Another two weeks with Firefox

Josh Sherman
3 min read

A few years back, I went all in on Firefox and Duck Duck Go for a few weeks, only to wind back up on Chromium.

Duck Duck Go has been my default search engine since then, but Firefox ended up being somewhat underwhelming for me, and I ran into a few issues with the dev tools and over all slowness that pushed me back to Chromium.

Since then, I had switched from Chromium to Brave as I felt that Brave was giving more improved privacy out of the box. I went as far as signing up as a Brave Publisher so I could possibly earn some Basic Attention Token along the way.

The entire time, I had been longing to switch back to Firefox, but I was always held back by a stupid little issue where the inputs of text fields would have the text and the background the same color, and I couldn’t see what was in the input.

It was an issue with Firefox and GNOME’s dark mode / dark theme and it was enough to keep me from even considering Firefox for quite a while.

Fortunately though, Brave started giving me a ton of shit a few weeks back. It was extremely slow to load, to the point that it would lock up my entire system. Once loaded, new tabs were sluggish and that favorite browser of the moment became a thorn in my side.

After a bit of research, reinstalls and the like, I eventually decided that it was time to give Firefox another go. That was about a month or so ago, so the title of this post is more in reference to the previous post, not the current timeline ;)

Right out of the gate, and sure Brave’s extremely slowness helped anchor this feeling, Firefox felt extremely snappy.

Snappier than I ever remembered, and snappier than it felt when Quantum was initially released.

Not only was it faster, but the development tools in Firefox Development Edition felt like they finally met and exceeded feature parity with Chrome’s Dev tools.

Everything was aces, and I went all in on my computer as well as my phone.

Where I did run into issues was on the nightly developer version of Firefox on mobile, it eventually stopped letting me search, and I switched over to the preview version of Firefox without much issue.

What was really amazing is that Firefox’s sync option between desktop and mobile actually freaking worked. Brave’s syncing never quite worked for me, which left me pretty disappointing since I couldn’t bookmark between devices out of the box.

Speaking of out of the box, Firefox’s privacy settings have also come a long way since my last foray with it. While it may not be on par with Brave (maybe it is, I’m unsure) it definitely felt like enough to satisfy my needs without needing to install a bunch of extensions.

With everything going pretty amazing thus far, the big caveat I did run into was with Google Optimize, which does not support Firefox at all. This is pretty frustrating considering the functionality on Chrome is provided by an extension, and not necessarily due to Chrome’s capabilities versus Firefox.

I don’t plan on getting rid of Chromium from my system, because I still use it to test things, but I hate the idea that I have to use it to work with a specific Google property. That may end up being enough to push me to another testing service eventually.

All of this isn’t to say that I hate Brave. I still think they are doing good stuff with the browser, regardless of the recent stuff being published on the subject.

For me, it boils down to there being a variety of rendering engines in the world. Sure, it’s easier as a developer to code against a single platform, but that lack of options tends to be bad overall.

I like a world with options in it and I hope this time around I can stick with the underdog for more than only a few weeks.

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About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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