Safari (web browser)

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File:Apple Safari.png
File:Safari 4 on Mac OS X 10.5.7.png
Safari 4 on Mac OS X v10.5
Developer(s) Apple Inc.
Initial release January 7, 2003
Operating system Mac OS X v10.4.11 or later
Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7
iPhone OS
Engine WebKit (Based on KHTML)
Size 45.4 MB (version 4.0.4 running on Mac OS X v10.6)
Development status Current
Type Web browser
License Proprietary under GNU LGPL

Safari is a web browser developed by Apple. First released as a public beta on January 7, 2003[1] on the company's Mac OS X operating system, it became Apple's default browser beginning with Mac OS X v10.3 "Panther." Safari is also the native browser for the iPhone OS. A version of Safari for the Microsoft Windows operating system, first released on June 11, 2007, supports Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.[2] The current stable release of the browser is 4.0.4 for both Mac OS X and Windows.

In December 2009, Safari had a 4.46% market share according to Net Applications.[3]


History and development

Until 1997, Apple Macintosh computers were shipped with the Netscape Navigator and Cyberdog web browsers only. Internet Explorer for Mac was later included as the default web browser for Mac OS 8.1 and onwards,[4] as part of a five year agreement between Apple and Microsoft. During that time, Microsoft released three major versions of Internet Explorer for Mac that were bundled with Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9, though Apple continued to include Netscape Navigator as an alternative. Microsoft ultimately released a Mac OS X edition of Internet Explorer 5, which was included as the default browser in all Mac OS X releases from Mac OS X DP4[5] until Mac OS X v10.2.[6]

First Release

On January 7, 2003, at Macworld San Francisco, Steve Jobs announced that Apple had developed their own web browser, called Safari. It was based on Apple's internal fork of the KHTML rendering engine, called WebKit.[7] Apple released the first beta version for OS X that day. A number of official and unofficial beta versions followed, until version 1.0 was released on June 23, 2003. Initially only available as a separate download for Mac OS X v10.2, it was included with the Mac OS X v10.3 release on October 24, 2003 as the default browser, with Internet Explorer for Mac included only as an alternative browser.

The last version of Safari to support Mac OS X v10.2 is Safari 1.0.3, released on August 13, 2004. The last version to support Mac OS X v10.3 is 1.3.2, released January 12, 2006.

Safari 2

In April 2005, Dave Hyatt, one of the Safari developers at Apple, documented his progress in fixing specific bugs in Safari, thereby enabling it to pass the Acid2 test developed by the Web Standards Project. On April 27, 2005, he announced that his development version of Safari now passed the test, making it the first web browser to do so.[8]

Safari 2.0 was released on April 29, 2005 as the only web browser included with Mac OS X v10.4. This version was touted by Apple as possessing a 1.8x speed boost over version 1.2.4, but did not yet include the Acid2 bug fixes. The necessary changes were not initially available to end-users unless they downloaded and compiled the WebKit source code themselves or ran one of the nightly automated builds available at[9] Apple eventually released version 2.0.2 of Safari, which included the modifications required to pass Acid2, on October 31, 2005.

In June 2005, after some criticism from KHTML developers over lack of access to change logs, Apple moved the development source code and bug tracking of WebCore and JavaScriptCore to WebKit itself was also released as open source. The source code for non-renderer aspects of the browser, such as its GUI elements, remains proprietary.

The final stable version of Safari 2, Safari 2.0.4, was released on January 10, 2006 for Mac OS X. It was only available as part of Mac OS X Update 10.4.4. This version addresses layout and CPU usage issues, among others.[10] Safari 2.0.4 was the last version to be released exclusively on Mac OS X.

Safari 3

On January 9, 2007, at Macworld SF, Jobs announced Apple's iPhone, which would use a mobile version of the Safari browser.[11]

On June 11, 2007, at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Jobs announced Safari 3 for Mac OS X v10.5, Windows XP, and Windows Vista. During the announcement, he ran a benchmark based on the iBench browser test suite comparing the most popular Windows browsers,[12] hence claiming that Safari was the fastest browser. Later third-party tests of HTTP load times would support Apple's claim that Safari 3 was indeed the fastest browser on the Windows platform in terms of initial data loading over the Internet, though it was found to be only negligibly faster than Internet Explorer 7 and Mozilla Firefox when loading static content from local cache.[13]

The initial Safari 3 beta version for Windows, released on the same day as its announcement at WWDC 2007, had several known bugs[14] and a zero day exploit that allowed remote execution.[15] The addressed bugs were then corrected by Apple three days later on June 14, 2007, in version 3.0.1 for Windows. On June 22, 2007, Apple released Safari 3.0.2 to address some bugs, performance issues and other security issues. Safari 3.0.2 for Windows handles some fonts that are missing in the browser but already installed on Windows computers, such as Tahoma, Trebuchet MS, and others.

