I’ve had Firefox installed on my home PC for quite some time, but I wasn’t using it much beyond occasionally checking how one site or another might look and behave differently from what it appeared on IE. Then, a couple of happenings with my online friends led me to try it more extensively, and a couple of weeks ago I pretty much switched over full time.
Let’s get this out of the way: I am comfortable in being a late adopter. I never ever buy the new gadgets when they first appear on the market, and practically never switch from one software to another unless there is a serious flaw in the former and a serious benefit in adopting the latter. Since I don’t use internet browsers much beyond their basic functions of browsing and reading, IE has always been an adequate tool for me. Some people I know, who do a much fancier development at their websites than I do at mine, swear – using very strong lexicon – that IE curtails their ability to do fun and elaborate stuff, but I personally haven’t reached a point where I found IE limiting.
In any case, now that I switched, I am happy that I did. Whether Firefox is truly faster than IE is imperceptible to me, but one clear improvement has been virtual disappearance of the “Cannot connect to server” errors, which I used to get occasionally for no reason at all. I blame that squarely on the browser.
Some of the Firefox add-ons – e.g., cooliris – are nothing short of awesome. I doubt I’ll find time to make use of it frequently, but it’s one of those things that is fun to have as an option.
The biggest problem I found so far is not so much a Firefox issue, as it is a built-in disadvantage of being the later comer to the market. I find quite a number of websites – including some of my own work – which are coded with HTML attributes that only IE recognizes (simplest example: “alt” vs “title” for embedded images). Some sites refuse to work properly because of that. Thankfully, those are few and relatively unimportant.
Of little annoyance is the fact that a popup login to a Windows server is not capable of remembering my credentials. I’ve gotten so used to not having to remember the strange account name that my hosting company issued me years ago that it requires a considerable mental exertion to recall every time I need to login into my CPanel via Firefox.
And that’s about it. A pretty painless transition.
I have to consider now whether I want to move to Thunderbird for my personal email. I use Outlook Express (and very simple webmail access when I want to check my inbox from the office) and the two features that I truly need in an email client – an ability to read and an ability to write – are adequately fulfilled by that. Decisions, decisions…