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Midori 0.2.4: The good & the Bad

At some point, nearly unnoticed, Midori 0.2.4 slipped through to repositories everywhere. I know what you’re thinking, “Who cares about a 6 week old partial release? Lucid Lynx comes out in less than two days!” Well, I think Midori ought to find a home on your new install.

Why? Well, quite honestly, not as a primary browser. I’ve been testing out Midori for the last couple of days, and I must say, I’m impressed with the speed. My primary browser is Chrome, which works great most of the time, but occasionally completely craps out on me and delays its rendering, so much so that I just have to close it at times, starting it over. Midori is pleasantly crash free, surprisingly, as I was honestly expecting much more issues.

Interface

The good
Its fully, completely, 100% GTK integrated. That means theme friendly, logo friendly; it just looks good on Ubuntu, and there’s no getting around the fact that it feels really nice to have a browser working with my theme, instead of against it.
The Bad
User-configurable options are, at this point in its development, few and unfriendly. While there is support for themes and user scripts, it sill just feels awkward (but, I’m not a huge power user of such things, just an average level user)

Browsing

The Good
The first reaction I had when browsing in Midori is “Holy Crap! This is fast!” Chrome is my primary browser, and yet I was totally blown away by how quickly this browser moved me from page to page. I was really pretty impressed. I did several side by side tests of Chrome, Firefox, and Midori on heavy resource pages (like our own OMG! or Gizmodo) and Midori consistently pulled even on rendering and giving me usable pages, and was actually faster in reloading a page that I’ve visited before. Add that to the fact that its actually more consistent in speed made me very happy, happy indeed.

The Bad

Midori a number of troubles with JavaScript pages. I tried typing this post in Midori, and it consistently would die on me, refusing to save, and it was nigh on impossible to upload images. While I don’t know if this perfectly represents all users experience, it certainly bothered me.

Extras

Midori actually comes pre-rolled with a number of different extensions available. Unfortunately, I had less than pleasant experiences with them.

Mouse Gestures were keyed to the middle mouse button, which meant trying to push my scroll button down on my desktop, and was just impossible on my laptop. Add that to the fact that there was no trail, just invisible gesture-ness, in a very short window, just made things extra difficult. Would have been nice to be able to configure these a bit.

Colorful tabs brought a moment of excitement, till I realized it used only obnoxious colors, organized haphazardly, and would not let me choose colors (see screenshot). Also available were feed readers, form fillers, and, interestingly, an extension to edit the toolbar. Now I was able to trim things down a bit, but it annoyed me a bit to have to work so hard to figure out how.

While its neat to see these features become standard, implementation is a bit week.

Any of you early adopting folk, those who like it when things break and you have to work with limitations, install Midori right now, right in the Lucid Software Center. Its really a pretty fantastic little browser (emphasis on little, even with twice as many tabs this had a lower footprint than Chrome), but its just not quite there yet for the masses, which is totally, completely absolutely fine, because its just 0.2.4! This is a browser to watch out for, so keep your eyes and ears open.

Final Word

Here’s a few things I’d like to see from Midori:

1. Ease of customization.

We’ve all seen how easy it is to add and remove elements to Firefox, so it’d be nice to see that show up here as well. I think drag and drop would really be a win here. And this goes more than just interface, I mean you’ve got have full, easy customization of Mouse Gestures and color tabs and any other little thing you throw in there.

2. Clearer documentation.

You’re doing a lot of things right, Midori devs. But it was so stinking hard for me to find out about anything! Your FAQ page took me googling and a bunch of click-throughs to even get to, and it only has 5 actual questions! The rest of it is just headers with descriptions. A FAQ is for questions, a wiki or about page is where the rest of that stuff goes. I know that you’re early on in things, but get on that documentation so that people don’t just get frustrated and quit trying to find out how to do things!

3. Fix interface anomalies

This kind of goes in with customization, but there’s some UI stuff that just doesn’t add up in Midori. You can hide your menu bar, and bringing it back requires just a click on a little globe and clicking ‘Menubar’. But the globe disappears, instead of letting me rehide it. When right clicking on links, the first (and most often clicked) is open link, not open in new tab or window. This = Pure confusion!

4. More releases!

I like this browser a lot, so don’t quit developing it. I think there’s a lot of things being done right, and there’s already a ton of features that you need and are borderline just a given for a browser to have (tabs, private browsing, extension support) but there’s a number of things still to go, so keep at it!

Have you given Midori a try? Tell us about it in the comments!