The iPhone was formally released on June 29, 2007 with a version of Safari built into its OS that is less feature-rich as compared to its desktop counterpart. The version of Safari as reported in its user agent string is 3.0,[16] in line with the contemporary desktop versions of Safari.

The first stable, non-beta release of Safari for Windows, Safari 3.1, was offered as a free download on March 18, 2008. In June 2008, Apple released version 3.1.2,[17][18] addressing a security vulnerability in the Windows version where visiting a malicious web site could force a download of executable files and execute them on the user's desktop.[19]

Safari 3.2, released on November 13, 2008, introduced anti-phishing features and Extended Validation Certificate support. The final version of Safari 3 is 3.2.3, released on May 12, 2009.

Safari 4

On June 2, 2008, the WebKit development team announced SquirrelFish,[20] a new JavaScript engine that vastly improves Safari's speed at interpreting scripts.[21] The engine is one of the new features in Safari 4, released to developers on June 11, 2008. The new JavaScript engine quickly evolved into SquirrelFish Extreme, featuring even further improved performance over SquirrelFish,[22] and was eventually marketed as Nitro. A public beta of Safari 4 was released on February 24, 2009, with new features such as the Top Sites tool (similar to Opera's Speed Dial feature), which displays the user's most visited sites on a 3D wall.[23] Cover Flow, a feature of Mac OS X and iTunes, was also implemented in Safari. In the public beta versions, tabs were placed in the title bar of the window, similar to Google Chrome. The tab bar was moved back to its original location, below the URL bar, in the final release.[24] The Windows version adopted a native Windows theme, rather than the previously employed Mac OS X-style interface.

On June 8, 2009, Safari 4 was officially released. Safari 4.0.1 was released for Mac on June 17 and fixed problems with Faces in iPhoto '09. Safari 4 in Mac OS X v10.6 "Snow Leopard" has 64-bit support, which can make JavaScript loading up to 50% faster. It also has built-in crash resistance unique to Snow Leopard; crash resistance will keep the browser intact if a plug-in like Flash player crashes, such that the other tabs or windows will be unaffected.[25] Safari 4.0.4, released on November 11, 2009 for both OS X and Windows, further improves JavaScript performance.[26]


Safari offers numerous features, both unique and common to most modern web browsers, including:

On Mac OS X, Safari is a Cocoa application.[28] It uses Apple's WebKit for rendering web pages and running JavaScript. WebKit consists of WebCore (based on Konqueror's KHTML engine) and JavaScriptCore (originally based on KDE's JavaScript engine, named KJS). Like KHTML and KJS, WebCore and JavaScriptCore are free software and are released under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License. Some Apple improvements to the KHTML code are merged back into the Konqueror project. Apple also releases additional code under an open source 2-clause BSD-like license.

It includes a built-in web feed aggregator that supports the RSS and Atom standards. Other features include Private Browsing (a mode in which no record of information about the user's web activity is retained by the browser),[29] the ability to archive web content in the proprietary Webarchive format, the ability to e-mail complete web pages directly from a browser menu, and the ability to search bookmarks.

Beginning with Safari 4, the address bar has been completely revamped:

File:Safari 4 on Windows XP.png
Safari 4 on Windows XP
  • The button to add a bookmark is now attached to the address bar by default.
  • The reload/stop button is now superimposed on the right end of the address bar.
  • The blue inline progress bar is replaced with a spinning bezel and a loading indicator attached to it.

These modifications make Safari on Mac OS X and Windows look more similar to Safari on iPhone than previous versions.

