Apple also made a big push to support cutting-edge Web standards, enhancing Safari 3.1 to support CSS Web fonts that let designers specify fonts that will be downloaded on the fly as needed, CSS animations, HTML 5 media, and HTML offline storage. Improved too is Safari’s support for dynamic SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) images. (See the Safari Product Overview PDF for more details.) Along with those features, Safari 3.1 includes fixes for a number of security vulnerabilities. Of course, since lots of other browsers don’t support these standards, Safari’s support is merely a welcome paving stone on the road to future Web improvements.
Of particular interest to us is HTML 5 offline storage support, which should help to enable Web applications like Google Docs or Zoho Writer to provide optional offline access to data, storing it in a local SQLite database. Google has started to address this problem with Google Gears, an open-source approach to offline storage that, on the Mac, works only in Firefox. The two are similar, but incompatible, though there may be ways of bringing them together.
Safari 3.1 is available via Software Update or as a 40 MB standalone download. Panther users need not bother clicking through, since Safari 3.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later. Presumably due to the fixes in Safari’s underlying WebCore and WebKit frameworks, which are used by a wide variety of programs, the update does require a restart.