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Safari 4 Released, Claimed "30 Times Faster Than IE7" 465

Posted by timothy
from the don-your-pith-helmet dept.
CNETNate writes "Apple has released the beta version of Safari 4 for Mac and PC, with claims that its Nitro rendering engine is '30 times faster than IE7,' and three times faster than Firefox 3. Other new features include 'Top Sites,' which shows users the most frequently visited Web pages, 'Full History Search' for searching through not only the URLs and titles of visited pages, but also the complete text within the page itself — something Opera has been doing for a while."
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Safari 4 Released, Claimed "30 Times Faster Than IE7"

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  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @11:12AM (#26969633) Homepage Journal

    Nitro JavaScript Engine

    Anyone know if this is a new engine or just Squirrelfish renamed?

    Acid 3 Compliance

    Looks like Safari might be the first Acid 3 browser to the market. Opera's version 10 is Acid 3 compliant, but it's still in Alpha testing.

    CSS 3 Web Fonts

    I noted this feature in Opera 10. The results shown in the demos were rather impressive. The web pages had more of a print-layout look to them without the classic trick of relying on images to cover all the content. This has the potential to completely change the look of the web for the better.

    CSS Canvas

    I'm still trying to figure out how being able to use Canvas as a style to apply to web elements is useful, but the idea definitely sounds cool. I suppose one could always set a fixed web page background as a canvas, then make it look like they're on an acid trip as they scroll. :-P

    I'm downloading the beta now. If it lives up to the hype that Apple is giving it, it will be an amazing piece of software.

  • by alvinrod (889928) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @11:24AM (#26969783)

    Here's the actual claims from Apple's website:

    "Using the new Nitro Engine, for example, Safari executes JavaScript up to 30 times faster than Internet Explorer 7 and more than 3 times faster than Firefox 3 based on performance in leading industry benchmark tests: iBench and SunSpider.

    In addition to superior JavaScript performance, Safari offers top-flight HTML performance -- the best on any platform -- loading pages 3 times faster than Internet Explorer 7 and almost 3 times faster than Firefox 3."

    I'm not too familiar with either of these benchmarking programs, so I can't really pick at the results too much, but the actual claim is 'up to 30 times faster' which means that for some function it's 30 times faster, but for most it's probably not at that level of magnitude. It seems as though some of this important information was lost in the game of telephone that is internet news.

    Also, I'm more interested in how it stacks up against Firefox, Opera, and Chrome. Comparing it to IE7 is a little bit like Ford comparing their new car to a horse and cart. No offense meant to the browser, but from every chart I've seen it's the bottom of the barrel in terms of speed.

  • Re:No so bold (Score:4, Informative)

    by wereHamster (696088) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @11:25AM (#26969797)
    http://www.apple.com/safari/features.html [apple.com] - Safari 4 introduces the Nitro JavaScript engine, an advanced bytecode JavaScript engine that makes web browsing even faster. In fact, Safari 4 executes JavaScript up to 6 times faster than Internet Explorer 8 and up to 4 times faster than Firefox 3.1.
  • Re:No so bold (Score:2, Informative)

    by hannson (1369413) <hannson@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @11:25AM (#26969803)

    On the Apple Safari feature page:
     

    Safari 4 introduces the Nitro JavaScript engine, an advanced bytecode JavaScript engine that makes web browsing even faster. In fact, Safari 4 executes JavaScript up to 6 times faster than Internet Explorer 8 and up to 4 times faster than Firefox 3.1.

    As the article sucks, here's some better info [apple.com].

  • Re:Top sites (Score:2, Informative)

    by AMSmith42 (60300) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @11:27AM (#26969823)

    >Chrome beat them to it.

    Not on the Mac, they didn't.

    http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/mac.html [google.com]

  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @11:28AM (#26969839) Homepage Journal

    I am a fanboi

    Right you are! I am a HUGE fan of web standards and the new features that HTML5 is bringing. And because I have experience with browser developers like Apple, Opera, and Mozilla, I trust that they'll do a good job in making the features a reality. Especially since they're the same people writing the standards.

    For those who actually care, I've managed to pull up some demos in Safari 4:

    http://webkit.org/blog/138/css-animation/ [webkit.org]
    http://webkit.org/blog/176/css-canvas-drawing/ [webkit.org]
    http://www.alistapart.com/articles/cssatten [alistapart.com]

    I must say, I'm impressed! We'll see how well they work in real-world usage going forward.

    The browser itself appears to be leaning more toward the UI design of Chrome. Which fits it well, IMHO. The new Coverflow feature is surprisingly slick and doesn't feel tacked on at all. The bonjour integration feels like a new management console for the network. I can surf all the devices and get important information on their location and status. I can even change the settings!

