Do you know how when you get sick you suddenly cannot remember anything about your life but being sick in the past? With almost every memory gone, all your life is reduced to a series of very similar events that form a parallel reality that, as someone once said, you only get to experience for a short time. WebKitGTK+ hackfests often feel a bit like this, the difference being that this is the kind of disease that you look forward to as a child in order to skip school and stay at home playing video games. A couple dozen hackers sitting in a bright clean room, safe from the rainy weather, programming for hours on end until they have to be literally kicked out of the place. Lots of coffee. A blackboard full of tasks. Tortilla and beers, or pulpo if you are the sort of person that would eat an animal that can predict the outcome of football matches. The parallel life we live for a few days every December, in Igalia‘s Coruña headquarters.
Web Applications, improved
A lot of love went into making the Web Application experience better. We will now go out of our way to really find a good icon for the app, trying to use anything from Microsoft tiles, OGP icons, Apple Touch icons or normal favicons before falling back to the standard snapshot of the page content (which has been made nicer thank to the judicious use of rounded corners). We also try harder to find a proper title for the app, even hardcoding some popular ones that have really poor default page titles (hello, Facebook!). Add some small but much needed touches to the creation dialog itself, and we are good to go:
I suspect there’s really not a lot to say about this that is not already well known, but anyway: need to launch a private instance of your browser in order to do sensitive tasks and minimize the risk of being tracked both on the internet and in your own computer? Well, now you can do it from the Web UI itself, just select the “New Incognito Window” option and you’ll be greeted with a dark themed window in a temporary profile that will be automatically deleted on exit. Your history and bookmarks will be copied (in read-only mode) to the new profile for your own convenience, but no passwords, cookies or other sensitive data will be carried over or stored. We are still working on some touches for this (a nice startup page, perhaps a more customized theme), but this is more than useful for now.
A slick new UI for the search bar that matches the design of the other core applications and that does things like automatic case-sensitive search based on your input? Yes can do.
And as usual, lots of other small details were fixed. Cleanups in our menus, fixes to the heuristics to decide where to open new tabs when Web is called from another application, support for exotic mouse buttons, the beginnings of an inline document view mode for PDF and the like, and lots of cleanups and nice refactorings to some of our internals.
Of course many other things happened throughout the hackfest, and I’ll be as anxious to read those blog posts with more updates as you are!
As always, a big thank you to all the sponsors and organizers that made the event possible, it’s always a pleasure to see old and new friends, hack the good hack, and live the WebKitGTK+ parallel life for a few days.