I'm a man of habits. That trait also extends to my browser of choice and, like many, I use Internet Explorer (IE) to surf the Web. Years ago, when the Internet was still new to the general public, it took me some time to actually start using a browser alongside my favorite text-based programs to browse the Web, read Usenet, or check email. That was the NCSA Mosaic times. Then I took my time to switch to Netscape. And I was yet again behind the curve when Microsoft joined the fray and introduced IE. For now I'm still an IE user, and true to form, I have refused to upgrade to version 7. Not that all the bad publicity has helped anyways.
I did try Opera once and saw no need for it after fiddling with it for a few days. I do use Firefox occasionally now. Not because I like it any better than IE for general browsing, but mostly to test Web pages. Firefox does have a leg up on IE in one area, the add-ons. Unlike IE, Firefox has done a superb job in designing and integrating the add-ons. They are much more straightforward to program and there's a bevy of available add-ons on the Web to choose from. Greasemonkey is one of my favorites, for example.
One browser I wished I could have was Apple's safari. That is the browser of choice for most Apple junkies, but until now it was out of the Windows' realm - Until now. Apple finally released a version (public beta 3) and, true to their claims, it is faster than either IE or Firefox. The speed was even evident during the installation process. It has a relatively small installation file and the setup process was fast.
Safari for Windows is a no-frills browser. It's lightweight and doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles. It does have an Apple-ish look, but after browsing to several sites I could confirm that their claim of being speedy is for real. I didn't clock its rendering speed, but it did feel faster than its other two popular counterparts. The configuration is a bit clunky and bears some resemblance to Firefox (must be the Mozilla heritage) and the fonts are a bit rough, but it performs magnificently. I was impressed.
Safari won't unseat IE for me as the browser of choice for general browsing, but if you are in the market for a lightweight and speedy browser, this could be the one. But even if not, it's a valuable tool for Web designers toiling on Windows to achieve maximum browser compatibility for their pages.
If you want to download the browser, here's the link: Safari for Windows.