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Firefox's Fifth Birthday - what does the future hold?
Asked by Kathrynb
Posted Nov 09 2009 11:12 AM
It's Firefox's fifth birthday, and while it's still my favorite browser, it seems like lots of people are abandoning it because it's slow and clunky. So what's the deal? Is Firefox still holding its own among browsers, and if it's slipping, what does it need to do to come up to speed?
Answered by Paul Zirkle
Posted Nov 10 2009 12:13 PM
Back in the day I used IE-- it just worked better than Netscape, and it was already integrated into the operating system.
I switched to Firefox when it came out because of the tabs feature.
Then I switched to Chrome when it came out because of the site-search feature (type a website, then type tab, then type your search and it will automatically use the site's own search feature which cuts out an extra page load each time I want to search phonearena.com or thottbot.com or imdb.com, or what have you).
But there is another reason Chrome might win over Firefox; the underlying technology.
Firefox is based on Mozilla which uses the "Gecko" engine to render content, originally developed waaaay back when for Netscape. Chrome is based on the open-source project "WebKit" which is used for Safari as well as a myriad of other browsers.
There is a fundamental difference between Gecko, which has inherited features from ancient times (remember Netscape was actually a part of a whole enterprise suite that included Email, Browsing and IM support) and WebKit which is small and clean and only does what its supposed to do: render webpages.
Don't get me wrong; Gecko has received some over-haul on it's rendering engine, it uses Cairo now. But we're still talking about a titan forged in the days before the internet, compared to Chrome which is engineered based on the philosophy of how a web browser is actually used.
Firefox is no longer the new innovative kid on the block.
More about the Chrome philosophy: http://www.google.co...rome/index.html
Reference article on Firefox: http://arstechnica.c...ed-to-gecko.ars