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Safari Internet Explorer Software Apple Technology

Is Safari the New Internet Explorer? 311

An anonymous reader writes: Software developer Nolan Lawson says Apple's Safari has taken the place of Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the major browser that lags behind all the others. This comes shortly after the Edge Conference, where major players in web technologies got together to discuss the state of the industry and what's ahead. Lawson says Mozilla, Google, Opera, and Microsoft were all in attendance and willing to talk — but not Apple.

"It's hard to get insight into why Apple is behaving this way. They never send anyone to web conferences, their Surfin' Safari blog is a shadow of its former self, and nobody knows what the next version of Safari will contain until that year's WWDC. In a sense, Apple is like Santa Claus, descending yearly to give us some much-anticipated presents, with no forewarning about which of our wishes he'll grant this year. And frankly, the presents have been getting smaller and smaller lately."

He argues, "At this point, we in the web community need to come to terms with the fact that Safari has become the new IE. Microsoft is repentant these days, Google is pushing the web as far as it can go, and Mozilla is still being Mozilla. Apple is really the one singer in that barbershop quartet hitting all the sour notes, and it's time we start talking about it openly instead of tiptoeing around it like we're going to hurt somebody's feelings."
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Is Safari the New Internet Explorer?

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  • by carlhaagen ( 1021273 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @08:12PM (#50022631)
    The unisonous response is "no". The author is trying to balance the needle on its tip.
  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @08:12PM (#50022633)
    and most won't notice. hit two and they do. hit three, that's jazz.
    • Weird analogy to choose for this summary. Weirder that the next 5 days the top barbershop quartets in the world will be vying to be awarded
      "International Champion". (http://www.barbershop.org/pittsburgh/)

  • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @08:12PM (#50022635) Homepage Journal

    If Safari is the new internet explorer then that's not bad. If Safari is the old internet explorer then that's really bad.

  • Good News (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @08:14PM (#50022645)
    No corporations support it so there is no reason for most of the world to bother supporting it unlike IE.
    • And "supporting" IE was one of the biggest mistakes ever. They're now living with their bug ridden apps that only work on IE6 with ActiveX. It takes a little more work, but programming to standards isn't THAT hard.

  • Presents... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @08:15PM (#50022649)
    "Apple is like Santa Claus, descending yearly to give us some much-anticipated presents, with no forewarning about which of our wishes he'll grant this year."

    Here's a lump of coal. You'll like it. We'll send you the bill later.

    (Apple has always been like that - they Think Different)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @08:16PM (#50022653)

    The problems with IE were twofold:

    1) It contained tons of rendering bugs that websites relied upon, and so Microsoft's refusal to fix them assured the browser's market dominance by making pages render improperly in competitors' browsers.
    2) It was completely insecure.

    Safari does not do either of these things.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @08:49PM (#50022777)

      Safari does not do either of these things.

      Ah the RDF.

      1. There is plenty of safari-specific CSS that renders improperly in competitors' browsers (the same is true of IE, Chrome and Firefox as well). Back in the late 90s/early 00s the problem was you do things the IE way or the Netscape way, many of which were non-standard. Nowadays browsers still introduce their own extensions and ways of doing things with different quirks hence the safari/webkit/chrome/ie/etc CSS prefixes.

      2. Here [cvedetails.com] you will find pages and pages disproving you.

      Note: All the browsers have such problems, not just Safari. Just calling you out on your false idea that Safari doesn't suffer the problems of other browsers. The point of this article is that Safari is becoming the new IE in the sense that with respect to industry collaboration they are behaving like Microsoft did with early IE. Try not to extrapolate beyond that.

      • Browser specific prefixes are a nuisance - which can easily be overcome by using sass/less - but you can't compare it with what I remembered from the IE6 era.

        People who are making that comparison clearly haven't witnessed that period as a web developer. There were other problems than CSS prefixes. You had the IE way and then the rest. You had progress and then you had Microsoft dragging its feet with IE.

        Yes Apple is not as fast as picking up new stuff as their competitors, but it is a whole other leagu
  • by null etc. ( 524767 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @08:28PM (#50022701)

    It's simple. As long as a significant portion of Apple's revenue comes from having a closed, "walled-garden" ecosystem, Apple will be disinclined to participate anything that might result in the demise of that ecosystem. After all, it's hard to be in the same boat as everyone else supporting WebAssembly etc., when that same technology will ultimately result in the death of on-platform app stores.

    • by Known Nutter ( 988758 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @10:11PM (#50023113)

      It's simple. As long as a significant portion of Apple's revenue comes from having a closed, "walled-garden" ecosystem, Apple will be disinclined to participate anything that might result in the demise of that ecosystem. After all, it's hard to be in the same boat as everyone else supporting WebAssembly etc., when that same technology will ultimately result in the death of on-platform app stores.

      Are we really ready to celebrate concepts like WebAssembly? I may be old (get off my lawn) but, to me, binaries injected into the browser from all corners of the internet does not a utopia make.

