The best Web browser: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, or Safari?

Find out which of the leading browsers is the perfect balance of features, speed, innovation, and flexibility for you

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The battle of the Web browsers: Apple Safari 5.0
Apple took the old Konqueror browser from the Linux world and injected a large amount of development talent to produce a very nice browser for Mac and Windows. Safari's WebKit engine is also the heart of the browsers in the iPhone and the iPad.

Safari is a very good option. The speed is competitive, the controls are simple yet comprehensive, and the developer tools are nice. Apple is just opening up an extensions gallery to the general public, and some developers have already ported popular extensions from Chrome and Firefox. There's nothing missing from Safari that a user might want, but on the other hand there's little to make Safari unique or irresistible.

The biggest interest in Safari on the desktop may come from the Web developers who want to target the iOS world of the iPhone and iPad. Creating customized Web pages is simple to do with a few extra tags, and the result often runs like a native app developed for the platform. Plus, Safari isn't the only browser built on WebKit. Google also uses the WebKit rendering engine for its Android phones, and the iOS and Android browsers behave similarly in many but not all cases. When RIM's BlackBerry team releases its own WebKit browser, WebKit's dominance of the mobile Web will be even greater.

Apple is pushing HTML5 as part of its skirmish with Adobe over Flash. Safari already offers many of the most important HTML5 features, and it will almost certainly get more of them quickly.

Best for: Web developers who want to support WebKit phones.
Worst for: Lovers of extensions and add-ons.

Also on InfoWorld:

First look: Firefox 4 Beta 1
Sure, Firefox 4's new Chrome-like UI is nice, but the real story is under the hood
How to use HTML5 on your website today
Don't wait for the Flash-iPhone war to end: InfoWorld's hands-on guide tells you how to get your websites ready for HTML5 now
How HTML5 will change the Web
HTML5 will spawn richer, more sophisticated websites while also easing development. Here are nine ways the impact of HTML5 will be felt
What to expect from HTML5
Support for the next generation of HTML is already appearing in today's browsers and Web pages. Are you ready to take advantage?
HTML5 vs. Flash: The case for Flash
Seven reasons Web designers will remain loyal to Flash for rich Web content
Apple vs. Flash: The InfoWorld peace plan
Wars like the conflict between Apple and Adobe over Flash seldom yield a productive outcome. InfoWorld proposes a way forward

This story, "The best Web browser: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, or Safari?," was originally published Follow the latest news in software development, languages and standards, HTML, and applications at

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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