Saturday, January 08, 2011

Lightweight browsers

What do I look for in a browser?
Essentially, speed, ease of opening my favorite websites and an absence of complexity.
I really do not need a plethora of extensions for once_in_a_blue_moon operations. I've installed extensions in both Chromium and Opera 11, but in truth I rarely, if ever, use them with the possible exception of the Gmail notifiers and WOT in Chromium on the Mac.
Anyway, today when cleaning up my Mac, I noticed that I had downloaded a lite browser some time ago called Stainless which had lain forlornly in my Applications folder since then.
As I was just a little disappointed with Opera 11 in that it still seemed to lead to high CPU usage every now and again on the Mac, I thought I'd try out Stainless again.
And, I'm impressed. It's very fast, very noticeably faster than Opera 11. I particularly like the bookmarking system which consists of only a narrow "bookmarking shelf" to the left of the page wherein are stored a series of small applets. The applets can be dragged to the shelf from open tabs. The name of each applet appears on mousing over and clicking launches the webpage.
This is a wonderfully compact way to get at your favorite websites and, based on todays experience, I like it more than Opera's speeddial.
The only thing I miss from Opera 11 up to now is the RSS Feeds which Opera does, and has done for some time, particularly well.
The other lite browser I looked at today was Arora 10.2 which I had experimented with in Haiku some time ago.
This time, however, I looked at it in FreeBSD 8.1 on my Dell E520.
To install it, as is usual with FreeBSD, it has to be compiled by cd'ing to /usr/ports/www/arora and then issuing a "make install" command.
This took about 2.5 hours for me.
However, Arora is a lot more stable in FreeBSD than it was for my in Haiku. The otherwise good impression I got from it in Haiku, however, was maintained in FreeBSD. It's fast but did not seem quite as fast as Stainless on the Mac.
Its bookmark bar is also very useful but, once again, not quite as compact as Stainless's bookmark shelf.
Nevertheless, both work very well and I prefer Arora to Opera 11 in FreeBSD primarily because of superior speed.
I'll work with these two browsers for a while to see if they'll stand the test of time.

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