Browsers. In this day and age, everybody has at least one, and everybody has their personal favorite. Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about mine.
I’ll be honest about this. I dread doing a browser post. I’ve been putting this off for eighty-five days. People can be very passionate about their choices, and their browser is no different. For some, it can be as volatile an issue as their choice of operating system.
I want to state out front that these are the reasons that I’ve chosen Vivaldi as my browser. Many of the things I like about Vivaldi are not unique to this browser and can be found in other browsers as well. Still more can be done through extensions. I understand.
Yep, I’m going to start here. What about the interface to I find so appealing?
I keep my user interface pretty much like every other browser in the market. Tabs at the top, back/forward/stop on the left, extensions on the right. Status bar at the bottom. I don’t use a shortcut bar. Pretty standard.
So, what about this is a reason I choose Vivaldi?
Virtually every part of that is configurable.
Tabs can be at the top, the bottom, or either side. New tabs can show up at the end, or after the current tab. Cloned (duplicated) tabs can show up at the end, after the current tab, or as a tab stack with the current tab. Closing a tab can send you to the next tab in line, or to a related tab. You can Ctrl-Tab through the tabs in the order they appear in the window, or in the order you looked at them.
The interface can be themed (as most browsers allow for these days), and that theme can be updated based on a configurable schedule. It will also look to the OS for cues on how it should appear, such as detecting whether or not you’re using a dark theme or a light theme in your OS. You can even integrate Philips Hue lighting so the light in your room can change based on your browser theme.
I could go on and on about how configurable Vivaldi is, but let’s just stop here and say there is very little about the browser that doesn’t have options to change or personalize.
Address Bar Search
My search engine of choice is DuckDuckGo. I pretty much use it exclusively. That being said, there are times that I still find I revert back to other search engines. I’m not proud.
Vivaldi makes this quick and easy for me. I can do a quick lookup of something on Wikipedia by just adding a “w” in my address bar and then typing in what I’m searching for. For example, “w Linus Torvalds” would bring up the Wikipedia page for Linus Torvalds, right from the address bar. “y” searches YouTube. “e” Ecosia. “x” for the Searx instance I use. You get the point. These options are configurable of course.
The History in Vivaldi is just cool. Entries are date and time stamped, there’s a browsing activity bar chart. Page views. Top domains visited. Etc. You can even pick a date off the calendar and see what you were looking at any particular time. I can see that the last thing I looked at on July 3rd, 2020 was my email. The first thing I looked at the morning of July 4th was Fosstodon. I was up surprisingly early for a holiday.
This is one of those features that I don’t really use that often, but I just like having.
The side panel is one of my favorite features. I almost always have the Window panel open these days, which gives me a nice tree view of the tabs I have open. I regularly have a large number of tabs (one-hundred twenty-six at the time of this writing), and even on a large monitor that can compress the visible area on a tab to where you’re really only getting the favicon. The Window tab lets me scroll through my open windows and tab stacks.
Web panels can also be added. Often I switch over to a Fosstodon web panel, which shows Fosstodon in an always visible panel on the left hand side. No matter what I’m browsing, I can always keep my notifications up and visible, so I can keep track of a conversation I’m involved in or see what’s going on with the Local timeline. This can be done with most web sites and will usually try to use the mobile version to keep things readable in the narrow panel view. If a page tries to redirect you to a mobile app instead, this can cause problems, but I haven’t run into that enough to care.
Yes, pretty much every browser and every OS can do this. I like Vivaldi’s implementation where there’s an icon I can click to screen cap a portion of the screen, or even the entire page. Entire page scrolls the whole page, not just the visible portion. For those pages that are just walls of text, it works great.
Yep, there’s a clock built into Vivadi. Yes, I use it. My OS’s panel “smart” hides when I’m in an application, so if I want to see the clock I have to move the mouse to the bottom of the page to see the clock. Vivaldi has a clock in the customary location that I can see even when it’s full screen. It even allows for alarms with configurable, preset options.
Pause The Web
This is a new feature that has only been out for a couple days. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll use it. It doesn’t really matter because I’m more using this as a representation of new ideas. Vivaldi is constantly implementing new features and adding to it’s already impressive list of options. This includes features like Pausing the Web (which I’m not sure I’ll use much), or making individual portions of the address in the address bar clickable (which I can’t believe I’ve lived without for so long).
I’ve written quite a bit more than I thought I would, and since I’m already over a thousand words, I’m going to call it here. Vivaldi is my browser of choice, and even though there are some things about it I don’t like (Chromium based and not open source), what it does offer me has been enough to compensate for those failings.
Day 85 of the #100DaysToOffload Series.
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