Apple releases public beta of Safari 4 browser

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Apple on Tuesday announced a public beta of Safari 4, a new version of its share-gaining web browser that packs a powerful new JavaScript engine and support for the latest web standards.



Dubbed "Nitro," the engine in Safari 4 is said to run JavaScript 4.2 times faster than Safari 3. Other new features include Top Sites, for a visual preview of frequently visited pages; Full History Search, to search through titles, web addresses and the complete text of recently viewed pages; Cover Flow, to easily flip through web history or bookmarks; and Tabs on Top, to make tabbed browsing easier and more intuitive.



"Apple created Safari to bring innovation, speed and open standards back into web browsers, and today it takes another big step forward," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Safari 4 is the fastest and most efficient browser for Mac and Windows, with great integration of HTML 5 and CSS 3 web standards that enables the next generation of interactive web applications."



Performance



In terms of performance, Apple claims Safari 4's new Nitro JavaScript engine executes JavaScript up to 30 times faster than Microsoft's IE 7 and more than three times faster than Firefox 3. It's also said to load HTML web pages three times faster than IE 7 and almost three times faster than Firefox 3.



Safari 4 also represents the latest chapter in Apple's efforts to maintain its leadership role in defining and implementing web standards, with built in support for HTML 5 and CSS 3 -- two technologies critical in supporting an entirely new class of web applications that feature rich media, graphics and fonts.



Safari 4 Beta tracks the sites you browse and ranks your favorites, presenting up to 24 thumbnails on a single page.



Specifically, the Cupertino-based company said the new browser includes HTML 5 support for offline technologies so web-based applications can store information locally without an Internet connection. A recent technology demonstration by Google highlighted the advantages this technology when it showed off a version of Gmail running offline on the iPhone's mobile version of Safari, which already includes support for some HTML 5 standards.



Apple also said that Safari 4 is the first browser to support advanced CSS Effects that enable highly polished web graphics using reflections, gradients and precision masks. Similarly, it's said to be the first browser to pass the Web Standards Project's Acid3 test, which examines how well a browser adheres to CSS, JavaScript, XML and SVG web standards that are specifically designed for dynamic web applications.



Cover Flow offers a highly visual way of reviewing your site history and bookmarked sites, presenting full-page previews.



Safari for Mac, Windows, iPhone and iPod touch are all built on Apple's WebKit, which the company has billed the "world's fastest and most advanced browser engine." Apple developed WebKit as an open source project to create the world's best browser engine and to advance the adoption of modern web standards. Most recently, WebKit led the introduction of HTML 5 and CSS 3 web standards and is known for its fast, modern code-base. Some of the industry's newest browsers are based on WebKit including Google Chrome, the Google Android browser, the Nokia Series 60 browser and Palm webOS.



Safari 4 relocates the tab bar to the top of the browser window to provide "more room for you to enjoy the sites you?re reading".



New features



Safari 4 also includes a handful of new user interface features, including: Top Sites, a display of frequently visited pages in a wall of previews so users can jump to their favorite sites with a single click; Full History Search, where users search through titles, web addresses and the complete text of recently viewed pages to easily return to sites they've seen before; Cover Flow, to make searching web history or bookmarks "as fun and easy as paging through album art in iTunes;" Tabs on Top, for better tabbed browsing with easy drag-and-drop tab management tools and an intuitive button for opening new ones; Smart Address Field, that automatically completes web addresses by displaying an easy-to-read list of suggestions from Top Sites, bookmarks and browsing history; Smart Search Field, where users fine-tune searches with recommendations from Google Suggest or a list of recent searches; Full Page Zoom, for a closer look at any website without degrading the quality of the site's layout and text; built-in web developer tools to debug, tweak and optimize a website for peak performance and compatibility; and a new Windows-native look in Safari for Windows, that uses standard Windows font rendering and native title bar, borders and toolbars so Safari fits the look and feel of other Windows XP and Windows Vista applications.

In total, Apple claims over 150 features in Safari 4. The public beta is available for download here.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 278
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,299member
    I've stuck to Firefox so far, perhaps Safari 4 will sway me, we'll have to see.
  • Reply 2 of 278
    I like Safari as it seems much more useful to me than Firefox. I don't really use extensions. Opera's nice, too, but I've gotten used to Safari.



    I'll be trying out this beta. I hope it lives up to the hype
  • Reply 3 of 278
    Can we disable font smoothing in this version? If not, I'm still not using it.





