When I’m on the go, I need everything to work as efficiently as possible. And although you might be thinking, “But a web browser is as efficient as it gets, right?” That depends on what task you’re doing and what site you’re working with.

This is especially so in the modern age of web applications and with constantly on-the-move staff. Instead of always having a full-blown, kitchen-sink-type web browser, sometimes we need something a bit more stripped-down, a tool that is geared toward one thing and one thing only—web applications.

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I depend on web applications for a lot of the work I do, and I’d rather use them in a dedicated browser. For the longest time, I’d use Chrome and save those sites as dedicated app windows. But Chrome is Chrome (and will always be Chrome), which means I can’t always depend on it to not gobble up system resources or pass along information to numerous third-party entities.

That’s why, when Tangram was released, I was all over it. Tangram is a web browser created specifically for running web applications. That’s all it does. In fact, using Tangram as your web app-specific browser makes so much sense (once you start using it). Tangram makes it possible for you to save all those web application URLs in a convenient sidebar, so you can open the application and quickly log into the web app you need. It’s fast, it’s simple, it’s reliable and it’s open-source.

The feature list of Tangram is short (because it has such a narrow focus) and includes:

  • Saved tabs can be re-ordered in the sidebar (which can be moved to a top bar).
  • Add any website or service as a web application.
  • Built-in user agent switcher.
  • Keyboard shortcuts.
  • Persistent, independent tabs.
  • Custom title
  • Smart notifications
  • Downloads

And that’s it. But what more do you need?

Let’s install Tangram. It’s only available for the Linux operating system and only installable via Flatpak or from the Arch User Repository (AUR). I’m going to demonstrate the installation on Pop!_OS Linux, but the installation will be the same on any Flatpak-supporting Linux distribution.

Let’s get Tangram installed.

How to install Tangram

Installing with Flatpak is incredibly simple. Log into your Linux desktop and open a terminal window. In the terminal, issue the command:

flatpak install flathub re.sonny.Tangram

You will be prompted to continue with the installation (Figure A).

Figure A

Approving the installation of Tangram on Pop!_OS Linux.

Once the installation is complete, locate Tangram in your desktop menu and launch it.

How to use Tangram

If you’ve used a web browser, you can use Tangram. Open the newly installed app and you’ll be greeted by the bare-bones browser (Figure B).

Figure B

The main Tangram window is as basic as it gets.

Type a URL into the address bar and hit enter. Let’s just say, for example, you want to add the TechRepublic site as a web app in Tangram (although it’s not actually a web application). Go to www.techrepublic.com and hit Enter. After the page loads, click Done (Figure C).

Figure C

The TechRepublic site loaded into Tangram.

When prompted (Figure D), give the entry a name and (if necessary) change the User-Agent. Click Add and the site will be saved to the Tangram sidebar.

Figure D

Giving the new site a name in Tangram.

Once you’ve saved all the sites you need in the sidebar (Figure E), it’s just a matter of clicking one (in the side bar) to use it.

Figure E

A few sites were added to Tangram as an example.

The caveat

You knew it was coming because every application and service on the planet has a caveat. Some sites simply won’t work with Tangram. From my experience so far, those sites are few and far between. One site that absolutely will not work is Zencastr, which happens to be a service that runs on very few browsers to begin with, so it should come as no surprise it won’t work with Tangram. So, if you have a site you use that is finicky about which browser it will load on, give it a test on Tangram to see if it’ll load. You might be surprised.

Outside of that one caveat, Tangram is a fantastic way to make your on-the-go web app usage a bit more efficient and organized.

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Image: Zhanna Hapanovich/Shutterstock

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