Saturday, 26 July 2014

Alternative Browsers: Seamonkey, Maxthon, And Opera, Oh My!

Juggling browsers
Well you'd have thought that the browser wars had already ended and Firefox declared the winner, but on the internet, it's never really over. When the browser I've been championing for years, Cometbird, let me down by going all slow all the time for no apparent reason I decided to wait and see what the developers would do about it. The answer, it seems, is either "Wait for Firefox to sort it out" or "Lose interest and quit." I'm unwilling to put up with bad service so I tried some other browsers out. This is how I fared.


Don't even mention IE. I didn't want to switch to Chrome unless I absolutely had to because it's easier to switch between browsers when you have multiple email accounts open than to log in and out again. My G+ account is on my webdesign email; I use Firefox for that, keeping my default browser open so I can read my personal emails. Chrome is for my work email account. I don't like using it because it's not compatible with all Google products. You'd have thought they'd have sorted that out by now but they haven't. So yeah, due to compartmentalisation I don't want to use either of those, so where do I go?

I've used Safari before but was put off by its layout. Webkit rendering engines back in the day were slow to support CSS and we had to find workarounds for them. Gecko always seems to have been on the bleeding edge, and to be perfectly honest a decent fork of Firefox would have done me. This is what I found.

Maxthon


"Trident and WebKit rendering engines supported," it promised. And Gecko, apparently. Does it 'eck. It's IE 11, okay? Features are minimal and there are no options to transfer your passwords, etc. I don't like the hard-edged look, the jagged feel, or the fact that it turns my right-click commands into Chinese. I don't like having to guess what those unfamiliar squiggles mean so I ditched it.

Avant


Avant logo"Trident and WebKit and Gecko, oh my!" it promised. It's IE. Again. And once again it offers little in the way of features and addons, though it doesn't turn your right-click commands into Chinese, I'll give it that. But still, it's bare naked with no options to add items such as extra toolbars and I can't import my passwords.

Seamonkey


Seamonkey logoI've never understood the fuss about Seamonkey. It's supposed to be the Second Coming for designers but I've never found it worthwhile. Firefox is better and Cometbird knocks it out of the park. Sync doesn't work and is not being fixed; Kompozer is a better WYSIWYG HTML editor and provides the in-browser previews I needed for work as a web designer while Seamonkey doesn't. I don't like the look and feel and the developers seem to have lost interest in it. I'd give it more of a chance if it delivered on its promises.

Opera


Opera logo
You know I like something if I stick with it. I've been using Opera for the last few hours and it's working out well for me. Okay, so it uses Chromium/Blink as a rendering engine but it's much more compatible with Blogger than it used to be. The look and feel are comparable to Cometbird and while I STILL can't transfer my passwords, etc., it's pretty damn fast for typing emails, tweeting, and the other things I use browsers for. It's got some lovely add-ons (there's one for translation, a fair few for privacy, one that speeds up YouTube, and one for web development in case I want to play around) and it's not messing with anything I work with.

The market share winner


Well the overall winner of the latest round of the browser wars is unquestionably Chrome, which has over 59% of the market share as of June this year. Opera has barely 2%, probably because so few of us have heard of it. Mind you, it isn't widely advertised.

If I change my mind or Cometbird sorts itself out, I'll let you know but for the moment I use Opera for my personal online activity. 

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