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What happened when Igalia met Epiphany?

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Changing the way that Web-Browser Navigation works for years? Free Software and Open Communities once again created something that can redefine completely the way that Web-Browsers work.

The Problem

The problem that we are looking into is how to manage open pages in your Web browser. This is commonly done with tabs, but these have some problems: they display very little information, are hard to use in touch screens, and scale badly.

Try it

You can download a binary demo. This is not the real browser just a demonstration application.


It is simply amazing how this thing works! You can get it from:

Unzip it and run the executable inside. If for some reason that will not work (dependencies issues maybe) you can watch a demonstration.

For more info check on “A few more ideas for Web navigation – and a talk at FOSDEM” post by Igalia’s Felipe Erias Morandeira. This is the answer why Firefox and Chromium are not enough. GNOME and this kind of Open Source Projects have the luxury/privillage to try new things simply because they run a more flexible user base to changes ..or smarter  :)

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  • billtoulas

    Actually, in Web 3.6.1 tabs don’t scale at all…

  • bonzi200x

    The advantage of tabs is that you can switch pages with just one click.

    • alex285

      Because I run over 20 tabs at any time, I check like 4-5 (sometimes more) till I get the right one ;)

      • JJ

        Thats roght. With 20-40 tabs we are used to in firefox, it is not as easy to change tabs anymore as it is in theory.

        • alex285

          40?!? Well okay I don’t have that many. Now I have 17 in 2 Chrome’s and 5 in FF. I open 2-3 browsers to arrange tabs, but basically what happens is to lose both Tabs and Browsers :)

          • Pavol Klačanský

            132 right now

      • Luya Tshimbalanga

        In Firefox, you can group tabs under the category you wish. Ctrl+Shift+E to go in group tab mode (aka Panamora) and organize them by drag and drop you want.

    • subliminal kid

      This is one of those things that look cool at first sight but when you actually use them for a little while it becomes obvious that they are totally impractical.

  • user
  • Luya Tshimbalanga

    It looks like a logical step of SpeedDial first seen in Opera, the Firefox.

  • Satyajit Sahoo

    It takes more clicks to switch tabs I think. And how do you enter another url?

  • 7svito

    On original mock-ups “Recent” contained both opened & closed pages – so that makes sense if I leaved one of these, but want to go back quickly (like restore tab functionality), and that approach was really innovative and clean.

    IMHO this QTwebkit demo is just trying to get back worst from tabs – that stupid extra “+” button… It’s really confusing now.

    Favorites is good with me, but what is that queue stand for?

  • TheGacko

    Yeah nice – but too much movement all the time when multi-tabing. Too many clicks. Also the main things with tabs (when you only have a few) is that you can see and swap between the identifiable icons/names easy with one click. I.E. I have 8 or so tabs at the moment and can clearly see at a glance Gmail, Reddit, This page, Slashdot, Salesforce etc and any others..

    It does look more modern and all but I think a better solution would be a sidebar that displays a square/rectangular thumbnail of the page with the page icon (if it has one) superimposed on top (in bottom right of thumbnail etc). This would be similar to the Unity sidebar with a few differences:

    – The new tab button would be on the top (ergo in the unity button position)
    – new tabs would be added directly below not to the bottom of the stack.. think add this tab to top of stack etc..
    – tabs/thumbnails are re-sortable manually as tabs are today. Drag out tabs for separate windows.
    – could indicate by the outline colour if thumbnail is secure or not siilar to screenshots of this system.
    – you could adjust width of sidebar for larger thumbnails if you wish although locked so you cannot do this accidentally
    – you could scroll through thumbnails similar to to tabs.. ie mouse wheel or hold mouse button and drag down on the tab sidebar. this would work well with touch also. You could include an accordion/concertina effect although I think it would be better without.
    – you could include an option (you know how gnome loves options ;) to put this sidebar at the top or bottom or other side making it very similar to tabs.
    – you would still include this “pages” button which would bring up full screen (full window etc) thumbnails for greater clarity and display speed dial of recent/history etc
    – you could also include another button (or a double click of pages button perhaps) that would toggle the removal of sidebar if you wanted to concentrate on all the pages contents etc. IE with the sidebar system it can get confused with the page contents itself for certain webpages.

    I think that would be a great compromise above.. bring all of the work of this project but still leave it easy clicking wise and discovery wise etc. Sidebars are generally better as most people have plenty of horizontal space (16×9 monitors).

  • Bastian Hougaard

    Read the blog entry and this sounds like it is just one of the ideas to replace tab navigation. While I don’t applaud this idea in particular, I am glad to see that the ideas are being sketched so well that they potentially can be tested for usability. I look forward to see more alternative web navigation designs in the upcoming future. :)

  • Niklas Rosenqvist

    It isn’t much different to how firefox handles tabs on android, except that I prefer their implementation since it doesn’t take up the entire application window.

  • Significan Me

    Dont see how we dont need URL bars. Autocomplete in URL bars is the most used feature in my case, and a web browser(!) without it it’s just, well (sorry) stupid. And there is too much clicking around with this concept, tabs seem more logical.

  • Oktoras

    I would like it to not to have tabs at all. Gnome 3 alt+tab and alt+{key above tab} works nice. Currently I am using firefox with tabkiller extension