Daring Fireball Linked List: Not My Gorilla


Article here.

John Gruber jumps on the “No IE” bandwagon, or has jumped on that bandwagon already, anyway. And it got me to thinking about the super-secret web-based application for LAN deployment that T. and I are developing. We’ve decided to develop for one… and only one… browser: Safari.

Why Safari? Simply, it’s not everything else.

It’s not Internet Exploder. Forget IE. We’re not going to check to see if anything renders in IE. If you use IE, in fact, you will essentially void your warranty for the inevitable support call, and I’ll have the server logs to show that you used it. It is so non-standards-compliant that it’s the exception in most browser pages. Check the source code for your favorite page and you’ll likely find something that reads “workaround for IE” in it somewhere. We don’t have time for that kind of crap. And security… argh! You want to use IE? Buy another product. (I probably don’t want you as a customer anyway if you insist that IE is your preferred browser.)

It’s not Firefox. Firefox, a quick, cross-platform browser, has two very annoying traits. First, it is extensible, meaning you can throw lots of plugins into it. Problem is, I have no frickin’ idea what plugins you might have (and they won’t show up in the server logs) and how they may or may not affect how the web application works. The app we’re working on is a mission-critical app, the kind of app you don’t want to fail because somebody throws a new cursor plugin into the browser. (“Tell the users not to do that!” you say. “Screw that. They will anyway,” I say, “because they do.”) Since debugging that kind of thing remotely is damned near impossible, I’m not going there. And two, it doesn’t provide a great user experience. I use FireFox about once per week and it is rare that I get to fire it up (heh) without being prompted to upgrade one piece of it or another. (Same goes for Linux in general—it nags me to upgrade some component of it waaay too often. Score one for Apple and… gasp! Microsoft. Monolithic, closed-source OSs do have that going for them.)

The others? Nah, not worth considering. Too esoteric, not widespread enough, no guarantee of longevity, and not all of ‘em are free.

So that leaves Safari. It’s cross-platform, it renders 99% consistently across platforms, it’s fast, it’s free, it’s pretty secure, and it’s very well-supported. It doesn’t get updates so often that I will spend my time countering the updates. It allows for enough user customization of the interface to be convenient, but not so much as to annoy web developers. And it’s pretty. Mostly.

And that’s why I’m ignoring the gorilla, too.

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