Is Safari better than Firefox?

Firefox 2.0 has really been bugging me lately. I have been a Firefox user since just before it went 1.0 and have always regarded it as a superior browser to Internet Explorer (still do). I recently switched to using Apple’s Safari as my primary browser and Firefox for those sites that Safari doesn’t fully support just yet (Vox is one of those sites). Safari is a great browser and I enjoy using it more and more (except when it starts to emulate a resource black hole and bring my PowerBook to a crawl).

Firefox has always been a superior browser in many ways. It was one of the first browsers to introduce tabbed browsing (I am not sure but I think Opera was first to do this) and isn’t vulnerable to all the bugs and bad things that prey on Internet Explorer. Firefox’s extensible capability is one the areas where Firefox really shines and I love that I can add all sorts of extra functionality to Firefox to take care of my various needs. Lately, though, Firefox 2.0 has been a bit of a dog. It has started to stall after not being used for a few minutes and won’t do anything except sit there and act pretty. It also crashes a little more often than it used to and I am beginning to wonder what went wrong.

In a related post, I noticed that Jeffrey Zeldman has published a post in which he finds that Safari is the better browser, at least when it comes to how the two browsers handle text on a page:

Though Firefox and related Mozilla browsers deserve credit for their unsurpassed handling of everything from the Document Object Model to MIME types, Firefoxs way with text leaves much to be desired, as the following screen shots show. Indeed, if reading is mostly what you do on the web, and if accurate typography makes reading more of a pleasure and less of a strain, then Apples Safari is superior to Firefox.

I know this really seems like nitpicking but it is an important issue when you consider that web browsers are meant to translate the code in a page into something a bit more readable for us lay users. Of course, whether the browser’s ability to display italics on a page is a key factor in deciding whether to use a browser is something I’ll leave up to you. For my part the fact that Firefox tends to really slow down on my Mac and just stall doesn’t make me want to go rushing back to it. To the extent this is a flaw in the software, I have little doubt it will be resolved pretty soon. For now, I am sticking with Safari.

For those of you who are using a Windows machine, I don’t think there should be any doubt in your mind which browser to use as your main browser. Internet Explorer 7 does seem to be an advance on Internet Explorer 6 but if I was betting the integrity of my Windows machine on browser choice, I’d definitely switch to Firefox right now.

Firefox 2

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