Yep, I'm in a mischievious, trolling sort of mood. Why the Windows of browsers? Give me a second.
If not for a handful of Firefox extensions and my obsession with Roboform, I've reached the point where I would probably rate FF as my #3 choice of browser these days, behind Chrome and, yes, after years as an IE hater, IE.
IE versus FF is a tough one now for me, but with so many amazing plugins, Firefox just wins. That's why I call it the Windows of browsers. I don't like Windows, but I love the amazing array of applications readily available. So I'm on a clunky interface, having sold out for a machine loaded with little doo dads that make it run as I like.
Similarly, I feel like in the interface design department, FF is just getting passed by. The amazing clean feel of Chrome and the stupendous speed at certain tasks makes it feel much more relaxing. And with the "Inspect Element" feature, it's so easy to see what's happening on a page.
And then of course, there's the fact that FF, like Windows, is prone to crash, but I must say, Vista and FF3 have really been very stable for me (FF2 was becoming unusable).
For now, Chrome is a no-go. It does not support Roboform (or any similar password manager AFAIK) and its own password storage is absurd - the passwords are stored in plain text and available to anyone with access to your computer without a master password or anything. So Chrome just can't be my primary browser.
So what's not to like on FF? There are the little niggles, just to name two that are bugging me today:
- If a download happens too quickly (i.e. it's done before I pick a save location), it doesn't clear the window and there's no way for me to clear my download list that I can find. Though the download long ago finished (like a day and a reboot ago), it still tells me, every time I close it, that I have a download in progress. And though there are no DLs in progress, it has been showing six for two days. Finally, on this restart of FF, I was able to clear the window. Why can't I stop them and clear it no matter what?
- I can close a tab that does not have the focus. I lose pages all the time b/c of this. IE is the only one that gets this right IMO. Chrome does a decent job though of making a much more clear difference between tabs (dark grey) with and without focus, so you're less likely to do this.
I could go on, but it isn't really that. It's also that the interface just feels dated and clunky. I think I finally get what Opera users are talking about when they say that. I've never been an Opera fan, but the feel is more smooth. At this point, I think Chrome and IE really passed FF by in that department.
You can debate the interface merits of OSX, Gnome or Vista, but they're all fairly clean. Increasingly, when I'm on FF, I feel like I'm running Windows 95, as it were.
I always thought interface aesthetics didn't really matter to me (usability and functionality, yes, but not pure visual pleasure), but lately....