Friday, September 11, 2009

From time to time we hear complains about web browsers. Recently, major sites like Youtube added a notice to it main page warning Internet Explorer 6 users that the browser will be discontinued shortly.

Apple provides via software update its new browsers automatically. Microsoft does the same with Windows Update. Today, it is very easy to update. Probably a big slice of these users have pirated copies and can not update by official ways. For companies, it is a bit more complicated since it involves hundreds of machines.

The main point is that there are many options for all tastes when browsers came into play. It's just a matter of trying each one since there are no costs involved and just time is needed.

The most natural option you see around is people migrating from Internet Explorer to Firefox since it is more exposed to media, you see more users going this way.

Lately I found Firefox very slow and bloated with extensions I almost don't use (I know, I should uninstall) and consuming lots of memory. Instead of cleaning it up and start using a fresh install, I went another way. Switched to Safari at home (Mac) and Chrome at work (WindowsXP).

I only did the switch because a mandatory feature for me, bookmark synchronization, using the fantastic Xmarks extension is now available on Chrome via beta channel. It became available for Safari earlier this year.

Of course, I miss some features given by other extensions. The ones I miss more are AdBlock, rocker gestures, Gmail notifier and Twitterfox.

Latest Chrome dev builds can use extensions when loaded with the --enable-extensions parameter. On Chrome dev page, there is a sample Gmail checker extension that does the basic job. That parameter is also needed to use Xmarks extension.

Replacing Twitterfox was a harder job because I wanted a small and featured client. I ended up on DestroyTwitter, an Adobe Air client that is better than other options I tested. I will leave this Twitter client choice for another post.

I've been "switched" for some weeks now and don't miss Firefox nor its extensions. Tell me if you did something similar and if it worked.


Ben said...

I just did this the other day. For basically the same reasons. Firefox was turning into a huge, slow, memory hog. I was attracted to the way Chrome uses a separate memory thread for each window, so you can recover memory easily by closing things up.

I also was waiting for the Xmarks compatibility to make the switch. The addition of themes helped as well (a consistent look is important to me).

I haven't looked back at Firefox either. I installed Google Notifier for Gmail notification purposes and it suits me just fine.

I'm excited to see the development of Chrome in the near future. So far it's getting faster and lighter all the time.

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