Monday, 7 June 2010

Midori—Now Almost Feature Complete for Me

Starting today, it looks like Midori is going to be my only webbrowser (previously I've also kept Chromium for pages with that send themselves compressed which wasn't supported by older webkitgtk/libsoup combinations and firefox because the open java didn't work in webkit) because the only feature that's missing now is password saving and that's not a showstopper for me. So here're some highlights of what you can get with the latest and greatest stuff that's in Fedora 12 (and a bit of customizing):

Simple, highly usable and effective UI

Do I need status bar? No. Do I need menu bar? No. Do I need the browser controls+bookmark bar to take up lots of horizontal space? No. Do I need a home page? No. Do I need to have both reload and stop buttons displayed at the same time? No. Do I keep many tabs open? Yes. And here's precisely the type of UI that aligns with these answers:


These days, browser without AdBlock just gets in the way. I don't want to be distracted by ads I'm not going to click at anyway. With a sensible set of filters, Midori's advertisement blocker works very well and is shipped with the browser itself.


See one of my older posts on this. This one drastically reduced CPU usage when using midori, as many pages are using flash now and flash is known to be hungry for CPU cycles :D

Netscape Plugins

Browser without support for netscape plugins is predestined to fail. That's why firefox supports them, that's why chromium supports them that's why midori supports them. But among these is also the java plugin and especially the open one was in past years not exactly just working everywhere. But with the (rather biggish) update I did yesterday, java plugin is working for me in midori as well. The miracle combination is:

Session Saving

One of the biggest showstoppers for me using epiphany is this feature. Any browser that does not have an option to save session on exit is practically dead for me ;-) Midori fares well in this area, maybe even better thing would be to load the saved pages on demand to speed up the start. Especially with 30+ tabs open, starting even the fastest of webbrowsers is taking a loooooong time. I heard that firefox has an extension for that so lets hope midori will gain this functionality in the future as well.

Another related feature is trash bin. I can reopen closed tabs. Nice to have in case you close some tab accidentally.


All I want to say here is that midori is one of the fastest browsers I've ever use especially in comparison to firefox…

HTML5 Media

I've been always critical of the path firefox has chosen with support for the audio and video html5 tags. They just bundle some codec libraries with firefox. While this might be a good solution for windows platform (you know, they don't have package managers to download the deps for them) it's IMHO essentially wrong.

When you implement a media player you do not bundle every possible codec with it but use an already working media framework like gstreamer, directshow or phonon. And that's the way webkit people are going—webkitgtk makes use of gstreamer, qt-webkit makes use of phonon, chromium port makes use of ffmpeg,… One of the pros of this approach is that you don't need to install new version of webbrowser to support new codec, so when google released WebM, all that was needed was building the needed libraries in fedora, write a gstreamer plugin, release, package, update and you are done for everything that uses gstreamer, midori included. So we now have WebM support in midori, while firefox users still need to wait :-p And as a bonus, we don't have to care about the result of theora vs. vp8 vs. h264 browser war—webkitgtk supports all (if you have the needed codecs installed which probably anyone who watches video on fedora have).

From what I've seen on youtube, the VP8 codec can provide high quality but it seems even more CPU intensive than h264—I can barely watch videos on youtube in h264 in 720p, but I cannot watch those that are in VP8 and 720p.

Manageable Search Engines

included in address bar. I don't need a separate search bar. But I do need more searches than just google and I want to use keywords so that I just write say 'j 先生', hit enter and it does a jisho search for word '先生' (sensei, teacher, master, doctor).

What's missing?

Good question. For me it's password saving, ssh certificates handling (I probably cannot log in to koji) and ftp protocol support—I don't mind that ftp browsing is not implemented in web browser, but opening nautilus (or another file/ftp manager) with the specified location would make things much more convenient.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I find Arora to be better than Midori. Most of all, the "awesomebar" seems awkward in Midori, while it works just fine in Arora. There's also a lot of other small UI nits in Midori. Arora/QtWebKit also has a later version of WebKit than Midori/WebKitGTK (on Fedora at least), and thus can handle sites better. And yes, Arora fits in just as well in GNOME as it does in KDE, thanks to QGtkStyle.

antistress said...

"I heard that firefox has an extension for that so lets hope midori will gain this functionality in the future as well"

Martin said...

Anonymous: totally a personal preference. I just installed arora to see the awesomeness you talk about, and first thing that hit my eyes were different fonts hinting than I have set in gtk... Then, search bar is separate from location bar, how can I merge them? I cannot select engine I'd like to search with arrows after typing the text to search. How do I move the tabs to right instead of top? How do I turn off menubar? How do I add rss/atom feeds to my feed reader from arora? I fail to see how arora's ui is any better than midori's—for me. Also, webkitgtk in F12 (testing) is current enough for me ;-)

antistress: yep, that's probably the extension I heard about. Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, totally a personal preference thing, which is why I started off with "Personally". ;)

I do not search with the location bar and never had the desire to, so it isn't an issue for me. I'm kind of annoyed by the trend away from the menu bar, a la IE and soon possibly Firefox 4.0, so I certainly wouldn't want to hide it if I have the choice. The tabs on the side are kind of nice (had to comb through the extensions to see how Midori could do that); if it could organize them into colored trees like TabKit can on Firefox, that would be a large point in Midori's favor to me. As is though, the fact you can't even drag-and-drop the tabs when they're in the side panel is too annoying to live with, alas. The internal RSS reader (feed panel plugin) is nice, but not as convenient as Firefox's Live Bookmarks; still better than Arora's lack thereof though albeit, so one point in Midori's favor there.

On the other side, can you assign the standard "Ctrl+H" shortcut used to quickly access history? Bookmark organizing seems clunky compared to Arora, which is a simple drag-and-drop affair like Firefox. Is there any way to block certain cookies, instead of just manually deleting them after the fact? It would be nice if Ctrl+Tab changed tabs, not just Ctrl+Page(Up|Down). Those are the nits I can think of off-hand.

To be fair, they are less than they used to be: Midori used to crash a lot more (though it still crashes more than Arora by far; I had three Midori crashes while playing around with it today, and nary an Arora crash since I can remember), and I remember an older version where the toolbar was absurdly large, and now it's the same size as in Arora. Also, playing around with the latest Midori some, it looks like they have mostly fixed the awesomebar nit that irked me so in earlier versions; in the past, if I went to, say "" a lot, and "" a little, the latter would stay on the top.

I agree that there's different font hinting than in GTK+ than Qt, but to my eyes at least, neither seem really better or worse than the other, at least on my mostly stock F13.

So I guess it just depends on what you care about; the long and short of it is that Midori has more features (there are some nice extensions there, though still not nearly as many useful ones as Firefox), while Arora just seems more...polished to me. YMMV.

Anonymous said...

> "Do I need the browser controls+bookmark bar to take up lots of horizontal space? No. Do I need a home page? No. Do I need to have both reload and stop buttons displayed at the same time? No."

I went even further with Epiphany and removed the previous/next/stop/reload buttons altogether.

alt+left, alt+right, escape and F5 do the trick for me, and suddenly a lot of space is available for more important things :)