Switching to Firefox

Even though Camino is doing very well, I finally decided to switch to Firefox in order to use the PwdHash extension (as previously discussed).

I'm not loading up on too many plugins though, just PwdHash and Translator which tempted me before (I use Firebug and Web Developer in my development profile).

I've created a main profile and a development profile for Firefox, and I can run both at once as separate Firefox instances. This is pretty nice. The "how to" for this has been covered by others, but I'll touch on the basics here as well:

Step 1. Create an additional profile. Launch Firefox from the command line (Terminal.app or iTerm) by typing in the following:

/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox --profilemanager

This will give you the profile manager where you can create another profile.

Step 2. Click to launch Firefox and you'll be prompted to choose a profile to use. However to launch another instance with a different profile, you'll need to use the command line again:

/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox -P your-profile-name

Step 3. Optional - set up command line aliases for launching Firefox with a specific profile. You do this by editing the .profile file in your user directory. Mine is at: /Users/aking/.profile.

alias ffm="/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox -P main"
alias ffd="/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox -P dev"

Now I just type 'ffm' or 'ffd' in iTerm and Firefox launches with the profile I want.

I'm using the GrApple (Eos) theme for my "browsing" profile. I like the tab treatment, but I miss the favicons in the bookmarks toolbar. Using different themes for the different profiles helps avoid visual confusion.

I do miss a couple of things about Camino. Camino was smart enough to know if the current tab was empty or not and either use it or create a new one when I opened a bookmark using LaunchBar.

  1. Create tab.
  2. Open bookmark via LaunchBar.

Camino would load the bookmarked URL in the tab I'd just created while Firefox opens another. This behavior isn't really wrong, just one of those little things to get used to with a different tool.

I also miss the standard "up arrow" to go to the beginning of a line in a text field and "down arrow" to go to the end of the line. It's stuff like this that keeps Firefox from really feeling like a native Mac OS X application (though it is steadily improving).

Another little thing I discovered in Firefox - by default the Backspace key acts as a back button. This is just horrible default behavior and I'd love to get my hands on whoever added this to IE in the first place. Luckily, you can turn this off in Firefox. Go to about:config, and set browser.backspace_action to 1. At least, that worked for me - I didn't actually take the time to see what the values meant for it. 🙂

This post is part of the thread: Passwords - an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.