Full Title Browser

The reasons

In my opinion there are issues with the way the current browsers look and the way that the users interact with them. At first it was only one page, if you want another page without losing the page you were reading, you opened it in another window. Then the tabs come (you click the mouse wheel on a link), and all the browsers follow the trend, to have the web pages looking like tab controls. But the tab controls were made for different purposes on the user interface, so on the browsers were just a row of truncated words, and when were too many of them, were either put in a list (some time truncated as well) or just shrink the width to maximum.

For example the following browser arrangement doesn’t say anything:

Firefox with truncated text on tabs starting with the same word

(Firefox with truncated text on tabs starting with the same word)

What pages are opened? And in case of too many tabs:

Chrome with maximum reduced tabs width

(Chrome with maximum reduced tabs width)

Far from me to challenge the Google brainiacs, but this image looks really wrong. And with the continuing growing use of Google Docs and internal wikis, this situation is quite common.

Microsoft even goes up to color the tabs in some distracting and not at all UI appropriate colors, to try to give a feedback on them belonging to the same site

IE with color tabs

(IE with color tabs)

What color is that?

Another issue is the title of the page. The title is important, is what the user should see first, and then to see it anytime to know where he is. The title now is relegated in the caption of the tab, or just plain ignored.

And then there is the address edit box. This field gets really special attention. All major browsers promote it heavily for the reason that users had a lot of sites and prefer to type the first letters. The users use it only to start typing and (hopefully) find a match of a link that they put there a long time ago when they installed the browser or a matching site name from the Internet to be proposed to them. Which is not the right way; a link should be found in the bookmarks. Besides that, when did you used the last time the address field to type or paste a never before visited site? And why would you want to keep it under your eyes all the time. What info gives that you are now on the site ‘www.xyz.com’? Isn’t that more clearly specified on the page you are with the intended name of the site?

How is this address information useful?

Firefox with long Yahoo address

(Firefox with long Yahoo address)

The site information is usually in every page.

Another thing is the privacy. If somebody has access to the computer can see my bookmarks, my history, and everything. There is in fact the privacy mode (private browsing), as it is very well explained here:

9gag suuuuure meme

(9gag suuuuure meme)

But this is not useful, everything should be encrypted, and the access to the browser done by a password.

For these reasons and more, I felt the need of a new browser, and as I was not able to find it, I did it myself.

The concept

First, I want to see the title of the page and the complete title of every opened tab. For that I need to put the tabs vertically rather than horizontally. So the tabs will form a list, on which will be clear what you had opened (directly or in the background). As different from the current browsers, this will mean one more click, on the title of the page to reveal the tabs list. Just one more click I think is a minor thing compared to the benefits.

Here is the title:

FullTitleBrowser page title

(FullTitleBrowser page title)

And when you click on it the tabs list appears to choose another one by clicking on it:

FullTitleBrowser tabs list

(FullTitleBrowser tabs list)

The rest remains, click on the mouse wheel on a link to open in the background, click the left mouse button on a link to open on the same tab or in another tab and bring to front, and click the mouse back button (the left lateral one) to navigate back. With right mouse click on the title, you can bring up a menu for a new tab, close the tab and open/hide the status bar. Clicking on the mouse wheel (or the middle button if you prefer to call it that) in any tab title will close it.

The address field will be visible only with the list of tabs, and will change accordingly to the selected tab. To navigate, write or paste an address and press enter.

The bookmarks list is self-explanatory, I recommend tweaking the links after adding them, and for example I’m using ‘https://www.google. com/ncr’ as Google page.

The bookmarks list is also encrypted, when you start the browser for the first time the password you put will be the password which remains, so be careful.

There are some indications on the status bar that a page is loading, but the status bar can be hidden (which I recommend), on today’s Internet speeds the browsing is almost instantaneous, and there is not much value to see the progress.

The product

The browser is written in Java (you need to have at least Java 6 installed), using a library of mine named IusCL (iuscl.org), which in turn is based on SWT. Because of the problems Eclipse/SWT had with Mozilla at the moment, I was not able to use Firefox, so I used WebKit. To be clear, I consider that Firefox is superior to Chrome on both the speed and the rendering quality, but here was just not possible for me to use it.

To have WebKit, you need to have iTunes installed. The version on iTunes is always a little behind Chrome and Safari, but not so much. However, since iTunes 11, something broke and you will need to point (in the first screen) to another Apple WebKit for SWT to work. So you either install Safari, and point to its "Apple Application Support" folder, or point to an older version of "Apple Application Support" saved before upgrading.

The sites list is encrypted with standard Java encryption, which means 128 bits. To have 256, would mean to replace the standard jars. The source is available at SourceForge if anybody wants to check how I used the encryption code.

This was not the first time that I’ve used the idea of vertical tabs; I also have a Windows File Manager that works on the same idea except that the tabs are always visible.

I’m using the browser for some time now and I’m OK with the result. Be careful however, I’m not Google or Mozilla so I cannot do the kind of testing required for a mainstream browser, so do not use this browser on sensitive information such as Internet Banking or something else in that area.


Copyright © 2012 IusCL - http://iuscl.org Project Web hosted by SourceForge.net