What this Chrome user misses about Firefox

Since Chrome was released late last year I was a quick convert. Its slick designed ‘chrome’ and lightweight aesthetics and speed leave little to complain over. Time to time though I do think back to my time with Mozilla Firefox and what I miss about it.

Google Chrome is the lightweight web browser released by Google late last year. In their words “Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.

Personally, my conversion happened after only a few hours using it. Unlike most other mainstream web browsers it sports a minimalistic design, with only your current tabs open and ‘omnibar’ on display at the top of the page. One of my pet hates of Firefox leads back to before its time to the original Mozilla project. In those days Mozilla wasn’t really an alternative for anyone – it was the big, clunky prototype. In time they’ve streamlined it more but I still always notice that extra few seconds it takes to load Firefox. Chrome is lightweight and opening it up doesn’t feel like a burden.

Chrome also sports an easy to using ‘tabbing’ system similar to other browsers but with some significant differences. When you open a new tab In Chrome you are presented with a page that shows you the most common sites you visit, your bookmarks and the last closed tabs. A handy feature for getting access to your websites quicker. When you are already in a tab and open a website in a new tab rather than placing this new tab on the end of the queue its inserts it right next to the current tab your working in effectively providing ‘groups’ of tabs.
Chrome has many sleek features but time to time it happens that there are a few reasons I think back and consider the conversion back. Here’s a selection of a choice few.

Chrome Closes without Confirm

When you are running Google Chrome and accidently slip and click on the nice ‘x’ on the top of the screen you suddenly see one of Chrome’s immediate flaws. Chrome does not confirm with you before you close multiple tabs. If you are anything like me, I’ll have 8-10 tabs open in each Chrome window at any one time and when they all suddenly disappear this can get quite annoying.

Javascript

Chrome spouts a completely rewritten Javascript engine which supposedly out does the speed and efficiency of all other browsers. Too bad at times it seems to be poorly implemented. There has been many a site I have visited where the behavior of Javascript in Firefox/Internet Explorer is non-existent in Chrome. To be fair it degrades quite gracefully in most cases – but if I have no quarms about using Javascript why should I be restricted?

View Source

I work as back-end developer working mostly with PHP. Chrome seems to have an interesting way to manage the ‘view source’ feature opting to not actually ‘view the source’ of your current page but to view the source of your current URL. The problems comes when you’re working with dynamically generated pages (index.php?q=1) and rather than viewing the actual source of what you are displaying in the browser you get the source of the page without any arguments (index.php). I’m not sure if there is a way around this but currently I’m forced to revert back to another browser to do something as simple as view the current source of my current page.

Plug-ins

I miss Plug-ins. Firefox had a great community of developers and it was nice to see what people were coming up with. In many cases such as Gestures, Firebug or Greasemonkey the new functionality gave a whole new web browsing experience. I also miss tool bars especially my Google toolbar. I know Chrome has implemented a fancy ‘omnibar’, its miracle cure but I miss knowing what the PageRank is of the site I’m visiting. It’s Google’s browser for heaven’s sake! – Why can’t I see functionality they have already created implemented in it.

Conclusion

To be fair Chrome has only just come out of its BETA and like any of the great pieces of software we use today we will see many a revision before it resembles a highly useable and functional software suite. I believe in the vision of Chrome for many more reasons that what I have listed above (probably going to be a topic of another blog post) which is why I am going to continue to use it, for now, regardless of the above gripes

It gets you thinking though – if you sit back and take an objective analysis on your web browser can you honestly say you would still use it? What annoyances and frustrations does it give you? What reasons do you have for not converting to an alternative?

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