Safari or Firefox ?

August 20, 2009 § Leave a comment

This browser war is between Mac users, should I use Firefox as my browser or Safari? Mac users disagree on which is better, however (fortunately) we all agree on one thing (Internet Explorer S**KS). Once I bought my first Mac I didn’t even considered Safari I just downloaded Firefox and used it, this happened because I was coming from a Windows platform and Firefox was my browser so I kept using my nice old browser.

However when Apple Safari 4.0 beta was available, I said I should give it a try, in the end I can’t judge about something without using it, besides trying will not kill me, so after using the beta version I liked everything about Safari except the tabs position which was too much on the top, however when Safari 4.0 was released the tabs came back to their original place and now I was satisfied with the design too.

Startup Time
For this test I restarted my MacBook to be sure applications are not cached, when I launched Safari on my MacBook its startup time took 1 bounce on the Dock, Firefox took 8 bounces, there is a big difference in startup time which I can’t explain, may be Mac OS does something for safari on startup (I don’t know). After closing both applications and trying to open them again they both took 1 dock bounce.

CSS Rendering
For this test I used the CSS benchmark test. Safari completed it in 8 ms versus 39 ms for Firefox, without closing the page I did the test again, Safari time was still the same while Firefox took 22 ms. Since there was a change I decided to repeat it till Firefox gives me a constant result however I could not reach this point, but the fastest result was 12 ms.

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark
This benchmark tests the core JavaScript language only, after completion it provides a detailed report, I took in consideration the total time to complete the test, Safari took 727.6 ms while Firefox took 1404.6 ms. This test allows you to compare the results of each browser and Safari was 1.93x as fast.

Peacekeeper Javascript Benchmark
Although in the previous Javascript test Safari beat Firefox, I decided to try other Javascript tests, I found Peacekeeper. Safari scored 3153 points while Firefox got 1432 points. which makes safari 2.2x times faster. However it was mentioned in the website that Chrome 3.0.195 was even faster than both Safari and Firefox. (I will target Chrome in another post).

Acid 3 Test
This is one of the famous browser tests used to assure that a browser conforms to web 2.0 standards especially for DOM and JavaScript, Safari got 100% while Firefox got 93%.  (Man I am starting to love Safari).

V8 Benchmark Suite
Ok one final test to be more sure of my results, I found this V8 benchmark website, again Safari was faster than Firefox with 1894 points versus 270 points only. which means Safari was 7x times better than Firefox. is that possible!!

Summarizing the results of the different tests in the table bellow, its clear that on a MacBook machine, Safari beats Firefox in everything related to performance.

Ok this was performance but this is not the only factor for choosing a browser, the nice thing about Firefox is the huge number of plugins available, which allows you to extend your browser and add new functionalities, however – for me – the only plugin that I used on Firefox was Firebug which is a great tool used by many web developers to navigate the DOM of an HTML page, test CSS styles and find JavaScript errors. The pleasing information is that Apple understood this need for web developers, and provided a Develop menu similar in its functionality to Firebug, this menu is hidden by default but you could show it from the preferences panel.

This was my revision of Safari Vs Firefox, and I repeat, it was done on an MacBook, so performance results may be different on a PC machine. I will try to make a similar comparison between Safari & Chrome.

What about Internet Explorer? Man please, Internet Explorer is the worst browser in the universe, its ugly, slow, and doesn’t respect web standards, the only reason its out there is to make Software Developers explode of anger because they have to test their web applications on it since it has a market share of nearly 68% (but thanks God it is continuing to lose market). So I will be waiting for the day IE dies…

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