Browser considerations


in Geek stuff, Internet matters

This post, which was linked to on Tony’s blog, got me thinking about web browser choice. All I want is something that displays pages properly without eating too much RAM. Good RSS handling is an advantage. I am likely to stick with Firefox for now, but it is good to assess the state of competition every once in a while.

1) Safari

The good:

  1. Low usage of system resources
  2. Excellent handling of RSS feeds
  3. Good general integration with Mac OS X

The bad:

  1. Renders pages in a way all its own. Has no respect for CSS
  2. Substitutes fonts for no reason
  3. Inelegant handling of large images

Built into Mac OS X

2) Firefox

The good:

  1. Renders pages more or less in keeping with CSS design
  2. Very useful plugins: especially AdBlock, FiltersetG, Flashblock and NoScript
  3. Useful BBC news feed by default
  4. Resizes large images to fit windows, with option to show at full size

The bad:

  1. Awkward handling of RSS
  2. Very high RAM usage

Download here

3) Opera

The good:

  1. Mouse gestures
  2. Email integration

The bad:

  1. Feels big and clunky

Download here

Right now, my preference is to use Firefox for most purposes, occasionally using Safari for specific tasks. For instance, Firefox seems to have trouble with some of the Java built into Facebook. Opera I virtually never open. On the basis of several endorsements, I am now giving Camino a try.

People are encouraged to leave their own comments about how the various browsers out there compare.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Brett Banks May 4, 2007 at 3:09 am

I have also used nothing else ever but IE.
Is it worth my effort to switch? Whats IE like for RAM usage as given I have only 128 currently this is a big issue with me.

R.K. May 4, 2007 at 12:12 am

IE doesn’t warrant a mention, I see.

Mark May 4, 2007 at 11:01 am

If you’re a fan of mouse gestures (which I am), there is a good plugin for Firefox that provides them.

Anon May 4, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Whats IE like for RAM usage

You can check RAM usage easily enough. If you are using a Mac, just type ‘top’ into a Terminal window. The same goes for Linux. If you want something a bit easier to understand, use the Activity Monitor in Applications>Utilities.

In Windows, the approach for doing this depends on the version being used. In XP, use Performance Monitor. That can be launched by typing ‘perfmon’ from the Run dialog box.

The only easy way to compare RAM usage between two browsers on your particular system is to actually try both and check.

Anon May 4, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Built-in spell checking is one nice feature of Firefox 2.0. I am not sure about IE and Safari, but I am sure the latest version of Camino doesn’t have that.

Milan May 4, 2007 at 3:28 pm

I agree that spell checking is a big point in favour of Firefox, at least on Windows machines. The built-in spell checking system in Mac OS makes it less of a priority.

I haven’t used IE for years, so I really cannot comment on its level of RAM usage. It would be easy enough to check, using the methods specified above.

Jessica May 5, 2007 at 11:26 am

For Mac users especially IE doesn’t warrant a mention because it is simply not available. Windows no longer supports IE for Macs, and it hasn’t been available for download since the beginning of last year.

It is astonishing to me how many people have never even tried anything but IE. Even with its RAM hogging tendencies I feel Firefox is vastly superior. How did people live without tabs?

I think everyone should at least try out other browsers. IE7 has copied many of Firefox’s most popular features (extensions, tabs, etc), but Firefox is still the champ of incredibly useful add ons.

tony price May 5, 2007 at 6:36 pm

I’ve given Safari another try in the last few days, but whereas I was a completely zealous Firefox user, I now find that Camino is best at doing what I want to do, and have gone back to it.

Anon May 5, 2007 at 7:55 pm

Camino has even worse RSS handling than Firefox.

Pretty, but not smart.

Anon @ Wadh May 10, 2007 at 6:45 pm

One other nice thing about Firefox is the search function for text on a page. It works a lot more effectively than the search boxes in other browsers.

Milan November 4, 2007 at 8:10 pm

On my Mac, I consistently use two different browers: Firefox and Camino. Today, I realized that doing so is similar to riding my bike with or without panniers. Camino is the sans-pannier experience: things are light and fast, but it is difficult to do any serious work. Firefox may slow you down a bit, but it’s the only option when you are creating content or doing something complex. This is largely the result of the excellent plugins available. AdBlock is especially critical.

Milan June 18, 2008 at 10:47 am

If you are like me, one of the Firefox commands you use most often is ‘open in new tab.’

For those with three-button mice, there is a quick way to do this. Just click the link with the middle mouse button.

. June 7, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Adobe Confirms PDF Zero-Day, Says Kill JavaScript

“Adobe Systems has acknowledged that all versions of its Adobe Reader, including editions for Windows, the Mac and Linux, contain at least one, and possibly two, critical vulnerabilities. ‘All currently supported shipping versions of Adobe Reader and Acrobat, [Versions] 9.1, 8.1.4 and 7.1.1 and earlier, are vulnerable to this issue,’ said Adobe’s David Lenoe said in a blog entry yesterday. He was referring to a bug in Adobe’s implementation of JavaScript that went public early Tuesday. A “Bugtraq ID,” or BID number has been assigned to a second JavaScript vulnerability in Adobe’s Reader. Proof-of-concept attack code for both bugs has already been published on the Web. Adobe said it will patch Reader and Acrobat, but Lenoe offered no timetable for the fixes. In lieu of a patch, Lenoe recommended that users disable JavaScript in the apps. Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Network Security, said of the suggestion in lieu of patches, ‘Unfortunately, for Adobe, disabling JavaScript is a broken record, [and] similar to what we’ve seen in the past with Microsoft on ActiveX bugs.'”

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