Monday, May 30, 2011

Why Firefox is still my champion (the RockMelt saga)


I have been using Firefox since 2005, and with the exception of about a week in 2008, when I tried out the, then new, Chrome browser, I’ve been a very happy Firefox user for over five years now. I’ve added three extensions to the base installation (DownloadHelper, Firebug, and FireFTP), but for the most part, the browser is pretty much standard.

Last week, however, one of my friends introduced me to the RockMelt browser, which came out a few months back. RockMelt’s “big thing” is that it is a fully social browser, meaning that it, among other things, integrates Facebook functionality into the everyday browsing experience. For example, things like Facebook chat, notifications, messages, etc. are available to you even if you are not browsing the Facebook website.

Now, one thing you have to know about me is, I am a ”Facebook junkie”, so the promise of a browser which lets me be on Facebook whenever I am online definitely peeked my interest! So I gave it a shot.

RockMelt turned out to be a pretty good browser, but it was definitely a little buggy (what do you expect, it is still in beta). Once you install it, the first thing it asks you for is your Facebook login credentials. Well, the first time I entered my Facebook credentials, I didn’t check the “Keep me logged into Facebook” checkbox, and because of that, after signing in, no matter what I did, I could not get Facebook chat to go online. So I uninstalled then reinstalled it, making sure to check the box appropriately, and then it worked. Now that’s a bug, alright!

Also, even something as simple as importing bookmarks from Firefox 4 into RockMelt is not so simple. I actually had to go into Firefox and export the bookmarks into an HTML file, import them into Internet Explorer, and then RockMelt was able to import them properly. Highly annoying!

Anyway, after a few days of playing around with RockMelt, I thought to myself, well, why do I need to get a whole new browser to add the social component? Can’t I get the same experience on my beloved Firefox?

Well, it turns out that you can!

I did a bit of digging, and it turns out that the there is an extension called Facebook Toolbar for Firefox, which gives you almost everything that RockMelt has, except for Facebook chat. However, chat functionality can be added to the Firefox sidebar by following some very simple steps.

Once I got all this working, I waved goodbye to RockMelt! Badda-bing, badda-bang!

I can’t believe I ever doubted you, Firefox! You’re still my champion!


  1. Karim, I am also a FireFox fan, but not happy with the ver 4 due to slow speed.

  2. Slow speed in terms of what? Rendering pages? Couldn't it simply be an issue of slow Internet speed or a slow computer?

    To be honest, I find Firefox 4 to be quite fast, provided that you are working on a fast Internet connection and a relatively new computer.