Camino 1.5 - it browses, very well

by Giles Turnbull

Camino 1.5 is one of those updates people have been looking forward to, and with good reason.



A lot of regular Camino users (myself included) have supported it over the years precisely because it has retained a sense of simple single purpose - it browses, very well.



But the fact that most other browsers boast many additional features has been a stick the unbelievers have beaten the Camino faithful with. “Why should I use Camino? It doesn’t even save sessions,” they said. And to an extent, they had a point.




16 Comments

Mauvais
2007-06-05 17:28:25
"Why should I use Camino ?"
For me the real deal breaker is the lack of a built-in RSS reader. I would be interested if it had something like the Sage add-on for firefox.
Also, is Camino really lighter to run than firefox?
Chris
2007-06-05 18:46:39
Do the fonts look better yet? Font rendering in all the Mozilla browsers (haven't looked at the Gecko 1.9-based ones) looks like crap compared to Safari.
Chris
2007-06-05 18:57:57
Best to leave the RSS reading to applications designed for that purpose. There isnt a single browser that approaches the capabilities of the top-end RSS readers (NewsFire, NetNewsWire). Like Giles said, it does one thing (browsing) and does it very well.


As for the FireFox comparison, Camino is faster due to its Cocoa GUI (rather than XUL) and the fact that it cannot be encumbered by boatloads of extensions. I'm constantly perplexed why folks want to jam their browser full of extensions, many of which are of poor quality and merely end up slowing the overall browsing experience.

David Battino
2007-06-05 21:38:06
As for the FireFox comparison, Camino is faster due to ... the fact that it cannot be encumbered by boatloads of extensions.


I switched from Firefox to Camino when I wearied of Firefox's crashing, but just switched back the other day. Some of the extensions I'm thrilled to have back are Adblock, Duplicate Tab, Firebug, Link Alert, Nuke Anything Enhanced, and TinyUrl Creator.

Paolo
2007-06-05 23:37:09
The main reason I switched to Camino was the incompatibility of a lot of sites-you-can't-avoid (like home banking) with Safari, and to have the advantage of a standard Gecko engine with the (relative) agility of Camino has been a definite plus.
Having the Flash blocker has even convinced me to switch full time to the previous beta, despite its crashes! Browsing was so much faster (O'Reilly included, I'm afraid) it was worth the risk.
kugino
2007-06-06 00:10:19
camino is the best compromise for me...FF is too bloated and i refuse to use a non-cocoa app when there are plenty of cocoa alternatives. safari just doesn't have enough useful features and still has incompatibility issues. the only reason i want to use safari is b/c of inquisitor 3. wish david would develop it for camino again...
orefalo
2007-06-06 05:34:01
Yes, but there is still no support for the firefox extensions such as the yahoo toolbar. unfortunatly noalternative browser seems to realise how these small components can impact a community...
Robert
2007-06-06 05:42:37
@Chris


Safari does very nicely with RSS feeds. It does everything "I" want it to. I would like Camino to do it the same way. I don't believe in an "application for every purpose".

cocoaguy
2007-06-06 06:09:22
I agree with the rendering comment, but for me, the absolutely best font rendering comes from Omniweb. It may just be the default fonts they chose are more readable, but everytime someone comes over to my machine and sees a page in Omniweb, they ask why my browser looks so good. I'll give Camino a try though. Does it have individual page prefs? I love this feature.
Adam Lipkin
2007-06-06 07:02:22
Anyone know if there's a good forms autofill for Camino yet (first or third party)? That's long been the only thing that's kept me in Safari's camp. Session manager is a huge plus for me, as is flash blocking, but I deal with too many forms to not have something on that front.
zahadum
2007-06-06 10:17:28
based on bitter experience, i am deeply skeptical of the whole camino project - but i will try looking at ver 1.5 ...


ex 1 - from the get-go thtough to ver 1.1, camino could not _save_ out the contents of many Many MANY web sites (sometimes just the html would be rejected, sometimes the html + pictures etc woud be rejected) -- the err msg was "could not complete download". Yet other browsers (incl other gecko ones) could succeed saving a web page when camino was producing these strange errors!


