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From Vimperator to Tridactyl (2018) (nullprogram.com)
98 points by stargrave 35 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 33 comments



If only we had a plugin/extension called Meta-x. When the user typed the Meta-x key combination a mini-buffer would be presented at the bottom of the browser and the user could then run any command they wanted.

This plugin could ship with an initial set of commands like show-bookmarks, search-page, etc.. The plugin would also provide a facility for easily adding commands written in JS and installing 3rd party commands.

The user community could also share their custom commands in a central location.

I guess the big question would be, does it make more sense to add this plugin to Firefox, upgrade Conkeror to not require XUL or add Gecko to Emacs.


This existed (Firefox's GCLI)[0], but was quite recently removed.[1]

> upgrade Conkeror to not require XUL

That's not strictly necessary. Firefox still uses XUL and will probably continue to do so, for a long time. You can still build applications that rely on XUL and run them, for instance with "firefox -app application.ini". Both Thunderbird and Zotero have upgraded to rely on FF60. From a UI toolkit/architectural point of view, Conkeror doesn't really need anything more than Firefox, even if it's arranged rather differently, so as long as XUL in mozilla's codebase can support Firefox, it could also support Conkeror. The only™ issue is that while previously Firefox didn't care much about breaking third-party applications, when changing XUL, now (post FF57), they don't care at all, with the very partial exception of issues affecting Thunderbird. (I'm not assigning blame — I understand the problems facing Mozilla.) Hence all of Conkeror's developers have presumably decided to give up. However, I'm not sure whether keeping up with Firefox's changes might not be easier than migrating to, say, Electron...

> add Gecko to Emacs

Emacs can already embed WebKit and it's very rarely used.

[0] https://hacks.mozilla.org/2012/08/new-firefox-command-line-h...

[1] https://blog.nightly.mozilla.org/2018/09/28/the-developer-to...


Keysnail did all of this, and the author has now been working on something called xKeysnail you should check it out!

- https://github.com/mooz/keysnail

- https://github.com/mooz/xkeysnail


What's the difference between this and Tridactyl? Completeness of commands? The central location?

Otherwise it will do 90% of what you're asking.


I can't speak to Tridactyl but some time back I looked at extending one of the other plugins, can't remember if it was Vimperator or Pentadactyl, but when I looked at adding my own custom scripts for extension it failed the 10 minute rule so I moved on. Perhaps the ecosystem and/or documentation has been enhanced with Tridactyl.

But you're right, there's really no difference between typing Meta-x and colon; It's the same concept.


You can rebind it to Meta-x, too.

The documentation last time I checked was roughly novella length, and it could definitely do with some work. You currently can't escape line breaks in our scripts which limits their complexity.

If you install Tridactyl, the `:tutorial` is the best place to start. Maybe we should add a page on adding your own commands.


> If only we had a plugin/extension called Meta-x.

Absolutely not.

Clearly this extension should be called Escape-Colon.

.. which is actually funnier in more ways than I thought ..

hmm.


I should probably use this bully pulpit to let Tridactyl users know that they might be stuck on an old version of Tridactyl [1]. Check the hamburger menu in the top right for a small yellow exclamation mark, click it and decide whether to give us more permissions.

The extra permission is just so we can include a new (unbound by default) find mode that uses a Mozilla API.

[1] https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tridactyl-vim...


I loved Vimperator and switched to Tridactyl as soon as Firefox forced me to.

It's great, but I am currently missing 2 features. First, in Vimperator you could tab complete URLs with the open command and then edit the URL. Second, you could build lots useful commands with Vimperator. I had one for flipping the proxy to a SOCKS one, and another command to do site-specific searches with tab completion. That is, type s, write and/or tab complete a URL and type the search. I would then submit a query to Google with the appropriate site:url operator.

Are any of these possible in Tridactyl right now? I haven't been able to reproduce any.

It's also annoying that lots of special Firefox pages, like unable to connect, steal the focus from Tridactyl and you need to use actual shortcuts from Firefox to find your way out. It kind of breaks the flow, but I understand this is a limitation imposed by Firefox with their new plugin architecture.


For editing a URL - press space to fill the command line with a highlighted completion.

