Firefox v. Safari

I’ve never given any serious thought to using Safari on my Powerbook. I hopped on the Firefox train years ago (when it was still called Firebird) when I was using my PC full-time. After I got the Mac, I just downloaded Firefox and have been happily using it. Lately, however, it’s been demonstrating some nagging problems that have led me to do some investigation. For some odd reason, it loses my logins to various sites and I am constantly having to enter my credentials. There are times when it feels sluggish and I get the spinning beach ball icon quite often. As I’ve previously mentioned, the pop-up blocker gets mysteriously turned off on random occasions.

One pleasant surprise with Safari has been speed. Safari seems to render pages much faster and feels more responsive overall during browsing. One place it is especially noticeable is when I’m using Google Reader to review my RSS feeds. It’s also a lot faster when I’m posting entries on the blog. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by this, since Apple makes both Safari and the Mac OS X. I guess they’re just borrowing a page out of Microsoft’s book.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I can switch now, not until I spend some time seeing if some of my problems with Safari can be overcome. First, the keyboard shortcuts are not as obvious as Firefox. I guess these can be changed, but I will have to figure out how. For example, in Firefox to jump to the search box on the menu the keyboard shortcut is Cmd-K, but in Safari its Cmd-Opt-F. The quick search function in Firefox is very well done; when you hit Cmd-F, a bar is added to the bottom of the window with flexible search tools. The bar stays there and allows you to quickly search for multiple instances of a word by repeatedly hitting Enter, or you can quickly change what you are searching for. In Safari, the search function is a dialog box that pops up and you have to keep invoking the command to search for different items. There doesn’t seem to be an efficient way to switch between open tabs in Safari. In Firefox, you can either use Ctrl-PgUp or PgDn or Cmd-1 thru 9 to jump to a specific tab. I can’t even find the shortcut in Safari. Firefox will also force any new windows that the browser tries to open to a new tab, but Safari doesn’t seem to be able to do that. Finally, there are some issues with the way that Safari renders some sites, that seem less sophisticated than Firefox.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to integrate Safari with bookmarks. I’ve been using for a while now to keep track of bookmarks across computers and Firefox enables me to add new bookmarks directly from the browser, as well as providing a common bookmark menu bar across browsers on multiple computers. I hope Apple continues to work on improvements to Safari and perhaps narrow the gaps in these areas. I think since Safari has such a prominent place on the iPhone and has now been ported to Windows, that may happen in the near future.

n.b. I just noticed when I followed the Safari link above that there is a public beta of Safari 3 out now. I’ll download it and see what I think.


2 Responses

  1. […] 3 Update In this post I compared Firefox and Safari and my experiences using both. I noticed at the end that there was a […]

  2. 4tGood idea.8l I compleatly agree with last post. dnv
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