Browsers: it comes down to UI

My personal machine is a Macbook. I do almost all my web browsing on this machine. I thought it might be interesting to list off my pros/cons for each browser.

Firefox: + plugins (particularly for web dev) – slow startup time, sometimes the initial browser window gets stuck on the other monitor and I have to reset my profile which is a pain. UI feels slow, browsing is fine. Keychain (system for stored passwords) integration is poor, I have to use a plugin to get it at all and even then it doesn’t work well.

Google Chrome: + fast startup, great UI points (download UI is nice, esp. click to ‘open when finished’), best ‘private browsing’ implementation. Tabs open near the source tab, which is a fantastic optimisation. Keychain works. – recent versions have been quite unstable, I think this is something to do with Flash. Enough sites still need flash that I care about this, so I’ve switched.

Safari: + stable, has the best ‘mac’ integration of all. Popup windows going to ‘full screen’ work properly on the second monitor (different res to other monitor), only browser that manages this. – Download UI sucks. Tabbing UI lacklustre, excess tabs vanish off the side and have to be found via a clunky menu.

What’s the point? Well, I’m not choosing a browser based upon the quality of web rendering; all of them are so good that I can’t tell the difference. It’s more about the UI, and about stability. Google Chrome is the browser I’d like to use, if it weren’t for this problem with Flash; the whole browser just freezes for seconds at a time, which got too frustrating to deal with.

I wonder why browser makers have managed to reach parity in terms of render quality, javascript speed, … but not in terms of UI? Firefox is definitely the worst of the three I’ve reviewed, it feels slow and clunky and takes an age to start up. I love some of the Firefox plugins and would like to have that flexibility and functionality. I suspect that if Chrome and Safari catch up in this area, I’ll have very little reason to look at Firefox at all.

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2 Responses to Browsers: it comes down to UI

  1. Frenchie says:

    Have you tried updating flash? I’ve not noticed any serious issues with flash in a long time although I used to have what you describe in more than just Chrome.

    F.

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