    Which makes me wonder if the next version of OS X is going to use Safari-based widgets for network and printer management. Hmm...

    At the very least, this is a nice way to surf the network on Windows. ;-)

  • by Tinlad (947666) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @11:30AM (#26969857) Homepage

    So if Safari has this great performance, how can the FF figure out how Safari does it?

    By heading over to WebKit.org [webkit.org] and downloading the open source rendering engine it uses?

  • by mystik (38627) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @11:35AM (#26969923) Homepage Journal

    Safari has Webkit [webkit.org] @ it's core.

    FF devs can look @ the Webkit source. FF devs can also look @ the Google Chrome Source, which is also based on webkit.

    In fact, webkit is licensed under BSD + GPL, so IANAL, but I think this mesans FF can even *use* webkit's code directly in their browser ...

  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@co[ ]ll.edu ['rne' in gap]> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @11:35AM (#26969931) Homepage

    Apple loves to put in meaningless benchmarks with no real-world meaning to hype their products.

    For example, the "3 times faster than a Pentium II" claims back in some of the older PowerPC days - this was true for a single Photoshop operation that at that point had Altivec optimizations on PPC but was running straight scalar code (no MMX) on a P2.

    For nearly all other applications, the P2 was equal to or faster than the PPC. But Apple hyped their systems based on that one single meaningless-for-most-people benchmark. (As opposed to AMD's speed rating system which for the Athlon XPs was based on a suite of benchmarks and their average comparison to a similarly clocked P4, which was typically pretty accurate.)

    Here, how is Apple magically eliminating network latency and providing infinite network bandwidth with browser changes? For nearly all users, the network is the bottleneck.

  • by maztuhblastah (745586) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @11:55AM (#26970253) Journal

    Let me guess that iBench is an apple app designed to highlight every slow part of JS in every browser. Oh and to be quick and use anything that Safari actually does right. Seems like a fair test to me. I bet even MS could make IE7 30 times quicker in some tests than Safari if they wanted too.

    Good guess. Unfortunately, you're wrong. It's an open source benchmarking app for Mac OS X. [sourceforge.net]

  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @11:58AM (#26970311) Homepage Journal

    The whole point of features like Web Fonts is to get away from using images. Thus when you zoom, the renderings look crisp and clean. Try these demos [alistapart.com] in Safari 4 to see what I mean. Zooming the reference image looks ugly. (What you're complaining about.) Zooming the actual rendering is helpful and actually looks better the closer the examples are zoomed.

  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @12:02PM (#26970347)
    I've tried pointing [slashdot.org] that out before, but you're probably wasting your breath. The tin-foil hat crowd here at slashdot seems to think that Apple is keeping all the juiciest enhancements for themselves [slashdot.org]. I know it's not true because I run Safari on my macs and have run some webkit browsers like midori [twotoasts.de] on my linux machines, they're about as fast, certainly faster than firefox. I'd use midori as my full time browser, but it's not as full featured as firefox and is unstable (or was last version I downloaded, like 0.0.21 or so).
  • by Halo1 (136547) <jonas.maebeNO@SPAMelis.ugent.be> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @12:15PM (#26970547) Homepage

    This is about a completely different iBench. If you look at the the benchmark graphs, you'll note that

    • the displayed results are actually for Windows (click on the Mac link at the top to see the Mac results)
    • at the bottom: HTML and JavaScript benchmarks based on VeriTestâ(TM)s iBench Version 5.0 using default settings and the SunSpider Performance test.
  • Re:More Fun Demos (Score:3, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @12:21PM (#26970647) Homepage Journal

    Short Answer: Yes

    I was on the WHATWG mailing list when this was discussed. Apple was very clear that anything supported by Quicktime would be supported in the browser. They singled out OGG/Theora support as a format they will support, but only through user-installed plugins.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @12:42PM (#26971027)

    They've been over this again and again (and I'm too lazy to do the Googling for you). The browser comprises two parts, WebKit, the rendering engine, and Safari, the front-end. Much like Mozilla and Firefox.

    They replace the system-wide WebKit FOR DEVELOPMENT PURPOSES, so it can be tested with iTunes, Mail, and Dashboard (and other apps that use WebKit). The old Safari is not compatible with new WebKit, but both the old Safari and WebKit are preserved, so you can revert the change.

    If you want to develop for the new WebKit, download WebKit which does nastiness to allow you to use the old Safari and the new WebKit.

