The school that I work at has a program where every traditional undergraduate student is “given” a laptop (the cost of the computer is baked into their tuition). Following (or leading) industry trends, we have had a growing number of new students choosing Macs rather than Windows-based computers. So much so, for the Fall 2008 entry we will only be offering Apple hardware, but with the option of running Windows or Mac (or both).
All of that said, in my new role I’ve been given a MacBook, amongst my other systems, for use and testing. I’ve wanted to run OS X professionally (not just at home), so I’ve made that my main system, and use my Windows box when I must. Being a Windows convert I immediately setup Firefox because it was familiar to me. That, and I’ve grown accustom to my array of extensions.
It’s been 3 months on now, and I figured I best give Safari a fair shake. I’m forcing myself to spend a week with Safari as my browser, using Firefox only when I must. I haven’t been a full week yet, but I think I can comfortably say that I “enjoy” using Safari more than Firefox. I really can’t tell why I enjoy it better. Is it the interface? Extension overload/abuse in FF? There’s nothing logical or rational that I can put my finger on yet; I’ll let you know if I figure it out.
This is not to say that the experience is not without pain. The two hardest things I’m having to overcome are my expectations for tab management, and muscle memory.
In my opinion, there is no FF plugin better than Tab Mix Plus. Period. I keep expecting Safari to function how I have FF setup with my TMP preferences. I am putting out a call for someone to make a plugin for Safari that will extend the tab management functionality along the lines of TMP. I want my bookmarks to open in new tabs. I want my searches to open in new tabs. And I don’t want to hold down cmd to get that to happen, because I forget to do it.
Muscle memory is good, and muscle memory sucks. I’ve got the FF keystrokes so ingrained in my head, that I forget that cmd-k does nothing in Safari, it’s cmd-opt-f to select the search box. There is some overlap, but I’ve just been leaving a Safari shortcut guide up constantly in one tab so I can take a peek when I need something.
Inversely to how there are sites that only work on IE, there are sites that just don’t work on Safari. For that reason I’m going to keep FF around (plus for web testing needs), but I think I’m going to roll with Safari for now. And I reserve the right to change my mind whenever I please.