firefox-logo-browser.jpgWith today’s first release candidate of Firefox 3 available, I’ve for the first time in a very long time, seriously asked myself the question if it’s time to leave Safari behind in favor of FireFox. The last Safari release saw huge improvements in speed which were fantastic. FireFox 2 just never sat right with me in terms of not only look and feel but speed and OS integration. Firefox 3 however has introduced not only a cleaner look but huge speed improvements, better memory utilization, a unique new bookmarking system and inline searching. These features, I think, have finally brought Firefox up to the level of Safari. A few things that I’ve noticed with Safari have me considering leaving it behind:

1) Safari still crashes on me every so often. Doesn’t happen too often, but enough to be annoying.

2) Safari gets sluggish with many tabs open. I’ll have maybe 10 tabs open and the entire browser will slow down considerably. The same 10 tabs in Firefox 3 is as snappy as having one tab open.

3) Safari still doesn’t natively save my tabs / session. Are you serious or am I missing something? This should be supported out of the box without any add-ons by now.

Having said all that there are some things that bother me about FireFox. Since it’s not a 100% native Mac application, widgets in forms still don’t look just quite right sometimes. Additionally I can’t, for example, use my favorite Apple-Ctrl-D keyboard shortcut to do a dictionary lookup on highlighted words. Nitpicks perhaps, but still quirky enough to be annoying at times.

For the past few weeks I’ve had both browsers open and switch between them fairly frequently. The past few days however I find myself spending more time in Firefox and enjoying it’s stability and new features more than I thought. I’m still undecided, but I look forward to exploring it a bit more in depth before coming to a conclusion. If you’re a Safari user now I would recommend giving it a shot. You may be pleasantly surprised. More to come…

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