A Comfortable Couch

Monday, October 25, 2004

Firefox gripes

I switched over to using Firefox about 3 months ago, mostly because of the pop-ups and spyware problems that plague IE. I immediately didn't like Firefox as much, but I vowed to give it time as I figured I'd come to like its advanced features, like popup blocking and tabbed browsing.

Turns out I never liked tabbed browsing and I ended up turning it off. I did like the popup blocking, as it seemed to do a better job than the Google Bar for IE. But I haven't found it faster, easier to use or less buggy. I truly think Firefox is buggier than IE (as an end user, not a web developer), it seems to crash more often, (which is still pretty infrequently) and it surprises me more often with weird behaviours.

One thing Firefox does get right is the fav.ico icon images for bookmark links. Do those icons ever work for anybody on IE? I'm surprised how bad IE is about losing those little icons, how can they not get it right?

Right now my biggest gripe with Firefox is the inability to create a new browser window that is a clone of the current browser window. There is rarely a day that goes by where I don't want to do that. IE has it right, when I select File-New-Window from the menu, the new window displays the exact same page as the existing window, with the same previous and next browsing history. Perfect! How does Firefox not have that? Is there something I'm missing?

My second biggest gripe is the Google toolbar. The third party one you get for Firefox is close, but not as good as the Google produced version for IE. There are subtle focus issues I keep hitting with the search query box, it looks like it has keyboard focus when it doesn't. It's just a small bug, but it annoys the shit out of me. Then there is the Autofill feature that is completely missing, or at least I haven't found it. There is probably another extension I could use, but I haven't gone searching for it yet.

Now Google has released Desktop Search, which by most accounts is a killer application. Apparently it doesn't integrate as well the Firefox as it does with IE, you can't use it to search you browsing history in Firefox. This might be the final nail in the coffin, I'm seriously considering switching back. The only reason I don't immediately switch is that I got all my important bookmarks in Firefox just like I want them.


Jake said...

strange. I find firefox faster and at least as stable as IE. as for the google toolbar, i find the standard searchbar on firefox is enough, plus I can easily add additional search engines to the seach bar. I've got dictionary.com, amazon, eBay, IMDB and wikipedia on mine. I'm also enamored of the Sage RSS reader that displays in the sidebar.

11:48 PMlink  
Anonymous said...

You should try Avant Browser (avantbrowser.com i think) that is basically IE + all the cool features I missed: Tabs, Popup blocking, Toolbar to search directly in a search engine of your choice, New->Blank Page/Current Page/Home page, Feed support, and Full Screen and Full Desktop view that i just love! And it seems to block adware that rapes your IE, but i am not sure about that. Anyway, higly recommended.
I think Firefox is a better Browser for developers, because of its integrated developer tools. IMO it is better designed and much lighter...

5:27 AMlink  
Timothy Roloff said...

I don't want to sound like a FireFox fanboy, but I think there are easy answers to all your problems.

1. Tabbed browsing is only really useful if you open a lot of things at once and want to group them by window. Did you know you can click your mouse's scroll wheel to open and close tabs?
2. If you originally installed an old or nightly build of the beta, did you delete your Firefox profile before upgrading? Do you have any funky extensions installed that could affect stability?
3. Clone Window: http://texturizer.net/firefox/extensions/#clonewindow
4. Google Bar: http://texturizer.net/firefox/extensions/#clonewindow/
5. The Google Desktop Search FAQ says they will likely add support for Firefox/Thunderbird.

5:21 PMlink  
Mario Mui said...

You havent been looking hard enough. If to duplicate windows, google "tab browser extensions", and you'll get this site called white...sakura...jp something. Get their extension, restart your Firefox and then start fiddlin'. You can duplicate windows..blah blah.

Do you want to strip the jpgs off sites automatically? then by all means choose between the myriad of available extensions. Or create your own. Pretty powerful.

7:14 AMlink  
Chip said...

I find firefox on win2k to be a little bit of a memory hog (the well known memory leak) but otherwise have very few issues with it, the failure to open the selfsame page I am on when I select new -> window or new -> tab to me is an advantage (saves rendering time) but that's a personal preference. The one comment I *do* have to make that I think is important, is for pity's sake back up those precious bookmarks, after a bluescreen type error from windows I lost *all* the bookmarks. Firefox seems to panic at a corrupt bookmark file and deletes it and recreates an empty one, rather than archiving it which would seem the logical choice

9:53 PMlink  

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