Apple debuts new browser for developers

Apple is making strides to support web development with its release of the Safari Technology Preview. This is a browser made especially for developers, which lets them get a glimpse of future technologies in both OSX and iOS and play around with these technologies in websites and extensions.

What sets the new browser apart is its handy standalone role. This means developers can run it side-by-side with the mainstream version of Safari, which makes workflows easier as it allows seamless switching between both versions. Safari Technology Preview will feature a purple icon instead of the blue one on the mainstream version.

Apple’s purpose in rolling out this offering is to encourage more feedback from developers. The company believes that developers will get their hands on new technologies early on, experiment with them, and then off feedback in return for these previews. Of course, Apple’s main long-term goal is to consistently improve its products. Think of it as a tit-for-tat offering to the development community.

The company has already provided WebKit Nightly builds, yet access to these builds has proven more difficult than what Technology Preview aims to provide.

Technology Preview will distribute new builds in two-week intervals through the Mac App Store’s update feature.

Another perk included with this new Safari version is multi-platform support. Developers have access to Responsive Design Mode’s and Web Inspector’s latest versions.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of Technology Preview is its integration with other Apple services. Signed and validated by Apple, it works with iCloud, which addresses a pain point that many developers expressed in the past.

Here’s a list of all the main features that are shipping with the new browser:

  • Shadow DOM – It streamlines creating large-scale web apps by letting developers expose page elements and then defining how said elements interact with the apps.
  • B3 JIT JavaScript Compiler – This compiler optimizes work flows for fast, initial compile times while also optimizing compiled JavaScript for maximum performance. It’s designed from the ground up just for JavaScript.
  • ECMAScript 6 – This newest version of JavaScript provides support for classes that permit developers to utilize the object-oriented principles within the JavaScript code, new APIs and iterators.
  • Updated IndexedDB Implementation – This allows developers to store a lot of structured data on the client and then quickly access said data. Apple listened to developers’ feedback and complaints, which resulted in this redesigned implementation that’s stabler and more standard-compliant.
  • Provision of programmatic cut & copy to the clipboard and Content Security Level 2.

Safari Technology Preview is available to anyone, not just developers, though. There’s no requirement to have a registered Apple Developer account to download it.

Marc’s a copywriter who covers design news for Web Designer Depot. Find out more about him at marcschenkercopywriter.com. More articles by Marc Schenker
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