And suddenly I'm in love... with "Web"

Roland Taylor's Gravatar

Roland Taylor
published July 8, 2017, 10:20 a.m.

I've had an Epiphany!

Yesterday (relative to the time of writing), I upgraded my workstation to Ubuntu 17.04 (after putting it off for a while). With that upgrade, came an update to a web browser that I've always liked, but recently have fallen out of love with.

Web - formerly known as Epiphany. No lie, this browser has grown up! Design wise, it is one of the best looking browsers on the market for Linux (I say this as a designer, and as a user, but more so as a user). Yes, there are other well designed browsers out there, but the lack of native integration can take away a little from the experience, meaning that browser developers have to try a bit (or a lot) harder to provide that "wow" factor. Web (Epiphany) has it all - the wow factor, and the native integration; a tough balancing act.

Gnome-webkit is finally rendering rightly!

This is hands down one of the biggest improvements I've noticed so far. I would share screenshots, but having upgraded now, I'd have nothing to compare them to. So, you'll just have to take my word for it - I've noticed a massive improvement between Web on 16.10 and 17.04. I haven't checked to see if the gnome-webkit library was actually updated, so I don't know for sure if it was at fault, but in any case - all I know is, I'm getting better results than before. I can actually test my web designs on Web now! Without keeping a bucket nearby for vomiting, that is.

Fun fact: Web is rendering borders better than Firefox! This means it's better than Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, and other Blink/Chromium-based browsers, which do a pretty terrible job by producing either pixelated or blurred edges. I've also noticed smoother animations. Native integration paying off? Or is it the recent improvements to Web's multiprocess architecture? Not sure. But I like.

Built-in Adblocker

Though not enabled by default, there's a built-in adblocker. I know some other bloggers in the Linux Blogosphere will hate me for saying this - but I never browse without one. Look, it's not you, it's the internet. I've learned over the years of fixing computer issues for other people that ads and advertising networks can be a bad thing. I've also had ads bring my not-so-new computers to a grinding halt.

That said, if you want to support your favourite bloggers, remember you can always selectively enable ads on their sites. Only problem is, I can't find any way to do this in Web. That's one of the areas in which Gnome's penchant for simplicity becomes an avenue to stupidity (sorry!). Options aren't evil if you know what you're doing (just saying!!! Take a hint guys!)

WHERE IS IT?! (Batman voice)

Overall, Web is still young, but growing well

No longer an outlier in the browser market, Web is growing steadily with each release. It still has its rough edges (for instance, OMG Ubuntu's article about the best things in Gnome 3.24, won't load fully (the tab crashes). But, that said, it's better than using Opera (which, believe it or not, I've basically had to fall back on for a while), which lags out after a few tabs (making loading them... pointless).

Whelp that's it for now!

Look out for more word salads from me concerning the new (now old) stuff I've found since upgrading, and for experience trying Gnome-Shell (they said it would never be!). Believe it or not, I sort of liked (some) of it. But needless to say, I'm back on KDE... and not because I didn't (really) try hard to like it.

Suffice to say, extensions don't fix everything.

... but more on that for another article.

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