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Bringing Chrome Up to Snuff

September 26, 2010

Back in the day (okay, last year) when Firefox was my primary browser, I did quite enjoy the peace of mind from using NoScript and WoT. Of course, when I’ve done any web development I’ve also always found Live HTTP Headers and without a doubt, FireBug, invaluable.

Nevertheless, the performance differences I’ve encountered between Chrome and Firefox, namely JavaScript speeds and snappy responses at all times, led me to start using Chrome more and more. Which led to me where I am now, using Chrome for all casual browsing. Until recently, I’ve continued using Firefox as my default browser (as I’m paranoid, and feel that if some program were to try opening a window without me wanting it to, I’d rather it open in Firefox with no JavaScript and the chance of being blocked by WoT) and as my web development testing browser.

But now, I’ve found a few new eye openers which have led me to reconsider some of these choices. To my surprise a number of these are features built into Chrome that have avoided my noticing them.

  • Inspect Element:  Right click on just about anything in Chrome and you have this option.  I’ve looked at it a few times, but apparently never actually examined how powerful of a tool this is.  Included behind this unassuming context menu option are many features I’ve been missing from my Firefox plugins, albeit its not quite a solid FireBug replacement.  The elements and scripts tabs will let you do JavaScript debugging, on-the-fly CSS and DOM editing, (irrespectively).  Also this rather versatile toolkit is included a resources tab.  I haven’t compared too much yet but this has thus far proved to be pretty consistent with the results I would get from Live HTTP Headers, and presents them with a graphical view of loading over time like FireBug does so well.
  • As for the security extensions I’ve been missing, Chrome has an option for disallowing all JavaScript with an domain exception list.  This can be found under Options > Under the Hood > Content Settings > JavaScript.  It does require reloading a page after JavaScript is initially enabled, but if one is like I, this will only be a minor inconvenience as the number of web sites I tend to allow the use of JavaScript is rather low anyhow.  Last but not least, in regard to WoT, this option isn’t even an actual alternative from Firefox, as WoT it turns out is available for Chrome.

Of course, I’ve been tasting Firefox 4 beta builds, and thus far I have been rather pleased with what I have been seeing – so perhaps in a few months from now I may be trying to reacquaint myself with using Firefox as a primary web browser again, of course only time will tell this one.

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