Yep, it’s true. You can now run Apple’s Safari browser on Windows. One quick little 8mb download and you’re on your way. This is by far the easiest installation of a browser I’ve seen to date. One question in the install, a 2 minute wait and you’re up and running. It automatically and correctly detected my proxy settings including the squirrelly proxy settings on my corporate laptop that seem to give Opera and others fits.
The interface is a bit different. Not being an Apple user, I find the lack of a window border a bit disconcerting. I often resize windows and you can only do this by using the gripper in the lower right corner (or use FreeSnap!). And the first web site I viewed? Blue Onion Software of course.
Safari has its own font smoothing technology. Words look a bit thick but you can adjust it down in the preferences panel. I like the snappy feel of the program. It comes up quick and pages render very fast. Faster the Firefox 2.0. Pages look just a little better in Safari. I can’t say just what is better about the rendering, it just looks better. I guess that’s a tribute to good design.
RSS works as expected. It has some unique features I haven’t seen in other browsers like searching on articles. You can also sort by date, title source and new. There’s a even a recent articles list to let you look back over longer periods of time including the last seven days, this month and last month. The Article Length slider control collapses and expands articles globally by showing all of the articles, some of articles or only the tiles. I’m doing a lousy job describing it so just try it.
Snapback, a feature unique to Safari, allows you to set anchor points while browsing. Some anchor points are set automatically like when doing a Google search. Others can be added manually. Snapback allows you to go off wandering through the Web and then instantly comeback to where you started once you decide you’re done fooling around (like when the boss walks in).
Tabbed browsing is supported and works as expected. Tabs can be reordered by simply dragging. If you drag it off the bar it opens the page in it’s own window, complete with a spiffy little animation characteristic of Apple products.
There’s not much on plug-ins just yet but then again it is beta. It does leave one with a bit of an empty feeling not being able to add additional widgets. Perhaps the next version.
Other than the lack of window borders (which Apple considers a feature) I’m loving this new browser. And it’s the only browser out there right now that passes the ACID 2 test. Speed, elegance and standards compliance. I’m loving it.