Software

Colibri is a different type of browser in the simplest way

Jack Wallen introduces you to a browser that might seem inefficient, but is actually the opposite.

One of the problems that consistently plagues web browsers is that they eventually (no matter how good the intention) become bogged down with bloat. Too many features crush efficiency and speed and inevitably leads to enough problems that developers get sent back to the drawing board. That's when smaller, lighter browsers start to look really appealing—especially when they bring a new take on an old-school way of thinking.

Such is the case with Colibri. This new browser removes clutter, aims for simplicity, and shows us all that what we thought we needed, we really didn't need all that much. That is not to say Colibri will usurp your current browser without pause. Because we have grown so accustomed to certain browser behavior, making a significant shift in how we work takes time. But Colibri might be worth that time.

Let me show you what this new browser has to offer.

SEE: Web server configuration and management policy (Tech Pro Research)

Word Of warning

Before you get too deep into Colibri, know that you need to sign up for an account to make the most of this browser. Why? Because of how the browser manages bookmarks (more on this in a bit). So the first thing you should do is sign up for an account. Once you've done that you'll be sent an email, which includes the download link for the installer file. Installation is simple on every platform (so I won't cover that). I've used Colibri on both Linux and macOS, and the browser performs splendidly on both platforms.

What's different

Colibri is a very different kind of browser. Not in the way it renders websites, as it does that as well as any browser. What it does different than most browsers on the market is with tabs and bookmarks.

Tabs

How it handles tabs is simple — it doesn't. Colibri opts to go the one window at a time route.

Wait, what?

You're probably thinking, "How can that be efficient?"

Let me set a familiar stage for you.

My default browser is Firefox. During the day I have multiple Firefox windows open, each containing multiple tabs. Because of this, I spend a lot of time switching between windows and (on occasion) trying to remember, which window houses which tab. In my attempt at being uncluttered and efficient, I get lost. Colibri does away with that, by only allowing one "tab" at a time.

But ... but ... but...

Hear me out.

Colibri doesn't do "tabs." But it does allow for multiple windows. So it is possible to be productive (such as when you're researching and writing, or programming and testing). I find, working this way actually forces me to be more efficient. And that, my friends, is important. Instead of my usual propensity to open numerous tabs (including social media), I spend less time clicking around and more time doing.

Bookmarks

The Colibri browser does away with traditional bookmarks. Instead, it offers Lists and Links. Links are simple: You visit a site, and you save the link (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

Links saved in Colibri.


Next you create a List, which is nothing more than a category (Figure B). You can then save your Links to Lists, so that they are well organized.

Figure B

Figure B

A small collection of Lists to house Links.


To get to your Links or Lists, you need only click the two stacked rectangle icons on the right-hand side of the Colibri window (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C

The Colibri window in action.


To save a Link, just open Colibri, type the URL in the Search bar, and then (once the site is rendered) click the + button at the top of the window. The Link is saved and can be moved into a List. To move a Link to a List, hover over the Link until you see the icon at the right edge of the link. Click that icon, select Add to List, and then select the List you want to house the link (Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D

Moving a Link to a List.


The menu

There is a menu button (two horizontal lines) in the top left corner of Colibri. If you click on that menu button, you can gain access to features like:

  • New Window
  • New Private Window
  • Add to Links/Feeds
  • Export as PDF
  • Take Screenshot
  • Import Bookmarks
  • Undo/Redo
  • Cut/Copy/Paste
  • Back/Forward/Reload
  • Zoom in/out
  • Manage account
  • And more

A breath of fresh air

And that is the gist of using Colibri. It may not sound like much, but when your day is constantly inundated with too much, this web browser is a real treat to use. To some, the simplicity of Colibri (along with its fantastic page rendering) is a much-needed breath of fresh air.

Also See

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Image: Jack Wallen

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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