I finally switched to Firefox as my default browser this week. Despite the hype in the past, with Firefox 1.x I found too many sites which just didn’t render properly (due to web developers who didn’t code to standards). I also always work in corporate IE-only environments, so I always code and run with IE and do last-minute Firefox checks only if the project warrants it. The only reason I could see to use Firefox in the past was that it didn’t support Microsoft, but I found the quality of the browser lacking.
But this week I was building an ASP.net 2 app for a client and started to check things out in Firefox. I found everything rendered nearly identically. This way, I already had peace of mind about the code I was producing as I was building it (if it looked good in Mozilla, it will look in IE).
Firefox 2 seems to be a huge improvement over 1.x. I was really impressed.
I really started to appreciate Firefox when I started looking at the add-ons. There are hundreds of add-ons and themes written by the community that allow you to customise your browser exactly how you like it. A lot of the functionality is only coming into Windows with Vista and the sidebar, but it is still clunky. I like the add-ons best.
Here are some of the add-ons I’ve installed:
- ForecastFox Enhanced — a weather update add-on which gives me up-to-date weather forecasts in the corner of the status bar (great for knowing what to wear on the motorcycle). Unlike the new weather gadgets in Vista, it allows you to set up separate profiles. When I’m at my client’s site, I choose their location and when I’m at home, I choose my own.
- Del.ico.us Bookmarks ? I frequently bookmark something on my desktop but want to read the article on the laptop when I’m sitting on the couch later in the evening. I have to maintain two sets of bookmarks and it never works. With this add-on, it’s easier to use an online service like del.ico.us for all of my bookmarks (and I can have thousands).
- FoxyTunes — I have a music add-on which interfaces with WMP so I don’t need to Alt-Tab each time I want to pause the music I’m listening to or skip to the next track.
- Web Developer — superior to the developer Toolbar in IE.
- Wizz RSS News Reader ? much better than the Feeds in IE7 and Outlook 2007 (which never stay in sync with each other on the same machine)
Anyway, I haven’t given up on Microsoft in any way. I still prefer Windows Media Player to iTunes (except where I need my iPod or for lookup up podcasts). But in browser terms, I’m going to give Firefox a go for a while.