Firefox, not Worth the Trouble?

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Date: Wednesday, January 4th, 2006, 07:12
Category: Software

Firefox-logo-150.jpgI should start out by saying that I used to be one of the biggest advocates of Firefox ever. It’s fast and has tons of extensions, plug-ins and themes.
But the more I use Firefox on a daily basis, the more I’m reminded of its shortcomings.
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Firefox-logo-150.jpgI should start out by saying that I used to be one of the biggest advocates of Firefox ever. It’s fast and has tons of extensions, plug-ins and themes.
But the more I use Firefox on a daily basis, the more I’m reminded of its shortcomings. An article at TUAW reminds me of several glaring omissions in the browser that I used to love. First is the lack of several OS X-native features like Keychain and spell-checking support. Both are built into the OS but unused by Firefox. You can’t store all your Web passwords in a central area (Keychain) and you can’t control-click on a word and “look up in dictionary” like you can in Safari.
I’m sure that there’s an extension somewhere that does this, but who has the time to digg through thousands of those? And speaking of extensions I’m ready to ditch Firefox because of one that violates almost every rule of software development: The weather channel’s horrible 1-ClickWeather.
I am using 1-click with Firefox 1.0.7 and here are my issues:
1. I can’t get rid of it! There’s no uninstall feature. Upchucking all the options and selecting “save and exit” still leaving UGLY weather icons crowding my browser’s toolbars.
2. No matter where I place the weather, it blocks things: Navigation toolbar, Bookmarks toolbar and the Status bar. It needs an option to be placed in its own toolbar.
3. The weather alerts pop up to the frontmost position and block ALL other apps – even when I have alerts turned off. This is a nightmare piece of code that has haunted me for months. I can’t get it off my machine.
And finally, I cannot upgrade to Firefox version 1.5 because it doesn’t work with my ZDNet blog, The Apple Core, which is running WordPress 1.5. Posts are completely deleted after I click “save” (try that some morning after writing a long blog entry directly into the browser window if you really want to get pissed off). Granted, this seems to be a specific issue with CNet’s WordPress 1.5 installation (read more in the article), but hours of troubleshooting with the guys at Mozilla.org doesn’t fix the problem. Bah.
So there you have it, poor OS X feature support, egregious plug-ins and no support for my blog setup. I think that I’m dumping Firefox for good this time.

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6 Responses to “Firefox, not Worth the Trouble?”

  1. I hate to say it, but blaming FF for the actions of some extensions is illogical. Complaining that FF doesn’t have the functionality, then admitting that there is probably an extension that does what you want, and then saying “I have no time” makes you sound foolish. Next, the blog problem is CNET’s problem, not WordPress’s, and NOT Firefox’s. How do I know? I use FF with my WordPress blog all the time, and I have no problems. You didn’t do your homework. About the extensions: looking up a word is as easy as pasting the word into the search bar and selecting the dictionary.com search icon. Two clicks or so versus one. Lastly, Firefox does store your passwords in a central location, and has done so since its inception. I’ve seen pathetic reviews before, but this one takes the cake. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  2. Why did you review an old version of Firefox instead of version 1.5?
    That’s like reviewing Internet Explorer 5 and compaining it doesn’t have all the features of Internet Explorer 6.

  3. Camino is a much prettier ride, but most extensions have conflict with Camino. Which takes away a lot of the joy of Firefox. For web development, though, Firefox remains the best tool on the planet (knocks Dreamweaver and Golive out of the park) with all the fantastic extensions which allow one to troubleshoot stylesheets and test CSS live. And it’s free.

    I get the Firefox deafness problem regularly. The solution is to close one’s browsers down (Safari runs off with heaps of memory when left open long enough) every once in a while. A real nuisance but it does keep the computer running faster (and I’ve got 2 GB of memory here) with less paging and the browsers running better.

    I can’t get by without Ad-Aware. It’s keeping me happily in the year 2000 in terms of commercialisation of the web, but in the here and now in terms of presentation. But let’s hope that Firefox does get a little more Mac-like.

    I have one other nasty bug which I haven’t been able to beat very easily – the unable to copy and paste, especially in text forms bug. If anyone has any ideas on how to beat the copy-paste bugs on a Mac (v. 1.0.7), please write an article on it!

  4. What’s with no html in comments and no line breaks in comments here guys? It makes a real mess of otherwise well-thought out comments. I would humbly suggest fixing this.

  5. 1: Jason is right about Keychain. All of the Moz products would be improved if they used Keychain instead of internal caches (Bugzilla #106400). Same with proper Service integration (Bugzilla #67208 et al).
    2: Jason is off base about his weather bug. Someone with as much computer experience as Jason should be able to manually uninstall corrupt files in about 5 minutes. Then try Forecastfox instead.
    3: The WP problem is specific to Cnet and does not appear to affect anyone outside, therefore it has no place in a general purpose review.

  6. I agree, lack of Keychain support in Firefox is a glaring omission. This causes Firefox & Flock to be unable to *share* passwords with Safari and Camino. Since I switch browsers every hour or so (depending on what I need), it is impossible to keep all my browser’s passwords in sync.
    This is why I wrote 1Passwd. 1Passwd is a Password Manager & AutoFill program that integrates with the OS X Keychain. 1Passwd integrates directly with Camino, Safari, Firefox, and Flock so that no matter which one you are using you never need to leave your browser to find your passwords.