Safari 4 Impresses, Specifically If You're Around Javascript

It seems the entire internet is in a buzz about Apple’s latest version of the web browser, Safari. If you browse around Apple related sites, I’m sure you’ve seen the ‘Safari runs javascript 30x faster than IE’. I’ve downloaded the browser, and given it a test run. Overall, I’m impressed so far, even if some of the javascript taglines have been taken to an extreme.

The major update that everyone is discussing, is the Nitro Engine. This is what’s powering Safari 4, and is the backbone behind what makes the browser load javascript so fast. I’ve been comparing load times between Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari. So far, I’ve noticed a huge improvement for Safari over Internet Explorer. Not so much when comparing it to Chrome, and Firefox. I’m not arguing that the results of the benchmark tests are wrong. I’m just letting you know that if you’re looking for a blazing quick load for heavy java sites, when compared to Firefox and Chrome, you might be disappointed.

Where Apple really hit it on the mark with Safari, is the new interface. After looking around I’m glad to see Apple took a page out of the Chrome handbook. I think developers are starting to realize that simplicity is key when making a browser. People don’t want extensive menus, and drop downs when using a web browser. They want their eyes focused on the window. The ‘top pages’ page is the default setting for when you first load up Safari. It’s pretty neat, as it lays out recently visited pages, along with your favs, in a graphical preview setting.

The tabs, and quick favorite menu is heavily reminiscent of Chrome which is a good thing. The quick favorite menu which is embedded into the browser provides a one click option for visiting your most frequented sites. The tab system works like a charm, although I’m a bit skeptical of the tabs system in the Windows version of the browser. They claim they’re trying to make the browser more ‘Windows looking’, which it does prove the claim. However, they make the tabs a part of the title bar. Which for long time Windows users could be a bit confusing. I’ll admit it took me a second or two to realize where the tabs were.

For a browser that’s in beta, Safari 4 is pretty far along. I’ve perused through the browser’s options, and preferences. It’s highly customizable, as you can change much of the browser’s settings to fit with how you surf the internet. Most of the standard settings like, private browsing, and hiding all of your bars are there.

After a day of use, I can easily recommend Safari 4. Going into though, just realize the hype about the Nitro Engine isn’t nearly as great as some are letting on. Of course, if you’re using Safari already then this just a nice upgrade for you. If you use another browser, then know that Apple hasn’t strayed too far from the proverbial path to turn you off from it.

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