From Safari to Chrome and back in a few hours!

Posted on April 24, 2013 in Εxperiences

As a web designer I tend to keep installed many browsers so I can run compatibility tests for my creations. However, there is only one that I use on a daily basis for my regular web surf, bookmark keeping etc. And that is Safari! The reason behind my choice is mainly because of the way it integrates with OS X and Apple’s ecosystem in general. Every now and then though I like to keep an eye on the competition and see what am I missing. So today’s task was to try and switch my browsing needs and habits over to Chrome.

Chrome is getting a lot of love from developers and the variety of extensions that are available for it, is truly unbelievable! There is an extension for nearly everything and if you’re a web developer there are tools to make your life easier than ever. If extensions was my only criteria for a web browser I’ll be switching in a heart beat!

Bookmark syncing used to be one of my problems. The way Apple does it over iCloud is super easy and every other browser needed an extension to do the same thing. An extension that almost always had a specific way of working and definitely one or two peculiar bugs. But that’s not the case any more. Google made Chrome able to sync everything in the best possible way. Whether you have two or more computers and a bunch of mobile devices, syncing just works. So that takes one more of my problems out of today’s task.

After migrating all of my bookmarks (thank God for XMarks) and juggling through Chrome’s extensions for a couple of hours, I was finally ready to get rid of Safari. I installed Chrome on both my iOS devices, everything synced right away and I even started some of my daily browsing routine to get the hang of what Chrome had to offer. And that’s when I started noticing the first glitches.

At first, while browsing through my feeds on Fever, I noticed that keyboard shortcuts were not working and scrolling had some issues too. A few minutes later I found out that a couple of extensions (Pocket and Chrome Sniffer) were the reason for that. I didn’t like it but I guess it’s normal when using too many third party stuff to experience something odd every now and then. So I skipped the problem by disabling the extensions… for now!

The second problem was the deal breaker! It literally took me a couple of minutes to find out that spell checking wasn’t working as it should. After poking arround with Chrome’s settings and reading a bunch of forum posts filled with frustrated people experiencing the same problem, I started wondering. Why should Chrome have its own spell checking engine when OS X has a global spell checking feature? Besides that, everyone (in the forums) is talking about an option in the languages settings called “Use this language for spell checking”. Well in Chrome 26.0.1410.65, that option is gone! Needless to say that I tried reinstalling Chrome, restart, remove extensions and every other possible solution suggested in more than 1000 posts. Nothing worked!

chrome-language-settings

Is spell checking that crucial? Well, I could always use Textedit to spell check my texts and then copy paste to Chrome but that’s more like a ’90s solution. Not to mention that spell checking works flawlessly on Safari. And yes! Spell checking is crucial for me because I’m writing in two languages and my spelling is far from perfect. That said, I’ll continue to look for a possible solution regarding the spell checking problem. In the meantime Chrome is just not ready for my daily needs and will remain a secondary browser on my system.

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