Mad, Beautiful Ideas
And the runner-up for the 'Net's Worst Browser is....

People aren’t going to like this, but I’m going to have to say Safari. Safari is typically well regarded. It’s standards-compliant, it’s Javascript and rendering engines are light and fast (which is why WebKit is gaining ground on mobile devices), but what’s great about Safari is everything that’s right with WebKit, what Safari does on it’s own is kind of horrendous.

First and foremost, Apple released a version of Safari 3.0.4 for Windows a while back. This would have been great, except for two things. First, Safari looks terrible on Windows. Rather than integrating the browser with whatever platform it’s running on, Apple forces Safari (and iTunes, actually) to look exactly as they do on Mac OS X. One of the most common problems I’ve always heard with GTK+ on Windows is th at the widgets don’t quite look right on Windows, which makes the application look out of place. iTunes and Safari look completely out of place on Windows, creating a disjoint experience for the user. Not that I think Apple cares about this, I’m pretty sure they’re just trying to use these products to try to convert users.

The other problem with Safari on Windows, is that it simply doesn’t work the same as Safari on Mac. There are pages that load fine on the office Mac Book, that won’t do anything on my Windows installation of Safari. I’ve yet to track down this particular problem, but it simply doesn’t make sense, and it suggests that this beta is not nearly as ready as Apple would like users to believe.

The second major problem I encountered may actually be a problem with WebKit, I haven’t had a chance to run a Konqueror test yet. Safari appears to concatenate an extra CR-LF pair to the end of upload files. This led to problems with our CSV decoder, as it saw that extra CR-LF as part of the file contents and made the false assumption that the file used DOS Line endings. I’ve changed the behaviour of the decoder to be more resilient, but with some binary formats, that could have been a major problem. The bug has been reported to Apple, however.

However, these flaws are not as bad as most of IE7s. At least I was able to report the bug to Apple, something Microsoft makes nearly impossible, and it works well on it’s primary platform. I know IE8 is apparently going to improve it’s standards compliance, but I can’t judge it until it’s closer to release.