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Browsers in GNOME

Xan opened the session by surveying the history of browsers in GNOME: Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox, Chrome. The status of these browsers in GNOME has varying levels of integration but--of those remaining--they have vastly more resources than Epiphany currently does.

From GNOME Summit 2010

Xan proposed that we change our approach: browser as a service.


  • Integrated tab management
  • Web application integration (GMail), better Shell treatment, icons
  • Search results in the Shell
  • Direct results for unit conversion in search results

At this point Xan opened the floor to brainstorming for more ideas.

Next, the discussion moved to how to more deeply integrate WebkitGTK in to the platform. There was clear agreement that there should be two embedding API's: one where you want a browser-like experience and the other where you don't need chrome, cookies, caches, etc.

Jon McCann said that a good tab-window manager integration will require a lot of work so I should probably be a little later. Search integration is a more short-term objective.

There was a lot of discussion about what kinds of results could be shown in the search window. For example what API's are out there, whether it makes sense allow the provider to show ads if their EULA requires it, etc.

Xan and the GNOME Shell developers had a long discussion about unifying GNOME around a single JavaScript implementation. They spoke about three critical JavaScript features which are needed from WebKit: let, const, and destructured returns which are three Mozilla-specific extensions to the language. Xan worried that ES6 which has these features will change the Mozilla-specific semantics. The discussion was highly technical: a lot of concern about GObject-introspection semantics with Seed, for example. There was wide agreement that it would be a good goal but that these language features are really important. They decided to have breakout session to try and work through more of the technical details.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 7th, 2010 08:52 pm (UTC)
It's certainly a pain in the neck that Gnome currently uses two completely independent javascript engines - Webkit (via Seed) and Spidermonkey (via GJS).

As far as I can tell, Seed is used everywhere but Shell - in particular, it's used by Gnome Games, and by the new plugin framework being introduced to Gedit, Totem, etc. And then you have Shell, using GJS. It leaves a very confused message to anyone interested in contributing...
Nov. 7th, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC)
Search from selected text
Something I would like to be able to do from just about any application would be to search on the selected text via context menu/keyboard shortcut. In my case, I copy and search Google several times a day on different log and exception messages in GNOME Terminal, and likewise in text/code in Gedit and so on.

Chrome and Firefox has this fine ability to do exactly this but only (of course) inside the browser.

I have a feeling that in this day and age where everything more or less is search, that smart integration like that (or some even smarter model) could be useful for many other use cases. It's a small annoyance but it really adds up when needing to copy/open tab/paste/go or similar for each.

At least, please give me this in the terminal, which I can't (like I could in Gedit) add this as an extension. ;)
Nov. 8th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)
Or you could write a gnome-strict GUI for Chromium that worked with the Unity menu bar and RGBA translucency in Murrine and dynamically linked to things like gstreamer and Flash so I'm not wasting RAM and disk space for paranoia unbecoming of my operating system choice. I'd switch immediately, assuming the useragent was specific enough and it was stable.

I'm always bouncing back and forth between Chromium, Epiphany, and Midori. I love Midori's native user interface, but nothing comes close to Chromium's anything else. I dumped Chrome because it just identifies as "Linux" and not "Ubuntu".
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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