New Safari Passes Acid Test for Web Compatibility

Apple's Safari browser now passes the Acid2 browser test, joining a select group of browsers that offer full standards support. Will other browsers follow its lead?

Macintosh users who downloaded the free Mac OS X 10.4.3 update not only received a handful of security fixes, but also a version of Apple Computer Inc.s default Safari Mac Web browser that supports the Acid2 browser test.

Version 2.0.2 of Safari is now one of few browsers that support Acid2. The Acid2 test was concocted by the grassroots Web Standards Project (WaSP) to promote World Wide Web ConsortiumWeb-based content standards.

The test is a complex test Web page that features a simple graphic of a smiley face with the text "Hello World!" However, the page is constructed from elements that test the viewing browsers ability to handle HTML4, CSS1, PNG and Data URL features according to W3C standards. If the browser does not meet all of these standards, the image will not be presented properly. For example, if the browser does not implement hovering effects properly, the images nose will not turn red when a user hovers the cursor over it.

"Its not just for browsers," said Molly Holzschlag, a Web designer and group lead for WaSP, "but anything that renders HTML, ZHTML, CSS and so on, such as a design view in a software program such as [Macromedias] Dreamweaver."

"Acid2 is particularly important because of the current state of browser incompatibilities, which is making life very difficult for developers and designers," she said.

"At this point in history," she added, "having the specs supported is necessary for us to do our jobs more efficiently, offer real savings to our clients, improve speed, address document management issues, create more beautiful yet maintainable designs, address accessibility concerns, multiple platform and device delivery and search optimization."