Happy Birthday, Firefox

Happy Birthday, Firefox.

And, in honor of the fifth birthday of my personal favorite browser, here’s an article I originally published on the Girls In Tech blog called “Browsers Are Like Boys.”

Browsers have been a pretty hot topic of conversation lately, with everyone from Mashable to the New York Times talking  ’bout browsers, and Google launching a whole browser-centric PR campaign yesterday.

Of course, the heavyweight championship battle in the browser wars is Google Chrome vs. Mozilla Firefox — at least amongst the techies in my life. So how does an enterprising girl in tech pick a side in the great Google vs. Mozilla debate? The answer is easier than a “Rock of Love” contestant. Just remember that browsers are like boys.

If you’re the kind of girl that likes a man she can mold to suit her own personal preferences and wardrobe styling tastes, then Firefox is your best bet. Because even though the whole you can’t change a man adage might be true for boys, it certainly ain’t true for Mozilla. All it takes is a simple trip to Mozilla Land to see the thousands (literally, 5000) of ways to change Firefox via add-ons.

Think of add-ons like accessories. Sure, your outfit provides perfectly adequate form and function without any additional bling, but the addition of a few choice pieces always takes things to the next level. The same is true of browser add-ons. If you’re a PR/viral marketing kind of gal, you’re going to want to add NoDoFollow, SearchStatus and Social Media For Firefox to see which sites will let google see your hyperlinked posts, which sites have page-ranks worth your time and how well your posts do. If you need to chase down development bugs, or just watch how the code runs on your favorite sites, you want Firebug, which is what I use when working on my site. But beware that debugging extensions will seriously slow down your surfing speed, so make sure you disable them when they’re not needed.

In fact, if you’re looking for speedy processing in general, then your best bet is probably actually Chrome. Using Chrome is like dating your best friend. It’s easy, it’s convenient, it moves quickly and it tends to anticipate your needs before you actually tell it what you want. It also uses much less memory than Firefox, so it won’t slow down all the other processes running on your computer.

The downside to dating your best friend — and to using Chrome — is that you kind of have to take it as it is. You might hate that he always leaves the toilet seat up, or that Chrome doesn’t really have a legit option for Macs just yet, but those are just things you’re going to have to live with. No nifty extensions here. The browser runs the way it wants to run, does the things google wants it to do and gets the job done much quicker as a result. Of course, you’re not going to be able to dress it up with any add-on accessories. But, if your web browsing is more about performance than personalization, than Chrome is the one for you.

Of course, you could always go for the rebellious underdog type and try your luck with Opera. Or, go for the security of Safari or the familiarity of Internet Explorer. Just please, for the love of all things holy, if you’re still trying to make it work with IE6, dump the loser already and upgrade to a newer model. Some relationships just weren’t meant to last.

 

 

 

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