We have a winner. Chimera is the Freakinname browser of choice on OS X. Other contenders were OmniWeb, a nice, fast, small OS X only browser from OmniGroup; Mozilla (also serving as a stand-in for Netscape 6 & 7); and Internet Explorer. Haven't really messed with Opera much on OS X; guess I should give that a shot.

Here's why Chimera's the best of the bunch...

  • Chimera is fast. Using native widgets seems to have sped things up, as has getting rid of Mozilla's overhead by just using Gecko and not worrying about an IRC client, email handler, etc. We're talking fast from the startup to rendering to any sort of interaction with html content. IE is fairly fast, OmniWeb is fastest. Mozilla is not fast. ;^)

  • Chimera supports Internet standards, and this means it actually works with most sites (espn.com not included). Mozilla works great with sites, just as well as Chimera, since they use the same engine. Mozilla (and therefore Chimera) also do a great job (as I've mentioned before) working crossplatform in the exact same way. Things that render in Moz on Windows renders the same way on Moz Mac. Things that don't render well in WinMoz don't render on MacMoz the same way, which is important.

    IE does okay, and lets you into some sites that code out Mozilla and friends, but sometimes suffers as people assume IE Mac is like IE Windows when they write code (or don't worry about Mac at all). OmniWeb does poorly, I hate to say, not performing much like "the big two" in dhtml and doesn't let me use Blogger at all. :^)

  • Chimera has tabs. IE & OmniWeb do not. Nuff said.

  • Chimera allows tabbing between all html elements. For some reason OS X widgets don't allow this by default. When I first used Aqua-Swing on OS X in a Java app, that was awfully annoying. OmniWeb and IE don't let you tab to select drop-downs or buttons, making the mouse more important that it should be for your ability to surf the web. Mozilla does a great job with keyboard transversals, the other Mac browsers don't. Mozilla doesn't use Cocoa (at least not when I started and not very well now). Chimera uses Cocoa expertly, with keyboard transversal. Big bonus points.

  • In fact, the only reason I could see to use any browser other than Chimera on OS X, even Chimera version 0.4.0 (now at 0.5.0), is OmniWeb's awfully cool spellcheck feature for textareas. I should bug the Chimera people and see if they won't drop in Apple's fancy spellCheckBox (don't know the real name) from Cocoa in the place of normal textareas. OmniWeb is, again, also a little faster, but not enough to override Chimera's awfully nice page rendering.

    The maturity of Mozilla with speed -- that's Chimera. Very nice.