Dave, I’ve been trying to decide between Safari and Firefox as my default browser on my Mac OS X system, and was wondering which you use and why. In particular, since I’m a blogger like you, I spend a lot of my time entering text in those cheesy little forms, and I really like auto-complete on forms. But both browsers have that capability. So which is your default?
I am a big proponent of Firefox – heck, I even have a Firefox T-shirt that I wear to geek-friendly events – but that’s really more because it’s a terrific alternative to the tired, insecure Microsoft Internet Explorer browser, particularly on my Windows XP computer.
When it comes to my default Web browser, it’s not lynx, which probably surprises some of the folk who know how much time I spend in the Terminal, but Safari. With its elegant implementation of tabs, speed and tight integration with the rest of Mac OS X, not to mention that it’s included with every Mac OS X system around so doesn’t need to be downloaded, I just find Safari works really well for me.
Further, in terms of the one feature that keeps me running Safari rather than switching over to Firefox, here’s a telling test.
In Firefox if I’m at a text input box and I type in a sentence with a misspelled word, then right click on the word I think is spelled incorrectly, here’s what I see:
Nothing helpful, nothing that even indicates that I have a word that isn’t spelled properly. That wouldn’t be a big deal except that by contrast, here’s what happens in Safari in the exact same situation:
That feature by itself makes it very difficult to imagine switching from Safari to Firefox, honestly.
Note: You might need to turn on “Check Spelling as You Type” to have the uber-helpful red squiggly lines show you which words aren’t in the Safari/Mac OS X spelling dictionary as you type.
I realize that there are third-party spell checking utilities that work across the entire Mac OS X operating system, and it wouldn’t surprise me if I could find a plug-in for Firefox that offers spell check capabilities too, but I just don’t want to hassle with it. I really like that Safari does this right out of the box (as it were) and it lets me further focus on what I’m writing, which is what’s important to me in the first place.
Your mileage will undoubtedly vary, however, so I’d be interested in hearing from more devout Firefox aficionados regarding how they’ve solved the spelling problem, one way or ‘tother.