Note: This page is severely outdated. I am keeping it available for historical reference. If you would like to improve on this document, please see the licensing information at the bottom of the page.
This document is a yes/no feature comparison of the graphical Web browsers that run natively on Mac OS X. It does not cover browsers that run on the Classic VM or require an implementation of the X11 windowing system.
I have not done quantitative testing on the time it takes to render pages, networking performance or the stability of the browsers. Network performance is hard to test reliably. Stability is also hard to quantify properly.
Lynx and Links work on an out-of-the-box installation of Mac OS X
but are not included in the result table, which is GUI-oriented. Lynx
2.8.3rel.1doesn’t fully support any of the standards mentioned in the
table. However, it supports HTML 4.01 very well except for tables and
the title attribute. Links 0.96 does a good job with HTML 4.01
including tables. Emacs-W3 isn’t included in the table, either.
Emacs-W3 is a browser that runs inside Emacs. However, it doesn’t
display the page at all if it encounters Unicode characters it
doesn’t like. (Please email me, if you know
a way around this.) Links, Lynx and Emacs-W3 all support
Mozilla is also available as a Mach-O version know as FizzillaMach. FizzillaMach isn’t yet the main Mozilla version for Mac OS X, and FizzillaMach is not included in the table at this time. There are three additional Gecko-based browsers that aren’t included. Phoenix for OS X is still very experimental. Beonex for OS X is also experimental and (on OS X) not as polished as Mozilla and Netscape. wKiosk is designed for kiosk use, so it doesn’t make sense to compare it with normal browsers.
|Safari 1.0 Beta (v48) aka. 0.8||Chimera 0.6+ 2003010804||Mozilla trunk 2003010903 (FizzillaCFM)||Netscape 7.01||Opera 6.0||Internet Explorer 5.2.2 (5010.1)||iCab Pre2.8.2||OmniWeb 4.1.1|
|HTML 4 (excluding BiDi,
|XML + CSS||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||N|
|XHTML 1.0 sent as application/xhtml+xml||N||Y||Y||Y||Y*||N||N||N|
|XHTML 1.1 Ruby||N||N||N||N||N||N||N||N|
|SVG inlined in XHTML||N||N||N||N||N||N||N||N|
|DOM Level 1 Core in HTML||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N||N|
|DOM Level 1 HTML||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N||N|
|DOM Level 1 Core in XML||N||Y||Y||Y||N||N||N||N|
|PNG (excluding 16 bits / channel, full alpha transparency and color correction)||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|PNG full alpha transparency||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Other page display-related features|
|Core Graphics font anti-aliasing and metrics (without Silk) for MacRoman||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Core Graphics font anti-aliasing and metrics for everything else||Y||N||N||N||Y||N||N||Y|
|Print preview with instant setting feedback||N||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||N|
|Roman keyboard layouts||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Central European keyboard layouts||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y|
|Cyrillic keyboard layouts||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y|
|Unicode keyboard layouts||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y|
|CJK input methods||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Aqua form widgets||Y||Y||N||N||Y||N||N||Y|
|Dialogs that should be window modal are sheets||Y||Y*||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y|
|Draggable icon in the title bar||N||N||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y|
|Draggable icon in the location bar||Y||Y*||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y|
|Aqua context menu||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Click&hold context menu||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Icon&text toolbar mode||N||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Text only toolbar mode||N||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Icon only toolbar mode||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Can hide / show all toolbars with one command / click||N||N||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y|
|Fully user-arrangeable toolbar buttons||N||Y||N||N||N||Y||Y||Y|
|Can enable/disable any toolbar button||Y*||Y||N||N||N||Y||Y||Y|
|Can enable/disable any toolbar||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Can enable/disable status bar||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y|
|Keyboard shortcut for selecting URL field||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Drag&drop bookmark toolbar editing||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y|
|HTML quality indicator||N||N||N||N||N||N||Y||N|
|Can enable / disable throbber / spinning petals||N||Y||N||N||N||N||N||Y|
|Title attribute in tooltip||N||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N||N|
|Title attribute in status bar||N||N||N||N||Y||N||Y||N|
|Mouse cursor indicates title availability||N||N||N||N||N||N||Y||N|
|Can zoom text||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Can be set to accept cookies but discard them after session||N||N*||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y|
|Link drag from page||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y|
|Text drag from page||N||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y|
|Dragging image to Finder saves image||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Form fields are text drop targets||Y||N||N||N||N||N||Y||N|
|Can drop URLs as text (from a text editor) onto browser window||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||N|
|Live window resizing||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||N||Y|
|Mouse wheel scrolling||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Works as a single Finder item||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y|
|Can be set to always open new windows behind the current one||N||Y||N||N||N||N||N||Y|
|Has a modifier key for opening link in a window behind the current one||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Can display more than one page in one window using tabs||N||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||N|
|Full screen mode||N||N||N||N||Y||N||Y||N|
|Can disable GIF animation||N||N*||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
small-capsproperly. It display them as all caps.
displayproperty can’t be set, however, making the feature mostly useless. (Everything appears as
<link>navigation toolbar supports the basic link types such as back, forward and copyright. Links to sections and chapters are available only via the “Links” submenu of the “Navigation” menu.
<object>support requires Adobe SVG Viewer.
<legend>element of HTML 4.
Note: The version of Flash Player that shipped with the OS crashes Chimera. A new fixed version of the plug-in is available.
These screenshots show each browser rendering the famous Box Acid Test.
SSL/TLS isn’t included in the table, because I don’t have reliable test cases with specific SSL/TLS versions. So far, I have only conducted an ad hoc test: I have tested the browsers with the Solo service of Nordea’s Finnish branch.
All the eight GUI browsers worked. The SSL-enabled versions of Links and Lynx worked, too.