Swift: Almost Safari for Windows

A new Web browser called Swift is kind of exciting news for people who do not have a Mac. It is based on the Apple WebKit rendering engine, which is what Safari uses.

Swift is currently a 0.1 alpha release, and as such just barely works. Well, it actually didn’t work at all when I tried it. Nevertheless I think this is promising. More cross-platform browsing is a good thing the way I see it.

Don’t start thinking you can use this as an excuse for not checking stuff in the real Safari though. Especially now with Apple completing the transition to Intel, all web professionals really should budget for a Mac. One machine, almost any operating system.

Posted on August 15, 2006 in Browsers, Quicklinks


  1. August 15, 2006 by Pär

    As a windows user I was very surprised when I saw (and “felt”) how amazingly fast the rendering was. Both FF and IE are so much slower!

  2. Swift is definetly good news I caught it via Digg/Slashdot/somewhere a little while ago and it is rough around the edges (you need to install it for “all users” or it breaks) but a good start. I have also started budgeting (since seeing the new OS via the wwdc key note address I may have to relent and get a Mac Pro mmm Quad core.

  3. I belive it is semi-appropriate for testing the Safari Javascript engine. I doubt it will be a valid replacement for acctual testing on Safari, but I could be wrong :) Nice project in any case!

  4. A co-worker of mine got it running on his XP machine — as Roger stated, barely. On the one site we were able to bring up that we knew had differences in Safari, the quirks were there. On a more interesting note, a password input didn’t display. Is that happening for anyone else?

    I hope this sparks some interest in producing an app for us Linux users which uses WebKit…

  5. I installed it a few days ago, found it on digg. The concept is cool, but when I tried it it got stuck directly. While opening google! Didn’t had the patience to give it another try.

  6. Jon: I’m having the same problem when trying to login to Flickr (which, of course, I can’t do since the password input isn’t there). I’m running it on Windows 2003 Server EE SP1.

  7. August 16, 2006 by Bruce Boughton

    Just installed it on my system (WinXP SP2) and it seems to work just fine. Well obviously it’s not usable, but as a demonstration of the WebKit engine it’s good. Very fast as noted above!

  8. I use Linux, so I do have an excuse not checking it in Safari. Is it supposed to come to Linux or what?

  9. WebKit is based on the KHTML engine used by Konqueror in Linux (and other platforms that run KDE). There are some differences between the two, but they are developed in parallel and code is shared, so that what works in WebKit should also run in Konqueror and vice versa.

  10. “all web professionals really should budget for a Mac.”

    Ouch Roger. It’s enough of a job to pay the bills and not feel guilty buying music. I take my professionalism seriously but I feel relegated by this comment even if it does say “should”. :(

  11. August 16, 2006 by Johan

    all web professionals really should budget for a Mac

    What does Macintosh has to do with web design? Web design isn´t os or hardware based!

  12. August 16, 2006 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Karl: Ok, I suppose I should have put a smiley in there somewhere. I’ll put one here instead: ;-D.

    And let me rephrase that part slightly:

    When it’s time to buy a new computer, seriously consider getting a Mac even if you’re a Windows or Linux user. It will run Windows or Linux for you and you get the benefit of a good looking machine that will also run a legit copy of Mac OS X.

  13. August 16, 2006 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Web design isn´t os or hardware based!

    No, but Mac users are not the only ones who need a way of testing websites on other operating systems.

  14. August 16, 2006 by Samuel Rounce

    I have OSX installed on my main workstation which has the same specs as the new highend MacPro but with 8gb of DDR2 but cost me about half as much. All the recent hype about being able to run windows on OSX through bootcamp seems to have made people forget that PC users were doing the opposite since the last WWDC on machines that cost half as much and were getting around the same performance as their mac hardware counterparts. Why buy a mac when i can just keep my Windows/SuSE booting PC and install OSX on that?

  15. no need to buy a new Mac even. I bought an old iMac from 1997 some time ago, installed Panther on it and it works like a charm to check my pages in safari and only cost me 75 euros…

  16. August 16, 2006 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Samuel: Ehh… because you need to use a hacked and illegal copy of OS X, perhaps?

    RobertDM: Yes, that is another way of solving the problem.

  17. Roger you said you couldn’t get it to run, did you try Anne van Kesteren’s fix? I had trouble too, until I tried his fix here: http://annevankesteren.nl/2006/08/swift

    BTW: I would love a Mac, matter of fact I used to only use Mac’s. But than budgetary constraints forced me into the PC realm. Hopefully the next time I am up for a new computer Mac’s will come down in price, I would to switch back. ;~)

  18. August 16, 2006 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    John: Yep, tried that. Didn’t help.

    Check out the new Mac Pro. Apparently it is cheaper than an identically equipped Dell: Apple thrashes Dell on Mac Pro pricing.

  19. Great news! I usually just use Firefox on Mac and Pc and eventually Safari on my Mac, for checking if websites I design are cross browser compatible.

  20. August 16, 2006 by Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis


    You might like to try building Unity.

    Jay Reding,

    “There are some differences between the two, but they are developed in parallel and code is shared…”

    WebKit is a fork of an earlier iteration of KHTML. There are substantial differences between the two. Hence the possibility of reintegrating them with Unity (mentioned above).

    “… so that what works in WebKit should also run in Konqueror and vice versa”.

    Best not to assume this. My impression is that, for example, WebKit’s support for XML-based markup (e.g. genuine XML-style parsing of XHTML served as application/xhtml+xml and SVG rendering) is somewhat ahead of that provided by the current KDE codebase. See Wikipedia’s Comparison of Layout Engines for XHTML and the KHTML Wiki as first stops for more information.

  21. This is very good news. I will certainly use this browser for tetsing until the money builds up for a MacBook :P

  22. October 19, 2006 by Amjad Pendhari

    Its really helpful to have MAC-SAFARI like browser for WIN PC, Most of our european customer requires the webapps compatible to MAC and we dont have MAC to use and test.

  23. Every one talks about this great Safari rendering engine that can be used in windows. But, I can’t find a download. Where can I get my hands on the alpha for this?

  24. January 8, 2007 by manol

    please,post an alternative link to get the swift browser(getswift.org doesnot work…)

  25. January 24, 2007 by Mahdi

    Too bad… I was excited not to have to swap machines constantly just to check compatibility. As mentioned before, the type=”password” html attribute is busted on version 0.2, and AJAX comepletely kills the browser. Sent an error report for what thats worth.. ha.. ha.. ha..

    I’ll be checking up on this though, because if you can ever get it working, I would pay for a copy.

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