It only seems like Browser Week because there are so many browsers available for the Mac. Even Netscape is back with a new Navigator.
Camino, the speedy and trim little version of Firefox that looks like a Mac browser, received a handful of needed feature upgrades, too.
Maybe we should do a PDF primer or a multipage article on all the Browsers for the Mac. It was great to see a surprisingly good update to Netscape Navigator.
How many Mac browsers are there? About a dozen, though I can’t name that many—Safari, Firefox, Camino, OmniWeb, Opera, iCab, SeaMonkey, Netscape Navigator, Flock, Shiira, and a few more.
Add Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for Mac to that list, though I’m certain there are only 12 people still using it.
What does the newer Camino bring to the table that makes it special? Not much, or plenty—depends on your tastes. Camino is Firefox—without all the features, extensions, and Windows-like looks.
Camino is trimmed down and very Mac-like in the look and feel department. Firefox looks too much like the Windows version for me. Opera looks pasted together. SeaMonkey is a new name on a very old Mozilla code base. Netscape is AOL’s version of Firefox. All the rest are exercises, though seldom in regular use by any large number of Mac users.
Except for Camino, which, according to the Mac360 server logs, is the 4th most popular web browser to the site—behind Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer for Windows.
Camino has a few features you’ll like, therefore worthy enough to keep running on your Mac.
The browser was stuck at version 1.x for something like 127 years, then had betas running 1.1, then made an nearly overnight leap to 1.5.
What you get with the latest is built-in Mac OS X spell checking for every text field. It’s the same spell checker as in Tiger, so your corrected mistakes will be the same everywhere.
Camino has detection of RSS and Atom news feeds, but not an RSS reader. When you encounter a feed, Camino tells you via the icon, so you can send the feed to your favorite RSS and Atom reader, such as NetNewsWire.
There’s an improved version of pop-up blocking, and ad blocking, now called Annoyance Blocking. I wonder how that works when you visit a politician’s web site? Tabs are improved, too, and have new tooltips to keep track of a page’s title when you can’t read it in the tabs.
My favorite addition is Session Saving. I use tabs and open many pages in many windows with many tabs. In Safari, if there’s a crash (and that happens more often in Safari), then I lose all the tabbed windows. Camino now remembers where you were when you quit and goes back to those pages when you start up again. Nice.
The Mozilla folks claim that Camino uses the best web page rendering engine on the planet—Gecko, the same in Firefox 2. I don’t know whether it’s the best or not. Safari is quite good, of course. The worst offender is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer on Windows. Most of the other browsers render quite well.
What you have to like about the state of browsers on the Mac is the overall list—not of browsers, but of quality and features. Most of the main browsers are quite good.
Is Camino good? Very, especially if you don’t need all the built-in features of Firefox or the extensions—and you require a Mac browser that looks like a Mac browser, and not some kind of Frankenwindows browser.