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New Machine; New Browser

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・1 min read

I got a new MacBook Pro. I like to take these times to refresh my application use, and one choice of mine is to go in on Firefox as my default browser.

It's hard to find the time for new habits, even things as simple as browser switching, but this is as good a time as any.

I'm going with Firefox for a few reasons...

  • Browser diversity: With Microsoft Edge moving to Chromium, we are that much closer to the mono-browser. This is worth resisting.
  • Support for Mozilla: All else equal, I'm excited to be a user of the open source non-profit.
  • Privacy: Google and/or Microsoft don't need to know any more about me than they already do.
  • Performance and craftsmanship: I get the notion that Firefox is being developed on a solid foundation and making a lot of good longterm choices.
  • It's a perfectly fabulous browser all around. I'm not missing anything I had with Chrome.

I think Chrome, V8, etc. have done incredible things for the web. I'm not anti-Chrome in an overly impassioned way, but I'm very happy to be taking the Firefox plunge.

Discussion

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citizen428 profile image
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kaikauper profile image
Kai

Nice. Downloaded it a few days ago. Looks really promising.

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pp profile image
Paweł Ludwiczak

Oh wow, now I may switch to Firefox too.

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nombrekeff profile image
Manolo Edge

I've used it in the past but didn't like it, I might give it another go : )

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citizen428 profile image
Michael Kohl

What did you not like?

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nombrekeff profile image
Manolo Edge

I can't recall exactly what it was, I think it was mostly because of the interface, although this was also the case with plain Firefox... I guess I will need to give it another go! It feels like a lot has improved since 2/3 years ago :P

Devltools were nice though!

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nombrekeff profile image
Manolo Edge

I just tested it a bit, it has definitely changed a lot since I last used it!

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pretaporter profile image
Maksim

Awesome!

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rogue_halo profile image
Rogue Halo

The Dev Tools in Firefox are awesome! That's why I use Firefox.

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lehmannsystems profile image
Mike

What makes them better than Chrome devtools?

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hellonehha profile image
Neha Sharma

FF has dedicated tab for accessibility which shows accessibility tool and how each node is behaving.

FF also has dedicated tab with sliders to play with font size, line height, weight etc. With drop down of switching between different css units.

It also gives very dev friendly view of flex and grids. This helps a lot in debugging.

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nathanminchow profile image
Nathan Minchow

I think Chrome and Firefox each have their own strengths, but Firefox is really great for any kind of layout/styling work. Grid inspector is fantastic.

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webdevinci profile image
webdevinci

Lackluster comped to chrome Dev tools. A11y has been a staple feature in cdt for years and keeps getting better. Chrome is by far the best browser in every sense that really matters.
Only point I agree with is the fact that we are going to be in a mono browser world (albiet, being open source is good), and they no longer "don't be evil", quite the opposite. Whatever is good for them comes first, unfortunately. FF is just so damn slow, Dev tools especially. And setting up a Charles proxy?... Ugh

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gllmr profile image
Guillaume

Slow ?
That is not true anymore.
That was true in 2010

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webdevinci profile image
webdevinci

I tried... Poked around on a fresh FF build, no plugins installed, and everything within dev tools is extremely sluggish compared to Chrome/Chromium. Perhaps my macbook pro just like chrome better(?) There are some pretty views they added, animations make it feel even slower than it already is, and I don't see any feature that chrome doesn't have, just a few less features. Not having ability to perform local overrides is a big deal breaker; once you use them once, you can't go back to not using them [as a web dev]. Mostly it just lags the entire time, and when trying to take a memory snap the tab crashed. I could definitely see everyday (non-web-dev) using it, though. Less capabilities, but without dev tools it seems to perform decently. And like an OS, once you learn you're way around you will be more acclimated to use it.

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theevil profile image
wilson salgado quiceno

To do unit tests, native integration with different debug tools is better, better integration with the dom

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pavelloz profile image
Paweł Kowalski

Some things are better some things are really terrible.
My stance is, im staying with Firefox despite devtools (compared to chrome), not because of them. ;)

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ryansmith profile image
Ryan Smith

I do not mind the mono-browser at all. I think that there will still be diversity because everyone will have their flavor of Chromium and it is open source. Even though it is Google's product, a company like Brave can make its own privacy-focused version of it. Browser diversity has been a challenge for most web developers over the years and with the rendering and feature support being universal, a lot of that will be alleviated. It also will help us as users because big companies will contribute to Chromium and it will be even better. Microsoft has already made some great contributions and I'm looking forward to them continuing to work on it. If those vendors disagree with where Chromium is headed, they can change direction.

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pavelloz profile image
Paweł Kowalski

Chromium as open source is just a decoy. Google is killing diversity using their licensed DRM. Read more: blog.samuelmaddock.com/posts/googl...

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michrodz profile image
Mich Rodz

Wouldn't a mono browser weaken an open, standard-compliant, web?
Wouldn't the main developer of the mono-browser have too much control (think Google or Microsoft a while back.)

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ryansmith profile image
Ryan Smith

I think it could happen, but I don't think it will just yet. I think the fears may be based on historical reasons. I do not see any indication that Chromium is adding proprietary, non-standard features in its rendering engines or adding shady things to it (I haven't looked at the source, but I trust that I would see the uproar if that did happen). If Chromium departs from standards, everyone will see it happening because the source code is available. If Google neglects the upkeep of Chromium, there is a community to help. I'm not sure of the licensing for it, but I believe companies can also fork their own version of it and distribute it.

It is definitely good to think about though. From a historical standpoint, Internet Explorer was dominant and from a lot of people's perspectives, that ended up hurting the web. I do not believe it is fair to throw shade on Microsoft for that, they built a browser that shipped with the most popular operating system. There wasn't a great alternative until Firefox and Chrome came around.

Android is another open-source project by Google. Phone manufacturers have their own versions of it. Open-source communities have their own versions. I think Chromium can be similar in that way.

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marceloadsj profile image
Marcelo Junior

Do you think, for example, if that happen, Google will have to much power to control, let's say, the W3C or ECMA standards and the path those things should go?

Even not having current indications (some speculations only, like the one related to MS devs about Google intentionally adding things on Youtube to break Edge), this doesn't mean it will never happen.

So, to avoid that situation, would be better to avoid a monopoly on that area at all!

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elasticrash profile image
Stefanos Kouroupis

I hate conspiracy theories, as far as chromium is open source. It's fine. not near a mono-browser scenario, just a more (but not necessarily) consistent user experience on the web. Both for users and devs alike.

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marceloadsj profile image
Marcelo Junior

Yep, I completely agree with you on that point. We, devs and users, maybe, don't need a monobrowser environment, but we need a stable and reliable path to follow and grow consistently.

It's nice having different things and types of products, but it's necessary to grow in a solid base everyone agreed with.

And, of course, if you have a scenario to help create that kind of untrustness, it's completely normal that some conspiracy theories (or even facts) happen more often.

I can't see a scenario that isn't good to have options to choose, competitors to "fight".

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Stephen Griffiths

Firefox is fantastic, I love it, it's been my main browser for 8 years of coding. Good choice!

Extra LIBERTY tip, set DDG as your default search and then you can always use bangs (duckduckgo.com/bang) from the search bar. Much more powerful than picking between different search engines!

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maxdevjs

Happened a couple times to search for a cryptic error message on DDG and found two or three results maximum, and trying with some other search engine found several (a lot) more (not sure how many effectively pertinent). Any clue about this behaviour?

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Utkarsh Talwar

Dunno about that but if you're not aware of this little trick, you can always search through DDG with "g!" tacked at the end of your search query. Will take you to Google search without the tracking (unless you're signed in of course).

There are other shortcuts like this as well for Wikipedia and such.

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Dan Silcox

Duck duck go is great! Search has really improved since the ‘old days’ and privacy for the win! Their browser is good too - Brave.

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firatcansucu profile image
Fıratcan Sucu

Brave is not DDG's product. They are separate companies.

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dansilcox profile image
Dan Silcox

Ah ok for some reason i had it in my head they were linked!

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dansilcox profile image
Dan Silcox

Anyway, both great products with a similar privacy-first focus

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w3gaucho profile image
W3G

about:welcome @ben 😊 the next battle has been already written in about:mozilla

The Beast adopted new raiment and studied the ways of Time and Space and Light and the Flow of energy through the Universe. From its studies, the Beast fashioned new structures from oxidised metal and proclaimed their glories. And the Beast's followers rejoiced, finding renewed purpose in these teachings.

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jsalinas11 profile image
Jordan

Haven't seen this before. How metal of them. 🤘

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michrodz profile image
Mich Rodz

Firefox is amazing. Very fast, stable, great add-ons. I personally can't live without Tree Style Tabs.
Oh yeah, and also as @citizen428 says:

Don't forget mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/developer/

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citizen428 profile image
Michael Kohl

For me the most important extensions are Panorama Tab Groups, Multi-Account Cointainers, and Facebook Container.

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michrodz profile image
Mich Rodz

Oh yeah, same browser multiple different sessions. Very handy.
This plays nicely with other of my favorites, must-have, extensions: Switch Container

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citizen428 profile image
Michael Kohl

Multi-Account Container adds a "Reopen in Container" item to the tab right-click menu. And once you moved a tab to a specific container you can also set an option for "Always open in X" so it will always open in this specific container.

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michrodz profile image
Mich Rodz

OMG, that feature of always opening a domain in a specified container is really a game-changer. Thank you so much for this!

Everyone: Firefox Multi-Account Containers

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michrodz profile image
Mich Rodz

Also, @citizen428 , that add-on made me think, why doesn't every domain open automatically in its own isolated container?

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citizen428 profile image
Michael Kohl

There may be some overhead to running the containers.

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Tyler V. (he/him)

When I got a new machine last year I spent about 6 months with Firefox, but something always felt "off" with it and I eventually ended up installing Edge 2.0 instead.

I still use Firefox as my mobile browser from when I was experimenting 🤷‍♂️ Not really sure why.

It'd be interesting to get an update on your thoughts after a few weeks/months of using FF 👀

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Roelof Jan Elsinga

I've been using Linux exclusively and since Firefox is installed on most distros by default, I don't even need to go out of my way to get a new browser. Unlike Windows, you already have an amazing browser when you're first booting.

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madza profile image
Madza

Which distro do you use?

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Roelof Jan Elsinga

Ubuntu, Manjaro, and peppermint os

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Neha Sharma

I moved to Mozilla 3 months ago and today only I was thinking to write about it.

Reason which made me to move to Mozilla was security only.

As developer now I m enjoying mozilla experience especially debugging experience.

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kr428 profile image
Kristian R.

I am pretty much torn here. Really love Firefox, have been using and supporting Mozilla for ages but I feel extremely lost when looking at, in example, the fact that Mozilla Foundation has quite some dependency on Google advertisement money. Same is: There have been some situations with Firefox/Mozilla tracking their users (github.com/mozilla/addons-frontend...). At the moment, I more and more tend to using Brave because I increasingly get to understand funding of technology and content to be a crucial part of some of the problems we do have these days, and no one really seems to want or care to address this, including Mozilla. :(

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Dan Spratling

Chrome is a great browser but the privacy issues have long since bugged me(though never enough to change til recently).

Then when Google searches started returning 5 ads at the start of each search I decided to switch things up.

I tried brave + duckduckgo for a while which is also nice but I've settled on Firefox as my main for the distant future.

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Francisco Quintero 🇨🇴

At work I use Brave and for my personal accounts I use Firefox. I used Chrome because I could have profiles for different logins but with Firefox Multi-Account Containers I could left Chrome(finally) behind.

Website github.com/mozilla/multi-account-c...

It works by letting you define a group of containers and have independent sessions between them. This way I can log in in two different Twitter accounts in two different tabs.

Loving FF ❤

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Ian Pride

What are your thoughts on Brave then? I am anti-Google (maybe not anti, but I have a love/hate relationship with them), not Chrome, just saying. Can't blame a software for it's company.

I used Opera/FF for years as all other browsers were rss hogs, but it's getting a lot better (except on my old crap laptop).

I have to use all browsers to test web pages, but my main is now Brave & I won't be switching for a long while.

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Martín Granados García

Switched for the exact same reasons a few months ago. The 70 release was super sweet, then got speed bumps because the Rust engine optimizations. Now recently a bump on performance and battery, finally it comes with a default Picture in Picture. I am so sold on Firefox as well. 🧡💚

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Binyamin Green

For me, the flexbox/grid tool is enough 😀

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Dillon Johnson

I enjoy using Firefox; however, when it comes to streaming video or watching Twitch, I always come across issues (like constant freezing). So I usually switch to Edge to watch videos, but use Firefox for everything else.

I love Firefox's dev tools :D

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ajeet profile image
Ajeet

What about Brave

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zenulabidin profile image
Ali Sherief

I'm not sure. With browsers becoming ever more complex (WebAssembly and WebGL FTW! 😉) there are less and less teams that can build a browser with all those features and crank up security updates fast enough now that browsers are the #1 exploit target by hackers. So inevitably the industry shrinks to around three or four browsers. I say this as a long time Firefox user.

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AxelleDRouge

Firefox is not bad, I use it everyday (it's more of a security and customer constraint then a choice) but when I'm at home I'm on Brave or Chrome. Mostly for javascript, the V8 engine is much faster, and when I had to deal with memory, much more performant than SpiderMonkey. For a greater experience : Firefox Developer Edition

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nitinreddy3 profile image
Nitin Reddy

Must say that Firefox has improved alot lately and that's the reason being devs moving to Firefox.

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larswww

Couldn't agree more! Also;

  • uBlock Origin is fully supported on Firefox and arguably the best adblocker by far
  • Firefox for iOS is also excellent and can sync with your desktop
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Filip Němeček

This new Firefox is amazing piece of software. I switched few months back from Chrome and have no plans of going back. Also their Developer edition is just wonderful.

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Patrik Jajcay

I use chrome solely because of the javascript engine speed (which is ~30% faster than firefox IIRC) and you can really tell the difference - even when it comes to page load.

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madza profile image
Madza

brave or vivaldi

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ama profile image
Adrian Matei

Be Brave Ben !

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ronsoak profile image
ronsoak

Great post. I’m very anti the google monopoly and tried Firefox for a while and ended up on Brave due to the security benefits and the chromium compatibility layer. Maybe I should go to ff

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Luka Vidaković

Ditched Google as a default search engine recently for similar reasons.

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zechtyounes

Firefox Developer Edition is faster 💪

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haruanm profile image
Haruan Justino

I'm using Firefox Dev Edition for like one year now, no regrets.

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Max Kowalevski

Cool. Actually my primary browser of work project is Chrome but I’m going to use Firefox as my personal browser.