In 2017, the world wide web
has long lost one of its key features, namely its simplicity. Remember when you could just visit most websites with a text-mode browser and not lose any relevant information? By today, the web has turned into a giant blob of anti-features, making it unnecessarily hard to keep a low memory and CPU footprint while trying to use it. Browsers like NetSurf
which feature their own engine and manage to use as few resources as possible are neat, but they fail to be compatible with just anything
, at least right now.
A pretty good compromise between a low footprint and an adequately large feature set is the qutebrowser
which is amazing in multiple ways: It is fast
even with its Python core, it is efficient
even with its QtWebKit engine, it is accessible
even though being modeled after Vim.
Here is my review.Who is this app designed for:
The qutebrowser is a great alternative for the Unix-only uzbl browser
and Firefox's to-be-deprecated Vimperator and Pentadactyl extensions, focusing on Vim-like UI and keyboard features. Having to use the mouse can be annoying in a text-based medium like the web
If you prefer a minimal waste of screen space and efficient keybindings to giant toolbars and weird mouse (or even touch) gestures, qutebrowser could be for you.The Good
If you know Vim, qutebrowser won't be a big deal for you. You can use most of Vim's basic keybindings (including hjkl
), one-key commands (like O
for opening something in a new tab) and some Vimperator-like commands like :tab-close
. (You can still switch between the tabs with your mouse if you want to.) qutebrowser will show a DuckDuckGo tab and a Quickstart manual
on its first start (see the screenshot above).
There is a built-in ad blocker, advertised on the first start: Just type :adblock-update
and you're good. Also, have I mentioned the low resource usage?
If you're not happy with some of the defaults, the built-in settings page provides a couple of rather advanced options including things like the window title format and the statusbar padding. Sorely missed from recent Firefoxes. And: Of course the qutebrowser has an "insert mode" for forms. The needs improvement section
¯\_(ツ)_/¯How does it compare to similar apps
Compared to Firefox with Vimperator or Pentadactyl, qutebrowser is not nearly as extensible but it saves you quite some headaches. There are official FAQ
about that. Conclusions
I'll see if this will be my default browser after Firefox's effective death on Nov. 14. You can never have enough options. For now, I'm impressed - I uninstalled NetSurf and dismissed Otter and I'll give this one a ride for a while.