I like to think of myself as quite a creative and visual developer, I like design, I'm aware of aesthetics and I get a lot of satisfaction from a good UI, but I do not use a Mac, and have no intention of doing so. I need Windows because I learned on MS tools and this is my home, and no one has convinced me to move. The problem is I develop for the web and I want everyone to get the same sense of satisfaction from my UI as I do, I test my sites in as many browsers as I can.
At the company I've just left there are a number of Apple Macs, they even have a couple of dedicated test machines with VNC installed. Now I'm leaving to go into business, just two of us, and a Mac suddenly seems like a rather expensive luxury.
I've been looking into a few alternatives, there are screen capture services that send you a screenshot of your site in Safari for a small fee, which is no use for testing an interactive UI. Then I spent some time trying to install OpenDarwin, I read that the browser engine of Safari was open source (branched from KHTML) so figured that the browser in OpenDarwin would be based on that and work similar to Safari. I was trying to install it in a virtual machine and couldn't even get it to boot once I'd spent two days trying to install! I also saw on their site that the OpenDarwin project is now dead.
A little more research and I came across a project to port the Safari engine (WebKit
) to windows and wrap it up in a browser GUI! It's called Swift
and although still very young, it looks promising. I've just used it to test the new ASP.Net AJAX Toolkit
and I am totally amazed by how much of it works! There are a couple of bugs with innerHTML and opacity filters, but these are probabably to do with server side browser sniffing, if I can tell ASP.Net AJAX to treat Swift as Safari then it will probably all work perfectly. The really cool controls, like MaskEdit, just work already though.
This isn't going to be a perfect replacement for Safari, but it will mean I can nag my MacFan friends a lot less.
Labels: safari, testing, web development, windows