I’m torn at the moment. Once upon a time I used to be an huge fan of Firefox. Sadly not so much these days, and regretably I’m starting to put IE before Firefox (I hear the shuns. I know).
But let me explain. My love for Chrome (apart from it’s in-build dev tools in my opinion, well on par with or exceeding that of Firefox’s FireBug), is the fact that – as a user or developer – you don’t have to worry about what version you’re using. If you’re using Chrome, you’re on the internet and getting all the latest updates. There’s absolutely no user involvement when it comes be ensuring you have the latest technologies at your disposal.
So when it comes to development, I can easily say if it works on my computer – yeap, there’s one of the many browsers done for check.
Internet Explorer – While hideous from 6-8 in terms of it’s ability for rendering a page (and far from perfect in version 9), it does have one feature which makes me happy.
Running the latest version of Internet Explorer, I can simply pull up the development tools, and switch between rendering engines. I find that absolutely priceless when checking if version 7 or 8 work with a given site I’m on. And while I pretty much don’t care if you don’t see everything you should back in those versions (such as rounded borders or other such fancy CSS3 effects) – I can check that if a user happens to be banished to such an older version of Internet Explorer – they can still see what they should be.
Firefox on the other hand, has released their latest major version, Firefox 5, in such a short time span after version 4. Now I left Firefox back when it was 3.5 for good reason. Steadily it became much slower than anything else available at the time, and resource usage simply grew – Version 4 was simply no better and often would wonder away with GBs of memory for no apparent reason. Perhaps a browser isn’t meant to be left open for days at a time, regardless – it’s why I moved on.
But back to the topic – I had to upgrade Firefox myself. Whether there was not enough time for Firefox version 4 to check for new versions or it’s not considering version 5 important enough to upgrade to – at the very least there still would have been the box of “You need to update”. Not so good, and as far as I’m concerned both Internet Explorer and Firefox share in that deficiency.
So now I’m updated with Firefox 5, and I don’t have a means anymore to check page renders in version 4 (or previous). Now, I’m sure I could go and install the other versions – as Firefox allows for installation on things like USB storage devices – but opening another yet another browser seems extremely barbaric.
All in all, I think that while Firefox doesn’t have “the latest version-always” similar to Chrome, or Internet Explorer’s ease of switching between versions that render the page, my development will support Chrome, Internet Explorer (Latest and last latest), and the latest FireFox. Not terribly dissimilar to Google’s new plans moving forward.
Thankfully, I know Firefox is still a good browser (for rendering at least, in terms of technology) and in particular, there isn’t a huge deal of differences between version 4 and 5, and when users are harassed enough to update – they will.