Webkit Nightly Build + GlimmerBlocker 1.3 = Awesomeness!

by Christopher Paul on January 22, 2009

I read about GlimmerBlocker a while back but never installed it until now. At the time, I figured that installing a system wide http proxy would slow down my browsing more so than Adblock for Firefox or Safari ever did. But after installing and using it for an hour or so, I can’t imagine why I ever thought that. I’ve switched back to my Webkit nightly builds so long as I have GlimmerBlocker installed and enabled.

Personally, I’ve always liked Safari/Webkit over Firefrox. I always thought the Gecko rendering engine was slower than Webkit. It never fully conformed to web standards although it did pass the Acid2 test; beta versions of Firefox 3.1 still can’t pass the Acid3 test, though. I like the idea of extensions but they only add to the slowness and memory issues. To be fair, Firefox 3.0 is better at mem usage than 2.0 and Firefox 3.1 beta is better than 3.0. I’ve also enabled TraceMonkey.

But Safari and the Webkit nightly builds are much faster than Gecko. While I personally haven’t checked to see how much memory its using, I can’t detect any slowness in my computer; I’ll look up the mem usage shortly, though. Webkit also passes the Acid3 test which, for me who supports open source code and web standards, is important – so much so that I’m willing to support any browser, OS, or language that is free and available to the public.

But with the extensions I added to Safari, Webkit would crash on occasion. It also was slower at rendering because AdBlock was butchering the engine. Enter GlimmerBlocker: an http proxy which subscribes to ad filters just like AdBlock does and denies requests made to know ad servers and blocks ad elements. Its not perfect at blocking all ads but that’s by design. The authors would rather see pages render correctly than break the look, feel, or functionality of a site. So while some limitations exist, I haven’t seen anything dramatic enough as to keep me from using it. The plus is that its system wide and would work with Firefox if I wanted it to.

But since Webkit is faster for me, adheres to standards, and is now a lot more stable thanks to GlimmerBlocker allowing me to remove the AdBlock plugin, I’ve ditched Firefox once again. If you’re a Mac user, you might want to give GlimmerBlocker a try – even if you’re a diehard Firefox fan. But if you’re a standards guy like me, you’ll definitely love how well it works with the latest nightly Webkit build.

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