I've been using Firefox for a long, long time…ever since the early betas, and jumped on board as soon as 1.0 was released exactly 10 years ago. As a professional web developer, it goes without saying that I have to use quite the plethora of different browsers to get my job done (love 'em or hate 'em):
- Internet Explorer
- Google Chrome
- For a while, Opera
- Numerous mobile browsers
For a while, Firefox was the de facto for developers as the developer tools far surpassed anything offered in any other browser. Then along came Google Chrome with its own arsenal of built in developer tools, and at the time it was faster, leaner. I never fully made the switch over for all of my browser needs, but when it came to debugging the client portion of web development, it was the go-to option. Firefox has made huge strides in performance and other options, but to get a full blown client debugging experience meant installing quite a few 3rd party tools, and it just never seemed to mesh together quite as well as Chrome, so reticently I would still use Chrome for complicated debugging scenarios, even though with subsequent releases over the past couple of years, Chrome has really gone downhill in most developers' opinions. See my post on why performance in Chrome is so awful for more information, not to mention that for the most part I loathe Google as a company, to the point that I don't even use them as my primary search engine anymore (hello Bing! believe it or not…yes, I'm not kidding, Bing is superior in this developer's mind)…I just find their business practices creepy and invasive. But the amount of resources it takes to run Chrome is unacceptable.
To celebrate their 10th anniversary, Mozilla has released a developer edition of their Firefox browser (this is replacing their Aurora release trunk, which I've used since it's been available) which has all of Mozilla's web debugging tools baked in, and runs in a slim, sleek, minimal interface. Read more about it here, download it here, and best of all, you can run it in parallel with either the release or preview trunks of the regular Firefox browser. I put it through some serious paces, compared it with Chrome, and it's a no-brainer for this developer: The last piece of Google software installed on my machines is gone, Chrome is banished from my toolkit. Some Google products still have a place in my overall web developer portfolio, notably their webmaster tools, which are excellent for website analytics. I use their Feedburner service for RSS syndication (though this isn't by choice, I was using Feedburner long before they were acquired by Google). I have some Google ads on my website in non-invasive blocks to help slightly offset the cost of hosting. But these tools are all confined to one very small portion of my online footprint: My personal website…in no way shape or form does Google have any access to my own personal browsing habits as I no longer use either of their flagships: Chrome, and Google.com (I do have a Gmail account, but it's my junk account). And that makes me quite pleased. So, thank you Firefox for the multiple facets your release of Firefox Developer has helped me out in!
Firefox tags for more reading.