Safari 4 is out!
Google Chrome was the first browser to achieve 100/100 on the Acid 3 test, and now Safari 4 is the second. Neither pass, but that might have more to do with my machine. Opera just announced the beta release of 10, which also boasts 100/100. Both Safari 4 and Opera 10-beta render it as the reference, but lack the speed. Chrome has that X in the corner and fails the linktest.
IE8, of course, is behind the times. I’d rank it with the last generation of browsers, like how Sega’s Dreamcast caught up with other consoles just before the new generation of consoles came out. Sega quit the console war, but I don’t think Microsoft will quit the browser war for another two or three years.
What worries me, at this point, is what I heard from Mozilla; things like, “achieving 100/100 on Acid3 is NOT a priority for the 3.5 release.” That’s the exact same stuff we hear from Microsoft. Mozilla has the bonus, though, of having a million contributors who all think differently, so while some people think Acid 3 is nothing and should be avoided, others will be working on it. They’re in the 90s, at least.
I honestly don’t know, at this point, where Firefox lies. It’s slow and imposing, but extremely powerful. It doesn’t have a lot of the features of other browsers, but it has more features than a lot other browsers have. It’s not going to have some of those new thing that are being put forth by Opera, Safari, and Chrome, but it will be fixing up pretty much everything it already has. No-one can possibly predict how the new one will run, because it sounds so different. I’ll leave it be until the stable release.
Safari has snubbed me. They’ve removed the tab functionality from the title bar, and instead carved out a band of the screen under the address bar. At least they don’t have all those File/Edit/Window/Help buttons (press ‘Alt’ to show it). Ooh, they’ve got a text-only zoom, for those who want it.
The browser itself has a nice look to it. It uses your colour scheme, so it won’t look out of place, and looks very smooth. My only problem is that I use the old Win2000-style title bars, which are blocky. I see that border around it, too. Does Chrome’s different GUI have some specific fault to it? If not, why don’t all the browsers customize themselves in such a way?
Once again, I’ll mention Safari’s document inspector. You can burrow through the code, view all the elements inside a particular tag, see exactly how long it takes to download each element and how much is weighs, debug scripts, and directly edit the DOM. It’s basically the same one Chrome uses, but Safari’s actually works. I can’t find a single bug in this one.
Ooh! What can I say? It’s amazing. You can actually drag the tab bar downwards to get a thumbnail of the page you’re viewing. You can open a tiny side-menu to check things like widgets and favourites. It has, of course, its usual set of accessibility controls, such as images and screen width. If I could meld Opera, Safari, and Chrome all together, I think I’d get my preferred browser.
Opera’s usual problems apply. It’s still got the windows title and borders, and the main menu sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s a bit of a pain to customize, because as you drag items everywhere you have to delete them from other places, and it’s extremely hard to drag bars anywhere. I think a good drag-and-drop customisation scheme is one of the things Opera is missing. I guess I’m used to Microsoft Office.
With my cost/bandwidth on mobile internet, it’s tempting to use something which compresses data on the server side and allows me to browse without images. I’ve already racked up more than 100MB in the last few hours, which seems to translate to almost $5. I’ll talk about that in my next post.
Since mid-2008, I’ve wanted to go through all the browsers and give an in-depth comparison between each of them. When Opera and Firefox release, I think I will.