Taking Safari on Windows XP for a Spin

by Joey deVilla on June 11, 2007

When my co-worker James “Yes, that’s my real last name” Koole and I heard about Safari coming in a windows version, we had to give it a try.

We hit the Apple site as soon as Steve’s keynote was over and kept hitting it until one of us got the updated version of the site. From there, it didn’t take too long to get to the download page — James won the cache/download lottery — for the Safari public beta. Soon afterwards, this was on the screen of my Windows XP box:

“Welcome” screen for the Safari for Windows installer
I seem to have fallen into a parallel universe.

The installer took a couple of minutes to get the job done, but we finally hit this screen:

Closing screen for the Safari for Windows installer
Done!

And then we were off to the races. I fired it up and hit Fake Steve Jobs’ blog…

Preview of Safari on XP
Click the picture to see it at full size.

A Couple of Observations

Non-standard UI

Safari for Windows looks even less like a Windows app than iTunes, what with its use of many Mac-ish user interface touches, from the use of Lucida Grande as the menu font, down to the Aqua controls in the “Preferences” dialog box, shown below:

“Preferences” dialog box in Safari for Windows
Yes, this is actually a dialog box in Windows!

Fast rendering

This was one of the features that Steve was touting at the keynote. I haven’t pulled out a stopwatch yet, but I’ve hit a number of sites that always take more time to render and wow, does Safari seem to render them quickly! And remember, this app is so newly installed that there’s nothing in its cache.

It doesn’t recognize the mouse scroll wheel

Moving the cursor over a scrollable page and using the scrollwheel didn’t work in Safari for Windows. I then switched to IE and the scroll wheel worked just fine, and it also worked for Firefox.

Better-looking rendering of pages

Safari seems to render web pages in such a way that they’re more beautiful than the same versions rendered in IE and Firefox.

Here’s the current Global Nerdy front page as rendered by Internet Explorer 6:

Global Nerdy, as seen in IE 6 [preview]
Click the picture to see it at full size.

Here’s the same page rendered by Firefox:

Global Nerdy, as seen in Firefox 2.
Click the picture to see it at full size.

And finally, here’s the same page in Safari. Note how differently the text is rendered…

Global Nerdy as seen in Safari for Windows
Click the picture to see it at full size.

On first glance, I like Safari’s font rendering the best. I’m going to have to noodle more with Safari for Windows before writing more, but for now, it does seem pretty nice.

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