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Apple updates Safari 7.1/6.2 beta, OS X Mavericks Server beta

updated 08:00 pm EDT, Wed August 20, 2014

AutoFill, subpixel rendering, extension compatibility and more being tested

On Wednesday, Apple released two betas for its Safari web browser, as well as a new beta for OS X Server. The Safari betas, 7.1 for Mavericks and 6.2 for Lion and later, add new features to WebKit, the rendering engine at the heart of the browser. In addition, Apple has asked testers to focus on general website compatibility in light of changes in some defaults, and tie-ins to forthcoming features in OS X and iOS. The new OS X Server beta requires the latest Mavericks (10.9.4).

Among the changes in WebKit is a new featured called IndexedDB that allows web developers "to store structured data for web applications that work online, or require large amounts of data to be cached client side." Also new is JavaScript Promises, which lets JavaScript authors more naturally work with asynchronous programming patterns. Improvements have also been made in CSS Shapes and Compositing, so that websites can now more easily flow text around images and shapes, and "perform image-compositing operations on DOM elements."

This is the third such beta for Safari, with the referenced changes already present or expected to be present in Safari 8.0, which will appear with OS X 10.10 Yosemite when it is released in the fall. Testers are asked to focus on testing password and credit card AutoFill and extension compatibility. Subpixel rendering is now on by default for all web content, which may introduce some anomalies on certain websites or in-app web views "with extremely tight design constraints," according to the release notes.

In addition, CSS object model getters will return fractional double values based on the subpixel rendering and layout metrics, rather than the previous rounded integral values. Finally, testers are asked to examine searching from the Smart Search Field, particularly with different providers. No release notes for the OS X Server version 3.2 beta are yet available. All betas are available through Software Update for registered developers, or Apple's developer portal.

by MacNN Staff



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