Camino Fastest Browser on MacOk, it’s a bit early for me to be describing Camino as the Fastest and Best Browser on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, but at the same time I can’t help but be overjoyed at the prospect of having full keyboard navigation functionality (i.e. searching, finding, clicking/navigating/opening a link purely through the keyboard) with the blazing speed of a true Mac based browser.

It’s been only three days since I started using Safari 3.04 on my Macbook Pro, due to Firefox’s painfully slow performance (about 3-5 times as slow as Safari or Camino). That switch from Mozilla Firefox to Webkit Safari was not all cookies and cake though. Along with that change I lost the ability to navigate links with search / Enter key combinations, i.e. find links through the search function, which automatically highlights the link and then open them by hitting Escape then Enter. When you’re constantly using web pages with hundreds of links like many programming language documentation sites have, full keyboard navigation of pages and links is pretty powerful.

Here are some more reasons why Camino is the fastest and best browser for Mac OS X Leopard:

  1. Fastest Browser web page rendering

    Rendering is the fancy term of reading HTML page code (<tags>, javascript, stylesheets, etc.) and producing the beautiful, formatted text, layout and pictures in the browser window. One would think that the time it takes to read and display the same web page code on different browsers would be identical between all browsers. Interestingly… it is not. Safari 3.04 and Camino 1.53, the fast web browsers, are up to 6x faster in rendering the same web page when compard to Firefox or Internet Explorer. The best example that I have is within http://www.salesforce.com. I have no idea why these pages load so slow in Firefox, but they do. Sign up for a 30 day trial account (or a limitless developer account) and click through the various tabs on the account home (after logging in). Do this both in Firefox and within Camino, performing the exact same actions. In Firefox, at least for me, it renders the exact same pages but 3-4x slower. When you’re repeating the same actions over and over again (as is common in SalesForce.com) waiting 6-8 seconds for the same page to render is painful.

  2. Block Ads

    You heard me right: the ability to prevent/block/stop hyper annoying flash video ads from auto-playing and looping forever, which takes up tons of CPU processing power and can make your computer run like a slug… just to show a bloody ad. Stop Video Ads from playing while BrowsingThe worst part about flash advertisements is that you have zero control over it. At least on a television you can mute the volume (or speed/skip through it if you’re on Tivo or ReplayTV), but on a web page you’re forced to let it loop through it’s content for as long as you’re on the page. To set this up goto the top menu bar, select Camino, Preferences, Web Features, then check Block Flash Animations. After this, load up a page you know has flash ads such as CityVox.fr and reload it a few times until you see a blank white box with a stylized “F” representing the now muted Flash ad. Camino… je t’aime. This doesn’t mean that sites that normally have videos are now useless as you can still watch the videos by simply clicking on the box containing the Flash symbols to start playing the video. But, it’s an incredible relief to have the power and ability to control my own browsing experience.

  3. Keyboard navigation

    Find links on web pages using inline search (find as you type) and open/navigate them by hitting the Enter button. This is more of a power-user feature, but it’s quite a big feature for those who know about it. Within Camino, when viewing a web page, if you see a link you want to click on (or you happen know the name of the link, often the case when reading documentation), hit the “single quote” key (‘) or “forward slash” (/), which turns on “find as you type” search and start typing the word that you are looking for. Using “single quote” will find links only, whereas “forward slash” will search all text. Camino will move the cursor to the word that matches the letters that you are typing and at any time you can hit Enter to navigate/open that link. Need to move to the next matching link? Hit Command + g (the normal “Find Next” hotkey for Mac). Previous match? Hit Shift + Command + g. This is much much faster than scrolling down a web page and moving your mouse pointer to hover over the link then clicking it. Try it and you’ll understand why I think this is such a big feature. Although, if you’re not exactly Speedy Gonzales on the keyboard, this may not be a big draw. For those who are wise in the ways of Keyboard-Fu… rejoice.

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