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lariza loses more weight

2020-05-01

The project’s mission statement

Over the years, lariza’s original mission statement faded into the background. I wanted to have a dead simple browser. Basically just the web site and a text box. That alone is not enough for a useful browser, so there are some more features like tabs, a window for downloads, or adblock.

But the goal should always be: No extra baggage. No code for functions that could be implemented in external browser-independent scripts. As simple as possible while still being useful.

Keyword searches

This is a feature that never should have been implemented in the first place. It was added on the fifth day of development. In a time when I still configured each browser individually, managed multiple profiles, managed different search engines.

I’m talking about “keyword searches”. Type this in the location bar:

wi foo

And the browser will search Wikipedia for “foo”, if configured accordingly.

I haven’t used this feature since 2016 (at least). And now it’ll be removed.

What’s a better way to do this? Because, you know, a feature like this is useful.

Remember that lariza does not have a bookmark feature. Never had one. This means you need some external “tooling” anyway. One option is to use a “bookmarks.html”. Here’s mine from 2015:

bookmarks.html

You can easily add an HTML form to it:

<form action="https://duckduckgo.com" method="GET">
    <input type="hidden" name="kp" value="1" />
    <input type="hidden" name="k1" value="-1" />
    <input type="hidden" name="kt" value="n" />
    <input type="hidden" name="kx" value="9e0000" />
    <input type="hidden" name="k5" value="2" />
    <input type="hidden" name="kk" value="-1" />
    <input type="text" name="q" />
    <input type="submit" />
</form>

Those hidden fields are my personal preferences, you could omit them all. Add a little bit of fancy CSS (which is a hobby of yours anyway, if you use a file like this) and you’re good to go.

What you get is a 100% portable solution. You can open your “bookmarks.html” in any browser. And now, tada, there are your favorite search engines, too.

(Remember Netscape? Yup, this was its standard way of storing bookmarks.)

Another option is to use an external script. I already wrote about browser tooling in 2016. This is what I actually use. It’s a rather short wrapper around dmenu. I manage my bookmarks and search engines with it.

Again, you get a 100% portable solution that works with any browser.

In fact, I regularly change browsers. At work, I currently use Chromium (through cleanium, see blog post on “browser tooling”), and at home, I use lariza. And maybe I’ll go back to Firefox – or rather cleanfox – at work soon, when the next thing in Chromium breaks. Good thing is, workflow and usage stays exactly the same, because my dmenu wrapper doesn’t care which browser it launches.

While we’re at it, I have to reiterate that I think using cleanfox and cleanium is a really good practice. Always start with a clean state. Don’t let the dust accumulate. Don’t depend on saved browser sessions and get angry when they break. This also completely replaced my usage of “incognito mode”, just as it has for others.

The external URL handler

This idea popped up on Github a couple of times, until I eventually implemented it: A hotkey to run an external program and pass it the URL of the current tab. And then a custom menu: When you right click on a link or an image or whatever, you can run your external program on that URL.

The thing is, no real functionality is gained by implementing this. You can always copy the URLs into the clipboard and then have your script work on that. It’s just about saving a few key strokes in rare situations.

Worst of all, this is highly specific to lariza. If you have to switch browsers, your workflow breaks.

I rarely needed this function and hardly used it. It will be removed.

What do I do instead? As I said, copy the URL to the clipboard and go from there. This works in every browser.

Wrapping things up

It sometimes hurts a bit to remove features. Effort had been put into implementing them or some asked for them. But then again, cleanups like this are an effort to remove rough edges and to refine the program. And that is good.

Comments?