Because the world needed another browser/platform combination to test, Apple has released a beta version of Safari for Windows. Why? Arguably, it’s to make sure that Windows developers have access to the browser in the iPhone, so they can make sure that their Web 2.0 sites work on the iPhone without having to buy new computers. (Though this also robs them of the primary justification for getting an iPhone on the company dime. Haven’t they suffered enough, Steve?) On that note, I hope this new foray will expand the pool of people contributing ideas to Greg‘s post about cool new apps for the iPhone. (There’s already a truly brilliant idea in there, albeit with a name I can’t use here due to readers behind content filters. Who’s going to make it happen?)
It will also be interesting to see if the presence of another highly standards-compliant browser (joining Firefox and Opera) on the Windows platform spurs more Windows-based web developers to pressure Microsoft to maintain their momentum on the issue, so as not to see IE fall behind all the competitors. As you might expect, I certainly hope so.
Remember: this is a beta! There’s going to be weirdness. PPK, for example, ran into layout problems that may or may not be related to the video card in one of his systems. Other people are reporting crashes; though many of them are reporting crashes on CNN‘s site, which crashes my OS X copy of Safari from time to time. Interesting to see that kind of cross-platform crash consistency.
The beta’s certainly worth checking out if you’re interested, but—as with the IE7 betas—do not start reworking your site to address layout problems in this beta. Report them to the WebKit team instead. When the final version (or a feature-frozen RC version) is released, it’ll be time for testing, charting, and possible reworking.
Interesting times indeed. If you’ll excuse me, I have to go make some changes to my browser-release timeline slides.