Recently Google, or more specifically the Chrome team, removed the ability for the Backspace key to go back a page in Chrome. This proved to be the final shot in the ground war Chrome has been fighting with their most enthusiastic users. They removed this functionality by default with no way to restore it. No flags. No options. There were quickly third party extensions to restore functionality, but I was incensed and did not see why I needed to add an extension to make my browser do something that browsers and other software (including Windows File Explorer) have done for the better part of 20 years.
Time for a new browser.
I used to be a fan of Firefox and keep it installed for emergencies, but have not liked the direction that they have gone. Edge and Explorer are out of the question. Opera…intriguing, but not quite there.
What is left? Vivaldi. I had tested Vivaldi when it went public. It was rough, but reminded me of the hay day of Firefox when you got just the right plug-ins. A little bit of trivia…Vivaldi is founded by one of the founders of Opera. So I decided to dive right in and live with it as my daily driver.
After reminding my self that it had intrigued me so I realized that Vivaldi seemed to answer all of my qualms with Chrome while bringing along Chrome’s renderer and extension library. The only piece of functionality I lost by switching to Vivaldi was syncing bookmarks. This was easily solved with XMarks. And don’t try ti argue that I am a hypocrite by using an extension for bookmark sync, but refusing to use one fore Backspace in Chrome. Bookmark sync is a relatively new notion in browsers and in my mind is not a core feature. And it is handled well with extensions. Also, sync is on the list for the devs and it will come in time. Backspace had been around for two decades (maybe even longer…I am just counting the usage I have direct knowledge of). And Chrome has no keyboard shortcut options built in…at all. You use it exactly as the devs say you are to use it. I have grown tired of that mentality from Google.
Vivaldi on the other hand has very thorough keyboard shortcut options. You can assign just about whatever command to just about whatever UI element you please. And it is easy to use. Vivaldi also bundles in a ton of functions that one used to have to pile on with extensions. I could go on for hours about all the little things Vivaldi allows that Chrome just plain doesn’t or requires extensions for, but I wont.
Sufficed to say, I have been using Vivaldi on all my machines since the day of Backspace-gate and I have not looked back.
Disclaimer…not that I need it: I have not been paid or endorsed in anyway by Vivaldi. I am just a fan whose love of their product is exacerbated by my mistreatment at the hands of their competition.
Update 2017-04-29: I have since started exporting my actually bookmarks file from AppData to sync my bookmarks from work via DropBox. X-Marks was making a huge mess of things as it was not designed explicitly for Vivaldi and was assuming Chrome’s Bookmark architecture. All this may seem cumbersome to most, but my bookmarks change very rarely as I tend to document most project related links in OneNote or Keep.
Update 2020-04-28: Even though Vivaldi now has bookmark sync and a mobile solution, eventually moved to Firefox and use it on all platforms. I still suggest you give it a spin and there are still some things I prefer in Vivaldi, but Firefox seems to be getting the job done. Though there are some recent UI elements that Firefox has pushed without the ability to disable that might drive me to give Vivaldi another chance. Chrome is still a bloated piece of shit that can’t get out of its own way.