I would be then forced to stop what i was doing, open another browser just for the purpose of saving a web page, then continue on with flaky camino.


ex 2 - bookmarks: by way of comparison, safari's pathetic & incompetent mismanagement of tabs is legendary! there is no saving sets of tabs wih bookmarks - how obvious is that! d'ugh! ... so, without group tabs, i am forced to CRASH safari just in order to 'save' a camino session, uisng a third-party safari plugin - grrr) ...


... But camino is not much better when managing collections ... ESPECIALLY viz performance: the loading time for a seriously seized (10K+) bookmark collection could be at least 2 minutes and as long as 5 minutes!!! ..... in other words the penalty in lost time that the user paid to use/manage collections was unbelieveably, ridiculously high. What are these fools doing? - parsing every item character by character in the bookmarks file while loading into memory?!


also: camino has had no spotlight-friendly 'tags' area in the bookmarks dialog box (not even just a comments raw textfield like firefox). So camino can not expoloit os/x's LSA (latent semantic analysis) engine in an interesting way - eg using Conceptual Graphs - to make tagging a more coherent experience.


--- i could go on ad nauseum about all the howlers in camino but why bother?!


As for this capsule review: what it didnt clarify are a number of important details:


* the session-saver: does this include a roll-back for crash recovery? or is it limited only to a user-activated choice? .... does a _list_ of sessions appear at launch-time or is camino still using the approach from firefox (where the basecode comes from) - only the last crash restored?


* the reviewer did not comment upon the status of 'cocoa widgets' for firefox vs camino - which generates confusion for some people - eg the 'widgets' enhancement of firefox is just for managing textfields not all the UI controls; whereas the mission for camino is everything except the rendering engine is native (eg font rendering; keychain; spotlight etc) ... is that a fair summary?


* the reviewer did not mention if ver 1.5 has any leopard goodness baked in - eg will time machine be utilized ti handle a session manager differently than the generic firefox codebase does?


* the reviwer didnt comment upon whether camino ver1.5 will have any ability to distingish itself from the parade of other inept browsers on the mac when it comes to hanging Hanging HANGING!!!!! There are already code validators for html/css/xml -- why not one for javascript?! (which i suspect is the chief culprit fro the runtime nightmare of browsing on a mac).


There are many other questions worth asking .... but at some point one is just too much beaten down by the THOSUANDS of browser hours wasted/lost/jamed as a result of technical incompetence (remember that the engineering team for camino is from some of the same rocket-scientists who brought us Mac netscape ver 4! (not to mention its egregious successors) .... and that should be enough of (quality) indictment in itself!)


I will try camino ver 1.5 ... but i am not holding my browth.


In fact i think camino is a perfect example of the argurment against open source: the vauted value of code-checking by transpranecy rings hallow when the results fail for 5 years.


The more time I spend with camino & firefox (and yes safari too), the more & more Opera & Omniweb look attractive - becaus ethey JUST WORK ... which is after all the Mac manatra.


But who knows - maybe ver 1.5 will be a new day! we can only hope (for all the suffering we have endured).

zahadum
2007-06-06 11:00:03
oh yeah, i forgot a couple of other points ...


re tabs ... the UNDO command!


firefox has the ability to keep a list of recently _closed_ tabs ... which is a godsend! When you realize that there was a link or an advert that you forgot to look at before closing a tab, firefox anticipates human error by making it possible to select from a list of recently closed tabs! SWEET!


the reviewer didnt mention whether this indespensible feature survived the migration to camino ver1.5 from the firefox codebase.


