Go Back   MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > Mac Blog Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Jan 4, 2013, 10:07 AM   #1
MacRumors
macrumors bot
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
How Safari Pretended to Be Mozilla Before It Was Released




Former Apple employee Don Melton is sharing a unique look behind the scenes of the Safari development team. Melton was the team leader on both the Safari and WebKit products that are now used by millions of users on both iOS, the Mac, and Windows.

Previously, Melton explained how the Safari name came about, but today he shares the tale of Safari's User Agent string and the strategies his team used to keep the project under wraps.
Quote:
Twitter and Facebook didn't exist then. Nobody at Apple was stupid enough to blog about work, so what was I worried about?

Server logs. They scared the hell out of me.

When a Web browser fetches a page from a Web server, the browser identifies itself to that server with a user agent string -- basically its name, version, platform, etc. The browser also gives the server an IP address so the server knows where to return the page. This exchange not only makes the Web work, it also allows the server to tell who is using what browser and where they're using it.

You can see where this is going, right? But wait, there's more...

Back around 1990, some forward-thinking IT person secured for Apple an entire Class A network of IP addresses. That's right, Apple has 16,777,216 static IP addresses. And because all of these addresses belong together -- in what's now called a "/8 block" -- every one of them starts with the same number. In Apple's case, the number is 17.

IP address 17.149.160.49? That's Apple. 17.1.2.3? Yes, Apple. 17.18.19.20? Also, Apple. 17.253.254.255? Apple, dammit!

I was so screwed.
Melton's blog has the rest of the details about how his team kept things quiet before the big reveal.

Article Link: How Safari Pretended to Be Mozilla Before It Was Released
MacRumors is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 10:15 AM   #2
WAM2
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: United States
THIS is why I love Apple. Just a bunch of geeks running a company. Now I Cant say Mr. Cook is much of a geek. But the ones who do everything to run apple, are.
__________________
2012 21.5" iMac: 2.7Ghz i5, 8GB RAM, GT 650m, 1TB HDD
2009 17" MacBook Pro: 2.8Ghz C2D, 6GB RAM, 9600m GT, 240GB SSD
PC: Custom and Changing
iPhone 6+ Space Grey AT&T 128GB
WAM2 is offline   11 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 10:25 AM   #3
iRCL
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
So, he hid Safari as being Mozilla, by changing the user agent string. MAN THIS IS ONE HELL OF A FASCINATING REVEAL

Also, Safari is the best browser out there now, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that there was nobody in the industry that cared when it was released except the Apple fans
iRCL is offline   20 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 10:26 AM   #4
Macrolido
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Monterrey, Mexico
Itīs interesting the fact that he says Scott Forstall was a great boss.
Macrolido is offline   10 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 10:30 AM   #5
charlieegan3
macrumors 68020
 
charlieegan3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: U.K
Kind of surprised that this kind of this wasn't suspected/known about already. They could do with disguising it in geek-bench results too, but that would mean fewer rumors
__________________
www.charlieegan3.com
charlieegan3 is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 10:35 AM   #6
Rocketman
macrumors 603
 
Rocketman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Claremont, CA
Does anyone keep track of how many 10's of millions of instances of Safari are alive in any given day, week, month, or year?
__________________
Think Different-ly!
All 357 R or D House jobs bills over 4 years died in the D Senate, ordered by the D President. Buy a model rocket here: http://v-serv.com/usr/instaship-visual.htm Thanks.
Rocketman is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 10:44 AM   #7
Risco
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: United Kingdom
So now if anyone looks their server logs and see a 17 in the IP at the beginning, they know it is a good chance of it being Apple!

