iPhone Browser Simulator on Windows

Written over a weekend, Sean Sullivan the CTO of Black Baud lab’s created an iPhone browser simulator, and it’s FREE!

Basically, what he did was take the Webkit rendering engine from Safari and embed it into a Windows application. Browser requests are being made through Safari Webkit using an iPhone mobile user-agent string. Here is an example of the user-agent string that came into my website while capturing the screenshot at the bottom of this post:


Setup is as simple as installing Safari, and then running the .exe from Black Baud lab.

Check out the details and a screencast on Black Baud lab’s site.

BUT.as always, when it comes to browser compatibility testing there is nothing like testing the real browser on the real platform. Keep these things in mind my dear browser compatibility testing friend:

  1. The rendering results will be based on the version of Safari for Windows you have installed and its Webkit version. This will likely not match the version you intend to test on the iPhone. For example, I’ve installed Safari version 3.2.2 which uses Webkit 525.28.1, the page I’m testing will utilize that version. Make sure you are aware of the iPhone browser version you need to be testing and the Webkit version that comes along with that iPhone browser version. You’ll need to install that version of Windows Safari to be in sync with the iPhone.  How do you know which version of Safari/Webkit is running in an iPhone app install? I don’t know! I can find no reference or history of versions on the Web. I suppose it could be gathered easy enough by installing each iPhone app version and then either doing a Help->About in Safari? Or gathering the data from the user agent string by going to browserhawk.com. Post a link in the comments if you’ve seen this data somewhere. 
  2. Apparently iPhone Safari 3 is not the same code base as Safari 3! The code base was branched. Changes made in that branch could cause your results to vary between the real iPhone browser and the iPhone browser simulator. From the threads I’ve read it seems to be more “shell” type features, which lowers your risk if you’re just looking for rendering issues.


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