I’ve been a Firefox user for a few years now, since it came out really, and I love it. It’s a great browser and the extensions can turn it into anything you want it to be, from an FTP client to a multiplayer pong game.
I’ve been using a Mac for a little over a year now and while I’ve opened Safari a few times for fun, I’ve never used Apple’s built-in browser for any real length of time. I decided a few days ago to see — just for the heck of it — whether I could use Safari exclusively at home for two weeks. While I certainly do miss Firefox and all it’s great, useful extensions, the challenge is made a little easier because of Safari’s speed. I haven’t done any scientific experimentation, but it is my impression that Safari is faster than Firefox.
Here are my biggest Safari beefs, so far:
1. Safari’s tab functionality is not great. I like to have only one browser window open at any one time, with as many tabs as I need. By default, Firefox opens all pages that ask for a new window, in a new tab. By default, Safari opens them all in new windows. Very annoying. It’s easy enough to get around using cmd-click, but it’s an extra step, and you never really know when a link is going to ask for a new window, so do you have to cmd-click everything?
2. I miss my gestures. Safari does have extension-type plugins, similar to Firefox’s, but unlike Firefox most are not free.The only extensions I miss are my mouse gestures. It’s really hard to get used to not using them, once you’ve had a taste. I only used gestures for Forward and Back, but it was enough to drive me crazy the first few days on Safari.
3. Where’s the sidebar? I did look around for sidebar functionality, since I really like having my downloads list and history at my fingertips. I was surprised to find Safari does not have a built-in sidebar for anything, not even bookmarks. Still, it’s nice to have all that extra horizontal real estate usually taken up by an open sidebar.
4. No Quick searches. I first discovered this great Firefox time saver through this Make Use Of article a few months ago, and I’ve been using them ever since. They’re a great, fast way to search for something on your favorite websites.
So, while there is a lot of missing functionality in Safari, it’s partly made up in aesthetics and speed. Having said that, my next project will be to install the free Safari Stand plugin which promises lots of great extras. I’ll report back soon.
Have you taken a similar Safari challenge? How did it work out for you? Did you end up going back to Firefox?