I was a Firefox guy almost from the beginning of the browser’s history in 2004. I like the concept behind open source software and I have used and enjoyed many Mozilla products. Thunderbird let me leave MS Outlook behind with increased productivity, integration, and ease of use, all with a much smaller program file size, which used to matter even more just a few short years ago. I still use Filezilla as my FTP client, and I have always done web-design and editing with SeaMonkey. I was so pleased with Firefox that it remained my primary browser even after I got my company to switch from Microsoft to Apple computers.
Sometime around version 3.5, roughly mid 2009, they began to remove or significantly change the features that made me a fan of Firefox. I explored Chrome and was disappointed that I could not replicate the features that I missed and which were no longer available from Firefox. I had explored Safari and was not thrilled with several aspects of the UI – mostly having to do with bookmarks and bookmark management. I did spend a little time with Opera, SeaMonkey, and others, but did not enjoy any as a primary browser.
Given my equal dissatisfaction with all the browsers, I decided that I might as well use the one that was already integrated into my OS and my phone. After a brief adjustment period, the program worked fine and I did enjoy the ease of multi-device integration. Safari continued to improve over the years and I stayed with it, only using other browsers to test website compatibility. I was converted and happy. I still did not like the bookmark management system and UI, but there were ways to manage bookmarks without having to use that aspect of the program too often.
And then, end of 2012-beginning of 2013, Safari started to get ridiculously slow. I am used to such a high standard of performance from my Apple products that the browser was the last culprit on my list. I was checking cables and testing my modem before it occurred to me to check out other browsers. Firefox, fine. Chrome, fine. Seamonkey, fine. I really did not want to switch and I limped along with Safari for a bit. A large part of my business involves research and the delays were starting to affect the amount of work I could accomplish in a day. After a brief check through the major competitors, I settled on Chrome, and that is what I use now and have implemented throughout my company for computers and mobile devices.
That was my only real beef with Safari – the speed drop. I am not one of those guys who has to use THE fastest browser when the differences are microns only really noticeable in lab tests, but the slowdown in Safari was reminiscent of the pre-broadband era. I could not actually go and make a sandwich waiting for a page load like in the old days, but I could write a paragraph.
There are still many features that I prefer in Safari far more than Chrome or other browsers. The synergy between the OS and iOS versions in not just content but the UI is unsurpassed to my knowledge. I am constantly baffled at the way in which Chrome handles stored password and form data and the highly inconsistent way in which that stored information is offered (or not) when faced with forms to fill out. But you can have the prettiest car in the world and if it don’t go, it don’t go.
I may check back on Safari from time to time, but given that I cannot conceive what they might have done to slow it down (or why) it is hard to understand how they might fix it. (Then again, I don’t write code, and I don’t read it terribly well either.) I would like to think that this is something Apple would notice, given that Apple employees use the products, and that they would fix it, but my confidence level that such behavior remains a part of their mission statement is quite low.
I talked with The Fromminator about Safari recently and she has not noticed the same speed issues that I have. She was running an older version of OSX which could be a factor. I have tested Safari speeds on two Macs running the most current OS and both had poor performance. My local Apple Genius Bar guys have also noticed the speed lag. Today I ran a few more comparisons between Chrome and Safari (I would love to move back to Safari) and I am still seeing a major speed differential. How about you folks? Any other Safari speed reports from the field?
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iPads for Business