Something happened that seemed unshakable even a year ago. To say I have a lot of opinions about web browsers is putting it mildly as someone who's spent the last decade his life coding for them. Like most web devs, I went Chrome around 2009-2010 and stayed. Chrome started feeling less like a choice but a natural law. I already felt like too much of life was encapsulated by Google, from Gmail, to maps, to Chrome, not mention my dev accounts for API keys and the usual dev related nuggets of info Google has on me. I've tried to de-google myself, but each active choice seems to have me crawling back. I used Bing for years and still sorta, but it doesn't work for my daily workflow. DuckDuckGo lasted all of a week before I switched back to Google. Apple Maps has been mildly successful as an iPhone user. I still end up using Google Maps 75% of the time making it my most successful de-googlifcation attempt. I haven't even bothered with Gmail. However, something happened. My primary home browser is now FireFox. Unlike previous attempts, I didn't wake up and eschew Chrome but gradually over time I've found myself using FireFox more. Why?
Reason #1: FireFox Quantum is radically more performant
The guys at Mozilla knew that the performance was an issue, and it was even more so on MacOS. In a previous generation, the best way to experience FireFox was Chimera/Camino, a beautiful port of FireFox's Gecko to Objective C. FireFox has never felt mac like, and always laggier than other browsers. When Safari shook up the browser world, it was clear how much better of an experience Safari was than FireFox on OSX. It was fast. Ever since Safari, FireFox has been a 2nd tier experience on macOS. The lack of multi-threaded support was a big kicker as Webkit added this years ahead of Mozilla. Quantum brought this with its new Stylo CSS engine, and it shows. It's fast, is it faster than Chrome or Webkit? Probably not, but its damn close.
Reason #2: FireFox has containers!
I'm not much for social media. Name a service, and I probably don't use it (although I do like GoodReads and Untappd). I do however have FaceBook account dating back to when I first signed up for it in college. Facebook easily the most problematic of the social media companies. FireFox Quantum has a concept called containers, a way to isolate browsing experiences (cookies/caching) from other portions of the browser. The FaceBook container effectively puts FaceBook in jail, and I love it. Sorting sites also means placing various experiences separately from each other to prevent cross tracking. It's effective and wonderful. As much as FireFox touts privacy, it's never really been able to differentiate from Apple on this front.
Reason #3: Better UI
It's a goofy complaint, but the UI of FireFox before Quantum was relatively ugly and had a lot of wasted space. I wouldn't call the new FireFox beautiful, but it's solid and minimal, and I actually do not mind it at all. It has a distinctly Windows X look, but it's a big step up.
Reason #4: DNS over HTTPS
Chrome and FireFox are both adding this, but FireFox has it without having to use flags right now. DNS for years has been overexposed, so it's about time we have DNS over HTTPS.
Bonus reason: Firefox screenshots
Honestly, I don't use this as much as I should, relying on OSX's wonderful screenshotting but it is a nice feature.