22 July, 2015

On Vivaldi

Outside of the built-in web browsers, the one that I use most is Mozilla's Firefox. When I first found myself in cyberspace, I had to stick it out with Internet Explorer as it was the default for both the family and school computers. With my first laptop back in '08, I didn't mind it much with the Internet security software I installed...

...until the crashing happened. So I switched because I remember someone saying that Firefox was faster. This was also when Chrome jumped into the scene. Months later, I had an idea for an article I wanted to do for my high school's newspaper where I just tested all the major ones. This, during a time when I was unfamiliar with web standards aside from speed and design, never panned out. Although that's when I defaulted over to Opera.

The speed was personally on par with Firefox, if not more, but it was the design that did it for me. The rectangular tabs were smooth around the edges and I fell in love with the speed dial and multi-purpose sidebar. There was also a BitTorrent client built into the browser--this is Opera 9--that I used to download the Summoning of the Spirits album.

I surfed through Opera for around two years, then switched back. I forgot why, but I remember it being a rendering issue. Not that I minded much.

Fast-forward to Vivaldi, from Opera's founding creators, and I find myself using it more and more. Clive Thompson's Boing Boing post led me to it--I related to the tab issue--but it was the bookmarks manager that did me in then. Later it was the tab stacking and tiling that convinced me. While I'm still waiting for the build with either private browsing or UI extensions before making it my default, here's why I want to do so...

Vivaldi promotes both productivity and the user. With the former, there's no need to have a home page. During my undergrad, my home page was always the university's hub page, or the one that lead to the e-mail and online coursework. Now, I set three folders as my speed dials and use them as a substitute for a homepage. With this, I find myself less distracted by the usual homepage clutter and skip straight to the personal to-do list most of the time.

The latter refers to the slogan, labeling Vivaldi as, "A Browser for our Friends." Friends in this case being the community who once made Opera what it was and other power users. Even if it is closed-sourced and based off the Chromium engine, the face that Vivaldi gives the user control over how they browse, from layout to shortcuts through keyboard and mouse, convinced me to give it a thought.

The tab stack tiling also proved to me that Vivaldi would be my go-to for social media management. Cross-posting to the other networks would be a breeze, meaning that I don't need to use any automation recipes making everything seem emotionless and spam-like. Stacking alone would make reading through articles, or commenting on multiple threads on Boing Boing's BBS much more manageable, meaning that I won't find myself distracted elsewhere on the web.

It's still in alpha, but I have high hopes for Vivaldi, a browser that does what it says on the tin and then some.

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