Genuine question: has anyone here actually ever used Safari for Windows, except for browser testing? I've never met anyone.
So this doesn't really surprise me. Looking up the numbers says Safari is used by 0.46% percent on Windows users -- and it doesn't seem to have ever gotten much higher than that. Why waste resources on it?
Safari for Windows was released more than a year before the first Google Chrome beta. Before that, Webkit wasn't available on Windows at all and it was impossible to test websites on Webkit without a Mac. Google Chrome is now an excellent and widespread browser on Windows so there's no point maintaining Safari for Windows anymore.
While I'm a Mac user and have used Safari every day for years, I gave it a quick try on my work Windows desktop when it first came out. Since the interface was so much slower than Firefox (probably due to all the custom drawing) I didn't bother to stick with it.
Apple has never really pushed Safari for Windows at all. The theory I've read that always made sense to me was that it was created to allow Windows developers to test pages without an iPhone (or later iPad).
But here we are a few years later and the cost of getting a Mac is lower than it was. Apple already has a ton more developers thanks to the iPhone and iPad. And if you just want to see "will my site look good on an iPhone" you can buy an iPod touch for ~$200.
I'm actually a bit surprised it took them this long. It clearly wasn't an important product for them.
This is where dropping Windows support may harm Safari. Yes we can test against webkit via Chrome now so in theory anything that works on the current PC trinity (FF, Chrome, IE9+) should work just fine in Safari, any bugs that get raised by Safari users that can't be reproduced in Chrome are just going to get labelled "NONREPRO" or "WONTFIX". Chrome and Safari are not completely in-step so there could easily be the odd issue that affects one and not the other.
Admittedly this isn't a big problem for Apple users so the above concern isn't a killer: they can use FF or Chrome if Safari won't cooperate (though good luck convincing some users that switching browser is a valid workaround for any given bug).
I've actually used it for almost a year, as a primary browser. One of the reasons was that it allows (allowed?) switching of font rendering engine to either Apple or Microsoft one. It was part of the experiment whether it's possible to live with a Mac with its extremely blurry though shape-preserving rendering.
Turns out they've bet on ultrahigh resolution displays, where their rendering is perfect.
The other way to go (which I've noticed most Mac people do go with) is comparatively larger fonts. As long as you are above 12px, the Apple font rendering not only looks nicer, but I seem to be able to read it faster.
Of course, I want 12px or smaller unless a display is really high DPI... ;-)
Have you ever considered using GDIPP or Mactype? I used both, GDIPP doesn't work with Chrome so i switched to Mactype a few months back. Everything looks great, but in some situations, certain letters don't show up (like the lowercase "l") which happens very rarely.
My impression was that one of the primary drive of having Safari on Windows back in the day was to get more users exposed to WebKit and to gives developers on windows a way to test there sites. With Google Chrome on mac/windows/linux that seems to be a much more solved problem, not to mention all those old "windows devs" have an iphone now.
Can you tell me if Safari on Windows was a reasonable way to test for Safari compatibility - or was it too far off from the 'real thing' so that you really test 'Safari on Windows or devices that weren't turned on for years' if you run it on a Windows based dev machine?
Safari on Windows was pretty often criticized for having ported over the entire OS X font rendering engine (so it looked pretty wildly out of place on Windows), but that was part of what made it a fairly accurate rendition of what it looked like under OS X.
Your question about the importance of developing Safari for Windows given that Chrome was in the works is interesting for this discussion, but your comments afterward seem out of place since they are about Safari as a whole.
I don't see how the existence of Chrome has any relevance to the creation of Safari as a whole. First, the timing might be off (I'll leave this for others to research.) More importantly, although I don't know exactly what the point of Safari was (presumably Apple wanted to have their own browser to include with the OS just like Microsoft did), I would have to think that if Chrome would satisfy that need then the latest Mozilla browser would have as well.
Apparently, Google, Apple, Nokia, and RIM all submit patches to the Webkit project. Google's contributions have surpassed Apple's in recent years..
