Today, on a whim, I opened up my old Camino browser to test something, and was pleasantly surprised to be informed that I was using an old version! Yes, the folks at Camino had quietly released the next major update for the web browser, including the latest Gecko rendering engine (as used in Firefox 2).
Before Firefox 2 was released, I used Camino as my primary web browser. It used the same Gecko rendering engine, but housed it in a native Mac app, which made it faster, more functional, and used the pretty Mac widgets instead of the ugly PC-like ones that Firefox bundles with. But when Firefox 2 came along Camino was left out in the cold, as it was still using old technology. Firefox was still slow, but it had fewer bugs in the rendering. So I’ve been using a mixture of Safari and Firefox, Safari for quick loading of pages and Firefox for web development. Now that looks set to change, with Camino providing the power of Firefox in a sleek package that actually looks at home on the Mac.
So, does this mean a change in primary browser from now on? Maybe. Using one tool for two purposes isn’t always the best approach to anything, and since surfing the web and developing web sites are subtly different things, it may still be that I end up using more than one browser. There is no denying that Camino looks better than Firefox, and possibly better than Safari (a matter of personal taste, admittedly), and Camino starts up far faster than Firefox, but there are several development plugins I use in Firefox that I couldn’t live without. Since Camino shares much of its source with Firefox it’s possible that the plugins would work on Camino too, in which case that would solve the problem, but I’ll have to look into that before I even think about making a firm decision. And of course Safari is still pretty cool, despite its brushed aluminium textures which really don’t seem to fit in with other Mac apps, and its intermittent support for things like Google Maps and TinyMCE.
Rather than narrowing down the options, it seems that I have to choose between three browsers now instead of two. And that doesn’t include the browsers I have but don’t use – Flock, Internet Explorer, OmniWeb, Shiira and Opera!