I wish all web browsers did all of these things so I could use them comfortably and interchangeably. This list is specific to macOS, but it would be even better if browsers could do all this stuff consistently no matter the OS.

Browsers I have tried to do all of these things with varying success:

Firefox (primarily I use Developer Edition) Safari Beaker Chrome (Canary)

Reader mode

Essential. Firefox and Safari do well. Chrome apparently has a hidden “distill web page” feature, but I won’t give them any credit for it.

Add ons

I would prefer to install as few of these as possible. Ideally: a good ad-blocker, then 1Password and dotjs (both mentioned below)

Open entered URL in new tab/window

command-enter should open whatever is entered in the URL bar in a new, preferably background tab. cmd-shift-enter should activate the newly opened tab. Safari and Chrome both do this. Firefox has similar behavior but swaps the behavior of the two keyboard shortcuts.

Merge all tabs into a single window

Safari does this super well as a core browser feature.

Firefox and Chrome can only do this with ‘tab manager’ extensions I hesitate to use.

Select and manipulate multiple tabs at once

Only chrome does this well. shift+click selects multiple tabs which can then be dragged as a group into a new window.

Save a list of tabs to be opened at a later date

Safari has ‘Reading List’ and a menu item to ‘Add these :x tabs to Reading list”.

Safari, Chrome, and Firefox have “Bookmark All Tabs” which create a bookmark folder by default with the date in it, which is kind of useful.

There’s also an extension called “OneTab” that does about what I want.

In any case I very rarely ever go back to a group of saved tabs - it’s mostly a way for me to well-intentionedly save them thinking that there’s something important there I should get back to when really I’m overwhelmed with information and unable to adequately focus on what is really important.


dotjs was an early idea on the web that any website should be open to simple personal modification. Say I want to make a modification to leanside.com: I would open up ~/.js/leanside.com.js, write code to make the background color of the site purple, then hit save and from then on my browser would show a purple background on that site.

Chrome and Safari had working dotjs addons, but it looks like with changes in browser security/add-on distribution requirements will make them hard to use in the near future. The same thing happened to firefox a while ago.

Load dat websites

This is Beaker’s primary reason for existence. Firefox has a new extension that enables dat protocol?

Command line tool to interact with open browsers

chrome-cli/canary-cli exists as a third party tool and it’s fantastic.

open on macOS works to open sites in the default browser, or specifying a host application to open a link in (open -a 'Firefox Developer Edition' however is a lot to type).


I don’t love the move towards per-month subscription that 1Password has taken on, but I’ve used it for years and don’t think I could go on without it. So Safari/Firefox/Chrome having support is essential for my daily browser(s).

What I haven’t been able to get into my workflow

I’ve tried using various browser extensions that build a lot of vim features into the browser, ultimately resulting in a browser that doesn’t need as many mouse clicks. I haven’t been able to internalize vimperator or any of its alternatives. I think mainly because of inconsistency between different implementations between browser engines, but also because I was trying to use it when firefox 57 changed to web extensions, breaking vimperator entirely.

—11 Feb 2019