All the new cool stuff in Epiphany, alias, Web

Today we released Epiphany 3.4. It includes all the fixes, enhancements and new cool features that we build since September 2011. That is 6 months of cool stuff!

Xan already explained the bigger picture but I want to highlight some details in the spirit of Every Detail Matters.


Improved location bar, and the new history backend

The location bar suggestions now load extra-extra-fast, thanks to our new SQLite backend.

Besides being extra fast, SQLite allows us to make complex queries to offer better results in the completion. Goal for 3.6: to successfully handle searches like “that page, with the dog, you know, that one… with the funny one”.

This also makes possible to have a cool Overview start page for 3.6. Much like Chrome or Opera do.


An awesome UI: cleaner toolbar, loading progress

That is all the chrome you are getting, kid!

Less distractions, more web! All the usual tools are still available in the “gear” menu:

Oh, and this other one is a pretty one. Check out the new load progress indicator:

You might have already noticed the combined stop/reload button. Some other niceties like the new link tooltips are all over the place. I will not ruin the surprise :-).


Reliable download icons

This is my friend Juanjo:

He is always happy. One day he said: “Diego, my PDF documents are shown as ‘boxes’ while downloading. It makes me mad!”

I want Juanjo to keep that happy hacker smile. So I decided to fix this. Downloads now have a better idea of the icon they should show:


Page icons, now a WebKitGTK+ feature

Do you notice something? Yeah, icons for every of the loaded pages. The support for this is now in WebKitGTK+, available to other applications. This means it is better supported and maintained!


Redesigned about: pages

For a time now we have had some geeky about: pages. One for memory (about:memory), one for plugins (about:plugins), and perhaps the most useful one, one to manage applications (about:applications):


And, last but not least… Less lines:

$ git diff --shortstat 3.2.0..3.4.0
328 files changed, 73211 insertions(+), 104528 deletions(-)

Unlike other browsers, Epiphany does not have dozens of engineers behind the project. This means that the more code we have to maintain, the less time we have to develop new features and to even maintain that code! Also, this makes Xan happy.

But luckily Igalia has hackers like Martin Robinson who are willing to show us how hacking should be done:


Epiphany 3.4.0, alias, Web. Is an awesome release. It will soon be in your distro of choice.

Thanks Allan for the screenshot help!

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21 Responses to All the new cool stuff in Epiphany, alias, Web

  1. J.A. says:

    I don’t need to mention that you are doing an extremely good work.

    Keep it rocking!

  2. Leif Gruenwoldt says:

    I like it a lot. Except for the location bar being outside the tabs.

  3. Lapo says:

    Let’s fix the look of the buttonized downloading element for the next release eh.

  4. Rizvan says:

    Web is beautiful… and fast… but is it possible to use *flash* plugin with Web (epiphany) x64 bit?

    Please improve Userscripts support (installing and managing and API) and latest version so that many scripts could be used with Web like with chrome or firefox.

    I’m glad to see epiphany becoming Web; reponsive and attractive ofcourse. Thanks for all the intelligent endeavors.

  5. I simply can’t wait for this browser! I’m already looking forward to 3.6!

    Your memory, plugins and applications links for the about: pages section are broken.

  6. diegoe says:

    @Rizvan: you can with nspluginwrapper if you are in 64bits. I understand Fedora has that packaged. Google should know, I don’t use that myself.

    @Saurav: Thank you! Apparently WordPress dummy filters remove my about: prefixes. Viva.

  7. Rikard says:

    Sweet, Epiphany is shaping up nicely. Thank you.

  8. Rafael says:

    I tested the new version on fedora 17 and I really enjoyed the browser, but I noticed that the font rendering browser does not follow the system configuration it also happens with rhythmbox.

  9. Marcus says:

    Unfortunatly, using flash with nspluginwrapper sporadically makes gnome-shell totally crash for me… on Debian Wheezy.
    So, unfortunatly I had to switch to Iceweasel… :-(, I would prefer to use Epiphany

  10. Most welcome. 🙂 Besides, if you had kept the links, they would have depended on the browser. Users reading on non-Epiphany browsers would see their own browser’s about: page or else an error message (e.g., when trying about:applications in Firefox).

  11. rw says:

    How do you guys respond to the points made here?

    Epiphany seems to be unused, even by GNOME devs. What userbase is it targeting? The non-existent “simple” user who uses Linux but is afraid of having any options or features besides the most basic browsing?

  12. diegoe says:

    @rw We have very few people available to hack on Epiphany, this is one of the reasons you don’t see monthly releases with lots of new features like you can see in projects like Firefox or Chrome, they can do that because they have many more people.

    Not just “more volunteers”. But many hired people who take care of their browsers.

    In the near future (3.6, September, and 3.8, March) you will see other big leaps forward: first the completion of the new UI with an overview and all the bells and whistles, and then the move to WebKit2:
    – each page is a process, a page crashes, the browser does not.
    – plugins work and can die independently too, like Chrome does.
    – accelerated compositing: everything is FAST.

    Plus all the gaps that we will surely fill in the meantime.

    Our userbase is the same as GNOME’s. Don’t expect the kitchen sink.

  13. diegoe says:

    @Marcus sounds bad. Although I can not see why a crashing flash plugin would kill your whole gnome-shell.

  14. phendrome says:

    Actually extremely excited for this browser. Can’t wait for the release and upcoming updates.

    This made me install the current version too, in anticipation for the new one!

  15. David Weinehall says:

    I *almost* love the new epiphany, but I’m missing a few things.

    #1: wth did the homepage setting go? Am I just blind, or did you actually remove it? If so, WHY?

    #2: I miss the support for a customised toolbar menu sooooo much; I had a toolbar with work related bookmarks and searchboxes (various BTS); the lack of this really slows down my workflow

    #3: Opening a lot of tabs at once (for instance marking a lot of bookmarks and choosing open in new tabs) has a bad tendency to either only load a couple of them and fail to load the rest, or just crash the browser completely. The crashes happened in earlier versions of epiphany too, so I’ve sadly gotten kinda used to it, but the failure to load is a regression.

  16. diegoe says:


    #1 Because it was going to be replaced by an overview like Chrome We were just a few days short of finishing that. Will be in 3.6

    #2 This was a design decision. We favored a simpler (UI & code) option. The toolbar code was old, badly maintained and unnecessary for our new UI goals.

    #3 Please provide more information on how to reproduce this, it sounds like a bug that should be fixed.

  17. good work, i can’t wait for the debian release with this version

  18. davidm says:

    It really looks good, but I have just one word in my head: bookmarklets.

    User case: at work I have to link articles from all over the web in a WordPress intranet. Something like dozens daily. I need my browser to have the WordPress bookmarklet in one click reach.

    Same would go for many people on Twitter and so, I guess…

  19. Anonymous says:

    I’d readily give Epiphany at least a try, but it doesn’t seem to have any equivalents to several features of Firefox and addons that I currently require:

    – Adblock Plus (the old Adblock plugin does not suffice, because current filter lists like EasyList use Adblock Plus features)

    – It’s All Text: edit text areas using a real editor, like vim.

    – HTTPS Everywhere.

    – Firebug (or even the current built-in Page Inspector, less capable but almost sufficient)

  20. ReinoutS says:

    I agree bookmarklets are important. For instance, you can’t use the web importer without them!

  21. andreas says:

    What I´ve been missing in the epiphany-browser are more detailed privacy-settings, like per-session-cookies [remove cookies when closing the application], and there are probably more useful settings, other mainstream-browsers offer.
    So: In my opinion Epiphany is OK for reading offline, but I won´t surf the web using it.

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