Browser Wars Revisited: Safari vs. Firefox?

Seemingly not to be out-done by all the buzz surrounding Firefox 3, Apple today (March 18, 2008) released version 3.1 of its Safari Web browser.
Apparently, we’ll love Safari because:

  • It’s fast – Up to 3x Firefox 2 on page loads and 4.5x on JavaScript execution. And although that’s impressive, performance is definitely coming across as one of Firefox 3’s core competencies. It’d be interesting to run the same tests with Safari 3.1 and even Firefox 3 Beta 4.
  • The UI – Of course. However, this is another area where Firefox 3 has made significant headway. Even on a Mac, Firefox 3’s UI is also elegant and clean. (For an amusing take on the Apple UI paradigm, have a look at this Eric Burke cartoon. I’m not sure how Burke would represent the Mozilla UI … However, one thing’s for sure, it’s become a lot more elegant and cleaner over the years.)
  • Find – The Firefox 3 implementation looks remarkably like Safari’s.
  • Resizable text areas – Excellent. Not sure if Firefox 3 has this.

Safari 3.1 also presents a twofold irony with respect to Web standards:

  1. You need to do a little digging (page 8 of the Safari Product Overview) to determine what is meant by Web standards support. And once you do, you’ll learn that it relates to CSS, HTML 5 and SVG. Of these, “HTML 5 offline storage support” has the potential to be most interesting, as Google is analogously demonstrating with Google Gears. So, it’s ironic you need to dig for something that has such value.
  2. In it’s support of HTML 5, we have a commercial entity (Apple) leading the way in terms of implementing standards. This is refreshing in general, and in particular in Apple’s case, as traditional expectations would have the Open Source implementations (e.g., Firefox) ahead in this regard. To quote Alanis Morissette: “Isn’t it ironic… don’t you think?”

When you factor in support for Windows, and apparently frequent releases, it’s no wonder that Safari is gaining momentum at the expense of Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox.
And not that I’ve been following developments with IE, but one has to wonder, if we are to re-visit the IE vs. Netscape browser wars of yesteryear, might the combatants this time be Apple Safari 3.x and Mozilla Firefox 3.x?
One can only hope!

Advertisements

4 responses to “Browser Wars Revisited: Safari vs. Firefox?”

  1. Ian Lumb says :

    Like the Beta 3 release of Firefox 3, Safari 3.1 is not 100% when it comes to AJAX support. For example, I can’t use the arrow keys on my MacBook Pro to navigate cells in the spreadsheet component of Google Docs. Firefox 3 Beta 4 handles this just fine.

  2. Anonymous says :

    I was wondering if someone would compare the speeds of FF 3 and Safari 3.1 head-to-head. Maybe you could that it? That would be awesome.

  3. Ian Lumb says :

    “Back when Firefox 3’s final release candidate dropped, we ran some tests to compare its page-loading, memory use, and technical timing to Internet Explorer 7, Opera, and Safari for Windows. Then Google Chrome arrived, so we pitted it against the betas for Firefox 3.1 and Internet Explorer 8, and shared the results. The tests were by and large the same, but many commenters wisely asked to see all the results, betas or no betas. Well, today we’ve patched together all our data, thrown in a fresh test of the Opera 9.6 beta, and we’re sharing all the graphy goodness. Read on to see a full comparison of the major browsers you can load on Windows.”

  4. Terry Gardner says :

    Safari is elegant, visually appealing because of its superior rendering, where as FF is seemingly infinitely extensible.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: