I actually have had a draft of this post in my ideas folder for about one month now and I have been constantly putting it off.
What actually prompted me to finish it was a popular article recently published on Gizmodo entitled: Fuck it, I’m Going Back to Firefox by Eric Limer.
The thoughts of Eric basically mirror those of my own. When Chrome originally hit the scene, Firefox wasn’t in a great state. The blatant memory leak issues that plagued Firefox for multiple versions until they admitted it was an issue in Firefox they needed to fix were one of many reasons for people like myself to jump ship.
We all made the switch because for a little period of time Chrome was a new breath of fresh air. It looked great, it was extremely fast and best of all: it integrated nicely with Google’s services. Things were sunshine and rainbows for a good while until Chrome started to get lazy and comfortable in the relationship.
Fast forward to now and Firefox is actually the better browser of the two. While Chrome was arguably faster when it arrived, it has gone the opposite way to the point where on my Windows 8.1 PC Chrome is basically unusable at times.
We are talking about a gaming PC with; 16gb RAM, an Intel i7 CPU with a dedicated SSD for the operating system and applications like my browser literally lagging and using 100% of my CPU for no reason. I have to literally CTRL + ALT + DEL to close down all instances of Chrome for it to be somewhat usable again for a few hours.
Leaving Chrome open without closing it down each time results in a steadily climbing rate of CPU and RAM usage. Sometimes I don’t even need to have many tabs open, memory usage and CPU utilisation are massive problems within Chrome.
I even formatted my PC recently. I removed all of my browsing history, I removed most plugins and still, Chrome has problems just doing basic browser tasks. I even disabled the auto suggestion stuff after reading it can speed up Chrome. Yet, I still get lag on my PC.
Besides the inherent and obvious issues in Chrome when it comes to poorly mismanaging CPU and memory, I’ve been using Firefox the last month and while it felt weird at the start, it was surprisingly easy to import all of my bookmarks and browsing history into the browser.
Obviously as a developer I will need to open up Chrome for testing, but as my go-to everyday browser it looks like Firefox has captured my heart again like it did in the early 2000’s.
Chrome as a browser is starting to feel like Firefox did in 2008; slow, sluggish and the arrogance of the development team appears to be holding back any kind of progress for resolving these obvious and widespread issues.
Besides the performance increase, there are other reasons that make me feel good for switching back. Mozilla are honestly committed to a better web, Firefox is the only truly 100% open source web browser. You can also get plugins that are forbidden on Google’s plugin repository like plugins for being able to download Youtube videos.
The developer tools in Firefox in my opinion are considerably better. Not just from a technical perspective, but the UI of the inspector. The great use of colours to differentiate parts of the DOM when you’re inspecting, the interface in which you access and use the tools looks and feels so much nicer than Chrome’s too.
The greatest thing of all about Firefox? The fact you can have more than 5 tabs open without your computer running out of memory or your CPU overheating because it is constantly at 100% utilisation.
I don’t actually miss Chrome at all. I dread every time I have to open it up and test something because it just doesn’t give me that same nice feeling that Firefox used too and does again.