For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been using Google Chrome as my main browser. It met the requirements I had for a browser better than anything else out there:
- Starts fast
- Loads pages fast
- Has Firebug-like functionality
- Let’s me avoid Flash wherever possible
- Has a PwdHash extension so I can easily use different passwords
- Has an AdBlock implementation
Chrome has the nice addition of having the Firefox-like single box to enter a URL or search (including site search, which was super, super nice).
Then, Chrome went and made the big announcement of dropping H.264 support, and that (along with some recent crashes) made me take a look at using a different browser again.
Normally, I’d probably switch back to Firefox, but even with the recent improvements, I find Firefox’s startup time and general performance to be much worse than either Chrome or Safari. So I took a look at whether or not I could use Safari full time.
Off of my checklist, the first two are easy. Safari starts fast and loads pages fast. If you install the ClickToFlash extension (which disables Flash unless you tell it to run), it runs remarkably fast. This also meets my “avoid Flash wherever possible” item.
Next up, AdBlock and Firebug. All WebKit browsers (Safari/Chrome) have a nice Web Developer toolkit. Safari also has some extensions that have been built to mimic 75% of the Firebug functionality, and a full AdBlock implementation.
I’m pretty happy after a couple of days back on Safari, though there are a couple of little things I wish worked differently (I would love favicons in the bookmark bar, and would love to imitate the Firefox/Chrome behavior where the location/search bar are integrated).
Safari also gives you a couple of nice features&emdash;it is the only browser that’s built as a purely native Mac app and takes advantage of all the nifty OSX features (data detectors, looking up words in the dictionary, other services). We’ll see how I feel after a few weeks of using Safari as my main browser, but at least initially, I’m pretty pleased.