RSS: Safari vs Firefox

August 26, 2006

I’m trying again to love Firefox. To give it a fair shot, I’ve been forcing myself to use Firefox 2.01b instead of my venerable Safari 2.0.4 for the last week. But why do it at all? Why switch from Safari to anything? Right now there are three things pushing me toward this experiment.

1. Google chat (which uses the Jabber chat protocol) doesn’t work in Safari. You can hook up google chat in Apple’s fantastic iChat application, but only, it turns out, if you are using a gmail address (scottfeldstein@gmail.com), not a gmail hosted address (scott@scottfeldstein.net). So, if I’m to do google chat it’s Firefox or nothing.

2. Occasionally I run across web applications that are explicitly wired to treat Internet Explorers one way and Firefox users another – and completely leave everyone else out in the cold. IE is long dead on the Mac, so if one wishes to use such a site it has to be Firefox.

3. All the other cool people are doing it. (But to be fair, this is largely because they’re rebelling against the security nightmare that is Internet Explorer on Windows – something that doesn’t affect me at all. I don’t need to use Firefox for security reasons, nor do I need it to make some kind of political statement against Microsoft.)

So how’s the experiment going? Not too bad, but I don’t think Firefox has won me over quite yet. RSS feeds is the main problem. I love the way Safari handles my RSS bookmarks. I put them all in a folder and the folder in the toolbar. Then when there’s an update to one of my feeds, it tells me so by putting the number of new articles next to the folder name in the toolbar – and also next to each sub-menu item. It looks like this. Firefox, on the other hand, has a different way of handling these feeds. Observe. The most glaring problem here is that it totally bypasses one of the greatest things about RSS feeds: in Firefox I still have to actively check to see if new content has been added. Safari’s use of numbers next to the folder and next to each bookmark tells me that new content has been added and how many articles. Plus, Safari keeps track of what I have read. In Firefox I continually have to ask myself “did I already read that post or not?”

Maybe Firefox users are all using Bloglines or something to manage their RSS feeds, I don’t know. Or maybe they’re all disaffected IE users who are just thrilled to have RSS-reading capabilities at all, who knows. All I know is that Firefox isn’t anywhere near as good an RSS reader as Safari.

Firefox developers: you fix this and I may join you for good.

Tags: , , safari


No comments yet

  1. Whats wrong with using two browsers? I remember using Firefox for D2L stuff and Safari for everything else. Oh yeah, weren’t we using Netscape as well? And, it wasn’t even 1995, this was early 2006. It may suck having to use several different browsers but sometimes you simply must. Right?

  2. We do what we have to do; all of us Firefox, Netscape, Safari, IE and other browser users do. The web is inherently chaotic and always a little bit broken. That’s the price we pay for having such a fascinating and freewheeling environment in which to play and work and communicate.

    But the drag of it is having to recreate an environment with all my bookmarks and so on in multiple pieces of software. And in having to remember different keyboard shortcuts for page-up, page-down, etc.

  3. I use firefox on the latest version of OS X with my Core Duo Mac Mini. I really used to prefer Safari over Firefox, but now that the Universal version is available, I have gone back to Firefox. I think it is slightly faster, plus some of the extensions are very useful.

    The tabbed browsing brought me in initially, but that is pretty much a given for all browsers.

    Your suspicions are correct however. I never found the browser to be the best place to manage, read, save, RSS feeds. I prefer bloglines.

  4. I love FireFox… Everytime I use Safari, I miss features that I have added on to FireFox in the form of Extentions. (I use things like “Mouse Gestures” [similar to those in Opera] and No Script [disables JavaScript on a site-by-site basis]) Hell, I feel lost even when I’m forced to use Internet Exploiter at work.

    Anyway.. To solve the RSS thing, I broke down and purchased a really nice piece of software… NetNewsWire. Best RSS reader I’ve seen! Now, if you want a FOSS RSS reader, check out Sage. It’s a plug-in to FireFox. (NNW handles the job of PodCatcher as well)


  5. I switched from Safari to Firefox mostly for the stability. But the extensions are really addictive.

    If you want more comprehensive in-browser RSS, try Wizz RSS News Reader

  6. I use Google Reader. There were a couple of things missing in it but it was better than the other RSS readers I used. However, with the release of the new interface, many of the features that were previously missing are now included and I love it even more.

  7. Wow, if firefox had those little numbers i could quit looking for something better than sage. Maybe someone will see this and make an extension.

  8. You are so right. That is the only thing that keep sme coming back to Safari.

  9. […] RSS aggregator. None of them are as convenient to me as just using Safari bookmarks. I’ve written about this before, so I’ll say no more about it […]

  10. Either you only subscribe to a handful of feeds or you really haven’t given Google reader a try. I suggest you give it another look, especially before you give twitted a second look.

  11. Replace twitted with twitter in the last comment.

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