    • They make hundreds of billions of dollars by selling physical devices to willing customers--it's always been this way.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      It's simple. As long as a significant portion of Apple's revenue comes from having a closed, "walled-garden" ecosystem, Apple will be disinclined to participate anything that might result in the demise of that ecosystem. After all, it's hard to be in the same boat as everyone else supporting WebAssembly etc., when that same technology will ultimately result in the death of on-platform app stores.

      Apple's walled garden and iTunes revenue pales in comparison to their iPod revenue, which has been declining for

  • by jmnugent ( 705421 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @08:33PM (#50022731)
    As a 20yr IT guy,.. who started using Macs (in depth) about 5 to 7 years ago.. I pretty much use Safari for everything. Why?... It gives me the best Stability, Performance and Battery-life. Call it whatever names you want... but it works for me. (and I work in IT.. and push it pretty hard.. so No, I'm not "just surfing Facebook" with it).
    • I agree, Safari is faster and more stable than any other browser on Mac OS X.
      • I agree, Safari is faster and more stable than any other browser on Mac OS X.

        And yet I own a couple of macs but use Firefox instead. Why? Safari breaks oddly on certain websites I frequent, it lacks privacy add-ons I consider essential, it simply isn't available on linux and the Windows version is flaky in my experience. Plus (totally personal preference) I don't especially care for some of the interface choices. I use it some but primarily I don't bother unless I'm using an iPhone or iPad where there are no other practical options. Apple's applications in my experience rarely

    • Yeah, as long as you like ads, and don't care about your privacy, there is nothing wrong with Safari.

    • Web developer here. Safari really does lag behind the other major browsers in terms of what it can do. At my job we're essentially keeping it on semi-support (ie. we're treating even the most modern version of Safari like it's IE9) because it's not exactly uncommon that CSS that works unprefixed in every other browser still requires a prefix in Safari - and maybe an older version of the syntax. Or it isn't supported at all. JS-wise the same applies: Every once in a while we come across thigs that everyone b
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @08:43PM (#50022755)

    Does it really matter that much they aren't at conferences? That shouldn't be where evolution of HTML and browsing happens anyway...

    • by retchdog ( 1319261 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @08:54PM (#50022801) Journal

      That's more or less what I was thinking as well. From a user perspective, Safari is pretty much like Chrome except more stable and much less resource-hungry.

      Maybe this relentless catering to every sloppy demand of every hack web programmer is what makes web browsers the bloated pieces of shit that they are nowadays.

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      Why not? Why wouldn't you want people to negotiate at conferences?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SuperKendall ( 25149 )

        When you can figure out the reason that no other technical standard is decided at paid conferences, you'll have your answer.

        Or you could have it way sooner, but then you didn't choose that option.

  • I've always thought of Safari as more of an "also ran" than anything resembling a leader in the browser market.
    • Someone posts an opinion in a blog, and it becomes a /. article.

      .
      I post an opinion here and it is mod'd as flamebait. Must be some Apple fanboys around..... :)

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      It was pretty popular if your demographic was younger people, design people, or startups/small scale companies that aren't tied to Windows stuff (a lot of HR or sales software are).

      If you were in those demos, you could easily get a 20-30% market share.

      Had to be careful when taking the metrics though. Safari's splash page showing most popular sizes would render thumbnails by running all javascripts, with only an http header that can only be inspected server side to differentiate it (so pages on CDNs need not

  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @08:51PM (#50022783) Homepage

    Well I think the why is pretty clear with the feature set they have been releasing. On OSX Safari is a default choice whose major advantage is ties with iOS devices. They are fine with people using other browsers and might even welcome a more diverse OSX broswer ecosystem. On iOS they want to move away from the web and towards applications. They need the iOS Safari engine to be fast, but they don't need it to support the full range of web experiences since increasingly they want those experiences delivered via. applications.

    The analogy with I.E. is really quite on point. Apple is acting like Microsoft did in the late 1990s / 2000s for the same reason Microsoft was disinterested in I.E. They were focusing on platform specific advantages that come from client / server rather than purely web server design.

  • Apple is the new IBM, content only to perform preventive maintenance on their annual upgrade cash machine. Anything that isn't awe-inspiring or scandalous enough to make headlines isn't worth their effort. Fixes to Safari might only add a couple bullet points to their "over 300 improvements" to OS X next year, and that's if they delay all fixes until then just to make them noticeable. The cost-to-benefit ratio is too high for those penny pinchers, so they won't bother.
    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

      I see Safari updates in the App Store app on my Macbook all the time. Stop being ignorant.

  • The Edge Conference, which one can attend by invitation only, includes "delegates" from Google, Mozilla, Facebook, but not from Apple. Many of the web API's unsupported on Safari include functions provided by API's in iOS, or even Android. Some people want to create Web Apps, that create experiences very similar to iOS, but run on a mobile or desktop web browser. Apple would prefer you develop such Apps using iOS using Swift or Objective-C API's, which run natively with better performance in security. Wh

  • iOS users feel it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bruce Perens ( 3872 )

    I currently have a web radio transceiver front panel application that works on Linux, Windows, MacOS, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire, under Chrome, Firefox, or Opera. No porting, no software installation. See blog.algoram.com for details of what I'm writing.

