Browser Jungle

On Mac OS X, I have to constantly change between different web browsers for my everyday browsing activities.

First of all, there is Apple's own Safari. It runs fast, renders fast, derived from KDE's KHTML rendering engine, and has a gorgeous interface. Everything is anti-aliased, and the whole thing is just so beautiful. But only when it works. Every now and then there is a site that renders incorrectly under Safari, and none of the HTTPS site works because Safari Beta 2 refuses to use proxy when connecting secure sites. It also has some nasty bugs, like downloading the HTML onto the desktop every now and then, instead of rendering the page. It is my most used web browser on my little iBook, but unfortunately it is not sufficient.

Then there is Camino, the web browser with Cocoa interface and Mozilla/Gecko rendering core, that's formally known as Chimera. It is quite a nice browser as well. Fast and light weight, even though not as light as Safari. The interface is clean, it renders all the pages well, and it works with HTTPS over proxy :) It does not have the brushed metal interface, but it does not bother me. I'll use it more often if it can be as fast as Safari, meanwhile it becomes the back up whenever Safari does not work.

Oh yeah, I am still using text based browser under Mac OS X! I use mainly w3m, installed via Fink, to go to sites that I require absolutely fastest rendering time! Usually these are the sites containing huge graphics that I do not wish to download, and sites like Blogshares which I constantly go back and forward in the browsing history. Because w3m does not reload if the page content is in the back history, it makes my trading much faster :)

And finally, I still keep a copy of Internet Explorer under the Applications folder just in case I need it. So far it has been sitting there pretty much since the first day. IE5 for Mac does not even render the web application we developed at work that's IE-only. Oops. I mean IE on Windows only. I probably won't move it to trash yet just in case some weird websites that require IE for Mac...

One big problem that I am having now is synchronising the bookmarks between different browsers. If I add a new bookmark into one, I shall expect it to appear on another browser browser. I especially need the book mark synchroniser between Safari and Camino, as these two are the most used browser by me. A bit of digging reveals some existing tools that can do the trick - Safari Bookmark Exporter and Safari Bookmark Exchanger. Exporter can export Safari bookmarks to other browsers like IE, Camino and OmniWeb, but it can only do one way export currently. Exchanger can do two ways, but it is only limited to Safari and Camino. Both are freeware.

However, these applications support only "exporting" rather than "syncing". For example, if I add a new bookmark into Camino and remove an old bookmark from Safari, I would expect the new bookmark will appear in Safari and the old bookmark will be removed from Camino after synchronised. However, an "exporting" app can only allow one overwriting another, but cannot take the difference and merge the changes together. All I need is just a script that does the sync. I thought since both Camino and Safari uses XML bookmarks, parsing and translating should be easy...

Maybe I will just wait for someone else to do it :)