Thoughts on Safari Developer PreviewWeb Design & Development
Safari was introduced back in 2003 and has heralded a revolution in browser technology. Right now, however, the Chrome browser commands over 40% of web browser usage while Safari has only 4% of the overall market. Due to this dominance, most web developers use Chrome to build websites. It's not just purely market share, though. Chrome has great development tools built right into the desktop browser that help developers do their job. While other browsers like Firefox have similar features, the Chrome browser has a superior toolset that developers love. Recently, Apple released the Safari Developer Preview app, which brings some impressive new developer tools with it. We took a look at the new Safari to see if these tools are a game changer for the web developer’s workflow.
Truly the most killer feature within the Safari Developer Preview app is the Enter Responsive Design Mode capability. This allows you to select particular iOS devices and change the orientation of the screen. With the new functionality that the iPad has for multitasking, you can now see what is happening to your site when you trigger slide over or split screen. Tools like this have been available in various forms before but this is easily the best implementation thus far. It also allows for views of other browser IDs, including Internet Explorer and the new Microsoft Edge browser.
Aside from the Enter Responsive Design Mode, there are other features that have been updated as well. These features, the inspect element and other load time stats, have been enhanced somewhat but are still subpar compared to the Chrome development tools. One thing that makes the Safari Developer Preview important for web developers is that the developer mode is switched on by default, which is very helpful. The developer mode is available on the preinstalled version of Safari, but it is disabled by default.
Why Not Stick with Chrome?
This is the key question. While Chrome holds the majority market share, it is still good to look at browser rendering on Safari to see if there are going to be any issues for iOS users. That said, the Safari Developer Preview app can be helpful during testing before a site launch.
What Do You Think?
We found the Safari Developer Preview app to be really interesting and impressive, but ultimately not necessary to a developer to use. The tools developers already have in place handle everything that Safari Developer Preview can do. The only real feature that is a key differentiator is Enter Responsive Design Mode, but this capability is possible already with Xcode and within the Chrome developer tools.
There may be some new things we find as we are digging through Safari Developer preview, but this is what we’ve found so far. We love to hear from other developers on what uses they have found. Feel free to reach out and leave a comment!