Safari, the new Internet browser for Mac systems with Mac Os X
and higher, is by far the best browser I’ve encountered in a long time since the days of Netscape 3.0 and Gold. It’s got the old Netscape’s simplicity with the nicer features of Internet Explorer. And it isn’t buggy like both of them are now. It runs fast and quietly and you don’t have to hunt for the features that you need.
Safari first came out in June 2003 with version 1.0. We’re now up to version 2.0.1. Presumably, the name was meant to match the tendency to name Mac OS X systems versions of 10.2 and higher after large cats: Jaguar (10.2), Panther (10.3) and Tiger (10.4). The joke might have been that if you wanted to roam with big cats, you ought to go on safari. The Safari browser is, of course, proprietorial in the sense that you have to have Mac OS X 10.2 or higher to use it. This leaves out PC and Unix systems and any Mac machine older than a G3. But since that means every Mac produced in the past five years can use it, that’s not a big hardship for Mac users.
Safari works better with a Mac than Internet Explorer does with a PC. Internet Explorer is specifically designed for PCs, though it has Mac versions. However, the attempts by Microsoft to monopolize the Internet browser market and push out Netscape resulted in a buggy program that punished non-Microsoft systems users while managing to work badly even on Microsoft systems.
In contrast, Safari works superbly well on the operating system it was designed for: Mac Os X. It doesn’t take forever to load up a page. It doesn’t crash all of the time like Internet Explorer and the newer versions of Netscape and it doesn’t balk at all of the new media programs out there. It doesn’t demand that you upload things to see a simple Quicktime or Shockwave file. It just shows them. What’s not to like about that?
Safari is also much simpler to use than Internet Explorer or the newer versions of Netscape. It also makes basic browser maintenance easy. You don’t have to hunt through the Advanced section of the Preferences selection in a pulldown menu to find the Internet cache to empty it (as you did with Netscape). It’s right there in the Safari pulldown menu. Similarly, Internet Explorer’s History of past websites visited function has its own pulldown menu on the top bar now instead of being buried. This makes it much easier to clear the History from time to time. You have to clear both of these things regularly to keep your browser up to speed, but Safari is the first browser I’ve seen that makes it easy to find and use them.
Safari has also kept some nice features from previous browsers?such as the Internet Explorer thesaurus function of suggested URLs whenever you’re typing one into the window. This does a great job of jogging your memory when you haven’t tried a URL in a while or are trying to find a page on a site where the links don’t work. Similarly, Safari has kept the simplicity with which Netscape dealt with photo, sound and movie files. Internet Explorer, on the other hand, really lacks that ease of interface that you see in Mac systems, but not PC.
Safari doesn’t try to stretch out over too many operating systems. It just serves well the system for which it was designed. And it uses the good points of previous browsers while improving on what they did badly. These things, ultimately, are what make Safari superior to other current Internet browsers.