Much ado about scripting, Linux & Eclipse: card subject to change


A Week Without Firefox

Last week I fired the Fox and switched to using Opera 9.6. Today, I'm back to Firefox 3.0 because while Opera has a few nice features, it ultimately lags behind FF (for me, anyway) in usability and functionality.

Here's how they stack up:

Opera 9.6's Pros

  1. Sidebar notepad feature
  2. Speed dial homepage
  3. Minimalist UI with sidebar (incl. a handy notepad app and the usual suspects (transfers/downloads, history, bookmarks). For web dev, there's some handy extras like Links (a list of all the links in a page) & Info (page metadata)... but then FF also provides these via a different UI
  4. Ability to do "g keyword keyword2" to search Google for those keyword(s) (Firefox just does this without the "g")
  5. Mouse gestures
  6. Single "Wand" password manager login for entire session (rather than per-window - see Firefox Cons below)

Firefox Pros

  1. Awesomebar searches within history allow minimal typing like "hu ec ve l ar" to pull up a long URL like
  2. Ability to create keyword associations for bookmarks, so that "b 272403" will load
  3. Tons of plugins/extensions, including: mouse gestures, Twitter, Delicious, Tab colouring & detach/merge, ...

Opera Cons

  1. Location bar only works with URLs and sometimes page names. Way more typing needed than in FF
  2. No ability to undo the closing of a tab
  3. Cannot reproduce FF extensions in Opera; Delicious and Twitter integration are not nearly as good; no tab colouration, single view of downloads, no Tasktop support.
  4. Cannot store username/password pairs for in-page login forms (only browser-level ones). Repeatedly having to log in to JBoss Hudson every few hours is a royal pain.
  5. Crashes unexpectedly but previous session can be recovered.
  6. Lame icon with a dropshadow. Retro, sure, but c'mon, they've had that for AGES, and it's just lame.

Firefox Cons

  1. Memory bloat
  2. Crashes unexpectedly but previous session can be recovered.
  3. When reloading a saved/crashed session, every single page requiring access to the password manager pops a login dialog; sometimes I get to enter my password 7 or 8 times, or hit ESC repeatedly to lose those tabs.

I also briefly tried Firefox 3.1beta4, but as none of my extensions work there yet, it's not much better than Opera at this point. It's supposed to be better on memory, and has new bells and whistles being added to the Awesomebar. It's also supposed to be implementing a lot of functionality I get now from the above extensions, such as better tab management.

So, ultimately, I'm back to Firefox 3.0.10.


Max said...

Opera has the exact same quick search features - just right click on a search field and choose "Create search"

Undo close tab - ever tried clicking "Undo" ? (i.e. Ctrl plus Z is only arcane browsers that introduces new shortcuts for default actions ;)

About passwords - then my Opera remembers hudson fine...

So that leaves just your twitter etc. integration - well I use digsby for that ;)

Francis said...

I made the switch from T-bird and Firefox (because they were each using 1/2 GB *resident* memory) to Opera and I'm still with Opera, though I do miss things about FF. Visually FF uses native widgets so it looks much nicer on Linux. Hopefully Opera 10 will be better.

nickb said...

@Max: ok, the CTRL-Z thing is cool. And having the option to create custom searches (rather than keywords for bookmarks) is at least equivalent.

Dunno why it won't cache the Hudson login, but it's a PITA. Would that IT would get around to implementing Kerberos logins so at least it's a password I can remember. Kudos to Denis Roy - Eclipse got committer logins for our Hudson in what, two weeks? *sigh*

jarcud said...

Opera's "speed dial" has a worthy alternative in FF: install the "New Tab King" add-on you get analytics on your browsing trends on each new tab. pretty cool