Tim Cook is sure doubling up on secrecy!
__________________
15" Macbook Pro 2012, 2.3ghz, 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD | iPhone 6 64gb Silver
Risco is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 10:54 AM   #8
adamw
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Interesting read. I use Safari as my browser of choice. It has been fairly stable.
__________________
Free Christian Books
adamw is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 10:58 AM   #9
alex00100
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Moscow, Russia
Yes, be afraid of us, be afraid.
__________________
17" MacBook Pro 2011 2.2GHz 8gb
iPad 3 3G 32gb
iPhone 5 16gb
alex00100 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 11:00 AM   #10
BJB Productions
macrumors 65816
 
BJB Productions's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Too bad Safari is awfully broken. At least for me...
__________________
15'' Unibody i7 Quad Core Macbook Pro (2011) | White 16gb iPhone 5S | White 16gb iPad Air
BJB Productions is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 11:03 AM   #11
Michaelgtrusa
macrumors 601
 
Michaelgtrusa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Everywhere And Nowhere
Perhaps a rewrite soon.
__________________
iMACAll life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
TWITTER TUMBLR
Michaelgtrusa is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 11:04 AM   #12
Yvan256
macrumors 601
 
Yvan256's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Canada
Windows?

As far as I know, Safari is no longer available for Windows.
Yvan256 is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 11:13 AM   #13
fabian9
macrumors 65816
 
fabian9's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Bristol, UK
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yvan256 View Post
As far as I know, Safari is no longer available for Windows.
That's right, Safari 6 isn't available for Windows.
__________________
21.5" iMac with fusion drive, iPhone 5 32GB, iPad rMini 16GB, Canon 40D 24-105 F/4 L
www.fabandyou.com - my portfolio!
fabian9 is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 11:17 AM   #14
Hes Nikke
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Risco View Post
So now if anyone looks their server logs and see a 17 in the IP at the beginning, they know it is a good chance of it being Apple!

Tim Cook is sure doubling up on secrecy!
It has been common knowledge that apple owns the 17 class A block since forever. This is not a new revelation for those of us who have been apple followers for 20+ years.
__________________
4966 2079 6F75 2061 7265 2064 6563 6970 6865 7269 6E67 2074 6869 7320 796F 7520 6D75 7374 2062 6520 7265 616C 6C79 2062 6F72 6564 2E2E
Hes Nikke is offline   6 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 11:33 AM   #15
ManWithAPlan
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hes Nikke View Post
It has been common knowledge that apple owns the 17 class A block since forever. This is not a new revelation for those of us who have been apple followers for 20+ years.
Correct. And of course it would be trivial to test from another netblock through a separate Internet connection than the main Apple HQ networks, so as to NOT be using 17.x. Nor is it difficult to forge a User Agent String in a web query, it's done all the time for security reasons by various enterprise security products, etc. Even without those products, it's a trivial effort. Nothing surprising at all, wake me up when they get really stealthy. BTW, rumors around the playground are that they have indeed gotten MUCH more stealthy, and Cook is a big believer in the advantages that secrecy can give them - not that they've been always been good at it. But they realize the value in it, he said so on 60 Minutes even (doubling down on secrecy), and I would expect more and more sophisticated attempts to "hide" product plans going forward. The only question is whether those attempts will be successful. Time will tell I guess.
ManWithAPlan is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 11:38 AM   #16
imgonephishin
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
I frequently used to change my user agent string when a site would tell me I had to use IE or FF to access it and 9 times out of 10 it would work fine in Safari. Can I write an article about my 1337 hacking skillz?
imgonephishin is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 11:41 AM   #17
rmwebs
Banned
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hes Nikke View Post
It has been common knowledge that apple owns the 17 class A block since forever. This is not a new revelation for those of us who have been apple followers for 20+ years.
You need to learn what "common knowledge" means
rmwebs is offline   8 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 12:02 PM   #18
hachre
macrumors 6502a
 
hachre's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Munich, Germany
Safari is better than ever before right now and has replaced Chrome for me since version 6 has been in beta.
__________________
13" MacBook Pro Late 2013 (2.4 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD) - iPhone 6+ (Silver, 64 GB)
hachre is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 12:05 PM   #19
tobefirst
macrumors 68040
 
tobefirst's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: St. Louis, MO
I like how the MR article mentions "Mozilla" nowhere except for the title. Reading the MR article itself doesn't tell you at all that they masked Safari as any Mozilla product. That's some quality writing right there!
__________________
soupmagazine.net
graphic design portfolio
tobefirst is offline   11 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 12:10 PM   #20
stevedun
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Safari was a pain in the neck in it's early versions before becoming the gold standard in Mac web browsers. I've been a Safari advocate for years now.

