My first impressions of Vivaldi: fantastic, despite some quibbles…

  • Thank you Team-Vivaldi!

    I've been whining about the snail's pace of innovation in both Firefox and Chrome for years. How refreshing that we finally have some real competition in Browsers again.

    Perhaps now it will finally get the Google/Chrome and Mozilla/Firefox folks motivated to stop obsessing over performance, and get back to making features and a browser UX that people actually want or need. For 7+ years, Chrome devs wouldn't even reply to hundreds of posts demanding things like bookmark sidebars, or basic interface features like bookmark tree-expand/collapse toggles (which can be found in shareware developed by 8th graders). It's just been beyond ridiculous waiting for Chrome to collapse an entire bookmark tree. (It still must be done manually, one folder at a time). These are major fails by both products that claim to care about user experience.

    I just can't say enough good things about Vivaldi, thus far. My only complaints aren't mere quibbles (to me), but they're hardly deal-breakers, either. And I am quite confident the fixes are coming. Especially since the founder is famous for his understanding of the role that community can play in developing a really great product.

    My minor complaints (thus far) are these:

    • Session Restore isn't automatic. This is odd. There should be at least a submenu at "File > Open Saved Session," that lists the most recent N number of sessions, and a checked-off session should always be the default in the event of crashes.
    • Synced Bookmarks. But I understand that this crucial feature is well discussed and said to be coming. I can wait. Not too long, perhaps, but I can.
    • Bookmarks don't show the containing folder for a selected mark. FF and Chrome don't do this either, and it's always annoying. Sometimes you want to search for a mark just to find out where it was located so you can peruse its sibling marks. You can't do this in any browser (or at least those I've used), yet it seems like minor coding to add this simple but useful feature.
    • History not shown in side panel. This too, mystifies me. Why isn't history supported in such an obvious place to begin with, and why not mini-icons at the top of the panel to let me switch between panel modes? (i.e., Marks, Notes, Downloads, History, Recent Tabs, etc..). This is fairly common sidebar module behavior in dozens of products.
    • Search engine customizations not imported I have nicknamed 40+ shortcuts in Chrome, and recreating all of those aliases wasn't fun. I realize the architectures are different, but I know that the data is accessible, and from a UX — and seducing new users — point of view, this would be a big plus. (At least for power users who use such tools and promote browsers, anyway.)
    • Multi-row bookmark bar. This is one of the biggest reasons I still use Firefox for many projects. I need the convenience of both folders and marks on my bar, and only one extension has ever done it—or done it well (but in Firefox only). It SHOULD be part of every browser's chrome.

    My only other (utterly minor) issue was that I was initially confused because it wasn't immediately clear on where the main menu was. It might be wise for Vivaldi to do a better job of pointing it out on the user's first run of the browser.

    Again, these are small and easily fixable things. Overall, I am thrilled with Vivaldi, and eagerly await future developments. I just pray they don't fall into that trap of nitpicking performance issues, while ignoring the convenience features and utilities that shape our daily use of browsers. Sometimes an engineering focus can obscure the fact that for many (if not most) professionals, the browser is the most important tool in our daily lives. You just cannot give us too many options to customize these workhorses to suit our critical needs and personal preferences.

    Thanks again, Vivaldi. 2016 was a crappy year for many. This was a bright spot that arrived just in time to close it out 🙂

  • @shoq said in My first impressions of Vivaldi: fantastic, despite some quibbles…:


    • Multi-row bookmark bar. This is one of the biggest reasons I still use Firefox for many projects. I need the convenience of both folders and marks on my bar, and only one extension has ever done it—or done it well (but in Firefox only). It SHOULD be part of every browser's chrome.

    While it's not a Multi-row bookmark, there is a trick that can be employed in Vivaldi (perhaps inherited from the Olde Opera days' line of design thinking) that I find highly useful for certain kinds of browsing work: entire bookmark bars can be swapped out rather easily. For clustered kinds of browsing (eg: one bar populated with dozens of weather information sites specific to one geographic region, a different bar populated with information sites from another region), this capability is seriously major.

    All that's needed is to cluster the bookmarks and sub-folders for one bookmarks bar in a single bookmarks folder, then repeat the process in other bookmarks folders for other bookmarks bars and what you want to appear on them. Then merely invoke the appropriate bookmarks bar via Settings > Bookmarks > "Select Bookmark Bar Folder". For organizing detailed browsing work by topic, this is a tremendous tool.

  • Interesting post. Welcome to Vivaldi!

    As far as icons on the sidebar, I am in 1.7.705.3 and I see icons for downloads, bookmarks, and notes on the far left, to the left even of teh sidebar when it is displayed. I don't know if this is a feature of the release version of Vivaldi or not, but if it means that much to you, give the "latest snapshot" release a try. It is very stable, no problems for me. It can be found on the home page, right where you see a link to the stable release version.

    As far as history goes, I know this isn't all you asked for, but I do have a trash can icon at the upper right corner that gives me my latest 20-30 tabs. There is an extension that gives you quicker access to your history, putting an icon on the navigation bar. Just go to the Google Chrome extensions store, and search for history to see some. I'd give you the link to the one I've used in the past, but for some reason I'm getting a 404.

  • Yes, @paulri, my bad. I realized after I posted that of course the side-icon bar provides those basic switchers, but not history, nor any grouping menu for the web panels. I was fixated on both and conflated two issues.

  • @Blackbird Yes, choosing a new bar is a workaround that I'd already discovered and rejected as too awkward. It's just not the same as having immediate access to more than a dozen or so on each bar. I actually need and want both, but swapping out bars has to be easier to really be useful.

  • I believe Vivaldi is working on their own history implementation. I think right now it is just basically what Chromium has.

    Like always, it'll be released when it's ready. I wouldn't be surprised if the new history Vivaldi comes up with would be also available in the side panel.

  • Moderator

    @ugly - It will have panel interface.


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