  • by slashdot.cc (1055624) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @01:25PM (#26971859)
    I am interested in trying this beta, but it caused a problem with Apple Mail. I used the Uninstall package that came with the image and removed it. End of problem. I reported the problem and I am looking forward to the stable release.
  • by rizzo320 (911761) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @01:32PM (#26972019)
    Link for Safari 3:

    http://support.apple.com/downloads/#internet [apple.com]

    Clearly labeled as "Looking for Safari 3? Download here" at bottom of the Safari 4 download page.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @04:20PM (#26974443)

    ... Except of course LLVM isn't released under the LGPL license, but a BSD style license that doesn't require changes to be made public. However, my experience working on LLVM is that all the Apple developers check their changes directly into the main (open) LLVM repository anyway.

    I don't know what the situation is with webkit, but I expect it's something similar.

  • Re:Firewire? (Score:3, Informative)

    by adpowers (153922) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @06:14PM (#26975731)

    I think you should read that as:

    (Mac with an Intel processor) or (a Power PC G5, G4, or G3 processor and built-in FireWireî)

    and not

    (Mac with an Intel processor or a Power PC G5, G4, or G3 processor) and (built-in FireWireî)

  • by Super_Z (756391) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:35PM (#26976681)

    Why do I care about your lousy browser? If it only runs on Mac and PC, it is not a serious browser. The Linux browser market is expanding due to netbooks and phones.

    The latest safari nightly (r41176) compiles and runs just fine on my stock Ubuntu Hardy box. The only pain I encountered was the libsoup 2.25 library dependency which I had to pull down and compile myself instead of using the older library supplied from the Hardy repository.

    Think Differently? I don't see any difference between Apple and MS these days. They both try to tie you into proprietary formats and do a piss poor job of supporting other operating systems. IE runs poorly on Mac and (relatively) well on Windows, Safari barely ran on Windows and was well supported on Mac. I don't see how Apple is any better. They're just Microsoft in a prettier dress.

    Not only is WebKit open-source, it also seems like Apple has gone to great length to ensure that this piece of software is portable to other operating systems. The key is to actually do the "wget, autogen.sh, make, make install" steps yourself. It's really not that hard.

  • g3 performance (Score:2, Informative)

    by steak (145650) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:54PM (#26976865) Homepage Journal

    i have a ~9 year old pismo powerbook (tiger, g3, firewire) which is at the very low end of the supported hardware. in my limited experience with safari 4, it seems to perform about as well as firefox 3 memory wise. also safari 4 gets 100 on the acid3 test.

    by the by if anyone wants to contribute to the buy me a new laptop fund call 1-800-.....

  • by steak (145650) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @07:59PM (#26976913) Homepage Journal

    gmail was down for a little while.

    http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/02/24/1337245 [slashdot.org]

  • by 666999 (999666) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @08:00PM (#26976921)

    Session restore? SafariStand [hetima.com] works great, and brings a whole raft of other features as well, such as click-to-play Flash.
    Ad-blocking? I use SafariBlock [google.com] with Rick752's EasyList.
    Both are free.

    I can't comment on your issue with Safari's memory usage, as I haven't experienced the same problem.

  • As a developer working on WebKit, this is completely wrong and more than a little insulting.

    The versions of WebKit included with Safari releases are built directly from the public tree. There is no secret version of WebKit that Apple fixes bugs in for Safari releases before eventually landing the changes in the WebKit tree. The WebKit tree is Apple's official WebKit tree, and is where all of Apple's development on WebKit for Mac OS X and Windows takes place.

    For sake of reference http://trac.webkit.org/browser/releases/Apple/Safari%204%20Public%20Beta [webkit.org] contains the exact source code of WebKit that was built and released as Safari 4 Public Beta earlier today. There are no secret changes in the version of WebKit that Apple shipped. The changes are all there in the open for the world to see.

  • SafariBlock (Score:3, Informative)

    by theurge14 (820596) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @09:24PM (#26977551)

    Been available here [google.com] for Safari for a long time.

  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @09:24PM (#26977565) Homepage Journal

    Text reflow fails miserably once you get past a certain size. If your intent is to inspect the page close up, then text reflow is a problem. Why don't you just download Safari and try it out? I think you'll answer your own question fast enough.

    Alternatively, go watch this video [youtube.com]. You can see how zooming allows you to focus on the areas of interest rather than dealing with a terrible layout. (Given the size of the screen, three column would work out to barely a word or two per line. I don't think there's anyone who finds vertically stacked words pleasant.)

  • Re:lost in the past (Score:3, Informative)

    by toddestan (632714) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @10:29PM (#26977979)

    Opera still supports all the way back to Windows 95, which may be your only choice for a browser that's still being actively maintained. Otherwise, there is Firefox 2 which was maintained all the way to December 2008 so it's still fairly up to date. IE6 is still supported on Windows 2000 but I think 98/ME are S.O.L. as far as that goes.

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