When I do web development, my browser of choice is Firefox. With geat extensions like Web Developer, tracking down HTML / CSS issues is made so much easier. There are plenty of others like Live HTTP Headers and Search Status to name just 2.
However when I am just browsing the web, my browser of choice is Opera, and has been for a while now. Performance wise I have found it better than firefox. This is just a perception, without any rigorous analytics. part of the answer is probably to do with FF being slowed down by the installed extensions. Remember I am running Linux (Ubuntu), so Safari and Google Chrome are not available at this time. Konqueror is a good alternative when I was on KDE.
Yes Opera is not free software, just freeware, but for me in this case, its the best tool for the job.
A major challenge of web development is that a particular OS and browser of the end user is not guaranteed, and so many must be catered for. This is not as bad as it used to be, now that Netscape 4, and Internet Explorer 5 and earlier have been consigned to history. This leave IE6, 7 and soon 8, Firefox, Safari and Opera. That is still plenty of scope for variation, and the general problem is IE6. So the decision by 37Signals to discontinue support for IE6 in mid August is an interesting development. It is also a bold move, but that is the way 37 Signals so things, by not catering to the entire world.
Thought I would give a quick screenshot. Safari and IE6 browsers on Windows XP. All running with QEMU on Kubuntu Linux.
I should have shown Konqueror as well.
I have seen a few list recently of essential applications people install on their PCs, so I thought I would put together my own list:
For web development
- Firefox, with the following extensions:
For Windows apps:
- Mozilla Thunderbird
- YAReg for dual booters needing to access Linux partitions