I love my Mac. I really do. I loved my MacBook and now I love my Macbook Pro. I prefer OSX to XP or the various Linux flavours I have tried and I like the iLife suite. I kept my blog using iWeb for awhile and most of the feedback I got when I switched to WordPress was that folks liked the iWeb one better in terms of looks. So I guess I am a fanboy. So, when Safari 3.1 came out and people said it was fast, I downloaded it right away and moved all my bookmarks over from Firefox 3. Safari would be the perfect browser. Sleek, clean, fast, with all the features I could need.
After only a few days I returned to Firefox. Here’s why:
1. Multi-tabbed Home:
In Firefox I have my three favorite starting places set as my Home pages. Call me greedy, but I open these three sites every time I get on the web, so I might as well have my browser open them right away, no? Safari wouldn’t let me. At least I couldn’t figure out how.
2. RSS subscription handling:
When I find a new site I want to subscribe to, I want to add it to my iGoogle page. It’s my main home page and I like to see all my RSS feeds on that page. A great new feature of Safari 3.1 is the way it handles RSS feeds right in Safari, but I want to have a choice as to where I read my feeds. Safari doesn’t ask me. This reminds me of why I switched from using iWeb to WordPress. Control. Steve Jobs makes things nice and easy for folks, but he is a bit of a control freak. This is not news to anyone I am sure, but I do get frustrated when I grow beyond the nice and easy ilife stuff and go looking for where I can save my iWeb as HTML and its just not there. Or when I want to set Safari to let me add my RSS subscriptions to my iGoogle page and it just does what it wants. Firefox asks me nicely if I want to add a new feed to iGoogle or Google Reader. Thanks Firefox.
3. Downloads Button:
Finally, (and this is a little thing but I use it a lot) there’s the “Downloads” button on my Firefox toolbar.
I like this button. I missed it in Safari. I download things a lot. Maybe I am funny that way. But I like to check on their progress and I like having this little button right up there where I can get to it without having to go to the Window menu and choose Downloads. Too many clicks, that. So I tried adding a button like that to my Safari toolbar. No can do.
I have not mentioned plug-ins (Firefox has them and Safari doesn’t) or GreaseMonkey scripts (ditto) because I don’t use them. But It is nice to know that I can, if I want, seek out a new feature and install it in Firefox.
For me, these things, while not terribly important, are enough to make me use Firefox 3 over Safari 3.1. They are small things, but they are important to me. If anyone can tell me in the comments how to set Safari to open several tabs when it launches or add a new tolbar button for the Downloads window I guess I might give Safari another try. Otherwise, I might as well use the one that does what I want. Right? Sorry Steve.