    The one unsupported popular platform? iOS, because Safari doesn't have the function used to acquire the microphone in the web audio API (and perhaps doesn't have other parts of that API), and Apple insists on handicapping other browsers by forcing them to u

    • Well, you could build an app with the same interface, features, etc. Sure it's more work, but that's where the money is. At some point presumably you have to put food on your table and a roof over your head, and ideology doesn't pay the bills. I don't like the idea of selling out any more than you probably do as a matter of principle, but my wife and kids need feeding and clothing.
  • It always has been a twin to IE. It's a pain in the ass in all ways...and not the good kind.
  • HTML5 was supposed to be the be-all and end-all compatability standard that would render all browser differences irrelevant.

    Then reality kicked in...

  • by sbaker ( 47485 ) on Wednesday July 01, 2015 @12:10AM (#50023471) Homepage

    When you expect to get most of your revenue from selling apps in the iStore - it's essential that people are unable to get apps for free via fancy web pages.

    Hence, iPhone doesn't support WebGL for doing fancy 3D graphics on a web page - if it did, people would write cool games in HTML/JavaScript/WebGL and monetize them directly without having Apple take 30% of the revenue and "approve" their product.

    Is this because Apple can't support WebGL? Hell no! The browser actually DOES contain code for WebGL, but it's disabled...UNLESS your web site signs up to display Apple-provided advertising banners...in which case, WebGL works great!

    Safari uses the exact same core rending software ("WebKit") as Chrome - so it can trivially support everything that Chrome supports - it's really just a matter of Apple deciding to deliberately cripple the browser to prevent people from providing apps for free.

    • it's really just a matter of Apple deciding to deliberately cripple the browser to prevent people from providing apps for free.

      And other browsers as well... Safari is an Apple app, installed and updated from the iOS installations and as such has an unfair advantage in terms of OS resources. Just use and compare Safari and Chrome on the iPhone...

    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

      Chrome uses a fork of WebKit. Sure, Apple could back port the changes, but that's not much difference than saying they could use Gecko.

    • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Wednesday July 01, 2015 @05:23AM (#50024229)

      How does a post that gets almost all of its facts wrong get modded up as Insightful? You started on a provably faulty premise, backed it up with inaccurate statements regarding WebGL, and then closed it out by saying something that I'd have hoped most of us here would trivially recognize as incorrect.

      When you expect to get most of your revenue from selling apps in the iStore

      Apple announced at the start of the year that they've paid out $25B to developers over the life of the App Store. Do some quick math, and that means that Apple is averaging $0.45B in revenue each quarter from the App Store, which would put it at <1% of their quarterly revenue (e.g. Apple posted $60B in revenue in their latest, post-Christmas quarter).

      Which is to say, your basic premise here is that Apple is intentionally crippling the product that makes up 60% of their revenue (iOS hardware) in order to bolster the revenue in a segment that accounts for less than 1% of their revenue (App Store downloads). Seriously? Apple's main business isn't selling apps; it's selling selling devices that run apps, and you may even recall that back when the iPhone launched in 2007, the "apps" it supported were web apps, not native apps.

      iPhone doesn't support WebGL for doing fancy 3D graphics on a web page

      Could've fooled me. [ludei.com] iOS 8 has been out for nearly a year at this point, and has had WebGL support from the beginning without any of the weird requirements you're talking about.

      The browser actually DOES contain code for WebGL, but it's disabled...UNLESS your web site signs up to display Apple-provided advertising banners

      A) You're confused. You're talking about iAds (and I'll discuss why I know you are in a sec), but the iAd advertising network only operates in iOS apps, not on websites. Sites can't sign up to it.

      B) It's not disabled. See above. WebGL support was available as an experimental feature in iOS 7, and as a standard feature in iOS8. No ads or other funny business required.

      The reason you're confused is because, technically speaking, iOS did have support for WebGL as far back as iOS 4.2 [atnan.com], but it was only available to iAd developers. By that, I don't mean people who agreed to put iAds in their app. I mean people who were actually making the iAds themselves, since iAds are basically just mini webpages that display an ad.

      If that seems a bit weird at first glance, recall that WebGL was a resource-intensive feature on the devices of that day, and Apple has a history of restricting the scope or operation of resource-intensive features until the implementations or device capabilities improve (see: background processing, native apps on Apple Watch, etc.), so it made sense at the time why WebGL was restricted to iAds, since they were designed to only be on the screen for short periods of time yet could stand to gain the most from such a feature.

      The only sense in which what you said is correct is that for a few years the only people who were able to make use of WebGL on iOS were the ones making the ads, but it was never a feature that web developers had to make a Faustian pact with Apple to use. It simply wasn't available to them.

      Safari uses the exact same core rending software ("WebKit") as Chrome - so it can trivially support everything that Chrome supports

      They haven't both used "WebKit" since Google forked WebKit to create Blink over two years ago [chromium.org], but even before that, they weren't even running "the exact same core rendering software" for the last several years back when they were both running "WebKit".

      Google and Apple have had divergent multi-process architectures for quite some time. Google built

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