Edit: I did a little more digging, and it looks like Chrome did start out as a (not very) secret project for a few years. I'm not sure when they started submitting their own patches to Webkit-core (as required by LGPL?), but they did maintain their own fork of webkit until 2009.
> So before Chrome was released, they didn't have to release anything
They did. While LGPL doesn't mean you need to release all your project's code to users if they request it, it does mean you need to release any modifications of the parts covered by the LGPL.
They didn't have to release the changes in any way that made them easy to reintegrate with the mainline version, but they did have to release them somehow if requested to do so by a Chrome user.
Even the full GPL doesn't require you to automatically release your code back to the original source, it only states that you must provide the source to the people you distribute your product too if they request that you do.
Safari for Windows came out in summer of 2007, Google Chrome came out in September of 2008. Granted Chrome development started in 2006ish which was probably around the time Safari for Windows started. By the time Safari for windows was released those in the WebKit community knew Google was up to something, but didn't know a timetable, any details etc and from discussions they tossed out the first version so when Safari for Windows was released perhaps Google Chrome as we know it today was just starting. Looking at it from a business perspective or even just a 2006 perspective Apple's move makes a lot of sense.
Edit: Some of my memories are a bit fuzzy about what was going on exactly when in relation to everything else so feel free to correct any mistakes in the above.
Since Snow Leopard was the last version of OSX to run PowerPC binaries, this may actually be quite annoying for all the people who have to be able to run their older apps and have not updated to 10.7 because of that.
It seems as if there are still WebKit Nightlies being built for Windows, it would have been nice if they could tag which ones correspond to certain Safari releases for any Windows devs who want to test their sites in Safari.
Wasn't the original point of Safari for Windows that all iOS apps were going to be in‐browser since Apple didn't want to allow the level of access for apps, so it was to allow more people to develop for the iPhone?
And then they went and made the app store and all that went out the window.
I'm surprised they didn't kill it a couple years back.
I always see Safari as a small GUI around vanilla WebKit -- i.e. Safari basically is WebKit. (Chrome on the other side has pushed it much further and WebKit seems to be only a part of it.)
From the history of WebKit, I also got the feeling that Apple did one of the most important work to modernize it to compete with IE, Firefox, Opera at the time it was released. Afaik, KHTML was not really as far.
Under this view, I don't really see your point. This work by Apple (WebKit/Safari) and by KDE is now part/base of one of the most important browsers, Chrome.
How does that even make sense? Apple was never even in a "browser war" to begin with, but even if you want to claim they've "lost" some sort of war, how does that lead to discontinuing their browsers? Besides the fact that Apple created WebKit and ship it as a core component of OS X, how does reducing browser choice benefit anyone?
Created is a very strong word to toss around especially in this context. Perhaps you were only referring to the trademark WebKit which Apple did register (but they did offered to have the community manage it at the start if I recall). WebKit literally wouldn't exists without the KHTML developers who were in discussions with Apple and the result of which was the WebKit project. Here on HN where code is first class and many others have incorrectly stated that Apple coded/created/built all of WebKit and they knew nothing of KHTML it is really no surprise that someone would try to correct you when you stated the "Apple created WebKit". Creating something isn't the guy that happen to register the trademark, it is the guys that wrote the code in this context.
Who cares about the trademark? The WebKit project is what I'm talking about. KHTML would not have gone on to become an incredibly popular cross-platform, cross-device, cross-company framework for web rendering if Apple hadn't started the WebKit project. It would have remained nothing more than a web rendering engine for KDE.
Code may be important, but it's not the only thing that matters. You could write the most beautiful, efficient, useful code in the world and it wouldn't matter if nobody ever saw it.
Besides, this is straying further and further from the point that Apple ships and maintains a web rendering engine as a core component of the system. It's so firmly embedded that it actually powers most text rendering on iOS. In light of this, saying Apple should discontinue their browser which is built upon this engine is preposterous.