Browser review – midori
The first of my browser reviews will be on midori. I have been using midori for most of my browsing today in preparation for this review. Additionally, and as a final test, I am composing this post with midori. For technical details about this browser, see the Wikipedia page.
Overall, this is a reasonably congenial browser to use, though it is not as configurable as firefox. The page appearance and readability are quite good. Although I did not time it, page rendering seemed to be faster than in firefox, though of course the speed varies depending on the complexity of the page.
Midori supports tabbed browsing. I was able to set it to always show the tab bar, and to switch to a newly opened tab. That combination works well for the way that I like to use browsers. For example, when visiting an internet forum, I will have the forum page in one tab, and then middle click on a thread that I wish to read. After reading that thread, closing the tab for that thread takes me back to the forum page.
There was one apparent mishap with tabs. I closed the last tab, and the browser itself closed. This was not particularly disconcerting, given that some other browsers close when the last tab is closed. However, when I restarted midori, a message indicated that it was recovering from a crash. So presumably the browser should not have closed.
I did not like the support for bookmarks. I could not find a menu button for bookmarks. It looks as if I have to check the box to allow a bookmarks sidebar. And that takes up valuable screen space that I would prefer to leave available.
Before starting midori, I had saved my firefox bookmarks into a file “bookmarks.html”. After opening midori, I proceeded to import that bookmark file. The importing worked well, but midori sorted the bookmarks into alphabetical order. I prefer to group related bookmarks, so sorting them broke my grouping and made bookmarks a bit harder to use.
There is no built-in password manager. For a one day test, this is no big deal since I would have had to enter the passwords anyway. For long term use, I would find this inconvenient. I have not checked whether there is an extension available for this. And I don’t know whether separate password managers such as keepass can be used with midori.
The private browsing feature seems half-baked. Given that many browsers lack any private browsing mode, I don’t suppose this should count too heavily against midori. Still, I’ll describe the problems that I ran into.
When I look to start a browser from the KDE launcher, there is a separate menu entry for “Midori Private Browsing.” I liked that, as there are times when I want to start a browser only for private browsing. But, alas, it does not work. It looks as if, when started that way, it runs briefly and then crashes.
Opening a private browsing window from the midori menu works well. But the window itself is fragile. If I click the button to open a new tab on the private window, it crashes. If I use CTRL-T to open a new tab on the private window, it crashes.
Bookmarks do not seem to be available in the private browsing window. That reduces the usefulness of private browsing, if it is difficult to navigate to sites that I want to browse privately. I loaded my “bookmarks.html” file into a tab in the private browsing window, so that I could at least try using it for testing purposes. Middle-clicking on a link on that page did open the link in a new tab without crashing the private browsing window.
There were two sudoku puzzles that failed to work in private browsing mode. Both use flash. The midori documentation says that private browsing won’t reveal which plugins you have installed, and perhaps that’s why those pages failed to work. Another site with a flash sudoku puzzle worked fine.
I see the failure of those two sudoku puzzles as a problem. I typically use those puzzles with private browsing in firefox, and I do that to avoid saving flash cookies. By being so private as to prevent those pages from running, midori would only encourage me to visit those pages without private browsing and without the protection against flash cookies.
If you are looking for a fast browser without bells and whistles, then give midori a try. However, if you will miss those bells and whistles, then this might not be the browser for you.