I’ve been wanting a slim browser for quite some time, and Mozilla’s new WebRunner browser is definitely just that. Mozilla cutout all of the frills to give people a one site at a time browsing experience that doesn’t even have an Address Bar, bookmarks, forward/back operations, or many other things that you have become accustomed to a browser having.
The features include:
- Context menu for basic clipboard and selection operations
- Simple Print support
- Uses the latest rendering engine (same one used in Firefox 3 nightlies)
- Show float-over link destinations in the statusbar so users can see where the link will take them
- Support download manager
So how do you open a website? WebRunner works with a thing they call “bundles,” and those are special kinds of files that has been zipped and the extension changed to “webapp.” The INI file that holds the configuration information looks something like this:
As of right now bundles have been made for most of Google’s services, Meebo, Bloglines, and more.
Even if you do enable things like the sidebar or location bar you still won’t be able to do anything with them. They are virtually useless as of right now, and for good reason. By trimming out all of these features they are able to ship this browser with an extremely low memory footprint, and in the case of Twitter it consumed a mere 15MB of memory while running.
Oh, and did I mention that there are no tabs? Yeah, that’s a bit unfortunate, but you can have multiple windows open at the same time. The memory usage seems to be about half of what Firefox is, which makes it a good alternative for the things you leave open all of the time (Gmail, Google Reader, Google Calendar, etc…). If only they slapped a working Address Bar in there then this thing would be a lot more useful. ;)
It’s pretty obvious that this browser is geared towards Web 2.0 services that don’t have the time nor the money to create their own desktop application. WebRunner doesn’t offer the ability to take those sites offline, but it does provide a clutter-free way for people to interact with the services.
Kudos to Pieter for the tip!