Safari and the continuing browser wars

Following Steve Jobs’ MacWorld keynote speech, there has been much hubbub about Apple’s new web browser, Safari, not to be confused with Internet Safari, the kid-friendly web browser put out by Heartsoft. Dive Into Mark probably has one of the better technical reviews of Safari out there at this time. Although Mark’s review focuses on items of interest to web developers, he includes links to other pages which review Safari’s features.

Safari is based on KHTML, which is what the Linux desktop environment KDE uses in its web browser, Konqueror. Some have wished that Apple had chosen Gecko, the layout engine which Mozilla uses, notably because it is probably the most compliant rendering engine out there. Can Apple turn KHTML around so that it is as compliant as Gecko? Possibly. Apple understands the importance of open standards (Sherlock, the web services client integrated into OSX, makes use of JavaScript, XQuery and XPath) and open source (Apple open-sourced its Rendezvous networking technology). No doubt they will fix up Safari, and by extension KHTML, so that it properly adheres to the W3C specifications. Heck, they’ve already started. It is only a matter of time before Apple users can drop IE or Chimera and make the switch to a faster, compliant Safari.

Hopefully, with two compliant HTML rendering platforms on the market, Gecko and KHTML, someone will wake up and take notice. Perhaps web developers will start to code for standards rather than for Internet Explorer. Or perhaps Microsoft will fix IE to be more standards-compliant in order to fight back. Either way, standards win. Sure, those are high expectations, but I can dream, can’t I?

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