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Camino has left the building

Browsers573 words3 minutes to read

I’m a creature of habit. I haven’t lost my keys in years, simply because I always put them in the same place when I get home. I never have to fumble around in my pockets to find something, because I already know what’s there: wallet and phone in my right pocket; keys, chapstick, pen, and loose change in my left. I’m also a perfectionist, and I find myself driven by and towards excellence.

That’s why although I use both systems everyday, I prefer my Mac over my PC. That’s why I haven’t used Internet Explorer in years. And that why I wanted to give Camino a try as my default browser for a week. If I’m interested in some new software whereby using it I’d have to change my habits (such as changing browsers, or text editors, or mail clients), I’ll install the new software and promise to use it for a week. If after that week I decide that I like it better than what I’m currently using, I’ll make the switch.

I figure a week is a good chunk of time to try something out because any irritations and possible solutions for those irritations will have surfaced by the end of the week. I have faith in this system for myself, because this is how I found Mozilla 0.99, Firebird (later Firefox), Adium, Transmit, FlashFXP, Topstyle, and other constantly-used bits of software.

I’ve had my eye on Camino for a while, but I wanted to wait until it hit 1.0 (which happened last week) before I tried it out. Having a browser with the rendering engine of Firefox, but had an Aquafied UI was very tempting to me. Instead of switching between Safari (my default browser on my Mac) and Firefox (which I use for viewing the source of RSS feeds), I could switch between Camino and Safari; Two browsers that feel Mac-like. Unfortunately, I ended up finding more things about Camino that I don’t like, so Camino has now been uninstalled. Here’s why:

  1. No support for extensions. You mean, no Firebug? No Gmail Notifier? No Greasemonkey? No Reveal? I might as well be using Internet Explorer then.

  2. No DOM Inspector. If it’s there, I couldn’t find it. For someone who does as much development as I do, I need to have my DOM inpector and my JavaScript console… especially if I can’t run Firebug.

  3. No live bookmarks. This is one of my most used features of Firefox, and to a certain extent Safari. I need to be able to have 1-click access to certain feeds from within my browser. Or at least the ability to detect them.

There are some things, however, that I really did like about it.

  1. It’s crazy fast. A Gecko-based browser that’s as fast as Safari? Camino’s right there.

  2. Favicons in the bookmarks bar. Mmmm… favicons….

  3. Something else. I’m sure there was something else, but I just can’t think of it right now.

If you don’t care about any of these things, then I suppose Camino is as good a browser as any other. But it seems like Camino is roughly on par with Firebird 0.6. It can render pages just fine, and it’s got some speed to it, but it simply does not yet have the feature set to make it a viable alternative for web developers. Maybe Camino 2.0 will have the features it needs to compete, but Camino 1.0 simply isn’t there yet.

Ryan Parman

is an engineering manager with over 20 years of experience across software development, site reliability engineering, and security. He is the creator of SimplePie and AWS SDK for PHP, patented multifactor-authentication-as-a-service at WePay, defined much of the CI/CD and SRE disciplines at McGraw-Hill Education, and came up with the idea of “serverless, event-driven, responsive functions in the cloud” while at Amazon Web Services in 2010. Ryan's aptly-named blog, , is where he writes about ideas longer than . Ambivert. Curious. Not a coffee drinker.