Apple Releases New Safari, Xcode Updates to Developers

Posted by at 3:16 pm on April 19, 2012

Hot on the heels of the day’s earlier release of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion (Developer Preview 3), Apple has released a new beta of the forthcoming Safari 5.2 as well as a preview of programming tool Xcode 4.4. Both updates bring noticeable new features to the programs, but both are only for developers and require an Apple Developer account to access. Safari gains SVG filters and other improvements, while Xcode now supports 3D documents.

Safari 5.2 Update 3 now adds support for scaleable vector graphics (SVG) filters, along with CSS filters for images and web page elements (including such effects as opacity control, drop shadow, sepia and other combinable effects). The Web Inspector now has a streamlined new design with all-new iconography, a persistent JavaScript console, integrated timelines, and a new navigation bar for different page elements. JavaScript debugging is now turned on by default, and page source view now opens automatically.

In addition to those changes, the new update brings the Web Audio API for JavaScript to Safari, which expands upon the basic audio tag in HTML5. The API will allow web developers to enable more sophisticated or complex audio abilities, such as filtering, mixing and processing. The JavaScript API will come in useful for interactive audio applications and game audio among other uses.

Xcode 4.4 beta features a number of enhancements and improvements, including support for the 2011 C++ standard, new interface builder support for AppKit features, touchups to the Find Bar and Search Navigator, minor fixes to the source editor jump bar popup and integrated QuickHelp in code completion. Also included are new Objective-C language features, major improvements to the static analyzer and both a viewer and editor for 3D files as .DAE documents.

There are some known issues with the release, including possible difficulty obtaining earlier versions of Xcode from the App Store, and minor issues with linker and new load commands, DYLD_* variables and the network link conditioner. The company also notes scheme editing issues, and a need to authenticate each time for non-admin users debugging or running Instruments.

Users running the new Xcode in Mountain Lion DP3 will notice that ATS APIs suffer under the new OS because the ATS framework has been deprecated. Apple recommends developers replace all ATS code with CoreText, as ATS support will be removed in future OS X releases. The update also features an updated LLVM Compiler, version 4.0.

The Xcode 4.4 preview can only be run on either OS X Lion 10.7.3 or today’s Mountain Lion DP3. Mountain Lion is scheduled to arrive later this summer, though a specific release date has not been announced.

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