I’ve always been a rather stubborn person. There have been times in my life where it has gotten the better of me, but there have also been times where being stubborn has been beneficial. Today I’d like to examine an opinion I’ve stubbornly held on to for a few years and decide whether I was right.

Over the past few days I’ve transitioned into using Firefox as opposed to Chrome. I was skeptical, at first, that any browser could replace my beloved Chrome, but after dipping my toes in it didn’t take long to jump to Firefox as my main browser. Here’s why:

Speed

Firefox is really quick. I didn’t really think speed would be a concern, because I’ve got some pretty snappy internet (courtesy of Comcast, the money-sucking leeches we all know and love), but Firefox added speed to the things I didn’t know were slow. Although pages loaded about the same, Firefox booted faster than Chrome and was generally more responsive in general use. Even the installation of extensions (or plug-ins, as they’re known in FF) was quicker than in Chrome.

Stability

Chrome is known for two things: 1) Crashing a lot 2) Separate processes which contain crashes to one tab at a time

My experience with Firefox so far has been devoid of crashes, which is better than I can say for Chrome. (Although, in fairness, I’ve only been using FF for a few days, so there are still plenty of oportunities for things to go wrong.) One thing I have noticed, though, is that Firefox seems to bug out occasionally if I’m clicking too quickly. There was one time, for example, where the menu button in the top-right wouldn’t do anything until I restarted Firefox.

In all, I’d say that crashes are so rare in both browsers that stability has become a bit of an overblown issue.

Extendability

One of the big things that kept me using Chrome was my extension library. I had everything set up just the way I wanted it, and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to replicate the experience in another browser. I was wrong. The Firefox plug-in library is huge, and as an open source project, it is much more open and hackable, which meant that I could find all the extensions I wanted as well as a theme which matched the rest of my OS perfectly. Meanwhile, the theming in chrome continues to consist of changing the colors of about 2 different UI elements plus adding a background image to the new tab page.

DevTools

I came in fully expecting Chrome to dominate in this category. As has been the case many times before, I was wrong. The developer tools in Firefox and Chrome are actually quite similar, each with their own pros and cons. The color picker in Chrome’s DevTools was a bit more fleshed out than the one found in Firefox, but FF had a neat feature where hovering over a font-family declaration displayed a nice tooltip using the defined font. There were a few other examples of small features in each that made the experience nicer, but at the end of the day, they were essentially equal.

Bearing in mind that all of these statistics were judgment calls, not science, I’d say the Firefox is a definite winner in my books. Firefox performed the same or better than Chrome in every category, so I have no reason to switch back. That being said, I did find this whole experiment to be a bit anticlimactic. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter which tools you’re using, or whether you have the latest and the greatest. Progress is driven not by the tools, but by the people. Whether it’s a web browser or a workplace or even a disorder of some kind, what matters is not the situation, but what you make of it.