My browser stack

Like most web developers, I’ve got an array of web browsers installed on my PC for cross-browser work. But apart from development and testing work, I’ve noticed a curious habit of ‘partitioning’ my day-to-day web experience through different browsers.

So I thought it’ll be a good idea to write about the web browsers that I use, and the peculiarities of each one.


Opera is my daily web-consuming browser. I have the weather, Hacker News, Slashdot, Proggit and OSnews on Speed Dial, a bookmarklet on the main tool bar and DuckDuckGo as my location bar search engine.

Opera has got quite a few nifty features that I haven’t been able to find in any other browser: things like mouse gestures, its peculiar single-key shortcuts, built-in IRC client, search keywords and native site blocking.

Among the url patterns that I’ve got blacklisted in Opera are *google-analytics*, **, *googlesyndication* and a plethora of other ad syndicate domain names that I’ve collected over the years. The only downside to using a 1.56% browser is that you occasionally run into the odd website that doesn’t render properly, which is when I fire up…


Firefox is for when I want/need to see the web “as most people should see it”. It is my primary development workhorse. To maintain a somewhat “blank slate” consistency every time I fire it up, I’ve turned off the Disk Cache, History and Password management. I only have a handful of add-on’s activated, namely Firebug, FirePHP, Web Developer and HackBar to keep things light and zippy.

While I’m furiously going through my Edit-Save-Reload development cycles, I often find myself spawning documentation tabs in Opera. This allows me to save “Alt-Tab” for switching between editor, documentation and output while “Ctrl-Tab” cycles within each context.


Chrome for me is permanently set to incognito by way of appending –incognito at the end of its shortcut. From a development perspective, Chrome is my WebKit-esque view of the interweb. If it looks okay in Chrome, it’ll likely be decent in OS X Safari, iOS Safari and a good chunk of Android devices (though, nothing beats actual testing on the browser/platform combo).

On the peculiar “mental partitioning” front, Chrome is what I fire up for the occasional Facebook meander (remember, ** is blocked on Opera), and more heavy “app”-y stuff like Gmail. I think this perception stems from its supposedly bad-ass V8 Javascript engine and the fact that this browser wants to become the heart of an operating system.

Internet Explorer

The only time I use Internet Explorer is to download Opera whenever I’m setting up a new machine. As far as development goes, I use the handy-dandy IETester to cover my IE 6 – 9 bases. Although IE9 comes with a pretty good set of Document Modes for testing your site with.

So yeah, that’s my browser stack. What does yours look like?