Multiple Standalone Safaris

Download Standalone Versions of Safari!

I’ve been rather annoyed that there hasn’t been any official or simple way to run the older versions of Safari for web development purposes. I’d come up with a really crappy way to run Safari 2 after installing Safari 3 but you really shouldn’t have to go through all that nonsense just to be able to test websites with the old Safari. “Blargh!!!” I say.

For a while now Yousif Al Saif at TredoSoft has let us run multiple simultaneous standalone versions of Internet Explorer. And of course Firefox was designed to be able to run multiple versions at the same time. But now finally we have a super easy way of running all browsers that matter side by side on the same machine without having to hack around like some kind of nerd.

But now there’s an incredibly awesome option to run all the old Safari versions as standalone browsers. This means that you don’t have to do anything hackery in the least to make them work. You just download them and double-click them like any other mac application on the planet. And you can run them all at the same time.

Michel Fortin’s Multi-Safari
is a collection of 10 standalone versions of Safari.

Safari normally use the Web Kit framework found inside Mac OS X to render web pages and execute javascript. This means that if you preserve an old version of Safari to run it on a newer version of Mac OS, it will use the newer Web Kit found in the system and you will get the same results as with the newer version. Thus, you would normally need a separate installation of Mac OS X for each version of Safari you want to test a website into.

These special versions of Safari use the original Web Kit framework that came with them, bundled inside the application. They will mimic original Safari rendering and javascript behaviours. HTTP requests and cookies however are still handled by the system and may not work exactly the same.

Why don’t browser vendors love us developers :’(

While I love that we have this option now, I think it’s a real shame that the browser makers aren’t making it easy to do this. We really should have an official way to run multiple versions of Internet Explorer and Safari at the same time. Especially now that AJAX “web apps” are all the rage, developers are needing to test more and more browsers for compatibility. Every single minor browser version has it’s own little bugs and issues and all these new sites are really stressing the browsers to the limit.

For instance, has workarounds for separate bugs in Safari 2, Safari 3, Mac Firefox 2.0, Windows Firefox 2.0, Firefox 1.5, Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7. Yes, you heard me right, Firefox on windows and Firefox on the Mac have separate bugs that only affect that browser on that Operating System. So in all, I have to test and tweak and debug everything in, at the very least, 7 different browsers. Oh, and I usually test for the bleeding edge version of each browser too, so that’s 10 different browsers total.

Oh, and where’s my iPhone MobileSafari emulator?! Apple doesn’t give us a real iPhone SDK and expects us to develop webapps for the iPhone. But the only way to actually do that is to buy an iPhone and test your apps on the phone directly. What a development nightmare. I seriously hope they have some ideas up their sleeves after Leopard is released.


The Leopard 10.5.1 update has blocked all older versions of Safari from running.

To fix that problem, go here: Fix Safari 2.0.4 for Leopard 10.5.1

Let me know if you have any trouble with that.