Firefox

The Nuptials

As a long time user of Firefox (as are most of the tech chaps in the Zoocha office) I’ve seen it graduate through its various incarnations. I started out back in the day with version 0.9(b?) with the excellent web developer plug-in and progressed to version 3.6 – all as my default browser of choice; regardless of OS.

The Lovers Tiff

However recently I started to get this nagging feeling, should a web browser really take that long to boot up? I had a shiny new Macbook Pro i5 and Firefox was still taking an eternity to load. Maybe I should just blame Apple? In the evening I found myself doing the dirty and taking a bit of time to dabble in others, the obvious 2 choices were Safari and Chrome.

The Separation

3 days later it was made official, my relationship with Firefox for daily browsing was over; I had a shiny new partner for browsing…Google Chrome.

The Counselling

But come March this year all 4 major vendors (I know I’ve missed various others out but I’m a sheltered ‘trust what you (don’t) know user’) had new browsers out. As a Mac fanboi IE9 was instantly ditched due to the minor issue of its unavailability. This left me with Firefox 4, Safari and Chrome 9 to choose from.

So after using Chrome 9 and not noticing any life changing enhancements; Safari seemed to occasionally freeze, I downloaded Firefox 4 and went on a few dates. These were the most noticeable changes:

  • Visual

    At last a Mac looking skin and the tabs had moved to the same place as Chrome and Safari. I personally believe the address bar is a child of a tab, thus the tab appearing on top makes perfect sense to me.

  • Firefox Sync

    I now have all my bookmarks on my iPhone. I know in itself this is not revolutionary, as there are probably plenty of apps out there which achieve this, but due to the ease of configuration it is a welcome bonus.

  • Development

    Firebug, YSlow, Screengrab, Colorpicker all present and correct! I dabbled with using Chrome’s built in web developer add-on but I couldn’t get my head round it. This I put down to, it not being quite like Firebug.

  • JavaScript

    Supposedly it now renders JavaScript even quicker. Now I have to be honest, I’ve never really noticed how quickly a modern browser renders JavaScript. I only notice a problem when I get the spinning beach ball of death and the whole browser locks up. I thought this was down to badly written script in the first place, not how quickly a browser can interpret it. But I’ll take their word for it.

  • Start Up Time

    Now the big/fast one! It looks like the Firefox Wizards have done some serious tuning. Now when I fire up Firefox 4 it loads in a comparable time as Chrome.

The Reconciliation

So to sum up, things have been tweaked, updated and refreshed with the new Firefox 4. To my mind it seems a rather excellent improvement on the last version. However whether this will guarantee its survival in what now is becoming a very important battle ground only time will tell. For what its worth though, today Firefox 4 was welcomed back as my default browser of choice.