In addition, Safari 4 includes the following new features:

  • Top Sites, which displays up to 24 thumbnails of a user's most frequently-visited pages on startup
  • Cover Flow browsing for History and Bookmarks
  • Nitro JavaScript engine that executes JavaScript up to eight times faster than Internet Explorer 8 and more than four times faster than Firefox 3[30]
  • Native Windows look on Windows (Aero, Luna, Classic, etc., depending on OS and settings) with standard Windows font rendering and optional Apple font rendering
  • Support for CSS image retouching effects
  • Support for CSS Canvas
  • Speculative loading, where Safari loads the documents, scripts, and style information that are required to view a web page ahead of time
  • Improved developer tools, including Web Inspector, CSS element viewing, JavaScript debugger and profiler, offline table and database management with SQL support, and resource graphs
  • Support for HTML5
  • Completely passes the Acid3 standards test
File:Wikipedia Main Page on iPhone.png
Safari on the iPhone and iPod Touch

iPhone OS-specific features

iPhone OS-specific features for Safari enable:

  • MDI-style browsing (with up to 8 pages open concurrently, limited by cache storage).
  • Pressing on an image for 3 seconds to save it to the photo album.
  • Bookmarking links to particular pages as "Web Clip" icons on the Home screen.
  • Opening specially-designed pages in full-screen mode.

Notable plug-ins

System requirements

The latest version of Safari requires either a Mac running Mac OS X v10.4 or later, or a PC running Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, or Windows 7. Official minimum hardware requirements are any Intel processor or a PowerPC G3, G4, or G5 with 256 MB of RAM for Mac or a 500 MHz Pentium processor with 256 MB of RAM for Windows. Cover Flow and Top Sites require a graphics card that is Quartz Extreme-compatible with 16 MB or more video memory for Mac or DirectX 9-compatible with 32 MB or more video memory for Windows.[31]

64-bit builds

The version of Safari included in Mac OS X v10.6 is now compiled in 64-bit. Apple claims that running Safari in 64-bit mode will increase rendering speeds by up to 45%. However, there is currently no 64-bit build for Mac OS X v10.5 or older, Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7.


Distribution through Apple Software Update

An earlier version of Apple Software Update (bundled with Safari, QuickTime, and iTunes for Microsoft Windows) selected Safari for installation from a list of Apple programs to download by default, even when a pre-existing installation of Safari was not detected on a user's machine. John Lilly, CEO of Mozilla, stated that Apple's use of its updating software to promote its other products was "a bad practice and should stop." He argued that the practice "borders on malware distribution practices" and "undermines the trust that [software companies are] all trying to build with users."[32] Apple spokesman Bill Evans responded to Lilly's statement, saying that Apple was only "using Software Update to make it easy and convenient for both Mac and Windows users to get the latest Safari update from Apple."[33] Apple also released a new version of Apple Software Update that puts new software in its own section, though still selected for installation by default.[34] In a newer update, Apple Software Update no longer selected new installation items in the new software section by default (as of late 2008).[citation needed]

On September 22, 2009, Apple once again checked "Install Safari 4" as a default setting with their update to iTunes v9.0.1.[citation needed] As of September 30, 2009, Safari is not a pre-selected application in Apple Software Update when it is not already installed.[35]

Browser exploits

In the PWN2OWN contest at the 2008 CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, a successful exploit of Safari caused Mac OS X to be the first OS to fall in a hacking competition. Participants competed to find a way to read the contents of a file located on the user's desktop, in one of three operating systems: Mac OS X Leopard, Windows Vista SP1, and Ubuntu 7.10. On the second day of the contest, when users were allowed to physically interact with the computers (the prior day permitted only network attacks), Charlie Miller compromised Mac OS X within two minutes, through an unpatched vulnerability of the PCRE library used by Safari.[36] Miller had been aware of the flaw prior to the beginning of the conference.[36] The exploited vulnerability was patched in Safari 3.1.1, among other flaws.[37]

In the 2009 PWN2OWN contest, Charlie Miller performed another successful exploit of Safari to hack into a Mac in approximately 10 seconds. Miller again acknowledged that he had advance knowledge of the security flaw prior to the competition, and had done considerable research and preparation work on the exploit.[38][39] Apple released a patch for this exploit and others on May 12, 2009 in Safari 3.2.3.[40][41]

Software license agreement

The original software license agreement for Safari on Windows was unusually restrictive for several months,[42] reading in part:

This License allows you to install and use one copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at a time.[43]

As most personal computers running Windows are not Apple-labeled computers, it was impossible for most Windows users to use the software and abide by the license agreement, with the exception of Intel-based Mac computers running Windows. Within hours of the story breaking about the long-unnoticed anomaly, Apple changed the agreement as posted on their website to read:[43]

This license allows you to install and use one copy of the Apple Software on each computer owned or controlled by you.[44]

However, the Safari installer was not immediately updated and still contained the old license.[45] Later installers include corrected copies of the license.

Safari on iPhone autofill features

Autofill was added to Safari in iPhone OS 3.0, which saves users from having to fill out web forms manually. The disadvantage of this feature on a mobile device is that it may lead to identity theft if the iPhone is stolen[46] and a passcode has not been set to lock the iPhone.

