Safari 4 preview

I just grabbed the new update to the Safari 4 preview, and I have to say it’s very zippy indeed. I ran SunSpider benchmarks on it and FireFox 3.0.1 on my Mac Pro. Safari 4 is on average 75% faster, but has many results that are in the 200 – 500% range.

This is only measuring javascript performance of course, but that, plus whatever other changes are in S4, translates to incredible speed in daily use. I use the SafariStand extension to remember my open tabs, and I can reopen about 40 tabs in 8 windows in about 3 seconds, including all their content! FF 3 was a huge improvement over 2, but Safari 4 is a different league. This is only a preview, so it will probably get faster still by release.

The integration of the JS debugger is very elegant (Drosera has been rolled in), but I’m still looking forward to the appearance of FireBug for Safari, which someone is doing as a Google SoC project (S4 adds some FireBug hooks too).

All the new CSS funkiness from recent webkit nightlies is there too, and I suspect many an iPhone and widget developer is drooling over them…

Microsoft finally gets it

I somehow missed Microsoft’s announcement that (in a complete U-turn from previous announcements) IE8 will support web standards mode by default, and thus any broken sites will have to enable IE7 mode by a meta tag. So finally, IE will cease to be the albatross around the neck of the internet, and developers the world over will at last be able to write standards-compliant sites that work in all major browsers.

I had real trouble believing that MS had convinced so many prominent web standards advocates (here and here) that the previous option was in some way a good thing, when it essentially meant that MS expected 99% of the web to change in order to support the 1% (almost entirely intranets and thus of no public interest) that are so badly written that they couldn’t survive a browser update.

I’m very happy to see this change of heart, which was a really unexpected thing to see from MS. They don’t normally give a stuff about such things, so they fully deserve the adulation that their announcement is getting in the comments. It also vindicates the slagging I gave the authors of those articles promoting the evil meta tag!

So, Thank you Microsoft! I look forward to not having to do anything special for IE – you probably just doubled the world’s web development productivity rate! Who knows – one day IE might be as good as Firefox or Safari…

SunSpider Benchmarks: WebKit Rocks

The WebKit guys have put together a new Javascript benchmark under the name “SunSpider“. It’s intended to go further than simple benchmarks like Celtic Kane’s and try to emulate real-world tasks. Safari/WebKit has been getting pretty quick on these benchmarks anyway, but this new one really shows its strengths. There are various comments about people’s results in the comments for that post, but no compilation for easy comparison, so I’ve put one together.
Updated: added Webkit Win and Opera 9.5b Win
Updated: Failed to run completely on Opera 9.5b Mac
Updated: Some stats for Opera 9.5b Mac and IE6
Updated March 18th: Added Safari 3.1, FF3b4, IE8

Continue reading “SunSpider Benchmarks: WebKit Rocks”

Safari & CSS User Interface colours

I’ve recently encountered a stylesheet that uses the CSS user Interface colours defined here:

My attention was drawn to it because it was a problem. a:hover was defined as color:HighlightText, and body had background-color:Background, the result of which was that I got white text on a white background when rolling over links. This makes it sound like these values are not set properly by Safari, or that it doesn’t match Safari’s own internal style sheet. For example if I select text on a page with neither of these styles set (i.e. black text on white), I get my system selected background colour, but the text remains black. This would indicate that Safari considers HighlightText to be black by default. But when I ask for that colour by name, I get white instead. Is this a bug?