Safari and .gov Websites: Support Improving

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There was a time when Safari didnit work well with many tax payer supported government Websites. Today, the situation is much better according to Chris Maxcer.

The problem has been particularly galling for Mac users of Safari who pay their taxes too but sometimes havenit ben able to access government produced Websites "optimized" for MSIE.

"Shouldnit government sites be open to all browsers?" Mr. Maxcer asked. "Arenit sites supposed to be built on basic Web standards? Hasnit there been plenty of time to iron out these standards? Sure, Safari usage is only hovering around 4 to 6 percent of all browser use range, but clearly Apple [Mac] OS X and Safari is a viable Microsoft alternative worthy of support, is it not?"

The concern started erupting in 2005 when Mac users discovered they couldnit access FEMAis site for post Katrina support.

In time, Safari development by Apple has gotten better and companies that develop Websites are taking the Mac more seriously. Even FEMA says it now supports Safari. Even so, the long process of testing various browsers remains a difficult one. Some developers donit even have access to older machines for testing that people out on the Internet are using, for example, IE6 -- which still has a third of the browser market.

"Safari overall has certainly improved in the last couple of years, and the emphasis Apple has placed on Safari is really showing in the product," said Ken Hamric, a founder of CrossBrowserTesting.com. "For developers, one area I believe could use improvement is the Javascript testing tools available for Safari -- after getting spoiled by tools such as Firebug and YSlow for Firefox, you come to expect really great debugging tools."

While the issue has always remained cross-platform standards and resources allocated to a browser that has a very small market share, today, the Mac platformis tremendous growth has moved it from a small minority to a force to contend with. That will lead to a lot better experience for Mac users with Banks and the government in the future.

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