Sunday, 20 April 2008

Safari Browser for Windows might be better than Firefox 3

Safari for Windows can be downloaded from here Download Now Free for Mac and Windows

I've been arguing for the merits of Firefox as a browser, and particularly Firefox 3, beta 5.  This reflects my experience on Windows XP on a desktop PC.  I'm switching to Mac OS X Leopard on a MacBook (leaving aside office computers)  next month.  Friends who use Mac computers also use Firefox rather than the native browser, Safari.  I've tried out Safari since Apple released the Windows version, it is now on release 3.1.  Earlier versions impressed me with their aesthetics, but were very unstable, crashing and freezing at slight provocation.  I also found that the chat function had disappeared from my Gmail account.  

What is the situation now?  Gmail chat has disappeared on Firefox 3 beta 5, and I've had many problems with slow running and crashing.  Very likely my fault for not only using a beta version, but for doing things which made the browser perform worse: add the Night Tester extension which enables existing extensions on the browser that are not compatible with 3 beta 5 to become forcibly compatible.  I suspect also that Windows XP has difficulty running several applications, especially when one is an unstable browser on the 512 mb of ram (memory) I have at present, though that is standard.  Probably best to have 1 gb of ram if running several widgets, iTunes and a beta browser at the same time as I often do, and even more so if I'm running a sweep for spyware or viruses.  I do not see this as outrageous use of the computer.

I'm amazed to see that PCs are being marketed with 1 gb of ram for Vista premium.  Unless users stick to the Vista Basic limit of 2 programs at once, I'm sure they are plagued by slowness, freezing and crashing given that  2 gb is clearly minimal for Vista, and some reviewers claim that Vista is too slow even on that amount of ram.  

Back to browsers.  I've downloaded all the upgrades to Safari, and the last version, 3.1 is running beautifully.  No crashes or freezing, just some slowness which probably reflects the tendency of my 512  mb of ram to fill up all too easily.   

I was excited by the flexibility of Firefox, all those themes and extensions, and by the greater sense of aesthetic unity of the page in 3.  Safari does not give much  flexibility  or choice but it has a beautifully integrated aesthetic well beyond Firefox 3.  Like everything else from Apple everything feels seamless and gives you exactly what you need.  At first I was confused by the lack of restore closed tab option, but it can be done easily after clicking on History. At first I could not see how to close tabs, but go to File and the option is there, and I memorised control+w for that operation anyway.  Click on Develop and there are options to 'open page' with all the browsers I have loaded on the PC (Firefox, Opera and Explorer).  I was a bit startled by so many links opening in a new window, but right clicking on a link gives a speedy was to choose opening in a new tab or a new window and other options, including 'Inspect Element'.  It seems less happy with many tabs than Firefox, and opening new Windows causes less slowness than opening many tabs beyond those visible in the tab bar.  

Page loading is indicated by translucent blue bar spreading over url in address window, spell check comes in quickly and automatically.  A beautiful effect of curvature in three dimensions and 

I'll wait to try it out on my MacBook, and other browsers, properly when the Mac arrives.  So far I've just fiddled about on friends' Mac computers.  I'll also try out the following: 

Firefox 3 beta 5
Camino (a version of Firefox for the Mac OS which resembles Safari)

If I'm now finding Safari best for Windows, I guess I'll find it ever better for the Mac OS.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really like Safari. While no browser is perfect, it sure beats internet explorer for speed. I was also dismayed at how Firefox would often get hacked into not updating to the newest version. Firefox would say it was "up to date" but heading to would often display a newer version then what I had.

You will love Safari on a mac as it runs even smoother there.