WebKit Launches Safari Technology Preview

31 March 2016

WebKit:

Safari Technology Preview is a standalone application that can be used side-by-side with Safari or other web browsers, making it easy to compare behaviors between them. Besides having the latest web features and bug fixes from WebKit, Safari Technology Preview includes the latest improvements to Web Inspector, which you can use to develop and debug your websites. Updates for Safari Technology Preview will be available every two weeks through the Updates pane of the Mac App Store.

Safari Technology Preview takes a snapshot of the WebKit nightlies, about once a fortnight, and packages into a working web browser. Safari Technology Preview is not going to be as stable as a formal public release but the idea is that it is stable enough, such that web developers could use it as their primary browser.

By comparison, WebKit nightlies are often very buggy and using that as your daily browser is just unfeasible due to the high chance of it crashing. Safari Technology Preview also packages in iCloud support and automatic updates through the Mac App Store (even though you initially download the app from a website).

It’s a convenient way to stay closer to the bleeding edge of web technologies. If this sounds familiar, it’s almost identical to the strategy Google uses for Chrome, with Chrome Canary builds. Safari Technology Preview (with its annoyingly wordy name) also comes with a slick purple sundial its dock icon. So there’s that.

One notable inclusion in the first release of the developer browser is inclusion for JavaScript’s document.execCommand() cut-copy-paste API. Until now, it was not possible for JavaScript to programatically trigger pasteboard actions. The common workaround was using an embedded Flash component to perform the copying, as Flash embeds do have native access to the pasteboard. By bringing this API to JS, it removes one of the last big barriers for websites to drop Flash completely.