Friday, April 07, 2006

Experimenting with Camino and Safari.

A little while back I saw this article on Digg called "Camino: A Better Mac Browser than Safari or Firefox". Check the article out here. Intrigued by this, and the release of Camino 1.0 I decided to check some things out for myself. Leaman Crews does a good job illustrating some of the functionality of Camino versus Safari, but I was left with the question of system resources. I was also wanting some kind of expression regarding real world browsing difference.

So without further adieu here is what I did. I downloaded Camino 1.0 and ran a simple test of the two applications. As of this writing Safari is completely up to date and I am running on OSX 10.4.6. The test was to open each browser and open up 4 tabs with each browser going to the exact same websites in the exact same order. I then opened 3 more tabs going to the same website to see how the browsers scaled up. I apologize for not screencapping the activity monitor for the 4 tabs, but I will substitute with a nice chart.

What can we glean from this? Obviously, Safari is a very lean browser. But, what websites did I choose for this test? I didn't test any flash based websites, but I did take some screengrabs of where I was.

If you click to the left, you'll find the lovely Camino browser loading various sites. Camino really does do a great job in the aesthetics department. Although it is not skinnable, neither is Safari.

And here to our right is the lovely Safari, which also is very easy to look at.

Now what was going on with all this? Let's have a look at the activity monitor. This is with the seven tabs open.

Another area we will see that Camino shines is if I close the last three tabs in the browser. Safari seems to still retain all the browser cache. This can be a benefit or a drawback, as you don't have to redownload any content. On the other hand, it may be the cache setting, but these are all at defaults. If you're a mobile user than perhaps you prefer less memory usage to conserve power. I understand that memory usage directly does not constitute a noticeable power drain, but less memory being in use minimizes the chances your hard disk spins needlessly helping with swapping. Apparently Camino seems to have a more efficient default, but this isn't a conclusion of performance or efficiency necessarily. This is an observation.

So what causes Camino to use up extra memory? Less efficient coding? Sloppy coding? More features? Let's answer that too. This is touched on in Leaman's article. There is a wealth of more functionality in Camino than in Safari but here's a deal breaker. I will provide two screengrabs of Camino versus Safari editing this same very post.

As you can see above, Camino gives you font manipulation, alignment, links, spelling, and image. This article was, in fact, composed in Camino because of what you will see (or won't see rather) in Safari.
Safari obviously is missing quite a bit, and it applies in a very real sense. If you are a gmail user, you will also see the same difference. Gmail's integrated googletalk client also does not function in Safari. So while Gecko may have trouble with the Acid2 test, Safari's passing the Acid2 test only accounts for passing the Acid2 test. It is clear that Safari has a ways to go for feature support. This was a deal breaker for me, and for that extra 10MB of RAM, it's worth it to me to switch to Camino full time. Good job and hats off to the Camino project for making such a well integrated and clean port of Gecko to OSX.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have tested Firefox and Safari and Camino.

I must say Camino has the speed of Safari but the main features I like about Firefox. Camino is now my default browser. Its the best Mac option for now!

6:38 PM  

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