An article critical of Safari

I’m interested in what people think of this. I’m a dev but don’t do a lot of deep web work so I can’t comment too intelligently on a fair bit of this. But it was written well enough that I thought others here might be interested.

FWIW, I use Safari full-time on my Macs, iPad, and iPhone and love it.

This article gets written almost exactly the same way every few years, and has no effect except making people argue on the Internet.

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Interesting web geeky article. Though I haven’t standardized on one browswer in years. I routinely fire up Brave, Vivaldi and sometimes Opera.

They are correct thought Safari’s slow release cycle means truckload updates versus the constant interation of other Browers.

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Safari is definitely the most annoying modern browser to support. And it’s not only hostile to developers, it’s hostile to users also, when it robs them of things like 50% lighter WebP images for a decade. To say nothing of its crap UI and plugin support. But it’s nowhere near as difficult to develop for as IE.

For one thing, IE constantly introduced proprietary features or its own implementation of standardized features. In early versions of IE, that was a genuine benefit as Microsoft was trailblazing the web and IE could do things other browsers couldn’t. But when it became Microsoft’s language vs standard language, it was an incredible PITA. Much more difficult than Safari being slow to understand the latest language.

For another thing, IE pretty much was the web at one point. So you had no choice but to code in two languages because of it. Safari doesn’t have that market share. It’s big on mobile, but you probably need to make adaptations to your website for mobile anyway, which cuts down on the “if not for Safari I’d be lazing on the sand right now” factor.

And finally, fallbacks are a lot more graceful these days, and developer tools are a lot more advanced. If IE didn’t like your HTML or CSS, it could straight show a blank page, or one that looked like it was laid out by Picasso. And if it didn’t like your JS, it could straight throw a fatal website error. With no tools to point you to the source of its protest. It’s rarely that dire on Safari.

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As a web developer myself, Safari is the new IE. It means extra work for every website and is only used by 20% or less of the average website’s traffic. Websites that work perfectly on Chrome/Edge break when tested in Safari most of the time.

As a user, it is faster, uses less memory and has a lovely user experience compared to the competition.

So, I continue to use it as my go to web browser, but hate developing for it!

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If this were ice cream in your freezer, it seems as though Safari is being rated as the three year old plain vanilla kind with freezer burn.

Safari has often stalled after updates to our LMS system (Canvas) and bulked at some things that I try to do certain sites.


JJW

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Safari compatibility adds some time to our projects. There are a lot of good polyfills, but they don’t always cover version-specific bugs.

Ultimately I find these kinds of articles fun to read but impractical. As the article says, Safari engineers are working hard. Rejecting Google’s new browser standards isn’t affecting ability to fix bugs. So Safari is either understaffed, or making some sort of legitimate tradeoff. And since Safari makes tradeoffs to support performance and battery life, priorities every browser theoretically prioritizes diligently, it’s unclear that throwing more engineers at it will navigate those tradeoffs more quickly. They’re just really hard problems.

Still, I look at the Safari UI changes coming to 15 and Monterey and wonder how many unfixed CSS bugs they’re worth…

I am not a web developer so I have often wondered what would happen if everyone developed for Safari as the default. Would things still work in Chrome and other browsers? Is the Chrome the default platform mostly because you can do things in it that are not possible in other browsers? Or is it mostly because Chrome makes it easier to accomplish the same thing you can do in Safari? Or is it about half and half?

If it doesn’t work in safari it wants to do something I don’t like.
Ever tried to browse the web with a locked
down Firefox browser?

Only if absolutely necessary I will use Chrome with the expectation that privacy is not existent.

Meanwhile I am running Pihole dns on a Untangle router….

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As much as I love Apple’s products, Safari is indeed a very difficult browser to please and develop for. I am not sure how supporting some CSS features that has been long supported can be considered a security issue. That’s basically the Safari team is just lazy implementing standards.

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I suggest to develop less fancy websites and stop doing things in my browser other then showing content.

I use Safari for almost everything, but I still have to switch to Chrome or FF too use my library browser plug-in.

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The only reason I stay with Safari is a handful of extensions that I use very frequently, and the share sheet. Otherwise, it’s always a crapshoot whether a site will work with Safari.

I have found it interesting how many websites that don’t work in Safari, start working when I open them in Private Window. Not sure why that is.

Showing content in a way that is both usable and beautiful is important. If we care about Apple’s design aesthetics, I’d be surprised if users will just be happy with displaying plain content.

That being mentioned, it’s not about displaying fancy CSS, it’s about building websites that is displayed in the same exact way across any device.

It’s not about fancy websites. Even simple css features are not supported and require additional JavaScript and that doesn’t benefit the user.

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“Safari is the new Internet Explorer” is something I often hear from my Web developer friends.

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If you developed in Safari as the default, everything would work fine in Chrome. The point here isn’t necessarily that Safari is making life harder for Chrome developers; it’s that Safari is never up to date with ever-evolving web standards because its development cycle is too slow.

Both things can be true: Safari is out of date and Google is using Chrome to try to advance web standards that should not be advanced. But there are also a lot of basic standards that Safari just ignores. Somebody else in this thread already mentioned .webp images as an example, which most browsers have supported for 7 years and Safari only recently added. Webp files are great because they’re tiny compared to jpg and look just as good (or better).

So there is a lot Apple can do to improve this.

Safari is, however, nowhere near as bad as IE was. The web devs who say this either weren’t around in those days or remember them too fondly, in my opinion.

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I’ve been professionally developing websites since 1998 and definitely don’t fondly remember the days of IE, it was a nightmare.

Now, Safari has taken IE’s place as the browser that doesn’t render websites that work perfectly on Firefox and Chrome, and often completely breaks them. All the effort is to support less than 20% of users. That’s exactly what IE was like.

I manage testing and deployment of sites, and often work as a senior developer specializing in getting web applications to work well on Macs. In my experience, every site I’ve worked on needs numerous fixes. I have not been working on simple sites though - typically CRM or SCM systems for multinationals involving dozens of programmers.

A similar amount of effort is needed (extra coding with JavaScript) to make websites work as there was for fixing sites for IE, at least in the last versions of IE. In the late nineties and early naughties, it was certainly much worse than in the final years of IE.

I’ve developed sites with Safari frequently, as I’ve managed the development of several Mac focussed websites, and they did not work well in Firefox and Chrome right away. The rendering engines don’t display pages the same at all. Often substancial effort is needed to make the sites behave correctly.

Agreed with you on all fronts, but I don’t see it as poorly as you do. In the days of IE, I’d get to the point where you’d just sniff the browser and have a whole different HTML presentation for IE folks, with its own CSS and everything. A whole different website, basically. I still have lines about increased fees for IE work in my contracts. But I’ve never had the same stipulations about Safari in my contract, and I’m not sure I ever would. It’s not the same.

I’m not saying that Safari is good or easy to develop for. I’m saying that IE was much worse then than Safari is now.

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