Google Chrome on the Mac – a la CodeWeavers

Google launched its new browser Chrome on September 2nd and the web was abuzz with talk of a new contender in the browser space. My choice to pepper my house and cube at work with Macs rather than Windows boxes left me complaining about the lack of a native Mac version of Chrome…which Google assures us is coming.

Code Weavers, however, has just released Crossover Chromium built from build 21 of the Chromium Open Source browser.

Chromium

The initialization of Chromium the first time I opened it took a while but once it was up and running, things were pretty solid. The browser has all the JavaScript and DOM debugging tools but it seems the process manager tool isn’t fully functional..which is really my draw to the browser (when I get dead set on playing with the Process Manager tool, I’ll break down and install Chrome with Parallels). I suppose I’ll be following CodeWeaver’s suggestion:

Q. Should I run CrossOver Chromium as my main browser?

A. Absolutely not! This is just a proof of concept, for fun, and to showcase what Wine can do. Chromium itself is just beginning. As the Chromium project progresses, they will be providing more compelling support for Mac OS and Linux, particularly with process security and memory management. Those future versions from Chromium will be better suited for daily use than this version.

Until Google launches its official Mac native Chrome, Chromium will satisfy me for now.

Flock

Flock Flock is awesome. For now I’ve made the switch from Firefox to Flock’s Beta v0.7. What is Flock? Well, Flock is the expert on themselves so here’s their description:

The web, and the way people engage online, has evolved dramatically over the past decade. We still see a lot of room for the browser to keep pace with everything that’s going on on the web. Providing a fast, safe and simple browsing experience is very important, but at Flock we are also trying to look more broadly at how the web browser can enrich users’ online experience.

For this release, and for at least the next year or so, we are primarily focused on supporting the social dimension of the web, and on bringing information closer to the user. Right now this includes a heavy emphasis on the photo experience (from upload through discovery to notification), RSS support, dramatic improvements to the search box (including a new take on favorites), and blogging.

Casey over at MaisonBisson posted about Flock back in October when the Flock preview first came out (v0.1 or something). I saw Casey’s post and decided to give Flock a whirl. I was mildly impressed and saw that Flock had potential. Its big problems at the time were related to memory leaks and sluggishness. That seems to be resolved and they’ve done wonders to their ‘features.’

Social Bookmarks

Beautiful. Flock lets you use Del.icio.us or Shadows as your bookmarking tool. So anything you bookmark can be accessed from anywhere you go (whether through Flock or at the bookmarking site). Your bookmarks can be tagged right from the browser as well as marked as public or private.

Social Images

Flock integrates with Flickr and Photobucket and a sexy manner. The browser literally becomes an uploading/browsing agent for images. They’ve a nice drag and drop interface with a photo bar that you can place above your tabs. Check it out:

Flock Flickr

Its slick, intuitive and has many Flickr features (I can’t speak for Photobucket as I do not have an account there).

Text & Misc. Images

Another sexy aspect of Flock is the ability to highlight and drag text and images URLs from anywhere and store them for later. Once you’ve placed something in that Text and Image bar you can browse, drag and drop the data into the browser or external applications. In addition to the dragging and dropping of the data, you can simply right-click the data and select the blog option.

Flock Text

Blogging

Flock being a Web 2.0 browser (as its being toted), it cannot forget blogging. You can set your browser up to post to your blog (using a WYSIWYG editor). You can post to blogs hosted by: WordPress, TypePad, Moveable Type, LiveJournal, Drupal, and Blogger. The blogging tool supports any blog that uses Moveable Type, Blogger, MetaWebLog, and Atom APIs. Snazzy tool, but I’m happy with the web-based editing of my blogs for now.

News

There’s a nice news aggregator as part of Flock. Looks decent…but I’ll stick to my own home-grown aggregator.

Searching

If you use the browser search tool, Flock goes a step further and as you type it’ll grab items from your history, favorites, and the top five searches from Yahoo!. Pretty sexy stuff. Be sure to add Blingo to your search list!

Extensions

Because Flock is based off of Firefox, many of the extension run for it! So you can still have the must haves. I definately wouldn’t be using Flock otherwise.

Summary

I like Flock for now. It looks promising, the features are nice and it looks pretty sexy too. Get it at Flock.com.

Must Have Extensions For Firefox

firefox-logo.jpgAs many well know, I am a huge advocate for Firefox. As a user, I like it for a few reasons; its consistent across platforms, tabbed browsing, fairly secure, skinable, and last but not least…extensibile.

The extensibility of the god of browsers is where things really shine for me as a developer…a web application developer. There are two that I use religiously for Javascript debugging, DOM inspecting, CSS tweaking, source viewing, Ajax calls, etc. Here they are. Get them. Use them. You’ll crap your pants.

Web Developer – get it here.

web_developer-1.jpgThe Web Developer extension adds a menu and a toolbar to the browser with various web developer tools. It is designed for Firefox, Flock, Mozilla and Seamonkey, and will run on any platform that these browsers support including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

Firebug – get it here.

firebug-2.jpgFireBug is a new tool that aids with debugging Javascript, DHTML, and Ajax. It is like a combination of the Javascript Console, DOM Inspector, and a command line Javascript interpreter.

Other fun features:

* XMLHttpRequest Spy – Ever wonder what all them newfangled Ajax websites are up to? Watch the requests fly by in the console!

* One web page, one console – Tired of slogging through a zillion errors in the JavaScript Console trying to find the one you want? The FireBug console is built into the bottom of the browser, and only shows you errors and log messages that came from the page you’re looking at.

* JavaScript Error Status Bar Indicator – It’s a sin that Firefox doesn’t include this by default, like IE does. When there is an error in the page, the status bar will let you know with a big red blob.

* Logging for web pages – Sick and tired of “alert debugging”? Jealous of all your C programmer buddies with their fancy printf? Now you can log text and objects to the FireBug console from any web page. See my website for more info on this.

[etc]

And obviously…if you don’t have FireFox (tsk tsk), get it here:

Firefox Rocks

Firefox rocks. If you haven’t heard about Firefox (due either to living under a rock or having spent the last year and a half roaming the Sahara desert) then its time to hop on board. Firefox is a slick, open-source and functional browser with a shlew of features:

  • Tabbed Browsing
  • Themes
  • Extensions and Plugins (downloadable add-ons to increase the functionality of the browser)
  • Adherence to many web standards that IE has been slow to adopt
  • A sexy icon

So its a browser…whoop-de-freaking-doo. What’s so great about it? Well, as an user that browses the web for fun and as a profession, I tend to have a multitude of sites open at the same time. With IE, this means a crap ton of windows open that are difficult to navigate between. Well, with Firefox’s tabbed browsing, I can have one window open with 10 tabs, no problem! (I also have some tab extensions installed to give me added tab manipulation).

Extensions are a huge selling point. They are end-user developed and distributed right from the Firefox site. These extensions allow a user to put all kinds of additional functionality in their browser. There are extensions geared towards web developers, weather, music, searching, downloading, aggregation, etc.

The tabs and extensions sold it for me. I was hooked from day one and would fight tooth and nail before I gave it up. If you haven’t given it a test drive, I’d suggest doing so…right now. Do it.