    EDIT OOOH YOU CAN!!!! Well, on a PC anyway!
  • Reply 4 of 278
    tony1tony1 Posts: 258member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by saarek View Post


    I've stuck to Firefox so far, perhaps Safari 4 will sway me, we'll have to see.



    Depending on what I'm doing I switch back and forth. I like Safari for the speed and Private Browsing feature and like the extensions in Firefox. It's hard to give up one or the other even with this upcoming release so far and new features.



    Happy Birthday Steve Jobs!!
  • Reply 5 of 278
    Wow...Apple has really gone out of its way to fuck up all HI guidelines with Safari 4.



    In you want to move a Safari window and you like tabs, good luck clicking part of the titlebar that isn't a "rip a tab out" grab-handle widget or a close widget.



    Although the concept is interesting, in practice, this tab UI is horrendous.



    Everything else about Safari 4 is excellent though...nice use of Cover Flow and Core Animation for the top sites preview wall. Great history and bookmark search. And full page zoom is finally enabled for the unwashed masses. Google search suggestions. Overall, this version of Safari is the biggest update since version 1.0...too bad about the unconventional tab UI.
  • Reply 6 of 278
    Best phisher's toolkit on the market
  • Reply 7 of 278
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post


    Wow...Apple has really gone out of its way to fuck up all HI guidelines with Safari 4.



    I agree with you. Actually, when you think about it, it makes sense t put the tabs into the title bar, but it's hard to move the window when you have a lot of tabs open.
  • Reply 8 of 278
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post


    Wow...Apple has really gone out of its way to fuck up all HI guidelines with Safari 4.



    In you want to move a Safari window and you like tabs, good luck clicking part of the titlebar that isn't a "rip a tab out" grab-handle widget or a close widget.



    Although the concept is interesting, in practice, this tab UI is horrendous.



    Agreed. Even more awful is that I have to hit the ribbed part to reorder the tabs?



    What where they thinking?
  • Reply 9 of 278
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by el3ktro View Post


    I agree with you. Actually, when you think about it, it makes sense t put the tabs into the title bar, but it's hard to move the window when you have a lot of tabs open.



    IMO, the concept would work if clicking and dragging right away would drag the window and not count as a click on the widget (like proxy icons in the titlebar in Cocoa apps).
  • Reply 10 of 278
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,615member
    It's a beta people, if you don't like it send feedback.
  • Reply 11 of 278
    I installed it and couldn't open it. It would bounce in the dock and i would get a error message saying it quit unexpectedly. I understand, it is a Beta but i tired it twice and nothing good would happen. I uninstalled and am using the latest Safari build.
  • Reply 12 of 278
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by el3ktro View Post


    I agree with you. Actually, when you think about it, it makes sense t put the tabs into the title bar, but it's hard to move the window when you have a lot of tabs open.



    This is true. I like the new tab bar since it makes use of the whole width, but I miss the double click to make a new tab.
  • Reply 13 of 278
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by UTisNUM1 View Post


    I installed it and couldn't open it. It would bounce in the dock and i would get a error message saying it quit unexpectedly. I understand, it is a Beta but i tired it twice and nothing good would happen. I uninstalled and am using the latest Safari build.



    Did you restart after the install?
  • Reply 14 of 278
    Crashes on launch if you have Glims installed. Also breaks reflections in Bowtie (but they should be able to use Webkit reflections instead of javascript). Kinda digging it overall.
  • Reply 15 of 278
    I prefer my tabs down the side these days and have been using SafariStand to do it. That's almost guaranteed not to work now so I guess I'll have to have another look at FF til the devs update it...
  • Reply 16 of 278
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ed Pummelon View Post


    I prefer my tabs down the side these days and have been using SafariStand to do it. That's almost guaranteed not to work now so I guess I'll have to have another look at FF til the devs update it...



    ...Or you can just not install the beta and continue using Safari 3.
  • Reply 17 of 278
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    I don't use tabs, preferring to use Expose to manage my browser windows. Could there be a way to simply disable tabs altogether, and not have a plus button or anything?
  • Reply 18 of 278
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    Did you restart after the install?



    Yes, after i installed it, it restarted. It did the unexpected crash message, i restarted, i got the same message. I uninstalled, restarted and Safari 3 works.



    From the screen shots, it looks like i am missing out. I can always wait for an update.
  • Reply 19 of 278
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SS3 GokouX View Post


    ...Or you can just not install the beta and continue using Safari 3.



    ...too late
  • Reply 20 of 278
    kinda looks like CHROME but mac-y hehe...
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