Category: developers journal

Back to Firefox, so long Chrome

Author: Daemon April 28, 2011

So here I am 6 months later, installing Firefox 4 and transferring all the bookmarks to it from Chrome. I switched to Chrome half a year ago (or maybe even more) when Firefox 3 became so slow and bloated I could not take it anymore. Chrome seemed like a refreshing drink after a boxing match; me vs. Firefox 3, where Firefox 3 was punching me in the face over and over again.

Few days ago, as we were doing a site for a client, I saw the site in HTML/CSS coding state at one of our coders. He was using Firefox 4. Then I went back to my computer just to see if the site is looking OK in my Chrome. Shazam, the ugly-stick hit me in the head.

Here is a small test platform for you to test out the difference in rendering. It is a pure CSS example, with no images. Visit it with Firefox and Chrome and see what happens.

Here is a screenshot so you can compare, just in case:

Firefox vs Chrome

You would have to be blind not to notice the difference. Firefox has much smoother shadows and gradients, Chrome just slaps them on screen. I guess it is a typical Google engineering thinking – “let’s just make it work, no need to make it pretty”.

You could argue now that this is a Webkit “feature” but A-HA! No it is not! If you open the same test page in Safari, you will notice that Safari renders shadows, both outer and inset, much smoother (still not as smooth as Firefox). It seems that the folks in Mozilla did something exquisite this time considering rendering.

I have checked all the usual pages I go to, from Wunderlist and all sorts of news sites, to Facebook & web Twitter clients, and the difference is obvious. Firefox makes stuff look pretty. Paired with the fact that it is blazing fast, has smooth scrolling with scrollbar ease as it approaches bottom/top, it is good bye Chrome, hello my dear old friend Firefox. I missed you. Do not bloat too much this time, you silly you.

You could say now “who cares, these are too small issues”, but I say “I care”. It is those little polished details that separate good looking website from great looking one. If we developers are moving away from using images to using CSS-only technique to accomplish something, this quality of rendering means a lot. From time to time such differences force us to fall back to using images for buttons (for example) instead of doing it all in CSS. And that matters.


    8 thoughts on “Back to Firefox, so long Chrome”

  • I’m ‘stubbornly’ sticking to FF when everyone around me is using Chrome by now. Two reasons.

    It allows me to open all the links that are set to open in a new window/tab in the same, current tab, except when I want otherwise. Big deal for me, I don’t want to be surprised when I click on smth and to be forced to have a new window/tab opened.

    Also very important – FF reads my mind very well, better than Chrome. By this I mean typing keywords I remember from a page I visited into the address bar and, 99% of the time, FF offers it to me in the first few results.

  • Not to mention that Chrome (still, to my knowledge) has problems displaying inset box shadow and border-radius on the same element. That sucks.

  • Daemon is a lumberjack and he’s OK,
    He sleeps all night and he chops the hair!

  • Daemon, have you tried switching your screen colors setup to 32bit mode? :)

  • No man, 256 colors all the way.

  • You gotta remember though, just because something is “standardized” doesn’t make it popular. My think is that both Chrome and Firefox are excellent web browsers, and you can’t go wrong with either :).

    Personally, i rather prefer FF mostly because i can have multiple tabs open which is a very common practice today, due to the amount of content we like to look at. It’s not uncommon to have a tab open for your email, another for your social network, and another loading a YouTube video or showing your Twitter stream. The list goes on.

  • But you can have multiple tabs in Chrome as well. I seriously doubt any (desktop) browser today does not have tabs.

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