What browser do you use the most? Most Mac users think Safari works just fine, thank you. They are correct. Safari is an excellent browser for most of us. A growing percentage of Mac users– at least, based upon my website’s standard server logs– have adopted Google’s Chrome, too. A smaller number prefer Firefox, but I suspect many of us– but not most of us– use multiple browsers for varying purposes.
What browser do you use the most and why?
Less and less of my basic website browsing is done on the Mac, which means iPhone and iPad have picked up the slack. And, thanks to a variety of applications from Amazon to Home Depot to Target to Best Buy to Walmart, and even Apple’s own Apple Store app, the traditional browser gets used less and less.
So, why am I engaged in browser hunting? Good question. I’ll work on an answer while I’m writing.
The past year has been a good one for Mac, iPhone, and iPad browser users. Firefox has improved notably in speed, privacy, and security; easily topping Chrome which has grown sluggish to the point of being cumbersome.
I’m impressed by Brave, a lightweight browser with a strong focus on privacy and security and a minimalist approach to feature sets common with Google and Chrome.
Apple makes available two bleeding edge Safari browsers.
The first, and the only official Safari beta, is the Safari Technology Preview.
Safari Technology Preview gives you an early look at upcoming web technologies in macOS and iOS. Get the latest layout technologies, visual effects, developer tools, and more, so you can provide input on how they are implemented and deliver a best-in-class user experience on all Apple devices.
In simpler terms, STP is a way to see what’s coming in Safari’s future without mucking up your Mac by using an unstable potentially problematic beta. It’s also a good way for Apple to get tens of thousands of additional beta testers before dropping a new Safari release onto 100-million or so Mac customers.
Safari Technology Preview updates easily from the Mac App Store and has a built-in Bug Reporter to make it easier to send feedback to Apple. And, importantly, it does not replace the Safari version already on your Mac.
STP isn’t really bleeding edge because the process of downloading, using, and updating is refined.
Not so with the bleeding edge version of Safari, also known as WebKit. WebKit itself is the web browser engine that Apple uses for Safari, for Mail, for the App Store, and many other applications that run on macOS, iOS, and even Linux.
WebKit is more for developers than average Mac users and it comes in many flavors, including the Safari Technology Preview noted above, and the WebKit recent builds (a whole library of recent builds, some compiled multiple times per day).
The WebKit Feature Status page displays a growing list of new Safari features as well as items which are planned for the junk heap and deprecated. Features which are deprecated, removed, not considering, in development, fully supported, or partially supported are list there.
This is the place to go to live on the bleeding edge. What you learn from the WebKit website is where the Safari browser is headed. But it starts with a bleeding edge.