Apple should abandon Safari, embrace FireFox.

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by lem0nayde, Nov 23, 2004.

  1. lem0nayde macrumors regular

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    #1
    I've been thinking about this a lot, as a web surfer and a web designer, and I really think that if Apple wants to do right thing in terms of customers and users - they should abandon Safari and replace it with FireFox.

    My reasons:

    1.) While I like Safari, FireFox has become my standard browser on both my Macs at home and my PC. While FireFox has some kinks that need to be worked out -- it is a fantastic browser.

    2.) Since Firefox is an open source project, it falls right in line with Apple's embracing the Open Source community.

    3.) By using Firefox, Apple will be offering a browser that offers the same exact experience on PC and Mac -- helping to build a new internet standard for web browsing.

    4.) With Firefox picking up steam (quickly) and posing the first real threat to Internet Explorer in years, Apple should jump on board to help beat the crap out of Microsofts old, shriveled up browser. They would be joining the likes of AOL, Google (rumored), and the many individuals and corporations that are tired of the lack of security in I.E. and the garbage performance and are ready for something fresh.

    5.) By embracing a browser already more widely used than Safari, Apple will be helping Mac users get the same internet experience as everyone else - instead of adding yet another browser that web developers have to specially test their site on (and most likely will not.)

    This is a chance for Apple to really help take a stab at Microsoft. I think it would be the smart decision.

    Joe
     
  2. Logik macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I don't agree. Firefox does not provide a consistant interface that safari does, and if they altered Firefox to do so, they would basically remove your argument of #3

    Let's attack each one specifically..

    1) I agree, Firefox is a great browser, but I only use it on my powerbook when I have to (at school). Any other time I use safari because it works so well with the rest of the system. Again, we come right back to what I said above, if they alter firefox to make it consistant across other OS X applications then you remove your argument for #3

    2) Safari is open source, at least the KHTML engine is. The rendering engine is used in the KDE browser Konqueror, apple submits patches and updates to the KHTML engine and gives back to the community. The reason they chose KHTML is because it is lightweight and fast. While Gecko (the firefox rendering engine) is open source it is also carries much more baggage. It's not as lightweight, but is arguably faster than KHTML, depending on the page. Safari on my powerbook loads right up with one bounce, firefox takes nearly twice as long before it stops bouncing and even then it's not even ready to be used yet, so wait a bit longer.

    3) Consistant across platforms, great, but not consistant in OS X, not the user experience apple is looking for. By altering the interface, you ruin your argument for cross platform similarities. In my opinion the interface of any webbrowser is so simple you should be able to work with any browser without so much as a simple thought or two.

    4 and 5) I don't think jumping on the bandwagon is all that big of a deal. Safari displays most webpages just as well as Firefox. If it doesn't it's a bug and should be reported, or it's a web standards issue. Basically instead of making browsers support webpages, the web pages should support standards so that they all follow the rules, not breaking a web browser so a page displays correctly. The developers of webpages need to make the change here not apple or firefox.

    No one is stopping you from using firefox, i bet most people have it installed anyway, choices are good. There doesn't need to be any one browser in the lead, they can coexist. It's an application afterall, everyone is going to have a different way of wanting to do something, having choices helps people do what they want in a way that makes them more productive.
     
  3. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    #3
    Logik, well said. I agree completely.

    With competition comes innovation, so let them co-exist!
     
  4. RacerX macrumors 65832

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    #4
    My reasons why Firefox is no where near good enough for the Mac platform:

    First off this is not a true Mac application. It is a port of an application designed for Windows... and it looks and acts like it.

    Mac OS X provides any developer who takes the time to design a good Macintosh app many features that they won't have to create on their own from scratch.

    For example... text and spelling services. I can write a Mac OS X text editor that uses these inside of 10 minutes. And I'm not even a developer!

    So, why doesn't Firefox have this? Because it is designed for another operating system.

    Small thing, color. Mac OS X provides all the colors you can think of for developers to use. OmniWeb makes use of Mac OS X's color service, why not Firefox?

    And what about other services? Why can't I use MacJournal, Nisus Thesaurus, OmniDictionary, Mail, RBrowser, TextEdit or WebGrabber with this browser? Without having any more features than Firefox, Safari can take advantage of all these services because it is a Macintosh application. OmniWeb can take advantage of all these services because it is a Macintosh application.

    This browser is good at looking at pages. But forget about actively working with internet content.

