Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Firefox 3.0 RC2 - AppleScript still broken, Safari 3.1.1 to the rescue

I've got a confession to make. Safari 3.1.1 is a really good browser.

Mozilla is losing me over this AppleScript issue with Firefox 3.0. Sure I use FF3 from time to time, but not for MacSurfer work or general browsing any more, unless I'm on my XP box, that is.

In my previous post back in March, I placed Safari 3.0 at the bottom of my browser list and for good reason, 3.0 was not a good browser, unable to handle the beating I give a browser for MacSurfer work. But 3.1 changed everything. It doesn't choke, and with extensions like Saft, Safari Tabs and others (along with my AppleScripts), I can almost do everything Firefox did.

In fact, I've gotten so used to Safari 3.1.1 that Firefox seems somewhat foreign now - even a bit clunkier on the UI front, IMHO, while Safari is smooth and clean. Purely subjective, YMMV. And speed-wise, they're similar - both are, IMO, faster than Camino now as well as more compatible with plug-ins and general web suff.

Regarding AppleScript and FF3, I'd like to say thanks to Luis at WebnoteHappy for writing a post about Firefox - he references this blog and the entry I made in the Mozilla forums under "rdm44". Yeah, both are mine. He's obviously got connections so that's a great thing. I'm just glad someone with clout is taking the ball and running with it. Thanks, Luis!

I won't recap the script problems, you can find 'em here. Suffice it to say, RC2 fixes nothing, and since it's technically been out since 5/30 (at least that's the date that was on the FTP site and the file date) it is no surprise that Luis' patch hasn't been applied yet. I'm curious to know if his patch fixes ALL of the issues I mentioned...

Obviously Firefox does things that Safari can't do, namely the plug-in architecture, but for my uses Firefox can't do what Safari does and that's support AppleScript.

Folks who don't use AppleScript will find Firefox 3 a great browser. My issue shouldn't dissuade anyone from using it. Especially on Windows, FF3 rocks.Now, FWIW, I do have workarounds for Firefox 3 so I can use AppleScripts to gather titles and URLs; however, they involve GUI scripting and the use of the excellent Copy URL + extension. Not the prettiest workarounds, and because they make several GUI calls they're a little slower than usual.

If Mozilla gets around to fixing AppleScript support, I may use FF more frequently again, but I don't think Dave Hyatt and the Safari team will be idling around. I expect both FF and Safari to make continued strides towards excellence, so with that I'm optimistic.

Oh, if you're interested in helping Luis get the bug(s) fixed, he has a list of ways you can assist.

For those of you who use the MacSurfer submission AppleScript for Firefox, realize that it will not work with FF3.  You'll need to either stay with FF2, or switch over to Safari or Camino for submissions.  You can write me for submission scripts.