Version 6, however, is infuriating. The reload-on-back behavior is unacceptable. I use the trackpad or Magic Mouse to swipe back a page, and the animation looks great, but the fact that it forces a reload of the page, delays me while it reloads, and often puts me at the top of the page is a real detractor. I'm trying to deal with it until something changes, but I may need to hop ship to an inferior browser if this basic functionality is not addressed.
stevedun is offline   9 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 12:12 PM   #21
rmwebs
Banned
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by tobefirst View Post
I like how the MR article mentions "Mozilla" nowhere except for the title. Reading the MR article itself doesn't tell you at all that they masked Safari as any Mozilla product. That's some quality writing right there!
Yup. It also omits one of the major platforms that use webkit - Android. Brings me back round to this thread: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1510151
rmwebs is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 12:13 PM   #22
vastoholic
macrumors 68000
 
vastoholic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Tulsa, OK
Quote:
Originally Posted by hachre View Post
Safari is better than ever before right now and has replaced Chrome for me since version 6 has been in beta.
Hell I even tried to move to chrome last month. It was slower (more beachballs and even youtube seemed to be slower, probably just my head) and had one single fundamental flaw for me: Microsoft Office documents would not download properly, requiring me to go to the file and change the extension just to get it to open up. Silly and trivial, sure, but seriously, why is that kind of issue even there in a browser in 2012-2013?
__________________
View my flickr sets....if you want. They're not too exciting.
vastoholic is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 12:29 PM   #23
notjustjay
macrumors 603
 
notjustjay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Canada, eh?
None of this is really news to any of us. I mean, haven't we already seen articles posted on MacRumors that go like "examination of webserver logs reveal iPhone 6 is already being tested"?

Same thing.
__________________
.
notjustjay is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 12:37 PM   #24
Kobayagi
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: The Netherlands
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevedun View Post
Safari was a pain in the neck in it's early versions before becoming the gold standard in Mac web browsers. I've been a Safari advocate for years now.

Version 6, however, is infuriating. The reload-on-back behavior is unacceptable. I use the trackpad or Magic Mouse to swipe back a page, and the animation looks great, but the fact that it forces a reload of the page, delays me while it reloads, and often puts me at the top of the page is a real detractor. I'm trying to deal with it until something changes, but I may need to hop ship to an inferior browser if this basic functionality is not addressed.
Exactly. What also annoys me is that they made the tabs so huge. Now, when you want to close a few of them, you can't simply stand on the X icon and keep clicking, but you have to track down the X every time you close a tab because they keep changing in size.

Though Safari sometimes just doesn't work as nice on some websites. I thought it might be adblock or it's blocking pop ups, but after turning both off, it's still buggy on a few sites. Then I just use Chrome.


Other than that, I really like Safari, it's neat and clean. Top sites are also very nicely done. I just hope they fix some of the issues.
Kobayagi is offline   5 Reply With Quote
Old Jan 4, 2013, 12:38 PM   #25
Nermal
Moderator
 
Nermal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Whakatane, New Zealand
Quote:
Originally Posted by notjustjay View Post
None of this is really news to any of us. I mean, haven't we already seen articles posted on MacRumors that go like "examination of webserver logs reveal iPhone 6 is already being tested"?

Same thing.
If anything, that just proves that Apple has lost this "masquerading" technology some time over the past 10 years!
Nermal is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > Mac Blog Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Canīt access Spotify.com (both safari and mozilla) eemittoo MacBook Pro 0 Apr 28, 2014 07:01 PM
Adblock Plus Beta ( the original ) released for Safari! Risco OS X Mavericks (10.9) 4 Jan 22, 2014 04:06 PM
I have a javascript working great on Mozilla but not on Safari or Chrome BG29 Web Design and Development 7 Jun 16, 2013 11:07 AM
Will Safari 5.2 even be released? Riemann Zeta Mac OS X 10.7 Lion 1 Jun 21, 2012 05:04 PM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:24 PM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC