I have been a Mac user for about 6 years. There have been a few Mac bandwagons I haven’t jumped on (I’m looking at you, iPhone), but the main one is Safari. I just don’t like it; however, ‘just don’t like it’ isn’t a good enough explanation, so I’ve taken to using it for the past 2 weeks to find out just exactly what it is Firefox does better than Safari – and just maybe, what Safari does better than Firefox.
Recently closed tabs
This is number one. El Jefe. When I’m in Firefox, I can press CMD-Shift-T, and the last tab I closed will re-open. Doesn’t matter how long it has been since I last closed the tab, I can press CMD-Shift-T until every single closed tab has been re-opened.
Safari has CMD-Z functionality to re-open accidentally closed tabs, but it only works just after you’ve closed a tab. If you wait too long, it won’t work any more. I close tabs to keep computer performance up and re-open them when I need them again. Perhaps not efficient, but it’s the way I do things, and Safari can’t keep up.
LastPass is the most important extension I use. I’ve changed every single password I have to extremely ridiculous passwords that I would never be able to remember, and LastPass keeps track of them all.
For a while, I liked LastPass better on FireFox than Safari. I commonly test my site builds in multiple browsers, so it’s important that I’m able to access the back-end of each site in any browser. LastPass in Safari used to look like an iPad dropdown window, and I just didn’t like it.
However, there was an update a few days ago for both browsers’ extensions. LastPass in Safari is now better. I can click the LastPass icon and type in a few of the letters of the site I want to go to. I press the down arrow to highlight the site I want and hit enter – and voila: site launched and auto-login activated.
The one area Firefox has the edge, though, is right clicking form fields. Inside the right-click menu is a LastPass option for auto-filling, copying, and generating passwords. Yes, you can access these from the LastPass button in Safari, but I like being able to also access them from the field itself.
In Safari, your only option is Firebug Lite. It’s not bad, but it’s not as powerful as Firebug for Firefox, and it’s a bit ‘buggy’. Pun intended.
Safari supports H.264, and Firefox does not. Shame on you, Firefox. I don’t know why they can’t support HTML5 video AND H.264. It makes no sense. This is actually the main reason I switched over to Safari for the past two weeks – because I wanted H.264 support for a Vimeo embed site I’m building.
I’ve deleted Flash on my MBP, so I rely on web video standards, and it really is a shame that Firefox won’t support H.264, yet.
Keyboard shortcuts for address bar and search
CMD-L gets you the address bar. Try it! It’s probably CTRL-L in Windows. CMD-K gets you the search bar, just like in Thunderbird. It’s easy, and after you’ve used those shortcuts for a day, you get used to them easily.
CMD-L is pretty universal in getting you the address bar in any browser. The search bar, however, is a different story. In Safari, I have to hit CMD-option-F to get the search bar. This forces me to bring my left ring finger down to the option key, which isn’t easy and often results in mistakes. It’s not a power-user key combo.
Buy.com Dropdown Links don’t work in Safari
This is just one of the many websites that for whatever reason don’t work well with Safari. I don’t know if the designers built it for IE6, and Safari is too advanced or what – but it doesn’t work, and Firefox does. It’s little things like this that I don’t have patience for. When I can’t click “My Account” in a dropdown menu, I’m switching browsers.