Separating browsers: home and work

5 February 2012
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Recently I’ve been experimenting with a different workflow when it comes to dividing my private tasks and my work. To make myself more efficient, I’ve essentially adopted a multi-browser system. I’ve already alluded to this system in a previous post, but now I will fully explain it.

I work with a system where I divide my private tasks and my work tasks between two different browsers. The default browser on my Mac, Apple Safari, is what I use for my private tasks. I use Safari for private tasks because it is the fastest and most integrated browser available for Mac OS X. For spell-checking Safari uses the built-in system-wide spell-checker which means when I add an unknown word to the system dictionary, that change will be reflected when I type in Safari. It is also fully compatible with the Mac OS X Services menu which I use in combination with Automator in order to create system-wide scripts which automate certain repetitive tasks. One of the simple things which makes me happy with Safari is the “Add Image to iPhoto Library” option when you right-click on an image. I use that to download images quite frequently and, even though it may be a very simple thing, it saves me the step of having to download it elsewhere, then import it into iPhoto. Safari also feels as though it’s by far the quickest browser available for the Mac which is very important when frequently browsing the internet like I do. Some people may argue that Chrome is also a very good, fast, and integrated browser for the Mac, but I would argue otherwise.

For my web development work, I use Mozilla Firefox. I use Firefox for a couple of reasons, but primarily for the available web development tools. With Firefox 10 Mozilla released its own, integrated web inspector which allows you to view the HTML and CSS of any given element within a page. Safari and Chrome both have had this feature built-in for quite some time, but the way in which Mozilla has implemented it makes it far more usable. Both Safari and Chrome (which use the same web development tools) open a panel at the bottom of the window whereas Firefox 10 uses the entire window. You can also just look at the CSS or just look at the HTML if you wish, thus saving screen real estate. Before Firefox 10 I used Firebug. Whilst similar to the web development tools in Safari and Chrome, it had a very key difference for me. When dynamically changing the properties of an element in the web inspector you have to push the return key when using Safari or Chrome before the change is reflected. With Firebug you can change the property and wait about a second and the change is reflected. That may seem trivial, but it saves a great deal of time if you do that as frequently as I do because then you don’t have to reselect the element. Combined with other add-ons such as Web Developer, ColorZilla, Open with Photoshop, Selenium, and Awesome Screenshot, Firefox is a very powerful tool for web development.

What are your thoughts about it? Which browser(s) do you use and for what reasons?

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About the Author

Alex Seifert
Alex is a developer, a drummer and an amateur historian. He enjoys being on the stage in front of a large crowd, but also sitting in a room alone, programming something or writing about history.

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