It is ironic how two of the world’s most influential tech companies haven’t really been a developer’s paradise — Microsoft and Apple. And while the former continues to make amends and pull developers towards its Windows 10 platforms via Build 2016, Apple on Wednesday started rolling out a new web browser specifically meant for web developers. It is called, ‘The Safari Technology Preview’.
The browser, which Apple says is a new version of Safari which will also double up as an standalone app on OS X and iOS, is designed for developers and will allow them to get an early look at the upcoming web technologies like layout aspects, designing and other tools.
Until now, Apple had been providing developers with Nightly builds of WebKit, the open source browser engine that runs on hundreds of millions of devices and powers Apple’s Safari. Using Nightly builds was however a chore. Just getting the Nightly builds up and running is a pain. Not to mention the struggle of upgrading to newer versions.
Nightly builds also don’t support Apple’s iCloud. This means that if you’re running a test build of the webkit, you will not be able to store and access bookmarks, access your Reading List and access the tabs you’ve opened on other devices. This was a major problem for developers who wanted to use a Nightly build as their primary browser.
The Safari Technology Preview however, gets rid of most of these problems. You will get automatic updates via the Mac App Store’s software update mechanism every two weeks and it’s even signed and validated by Apple meaning it’ll work flawlessly with iCloud.
Apple wants developers to be able to get access to new technology, test it, push it through its limits and then provide feedback to the company so that they can enhance the experience accordingly.
- ECMAScript 6 support including lexical scoping, iterators, generators, arrow functions, default parameter values and many new built-in APIs
- Better standards compliant IndexedDB support with more stability
- Added the ability to use `document.execCommand(‘copy’)` and `document.execCommand(‘cut’)` in response to a user gesture to copy and cut text programmatically
Other new features include separate local data stores for history, bookmarks, cookies and cache and the Develop menu being enabled by default. You also get the latest HTML features including implementation of the Shadow DOM specification and support for Content Security Policy Level 2.
To download Safari Technology Preview log on to on developer.apple.com/safari/download.