16 August, 2016

Vivaldi: One Year Later...

A little over a year ago, I talked about the Vivaldi browser which was still in its development stages. Since then I flirted between it and Firefox, mostly because I was concerned about its Chromium skeleton and some add-ons and sites which didn't function properly at the time, resulting in a brief Ello post.

Now with its third stable build, I finally made the switch to Vivaldi as my default browser, installing it on most of my laptops but one. (That one's an old HP with Windows 7 that I thought about tinkering around with--by installing Ubuntu or Qubes OS along with upgrading any possible parts--but wanted to wait until the free Windows 10 offer passed.)

Many of the features in Vivaldi mentioned in my previous review are, no doubt, part of the reason for the big switch. But for a browser over a year old, the team made some leaps and bounds in development alongside other circumstances that ultimately convinced me to make the switch...

Tab Stacking

Mentioning this feature again because Firefox discontinued its Tab Groups (Panorama) feature from stable build 45 onwards. I realized that this was their answer to the tab stacks far too late to make excessive use of it. The only major difference between stacks and groups is that the latter treats the clusters as separate windows, or rather it features one group while keeping the others in the Panorama UI. I find that stacks are far more useful since I can easily access them without the need of a keyboard shortcut. They're all in the same window, which makes browsing, blogging, or just playing around on forums and social networks much more practical, productive, and fun.

Hibernating Tabs and Tab Stacks

I love to think of this as one of Vivaldi's answers to Chromium's infamous and excessive use of RAM and other resources, which was why I never used Chrome on my Macbooks except for that one time which, personally, lasted only a week. Even if the computer I use now can take it gladly, with sixteen gigs soldered on, I just like that it's there in case I want to save RAM and battery. This feature will prove useful for my 11-inch Macbook Air that still chugs along after six years on two gigs. Granted that one got more use writing college papers than anything else, but either way, if I need to make use of it again when I'm out and about, tab hibernation will make browsing a little less stressful on the hardware.

Custom Themes

One of the new features with the latest build that allows the user to alter the look of their browser by playing around with the color schemes. In the same way that Vivaldi's built-in features allow me to use only two extensions, as opposed to going between four and six in Firefox, this new addition means that I longer need to skim through and download Personas or themes online. Creating themes in Vivaldi is simple and, more importantly, a blast. The ones built in also look lovely in case the user doesn't wish to make one.

The current theme I use now I named "Glade" and to replicate it for yourself, here's what you need to do.

Click to edit the "Dark" theme and set the following values in the Color Editor section...

Background: #081622
Foreground: #cdeeff
Highlight: #7bffdd
Accent: #03897d

Uncheck everything in theme preferences and leave corner rounding at its default setting. In the "Color" section, just check "Fade Foreground Colors" and the theme will be complete.

Private Browsing

A feature that made its debut shortly after my initial review and in 1.3, it only gets better. While the UI for some extensions are still buggy, in my experience, the fact I can access them while in private browsing is a sigh of relief.


Built-in with Chromium along with the sandboxing--as far as I know. Firefox is slowly getting there with the e10s testing, and admittedly, I'm now on their beta channel hopping to get a sample of it. Getting there will take time though as Asa Dotzler wrote when Firefox 48 went into beta. Personally, this is relatively minor, but still a good, under-the-hood aspect to keep in mind.