I was reading through Mohamed Bhimji's internet business blog today where he did a short post about Firefox. He noted that webpages load much quicker in Firefox than IE, which is true. In fact, Firefox starts much quicker than IE as well. I've been a Firefox user since way back in its beginnings. Mohamed also had a great point about memory leaks, which was a downside of Firefox for a long time. Considering the huge advantages over Internet Explorer, I always lived with the memory leaks by simply not leaving Firefox open for more than a day. The latest version of Firefox doesn't have the memory leak problems of the past.
I'd like to expand on Mohamed's post with other reasons that Firefox is a great choice of web browser. Firstly, it is FREE and open source, which means that you have a world community of developers supporting it. If there is some type of security vulnerability that crops up, it is likely to be addressed right away. IE on the other hand is closed source (privately owned by Microsoft and part of the Windows OS) and security issues are only resolved by a dedicated core team of people that may not catch wind of it until the problem is wide spread. It could be several months before it is actually addressed.
Firefox has had tabbed browsing for years. Internet Explorer just caught on in version 7. Firefox remains an intuitive and easily navigable browser, while IE7 has gotten less intuitive and more confusing for the average end-user. If you do a lot of surfing around the net, you're much more likely to pick up spyware infections with IE as opposed to Firefox.
The other things that I like about Firefox is the cool add-ons that you can integrate into your browser. I'm not talking clunky and intrusive toolbars, but useful, non-intrusive add-ons to enhance your internet experience. New add-ons can easily be acquired online through the "tools", "Add-ons" menu and clicking "Get Extensions".
Here are some of the extensions that I like:
Search Status by Craig Raw – This is an "SEO" extension which allows you to monitor Google Page Rank, Alexa, and Compete ratings. It resides down in the browser status bar (bottom) so it is out of the way and doesn't intrude into the space of your browsing window. This add-on also allows you to to check keyword density, highlight keywords, check your google & yahoo back links and indexed pages. There are other great features as well. This is a must have plug-in if you are into internet business.
ColorZilla by Alex Sirota – This is a color picker add-on which resides in the bottom left corner of your browser status bar. You can use the color picker and click on any color in your browser window and it will instantly capture the color that you are looking for. Now you will have the RGB and #Hex color values that you need to get that color scheme just right when tweaking your web pages. This is a very handy tool that I use all the time.
Forcastfox by Jon Stritar & Richard Klein – Totally unrelated to web development, but I really like having a weather forecaster in my status bar showing the current temps as well as local radar. The local radar is displayed as a small green icon which expands into a local doppler radar image when moused over. The temperature readings include current and predicted temps into the next day. Double click on any of these to open a webpage with more in-depth weather details. It also has "weather alerts" which pop up when the National Weather Service issues a local weather watch or warning.
Another cool thing I like about Firefox is its recovery capabilities. If your computer happens to lock up or crash, and you had several tabs opened up in your browser, you will automatically be prompted to restore your session! By clicking "Yes", you will get all your web pages back! How cool is that? Security, stability, better looking web pages, tons of features, I could go on and on why Firefox is my browser of choice. If you haven't already added Firefox into your browsing experience, get it now. It will automatically import all your IE Favorites, if you allow it to during the install. Once you start using this, it's likely that you'll never go back to the blue "e" again!