If so, here’s a little secret. The engine that powers Apple’s Safari browser and Google’s Chrome browser (and many others) is available to run on your Mac. You can get a new version of this powerful, cutting edge browser almost every day, and it’s free to download and install.
Looks Like A Duck, Walks Like A Duck…
Safari is my main browser, but I dabble in Mozilla’s Firefox, and use Google’s Chrome whenever I run into sites with Flash videos that are not visible in my Flash-less Mac via Safari.
My Mac is also graced with WebKit, the layout and rendering engine which powers Safari and Chrome.
WebKit for the Mac can be downloaded and installed easily by unzipping the downloaded file, and dragging the WebKit icon to your Applications folder. Open WebKit and what you get looks amazingly like Safari.
WebKit will use the name Safari, and the same settings in Safari’s Preferences, including extensions, and bookmarks.
In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to tell the difference between Safari running side-by-side with WebKit (made more confusing by WebKit’s use of the name Safari in your Mac’s Menubar).
What’s so special about WebKit? It’s the latest test version of bug fixes, feature testing that may show up in future versions of Safari.
There’s even a version of WebKit for Windows. WebKit’s site also gives you insight into the effort that goes into making Safari with a frequently updated status blog, project goals, bug tracking, documentation, and all the details that go into building a modern web browser.
Wait a minute? Safari doesn’t have much market share so far as browsers go, right? So, why should be care? Safari on the Mac may have about 10-percent market share, but remains the most popular of all Mac browsers.
The same WebKit rendering engine is also used in Google’s Chrome browser, Mac and Windows. And, it’s the de facto browser standard in mobile devices, including Android OS, Apple’s iOS, and others.
Most people don’t know it, but WebKit is the most used modern browser engine in the world. If you don’t mind living a little on the edge, WebKit is a good start.