Coding with Jesse

Swift: Safari for Windows?

I just heard about Swift (via Chris Messina). Swift is a port of WebKit for Windows. WebKit is the rendering engine behind Safari (in the same way Gecko is behind Firefox and Mozilla). So I figure, sweet! Safari for Windows!

I had some problems though. On one of my PCs, WebKit.dll couldn't be registered so the installation failed. Weird.

On my other PC, I got Swift installed no problem. I ran it and.. well.. let's just say it's clearly Alpha software. Not only is the user interface extremely bare minimum (you're not going to make this your default browser any time soon), the functionality is a bit iffy. For example, it crashed when I clicked a normal link.

Perhaps it will help you see how WebKit will render your page.. but I wouldn't rely on it. I had a password field go missing, and buttons are styled with CSS whereas I'm pretty sure they aren't in Safari.

It seems there is also a problem with JavaScript. JavaScript executes, sometimes, but I had a problem getting popups to launch, or to load my new Google ads. Okay, maybe you won't miss popups and ads, but what else will break?

I give massive kudos to WebKit and Chris Fuenty for putting this together. It's not there yet, but I can't wait until it is. Having a port of WebKit on Windows will help web developers without Macs immensely. Maybe one day Swift will even become a major player in the browser market.

Published on August 14th, 2006. © Jesse Skinner

About the author

Jesse Skinner Hi, I'm Jesse Skinner. I'm a web development coach focused on reducing developer burnout. I work with web development teams to reduce stress through automated testing and deployment, scalable infrastructure, and the modernization of painful legacy systems.

Through customized training and coaching, I empower teams to adopt new technologies to improve their workflows and make work more enjoyable. Feel free to email me. I'm eager to hear about your challenges and see how I can make your life easier.