    I have often said that in Mac OS X no application need stand alone. Firefox stands very much alone on my system... it may as well have been made by Microsoft for how Mac-like it is. I'm sure Firefox is one of the best browsers on Windows or Linux systems, but it sure falls way way short of what we should be expecting on a Macintosh.

    This is (in my opinion) a perfect example of us getting second hand software. Applications written for our platform can do things that applications on no other platform can do. And yet we except hand-me-downs from other platforms with the limitations of those other platforms built right into the software. We shouldn't be having the same exact experience as on a PC, we should be having a far better experience because we aren't using a PC.

    I haven't run across any pages I frequent that OmniWeb or Safari can't handle, and all those pages display better in OmniWeb and Safari than in Firefox.

    If you are looking for less from your web experience, Firefox is the browser for you. If you are on a PC, Firefox is the browser for you. But if you are on a Mac, OmniWeb, Camino and Safari all take advantage of what makes Macs better than PCs.

    Please don't lower our standards. We have more as Mac users, why settle for less.
     
  5. Logik macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    RacerX, the reason it doesn't hold up as a OS X application in your eyes is because Firefox/Mozilla are built to be Cross-platform. Look, no other web browser supports so many platforms. Why do you think it does this?

    Spelling and such are not built in because Mozilla created a whole PLATFORM on it's own. See if you try to make a web browser or any application that works on say 3 platforms (mac, linux, windows) then you will have a lot of OS specific functionality and makes a huge mess out of your application code. To combat this the Mozilla foundation created the Mozilla framework. It doesn't necessarily use any particular OS specific functionality, instead it created something within itself so that you program it once and that's that, you don't need to write code for 3 seperate platforms.

    This is being very vague.. but mozilla/gecko/firefox are usable on more than just Windows, Linux and Mac.. BeOS, QNX, etc. I'm sure i'm missing a ton too. But the reason it is so platform independent is because they made it that way, so that it'll work on more than one operating system with minimal changes. It wasn't written for windows though. It was written for many operating systems, that's what the XUL + Javascript stuff is all about. You can create your own applications right inside of Mozilla or Firefox man. It is basically it's own IDE (Visual Studio, XCode) and Framework (like Cocoa or Carbon)... it's a swiss army knife.

    EDIT: here are some links to how you can create applications with the mozilla framework..

    Creating Applications with Mozilla
    http://books.mozdev.org/html/index.html

    Why you should use Mozilla as an Application Framework
    http://www.mozilla.org/why/framework.html

    with that said i could write an application using the stuff Mozilla provides and distribute that application and it'll work on any platform that Mozilla supports without any stupid hackery, or at least without major edits of the code. It doesn't need to be a web browser either, it can be damn near anything .. 3d games i guess.
     
  6. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    #6
    I highly doubt this :rolleyes:

    Funny how you trivialize programming like its the easiest thing in the world to do. I am sure I can do whatever you do in 10 mins as well :eek:
     
  7. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #7
    I like having both. I prefer the look and feel of safari, but firefox has excellent performance generally.
     
  8. Logik macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    if you know Objective-C and Cocoa ya.. you could write it in 10 minutes... well maybe not quite that fast but pretty quickly. Cocoa provides nearly everything you'd need right outta the box without a lot of programming, you'd just have to tie it all together.

    Unfortunately, Cocoa is not a simple as pie thing, I've read a couple books on it and I still have a hard time with stuff, it's not easy and it's very complicated. It provides A LOT but to use that "A LOT" you have one hell of an entry learning curve.. it's not easy to learn. I can do simple stuff but man, I don't have the time anymore to fiddle so I just have a hard time keeping it in my head.. and i AM a developer. So, ya... if you aren't a developer good luck.. it's not THAT easy.
     
  9. broken_keyboard macrumors 65816

    broken_keyboard

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    #9
    Going with KHTML over Gecko was really dumb.
    Nice one Apple. I bet you have about 1000 rationalizations for that bad decision!
     
  10. RacerX macrumors 65832

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    #10
    It is a least common denominator of all the platforms it was designed for (which is Windows) and so is no better than a port of any other Windows app.

    It is just fine for most people. My argument is against mediocre software. And Firefox is a mediocre Mac application. As Mac users we get tons of software like that. We get almost unaltered Mac OS 9 applications or Windows applications or even Linux/Unix appliactions which provide nothing more than they did on the platforms for which they were originally designed... which is less than they could with a little thought and care on Mac OS X.

