Recently Mozilla released Firefox 5, Microsoft showed a new preview of IE10 and Google has taken a 20% global market share with Chrome. A lot is hapening that continues to shift the browser landscape.
What is the best browser? Which one is the fastest?
Right now my personal favorite as a webby would be Chrome, followed by the Mac OS version of Safari 5. Here is why.
I've been a Firefox user since 1.0. Plugins, tabs and it's robust rendering engine made it the best browser of it's day, on both Windows and the Mac. Hell, I've even helped with the Spread Firefox campaign. Firefox was the instigator of the downfall of IE and added valuable tools for styling and scripting websites.
On the Mac it wasn't until Apple updated it's Safari browser to version 3 that (to me) added a good alternative to Firefox.
I know Opera is a long time player, but to be honest, I never liked it. As I've read on the interweb, you either love Opera or you don't. I'm with the latter.
With Windows it wasn't until Safari and Chrome entered the arena that made Firefox look slow and outdated. Mozilla did a great job with Firefox 4, but right now it still feels a bit sluggish and bloated.
You might be wondering why I'm not mentioning Internet Explorer? IE is one of the downsides of modern webdesign and -development. IE6, IE7 and IE8 are all crap. Legacy we are saddled up with. IE9 is a LOT better, but to me it's just catching up and adding yet another browser version to the test. Besides, it won't even run on other platforms than Windows 7.
The reasons I prefer Chrome for my day to day job has to do with a couple of things.
Speed and edge
Up to date
Chrome will keep itself up to date. As a user, you'll only have one version of Chrome. For web developers this is great news! Firefox adopted this updating strategy, for the good! Safari, Opera and others still rely on the user for upgrading the browser. Hopefully this will change in the near future.
You think Firebug is great? Well Chrome and Safari have something similair built right in and it looks and feels far better!
With Firefox, plugins can add a lot of the same functionality, but in general they do not look, feel and work consistent.
The devil is in the details
The latest browser versions are getting more and more of the same features. Speed, plugins support, bookmark synchonisation etc. Which browser you prefer becomes more and more a matter of taste and personal preference. User experience plays a big part. Too me it's all in the details. Chrome isn't notably faster than for instance Safari 5 on the Mac, but it does feel like it. Same goes with the development tools.
Some argue Firefox has much better plugin support. I disagree, but I don't use a lot of plugins. The plugins I do use, like measureit and adblock, are available on Chrome, Safari and Firefox.