Readers smack back on Web browsers

Computerworld readers responded to our opinionated "Browser Smackdown" with some strong views of their own.

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Safari, Camino and OmniWeb topped the list of reader favorites for Mac browsing. Several readers mentioned third-party plug-ins for Safari -- especially Saft -- that extend its features, and Eric Caldwell pointed us to for more Safari add-ons.

Safari's OS integration is key

To my mind, there's one key reason why Safari on OS X is a great browser experience: Keychain integration. Here's one case of browser integration with the OS delivering great value -- every time I enter a username/password into a Web site and decide to 'remember' it for reuse, it's added to the OS X Keychain.

Now, in one stroke I can securely back up all of my Web passwords (together with server passwords, application passwords, Kerberos and Public/Private key pairs). To have all of these instantly available on a new machine, all I need to do is copy the Keychain file(s), import it/them into the new computer's Keychain application, and then authenticate using the appropriate password.

From a security standpoint, that's the best method I've seen to keep me up and running should anything happen to my main computer. It's the key reason that I switched from Firefox (which I generally prefer from a customizability standpoint).

-- Jon Reades

Camino beats Safari

There's one Web browser you forgot when mentioning Mac OS X -- Camino. It's a Mozilla project, but with the XUL framework removed in favor of native Aqua rendering. It also coordinates with OS X features such as Keychain and Bonjour.

I switched to Camino about six months ago and never looked back. Sure, development lags behind big brother Firefox thanks to a smaller user base, but it's much better integrated into the Mac environment than Firefox will ever be. In fact, I think [Mozilla] should abandon its [Firefox for] Mac project and make Camino its official Mac project. I know that'll never happen, but it should tell you how good this browser really is.

I want to like Safari, I really do. Once in a while I'll try to switch back. But, inevitably, it lets me down, and I go back to Camino. It is, by far, the best Web browser for the Mac.

--John Inama

Site-level customization gives OmniWeb the edge

I use OmniWeb for the most part. The level of per-site customization is nice. I can set it to always allow pop-ups, or to use a larger font, etc., at a per-site level, without disturbing my overall preferences. I also use Safari on occasion, as well as Camino for times when it seems like I need the compatibility of a Gecko-based browser.

-- Mark Morris

Show Safari to its full potential

The picture you show [in the side-by-side feature comparison] is of Safari 2.x with its default layout. However, there are a large number of extras that can be switched on, either by right-clicking the toolbar, or by using command-line/third-party utilities. All of the reviews of Safari in the PC press seem to miss these extra features, which makes this very stable browser look lame compared with the other browsers. It hardly treats this Apple product fairly.

-- LC

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