    If you are using a Mac, take advantage of it. Don't wish for less, wish for more! I just don't see why we should stand for applications which lower our platform to the same level as other platforms... specially if we don't have to. If I wanted a Windows, Linux, QNX or any other platforms experience I'd be using them.

    If you write an application for a whole bunch of platforms the best you can hope for from that application is the best you are going to get from the worst of those platforms. :D
     
  11. Logik macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    You have to take into account the idea of what you're saying. they didn't HAVE to support all those platforms. They could've just supported Windows. But instead they took the effort to make it work on many. Beggers can't be choosers. You don't have to use it, use OmniWeb or Safari. The fact is the Mac has a very small user base, compared to Windows anyway. So you can't expect someone to spend money to develop something that is mac specific.. when the returns they get might not even cover the costs of doing a good port of the software. Firefox is FREE, you expect them to go out of their way to make it perfect for you? bah, the reason behind it being open source is thata someone like YOU could go grab the source, and adapt it to OS X or whatever you want.
     
  12. lem0nayde thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    Logik - your second post is exactly why I think Apply should embrace the Mozilla platform. For most things I think Apple's proprietary software is superior, but for a web browser I think latching on to a larger movement makes much more sense. By consolidating the number of browsers there are, you can guarantee the same web experience across the board for all web users. The internet is not an isolated, proprietary experience.

    I hate that I can't see stylesheets applied to forms and scrollbars etc. in Safari because it is aquafied - a small thing for sure, but a perfect example of how the web does not fit well into OS specific guidelines.

    I've also had a far-from-perfect experience with Safari, it's really not that great of a browser. It crashes constantly, often slows down tremendously on database-heavy sites, is ugly to look at (sorry, brushed metal is just not my thing, tacky-o-rama) and is no better than the other KHTML based browsers.

    On my machine Firefox is A LOT faster than Safari in all respects, from opening to downloading pages. The Mozilla folks have also stated that they are working on a refined Mac version (it only makes sense that they would focus heavily on Windows first - though I must say that between the two I think the Mac version is almost identical and actually better in some ways.)

    Of course, like all of us, I love Apple and think they are generally brilliant. And, I think Safari filled an important gap when it was released. But, now that there is a new open-source standard that is spreading like wild-fire, I think Apple could benefit from putting the clever Safari folks to use on bigger and better things (like new iApps.)

    The internet benefits from standardization - FireFox is the first true opportunity for cross-platform standards. It's a very exciting movement.
     
  13. RacerX macrumors 65832

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    #13
    I believe you can.

    But to give you a little help, here was the tutorial I used for my first app which can be done in Mac OS X too, and here is the tutorial I used for my second app (you can find the Mac OS X version here).

    I would hope you are no worse than I at this, so I'm sure this should quiet those doubts of yours. :D
     
  14. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    #14
    Do you work for Microsoft? This has been their attitude for years.

    Its not the number or browsers out there that are the problem, its the failure to support standards set forth by the W3C and related organizations.
     
  15. lem0nayde thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    RacerX - have you used FireFox? It is far from a hand-me-down mediocre Windows program. It is a very well thought out, well implemented, beautifully designed internet browser. As I mentioned in a previous post - the Mac version actually has a slight edge on the Windows version in my opinion, so it wasn't a secondhand port. Of course they started with a Windows/Linux version - but considering the Macs market share, that is just an obvious move to get the most feedback for development improvements. The fact that the 1.0 release was available on Mac, Windows and Linux on the same day proves that it isn't an afterthought.
     
  16. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

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    #16
    I believe you can COPY someone else work in 10 mins, that's easy ;)
     
  17. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030

    johnnyjibbs

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    #17
    I use FireFox on PC, because it's better than IE, but I don't really see what all the fuss about it is. It works and it's nice and simple, but that doesn't mean it's completely secure or problem free.

    I have FireFox installed on the Mac (just for curiosity) but I much prefer the Safari interface and the Apple finish you get with it. It's about the best looking brushed metal app and works on nearly every site I come across (I don't use internet banking). My only gripe with Safari is its occasional high processor useage and the fact that the toolbar is very uncustomisable and inconsistent with toolbars for other Mac OS X apps.

    But FireFox does not use pretty form layouts or pull-down lists and is a little more clumsy to use on the Mac I feel. On PC, as I said, it's fine.
     
