Testing your site in Safari

Of all the major browsers, Safari is probably the biggest pain in the ass to test with. The vast majority of people use Windows and can test their sites in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera pretty easily. You’ll know that a web page should look more or less the same whether you use Firefox on Windows, Linux or OS X so you won’t need to install any other operating systems. Apple don’t make Safari for any platforms besides OS X and OS X is inaccessible to most people as they don’t want to purchase a new computer to test a website.

I believe some Safari users were a bit fed up of web developers forgetting about them and created services which would allow web developers to enter a URL and get a screenshot of their site in Safari. Dan Vine’s iCapture is probably the most famous one but I’ve found that it doesn’t always work and the last time I checked, it only gives a screenshot at the top of the page so it’s useless for whole pages.

Browsercam is another nice tool which is very comprehensive. It costs but there is a free trial. The free trial doesn’t give a screenshot of the whole page; again it is useless for whole pages.

I just came across SafariTest at Snugtech. This is a fantastic tool. It can give you a screenshot of your webpage in Safari at a selection of screen sizes. Not only that, it will show the whole page rather than just the top portion of it. If you’re testing scripts, there is a fantastic VNC service

Safari through VNC 

9 thoughts on “Testing your site in Safari

  1. Nice link collection. I tried if my page works in Safari and yes, it does without any problems. It seems that alpha trasnparency on pngs is not supported or maybe disabled or something, but that isn’t that important and doesn’t make the page unreadable. Building on recommended standards is really worth it – I wouldn’t wanna know how ugly my page would look if I had used browser specific stuff – apart from IE’s conditional comments to provide fixes for all the things IE gets wrong. If IE7 would be as supportive as all the other browsers this’d be great.


  2. I feel like I should probably put a word in for Safari. If a stylesheet works in Firefox, you’ll generally get the same results in Safari. The real problem for cross-platform web development is Internet Explorer, which has such a psychopathic disregard for standards and so many different codebases that even equal version numbers will not display similar results between OS-X and Windows. (Opera would be a similar problem if anyone used it.) Face it: web development is a mess right now, and barring a disruptive technology it probably won’t get much better in the future.

    Transparent PNGs are supported quite well in Safari, in both foreground and background images, as seen on my blog: /www.spacetoast.net/STP>. I think that may have been an issue with the Safari emulator. IE up to 6.x could only display them correctly as foreground elements. I’ve noticed that even Firefox can’t do PNG transparency under older versions of Windows, probably as a result of a graphics library call. Ahh, .png — for a 20 year old file format, you’re awfully troublesome.

    Safari isn’t a perfect browser (lack of customization options is my biggest pet peeve) but it seems to be doing far more good than harm on the web right now.

  3. Safari is a fairly good browser, I do agree. Though as a developer, I’ve learnt to work with IE and it’s easy and accessible for me to find any IE quirks and iron them out. With Safari it’s a different story – I’ve come across several Safari quirks over the last few days (with Canvas, JS) and I’ve not known about them because I can’t test using Safari.

  4. Google’s new Chrome browser uses the same rendering engine as Safari apparently (WebKit). If that truly is the case then it’s a simple route to checking if a page is likely to render OK in Safari, but not a definitive test. I guess we just have yet another browser to check against.

    I just tested a site of mine with it and it looks mangled in Chrome, so will probably be the same in Safari. Oh Joy!

  5. I occasionally use browserpool, a little out of date for a virtual methinks but useful all the same. Can’t remember the url at the mo as I am not at my PC (currently mobile) but google it! it’s easy to find – I also subscribe to browsershots…

    hope it helps… Sarah

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