Also: WHITELIST/BLACKLIST .... the reveiwer did not indicate whether camino has the ability to turn _selectively_ on/off features on a PER TAB (or per window) -- eg javascript! (but also goes for plugins & java as well as other settings) .... keeping a lists (locally or on the camino web site) of malformed websites/pages that hang would be it would be a TREMENDOUSLY useful work-around to the insanely bad coding practices by most webmasters ... but only IF camino had the ability to disable the problematic services on a case-by-case basis! That would be a genuine examaple of a value-add for camino on top of the generic firefox platform! (instead of just half-heaterd efforts at making the chrome 'mac-like').


Also: user profiles ... in the old days, netscape provided one with multiple accounts from which to select. But these days there seems to be the philophy of one user-account, one system-account ... ie we are expect to log-in to as a completly separate osx user ID just to use another session of camino. But this is inconvenient (especially when camino is hanging -- sometime if one is prepared to wait it out, user control will eventually be returned to the browser - ie 5 minutes, 20 minutes, 2 hours .. you never know how long!). At presnt, he only way to lauch another (multiple) instance of the browser without logging in to another account is to use the brilliant "pseudo" gui which allows any app (including the finder) to be launched as root! But the disadvanatage of coercing the _system_ to manage multipel instances (rather than the A-pplication_ to access multipe profiles) is that 'pseudo' only provides access to the resources in for just one (special) user , that is the _root_ user's home directory (libraries, plugins, prefs, bookmarks, keychains etc). While this is an accepatble trade-off in a pinch (it sure beats FUS - which on a heavily loaded, older system can easily take 1 or 2 minutes to completly finish the startup items & return full control to the user) .... 'spoofing' the system (not really, of course) with 'pseudo' is inflexible. It would be convenient for many reasons (not just to out-wait camino when it is hanging for a given user/instance) to be able lauch another instance of camino with access to another profile -- eg: Testing: sometimes one browser instance can be configured with lots of extra plugins for authoring whilst another instance could be configured to observe the same content but with the default 'plane jane' version of the browser that a consumer would experience.


session manger: while firefox (and presumably now also camino 1.5) can roll-back the state to a fine degree - eg login into a specific webmail session! - it does not have the ability to store the contents inside of a textfield (work-in-progress). While it is true that webmail (or any ajax app) should have a default draft mode that monitors all textfieldson the server, it is all true that the client browser should also have a proper mechanism for preserving data from a textfield (WITHOUT be forced to use such a brutally expensive command like 'save to draft folder'). The capsule review did not touch on any of the details of the session manager.


BTW: (caminco ver 1.5 downloading in background - slow) ... the design of the web page for ver1.5 is much more attracive the (1.1) camino browser itself, how ironic. The use of a "pseudo" bevel APi transparency-type effect is a n effecfive example of css (i presume!).


That is all.



Eytan
2007-06-06 12:24:40
re: fonts
Looks like this page now renders with the EXACT same font look as Safari does in Camino. Unfortunately, for things like Macsurfer, Camino still has the REALLY tight line spacing. I hate that....
Sprocket999
2007-06-11 06:20:27
Eytan:
I too have noticed the substandard font rendering, so I spoke with one of the development team involved with the Camino project and he assured me that font rendering will be improved very shortly. They are aware of the shortcomings but stressed that this version is quite an improvement. I have to agree. But your point is well noted as well that the leading in the HTML text is much tighter than often spec'd -- although this page certainly looks as good as in Safari.


Regardless, I have now moved out of Safari & FF2 for the Mac and now am exclusively using Camino too. Much faster, never a problem with my bank (RBC) -- not that Safari ever was -- and not tied to the OS so much.


Tidy job all around!

John
2007-11-01 17:10:06
Font rendering in Camino is as bad as Firefox. Plus, some sites do not work with Camino as they do with Firefox? Such as Hotmail. It renders fine with Firefox but not supported with Camino?
For website compatibility you cannot beat Safari. I keep going back. Don't get me wrong I think Camino is a good browser. It's not the main browser for me.
Stephen
2007-11-19 09:39:37
I never thought I'd need something else besides Mozilla. Then I read your review on Camino and checked it out. I'm such a Camino fan now! I still have some problems with it but I read what other users said here and that helped me a lot!
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Arizona HR consulting