  18. lem0nayde thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    Please, if I worked for Microsoft would I even be posting on this board? I'd more likely be trying to buy MacRumors so I can shut it down. :)

    The major difference between Mozilla and Microsoft is that Mozilla is out to provide an excellent web surfing enviroment for all web users, where as Microsoft wanted to take over the internet by forcing people to use a browser that was built into their operating system for gain in marketshare and control. Huge difference.

    I fully agree that website builders also have a responsibility to support W3C standards - and those that don't will be left behind. But having widespread adoption of an opensource, non-corporate driven, fantastic web browser that supports those same standards would help designers and users both get the same web experience across the board.

    As a web designer and user, I'd like to see a joint movement against Microsoft to create web software that is open-source, anti-platform, much like the internet itself.

    Joe

     
  19. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #19
    I like Safari. The latest fix removed my one complaint - it didn't work perfectly with one banking site.

    Safari is standards-based. FireFox is standards-based. IE only pays lip service to standards. If FireFox succeeds in dethroning IE, we all win. Safari will open pages just as well as FireFox, and we'll all be happy.

    I use FF on Windows. I use Safari on Macs; it's better-integrated and uses the Mac L&F more (easy, because FF doesn't use the Mac L&F at all). If FF comes up with compelling reasons for me to use it on my Mac (such as cool services that are available only for the FF platform), I'll use it too. I can afford the extra couple of MB to have both installed. In fact, I have both installed now - I just don't ever open up FF.

    However, I strongly believe (but hope I'm wrong) that FF will end up supporting ActiveX, which means we'll still be 2nd-class net citizens on a lot of web content (people will still use ActiveX, we won't be able to use it, pages won't open, even in the Mac version of FF).

    Edit: so, I disagree that Apple should discontinue Safari. It's a great browser, and FF is not yet as good. Faster in many cases, yes, and I like that, but not well integrated and not - like Netscape and Mozilla before it - likely to ever be well integrated.
     
  20. RacerX macrumors 65832

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    #20
    Who is begging? I've been using OmniWeb since version 2.0. I've watch browsers come and go and I'm still using OmniWeb.

    Apple made Safari, the Omni Group made OmniWeb, and now we have Shiira. We have a much more rich browser market on our little platform than most any other platform I know of.

    I have no problem with Firefox... and I have no problem not using it. You really are projecting more into my argument than is really there.

    My problem is when people make a big production over something that is less than you can get with something else.

    For example, how often is it said in the press that Opera is going to be coming out with the first voice activated browser? Is it the first? Didn't OmniWeb have voice control in at least 4.5 (released about a year and a half ago)? Why all the hype over Opera?

    And why all the hype over Firefox?

    We are all going to use what we are going to use, but lets keep it in perspective. We have no reason to go hat in hand to these people for a browser. They make a nice browser and a lot of people seem to like it. But we surely aren't begging for browsers on this platform. :rolleyes:
     
  21. RacerX macrumors 65832

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    #21
    I would hope I could COPY in far less than 10 minutes, but I can redo what I've learned in about 10 minutes. :p

    But maybe I was wrong about you being able to learn and do this stuff, specially if you seem to think that the only way to use tutorials is as something to copy from. :eek:
     
  22. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #22
    Of course, anything can be voice-activated on the Mac. ;)
     
  23. RacerX macrumors 65832

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    #23
    Yes. But as I posted earlier, in order to use it I had to divorce myself from using most of the features and services that I have access to in Safari or OmniWeb.

    Some people may like this browser (I thought it's rendering wasn't as good as OmniWeb/Safari), but not being able to work with MacJournal, Nisus Thesaurus, OmniDictionary, Mail, RBrowser, TextEdit or WebGrabber is a lot to ask for what I see as little or no advantages over Safari, and major disadvantages compared to OmniWeb.

    As a consultant I'll carry it and set it up on people's systems (along with Netscape, OmniWeb, Camino, Shiira and Opera), but as a user and web designer, it just doesn't meet the standards that I've come to expect for the Mac platform.

    But as has been pointed out (even by the developers themselves), it wasn't designed to.
     
  24. RacerX macrumors 65832

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    #24
    Yeah, I see this type of preference panel in everything on a Mac. ;)
     

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  25. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5

    wrldwzrd89

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    #25
    You're forgetting something

    RacerX - that's what Camino is for! Camino is basically Firefox in a Mac OS X mold. It takes advantage of Mac OS X-specific features and looks like a Mac application. It was probably designed for the very reasons you complain about Firefox. Personally, I'd like to see Safari stay around AND have Camino distributed with Mac OS X. Wouldn't that be the best of both worlds?
     

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