Thursday 16 November 2017

Site-Specific Browser: goodbye Midori

A Site-Specific Browser (SSB) is a program or application that is dedicated to loading and exploring a single web site.

I have been using Midori for this purpose, but having just updated to Lubuntu 17.10, I find Midori is not available!

So I went looking for an alternative and found the Gnome browser "Web" (a.k.a. Epiphany).

OK, so I should have done a full application check before clicking on the Linux upgrade button.

To be fair, I did install 17.10 on another computer and checked that it ran OK, and that there were no wifi or other hardware problems. I also thought we had passed the bad old days when Lubuntu upgrades resulted in broken applications  ...obviously not.

So far I've only noticed 4 application problems, but I'm yet to use all apps in anger;
  1. KeePass: initially the text didn't fit controls, but this was an easy fix; changed font via Tools > Options > Select List Font; DejaVu sans changed to Liberation Sans
  2. Synaptic Package Manager: this doesn't load from the menu. The command after upgrade was: synaptic-pkexec. Have now replaced this with: gksu synaptic and it seems to work fine.
  3. Gambas 3: All sorts of dependency issues in Repository. I overcame this problem by running: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gambas-team/gambas3 followed by: sudo apt update then installed gambas3 (this gave me V3.10.0).
  4. Midori: Again, some screw-up in the Repository. Using apt install Midori I get:-
Package midori is not available, but is referred to by another package.
This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
is only available from another source.
E: Package 'midori' has no installation candidate

As I rely on Midori as a Site-Specific Browser (SSB) for several sites, including those associated with internet banking, I decided to look for an alternative.

The Gnome browser called "Web" is actually epiphany (i.e. launched by the command: epiphany). It includes the menu option: Install Site as Web Application...

So all you need to do is open the target site in Web and select this option from the menu.

Then edit the name in the text field (e.g. change to: MyAmazon). The app launcher will then appear in your menu under: internet  which you can then add to the desktop or the Application Launch panel in the normal way.

When you click on your new web app it may look something like my Amazon example:

Hopefully the files for this browser app are nicely separated from other site-specific apps within the file system.

Here there are 3 Epiphany apps, each inside their own folders

This is all far more straight-forward than the Midori SSB method described in an earlier post.

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