safari

Several years ago, when Apple first released OS X and with it the Safari browser, I was rather excited. The browser was fast and standards compliant. It worked great, had a nice clean UI, and didn’t come with a lot of bloat. There was just one little thing that prevented me from adopting it: I’m a Windows user.

Yesterday, while reading Eric Meyer’s blog, I discovered that Apple had released a public beta of Safari 3, including a version for Windows. Eric links to other blogs that suggest that Apple is doing this to allow Windows-based developers to test their web apps to prepare them for the iPhone.

I downloaded the beta this morning and installed it. The installation was smooth and uneventful. Once done, I closed out the installer and clicked on the new Safari icon on my desktop. Safari loaded quite fast and presented me with a page on the Apple site. Just one problem, though: no fonts! No menus, no buttons, and no text on the page. A quick Google search revealed that I am not alone and that font support seems to be a major issue for WinSafari right now.

I tried a few of the workarounds that I found, finding one that fixed the font issue on the rendered page, but I still had no fonts on the UI (which, BTW, prevents me from typing a new address into the location bar). I’ll continue to hunt for a fix as I have time, but at the moment I don’t have time.

Three or four years ago having Safari on Windows would have been a godsend. Back then my browser choices were Microsoft Internet Explorer 6–with all of its quirkiness–or the slow and bloated Netscape 7. Mozilla at the time was still too unstable to use as a primary browser platform. Since then Firefox has come into its own as a very stable, mature, browser and has become my primary platform. At the moment I can’t imagine giving up my highly customized (via extensions) Firefox install, even if Safari is a bit faster. Still though, WinSafari does have potential.

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