Returning to Firefox
Posted by Jamis on December 09, 2005 @ 08:53 AM
Since moving to the Mac in March of this year, I made a 7-month effort to fall in love with Safari. I almost succeeded, especially since the default look-and-feel of Firefox on the Mac is excrutiating. However, there was just enough pain involved in using Safari that I began to look at making Firefox my default browser again. In particular:
- The tab key never seems to behave like I expect in Safari. I’ve tried the various options for changing its behavior, but it still surprises me. I haven’t really tried to sit down and define why it surprises me, but Firefox seems to behave more in keeping with my expectations.
- The tab key in dialogs in Safari never seems to work—I have to explicitly point-and-click when I want to click something other than the default button. Grrr!
- Safari doesn’t have Greasemonkey! I decided I wanted to see what all this hoodwinkiness is about, and it was too much of a pain to have both Firefox and Safari open at once.
So, I turned to Google to see if I could solve the look-and-feel issues I had with Firefox on the Mac. And, lo and behold! I found the following nuggets of wonder and beauty:
- GrApple is a very nice OSX-ish theme for Firefox. Makes it look much (much!) nicer. (Unfortunately, at the time of this writing the site appears to be having problems…hopefully that gets resolved soon.)
- Tab X is a Firefox extension that puts the “X” button (for closing tabs) on each tab.
- Firefoxy is a MacOS app that updates your Firefox chrome to make form widgets look a bit more like OS X widgets. (Just a bit—but it’s a lot better than the klunky Win32 look that Firefox sports otherwise.)
Furthermore, Firefox has a feature that lets you import your Safari bookmarks! Very nice. It even preserved the contents of my bookmarks toolbar, which I had set up just so in Safari and was a bit trepidatious about replacing.
These, taken together with the speed improvements in Firefox 1.5, make using Firefox on the Mac much nicer. I now use Firefox exclusively, and only dust Safari off every now and then for testing.