See also


  1. Apple Inc. (2007-01-07). "Apple Unveils Safari". Press release. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 
  2. Apple Inc. (2007-06-11). "Apple Introduces Safari for Windows". Press release. Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  3. "Browser Market Share". Net Applications. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  4. "Mac OS 8.1 Update Document and Software". Apple Inc.. 2003-08-14. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  5. "Apple Releases Mac OS X Developer Preview 4 with Final API Specs". Apple Inc.. 2000-05-15. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  6. "Java 1.3.1 for Mac OS X version 10.2 Release Notes". Apple Inc.. 2002-07. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  7. Pour, Andreas (2003-01-07). "Apple Announces New "Safari" Browser". KDE Dot News. Retrieved 2006-01-04. 
  8. Hyatt, Dave (2005-04-27). "Safari Passes the Acid2 Test". Surfin' Safari. MozillaZine. Retrieved 2005-04-28. 
  9. Hyatt, Dave (2005-10-12). "Nightly Builds". Surfin' Safari. Retrieved 2006-10-29. 
  10. About the Mac OS X 10.4.4 Update (Delta)
  11. Apple Reinvents the Phone with iPhone
  12. Wilton-Jones, Mark. "Is Safari faster?". Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  13. Czeiszperger, Michae (2007-10-20). "Safari 3 Windows Performance Analysis". Web Performance. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  14. Maynor, David (2007-06-11). "Niiiice...". Errata Security. Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  15. Larholm, Thor (2007-06-12). "Safari for Windows, 0day exploit in 2 hours". Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  16. Mobile Safari
  17. About the security content of Safari 3.1.2 for Windows
  18. Keizer, Gregg. Apple does about-face, fixes Safari's 'carpet bomb' bug, ComputerWorld (June 19, 2008).
  19. "Microsoft Security Advisory (953818)". Microsoft. 
  20. Garen, Geoffrey (2008-06-02). "Announcing SquirrelFish". Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  21. Lipskas, Vygantas (2008-06-11). "Apple Safari 4". Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  22. Introducing SquirrelFish Extreme
  23. Hands on: Safari 4 beta fast, mixes polish, rough UI edges
  24. Dempsey, James (2009-06-09). "Apple Releases Safari 4". The GigaOM Network. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  25. Apple - Mac OS X - What is Mac OS X - Safari
  26. Safari 4.0.4
  27. Hatcher, Timothy. "Introducing the Web Inspector". Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
  28. Apple Developer Connection: "What Is Cocoa?" ("Most of the applications you see on Mac OS X and iPhone OS, including Mail and Safari, are Cocoa applications."). Accessed 2009-08-19.
  29. "Safari's private (porn) browsing mode". lifehacker. 4 May 2005. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  30. What's new in Safari 4.
  31. Safari 4: Top Sites, Cover Flow features require compatible graphics card
  32. LaMonica, Martin (2008-03-21). "Mozilla CEO says Apple's Safari auto-update 'wrong'". CNET Networks. Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  33. Apple Distributes Safari Via Software Update
  34. Keizer, Gregg (2008-04-17). "Apple makes minor concession on pushing Safari to Windows users". Computerworld (IDG). Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  35. Apple Pushes Software Onto PCs Again…But Not for Long ("As well as QuickTime and iTunes updates (which were automatically selected), the Updater listed Safari (not pre-selected)...")
  36. 36.0 36.1 McMillan, Robert (2008-04-22). "Mac hack contest bug had been public for a year". Network World (IDG). Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  37. Update: Apple patches Safari's $10,000 bug, fixes other flaws
  38. Pwn2Own winner says Macs are more safe, though less secure
  39. "Charlie Miller Wins Pwn2Own Again Thanks to Safari Flaw". 2009-03-19. 
  40. "About the security content of Safari 3.2.3". Apple Inc.. 2009-05-12. Retrieved 2009-12-22. 
  41. Apple issues patches for Mac OS X
  42. Metz, Cade (2008-03-26). "Apple forbids Windows users from installing Safari for Windows". The Register. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  43. 43.0 43.1 LaMonica, Martin (2008-03-27). "Safari for Windows: Only for 'Apple-labeled' computers?". (CNET Networks). Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  44. "SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT FOR SAFARI FOR WINDOWS" (PDF). 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  45. "Apple grants Windows PCs the right to run Safari for Windows". The Register. 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  46. "iPhone OS 3.0 expected to be released on June 17, 2009". ERM Blog. 2009-06-12. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 

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