2005-09-30

Browsers browsers everywhere

I never know what browser to use.

I don't use MSIE. Not just because I don't use any MS products (really, not even Office... can you believe it?). Not just because it has myriad security problems. Those are true though. It also isn't just a protest, really. For the past few years, MSIE was left behind, tasting the dirt flung into its face by better browsers like Firefox and its mozilla predecessors. Recently I think I heard that MSIE has tabbed browsing now. Yay! Welcome to 2001, Microsoft, glad you could make it.

Anyway, I'm vascillating between three (sometimes four) browsers now. The first one is the default Apple browser, Safari. Other browsers claim to be the fastest, but just from every day experience, Safari is fast. It is simple, and doesn't try to do too much. It has tabs and a download manager. The bookmarks manager is clumsy though. The bookmarks bar is nice, but ordinary. The thing that makes me always go back to it is that integration/cooperation with the operating system. I can drag and drop or cut and paste just about anything. I think there's RSS support of some kind in the Tiger edition, but I'm still using Panther for now.

A while back I started playing with Firefox. It is slick. There's something that feels smooth and glossy about using Firefox. It has that RSS support that always seems like such a good idea. (and it is). It has tabs. It has a download manager. It's bookmark system is simple, but not great. Like Safari it has that nice little google search bar in the address bar. It doesn't act quite as nicely with OS X though... keystrokes are different and things don't paste quite as well. The only other downside is that it sometimes -- only sometimes -- seems sluggish when loading, and it has even become unresponsive a few times.

A cousin of Firefox, Camino is also a slick little browser. It is smaller and faster than the fox. It has tabs and bookmarks and download managers and all that. In fact, overall, this browser might be the best bang for the buck. The problems are with little things. Forms don't quite work sometimes, or pages look a little wrong, with text floating over and out of frames. It doesn't do RSS either. Since it is so similar to Firefox, I wonder if it will continue to be developed.

Finally, I downloaded Opera the other day. I've only just started playing with it. It claims to be the fastest browser because it knows how to read pages better. I don't believe that. In fact, about the only gripe I've got with this browser so far is that it isn't very fast... apparently. It likes to put up the whole page at once, which is great for small pages, but if there's a lot of data to load, it has a slight delay. I do wonder if it is faster with a slower internet connection. Maybe for those people who are stuck with dialup speeds it has an advantage. I'm very impressed so far with the RSS capabilities (it has a reader built in). The keystrokes are different from the others, which makes me think a little more about how to navigate. The mouse gestures feature is very interesting, but might not be quite as useful as you think at first. It has a notes tool that might be useful, and a links tool that could be to some people. Oh, and have you ever accidently closed a page and then screamed out, "no.... wait!" as it closes forever? Well, Opera has a built in backup for that. Close the page? Just click on the little trash bin, and there it is, waiting for you to reopen it. I'm still in the honeymoon phase right now, but as I see it, Opera has the potential to win me over, and make me get rid of my dock icons for Safari and Firefox.

I know this post is random and off topic, but browsers are important. Imagine what the world would be like if we all used MSIE5.5... [shudder]. Comments and suggestions are welcome, as long as you don't recommend MSIE.

5 comments:

.brian said...

I just decided, after doing it for the umpteenth time, that I will blindly put my faith in the first browser I find that will automatically change '.ocm' to '.com.' That simple. That's all I want.

Anonymous said...

firefox is really nice. Once you are using int, it has plug-ins for just about everything you could want it to do.
Cyn

renee said...

as has been mentioned above, the many plug-ins available for firefox make it pretty nice... but like you, I have experienced the sluggishness which makes me return again and again to Safari. On the windows side, sadly, IE has some features which outshine firefox. It could just be that I haven't taken the time to mess with the nitty-gritties, but browsing videos in firefox doesn't integrate well with Windows Media Player (a necessary evil if you want to read .wmv - why does this format still exist?)

Anyway, yeah, Safari pretty much rocks my browsing world. The keystrokes are simple and make sense. The tab bar is easy to navigate. Its features are customazible enough. And it looks good - nice and simple, no stupid blinking logos. Yeah safari!

.brian said...

Yeah, Safari does kick ass. I refuse to install Windows Media Player or whatever its Mac equivalent is. It's just part of avoiding all microsoft junk. I suffer because sometimes I can't see a video, especially on news sites, but oh well. Reading is better for my brain anyway.

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