Most of the software we use today includes keyboard shortcuts to allow the user to access certain functions with greater speed than by mouse clicks ... although it is intended to be used, above all, through this peripheral.
The exception to this trend are advanced text editors like Vim and Emacs, loved by old school programmers and that, being born before GUIs existed, even their current graphical versions allow use them in their entirety via the keyboard.
But, of course, text editors are one thing and another apply this same dynamic of use to other applications such as, what do I know, web browsers.
Well, there are also graphical browsers designed for lovers of infinite lists of keyboard shortcuts. For this article we have tested Qutebrowser, due to its availability for the main operating systems, but if you are not Windows, you will also be interested in taking a look at Nyxt, which has just released its version 2.0, and it looks like this:
A look at Qutebrowser
Qutebrowser is an open source browser, available for Windows, Mac and Linux, developed in Python and Qt and inspired by previous projects such as 'dwb' or 'Vimperator'. Once installed, when we open it, a first look at the browser interface doesn't seem to offer many options.
In fact, apart from some schematic and small tabs that show the page titles, we could say that Qutebrowser completely lacks interface. Let's forget about the bookmarks bar, the control bar, etc.
Other possible options, such as viewing videos, require external programs to function and prior configuration that will require us. access to a Unix environment (even if it's on Windows using WSL).
Learn to use shortcuts
The basic keyboard shortcuts to start using Qutebrowser, as indicated on their own website, are as follows (they are case-sensitive):
- In order to scroll: We will use the arrows or the keys 'h' (left), 'j' (down), 'k' (up), 'l' (right).
- In order to search for a text within the web: press "http://feeds.weblogssl.com/", type the text and press Enter.
- In order to switch tab: 'J' to go forward and 'K' to go back, or 'Alt' + tab number.
- To move within the history of a tab: 'H' to advance and 'L' to go back.
- In order to access another URL in the same tab: We type 'go' and, in the command line in the lower area of the window, we write the new URL and press 'Enter'.
- Close and reopen tabs: 'd' to close, 'u' to reopen it.
- To open a URL in a new tab: Same as the previous step, changing 'go' to 'o'.
- In order to click on a web link without touching the mouse: We press 'f', and we will see how each clickable element (within the visible area of the web) is assigned a label with a combination of two letters (see below). Type the combination, and you will access the link.
If you've just read it and you've already made a mess, don't worry: its website includes an interesting chop with most keyboard shortcuts (there are also commands for more complex operations, but for that you will have to read the documentation). There's also a free mini-course available on ShorcutFoo to learn how to use shortcuts using the 'spaced repetition' methodology.
But, Is it worth the effort to learn how to use it? Well, let's see ...
Is this kind of browser for me?
If you are a fan of Vim or Emacs and do not want to 'change the chip' while browsingYou will certainly be interested in taking a look at both Qutebrowser and Nyxt; yes, in addition, you are user of some tiled window manager for Unix systems (like i3WM or exwm), both would pass and they will be great options to navigate in your day to day.
Outside of those cases, although certainly you can save a lot of time using them, the truth is the required learning curve advises against using them as substitutes for Edge, Chrome, Firefox and co.