Dear Safari Development Team –
As a web developer who is firmly in the Apple technology camp, I use your products every day. Mobile Safari on iOS and Safari on OS X. Safari has been my browser of choice since Steve Jobs released it upon the world on Janaury 7, 2003. Over the last couple of years though, Safari has taken several steps backwards as a web development tool.
First off, just loading a page with development tools open takes forever. I’m not sure when this bug was introduced, but it’s been there at least since Safari 7. Additionally, while other browsers like Chrome and Firefox have added tools to help simulate views on other device sizes and configurations, Safari has remained on the sidelines. I’m sure Apple would rather we use the iOS Simulator in Xcode and use the Web Inspector in Safari to inspect and analyze, but in many situations that is overkill. And not having options to simulate other devices that are not Apple means we have to turn to Chrome and Firefox to get these tasks done. Because believe it or not, people do buy devices that are not created by Apple.
I get and understand that Apple is a consumer focused company, and Safari’s feature set has reflected this to an increasing degree over the years. But I can tell you, when you lose the audience who develops web sites for a living, Safari will start to have a harder time existing on all platforms. If you don’t believe me, go ask the Internet Explorer team up in Redmond.
I could spend hours pointing to all that has gone wrong in the Safari Web Development tools, but I think at this point, it would be easier to just say this: Fork the web inspector that Chrome has now (which is forked from the Webkit inspector anyway), and use that as a starting point. Google has taken what Apple had initially done with web inspector and made it so much better. It pains me to have to turn to Google Chrome for my web development needs, but that is exactly what has happened. And I am not alone. On my team, I was the last holdout using Safari as my primary browser for web development. But I’ve finally given in to the better tool, and unfortunately at this time, it is the Chrome Web Inspector.
I know several people on the Safari development team. I have been to many a mixer at WWDC with them. They are great people and have worked tirelessly to make a great product. Coming forward with these criticisms was tough for me, but I do it out of love. I’d love to return to using Safari as my primary browser for browsing and web development. I’m hoping in the future I can do just that.