Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cleaning up Firefox

After looking at a recent speed test and various browser comparisons from lifehacker I decided one thing had to be done, to slim down firefox. I looked at the various tests and I was astounded to see that Firefox still wins for memory usage. I jump over to activity monitor and look at my current firefox usage with two tabs open and it was in the 200+ MB range. What's with this discrepancy I wondered. Why is my firefox using so much memory and why is it so slow? Thus the task to slim down my Firefox profile started.

First of all I deleted most of my history except for the most recent 7 days or so of my history, as firefox couldn't do that automatically as I mentioned in a previous post. I also tried this tip from a lifehacker to vacuum the firefox database http://lifehacker.com/5344418/make-firefox-faster-by-vacuuming-your-database just in case it actually did do something. Then I went over to my vast library of bookmarks, and I right clicked on the descriptions and selected visit count. I went through all my folders and realized that for most of my bookmarks I rarely visited, if at all as most of the counts were 0.

Now I would say that I'm the kind of person who likes keeping everything, and this is also evident for bookmarks. I googled hoping to find some bookmark archivers. I stumbled across this one but it looked like that development on it had stopped and I stopped to think. How can I archive all the bookmarks that I don't use, so that it'll speed up searching from the awesome bar? In the end I made an entirely new firefox profiles (one of the advantages of using firefox in my opinion) and exported all my bookmarks as html and deleted all the bookmarks that I didn't use. I then went over to the newly created profile (by the way just a small note you can actually open two instances of firefox at once with different profiles, which I did) and I imported the bookmarks into the new profile's bookmark manager. And now, on my slimmed down firefox, I have the relevant bookmarks and I must say that performance got a lot better.

Just a small note, redoing your profile is also a good way to boost performance on firefox. About a year ago I moved all my saved passwords and bookmarks over to a new profile on firefox and I was very, very happy with the speed boost.

Though looking at that lifehacker article again about browser comparisons I was quite surprised to see that opera actually bested google in javascript. I must say, if opera could do this, then so can mozilla developers with their development of the gecko rendering engine. Go Firefox! Though I am also interested to see what sorts of new features google chrome for mac beta is going to have.

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