Custom commands are possible with `alias`, `js -p`, and `composite`. All are documented with `help [command]`, but there's probably room for improvement.

We haven't bothered to integrate proxy controls but I think it's possible. No-one has asked.


I haven't been able to figure out how to do keymaps with fixed arguments for commands. What I specifically want to do is to have something like f/F (open hinted URLs) and/or t/T for opening URLs in specific containers. A lot of times when I open a link I have a couple of containers that I often want to open the link in.


You probably want `bind t fillcmdline tabopen -c [mycontainer]`, and `bind F hint -W tabopen -c [mycontainer]`, with hopefully obvious equivalents for T and f. You can always do `bind [key-sequence]` with no argument to find out what something is bound to.


Thanks, going to try this :)


I first heard of Tridactyl because it was listed on https://suckless.org/rocks/ page. It filled huge gap left from Vimperator and no complaints on my side. Works well.


I'm a cranky old man. I'm still on FF52 and pentadactyl. Tridactyl is still missing a modeline and has janky smooth scroll.


I am using Waterfox,it can use all XUL extensions,and keep update with latest security fixes.

I love Firefox because all its old extensions,can't living without those great things.


Has anyone figured out how to pass multiple arguments to js?

I want ":pocket my-tag" to trigger a bookmarklet with current url and the tag, but I think the piping only ever passes 1 parameter. I guess JS_VAR could be an array(?), but I wouldn't know how to fill it.

I guess I could just use one optional tag and get the url myself in js (window.location.href).

This worked in pentadactyl (also this is a functioning, non documented bookmarklet for pocket :) ):

    function(){window.open('https://getpocket.com/edit?url='+escape(window.location.href)+'&tags=<args>', '_self');}


JS_ARG is a string. If you want an array, just split it on space or some other character of your choosing.

E.g, `:alias only_first js -p window.alert(JS_ARG.split('|')[0])` `:only_first this bit | not this`.

NB: untested, posted from 'phone.


Tridactyl has something missing from a lot of its competitor extensions (latest generation vimperator remakes): a native component that allows you to run native commands, such as running mpv or youtube-dl on a hint-selected url.


So it says that Tridactyl is built on WebExtensions API, which is kind of W3C draft, which is kind of supported by Chrome. So.... Can Tridactyl be built for Chrome?


We use some Firefox-only APIs, but it's totally possible to port most of it, if anyone cares. You'd need to use a polyfill, and have more graceful fallbacks for the missing APIs - opening tabs is an obvious problem area as we (can) use Firefox containers.


Timing of this article is perfect in the sense that I am in the market for such a plugin. Has anyone tried this? Good? Anything better? Thanks!


Tridactyl is pretty useable, and deceptively powerful, but I might be biased because I wrote a lot of it.

Competitors that run on Firefox include:

- Vimium-FF

- Surfingkeys

- Vim-Vixen

- Saka Key

- Vvvimpulation

Further afield, there's:

- Vrome

- cVim

- Qutebrowser

Qutebrowser is the only thing that rivals us for capability, but I like Gecko's font rendering too much, and like using other WebExtensions.

All of the rest probably beat us in terms of polish.

Edit: quite a few of those I mentioned are unmaintained, if you care about that.


I'm using Saka Key - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/saka-key. It has almost everything I missed from pentadactyl and I love it!


Once I got used to Vimperator, I found myself feeling like my functional IQ dropped by ten points without it. Tridactyl is rapidly getting to where Vimperator left off; I no longer feel like I'm missing anything. Deeply grateful that I don't have reason to swap to Chrome.


I use vimium on Chrome. Love it - can barely use a browser without it these days. It's worth using alone just for the ability to easily click links without ever touching the mouse.


fwiw one can use the '(single quote character) in firefox to easily find and visit links without using the mouse. Quite handy and available out of the box

https://blog.mozilla.org/theden/2012/12/20/quick_find/


second vimium. It's not quite as hardcore as vimperator, but at the end of the day I don't really find myself missing it too much since switching over. vimium also has (IMO) better defaults (alphabetical vs. numeric link highlighting, bigger distance traveled with hjkl navigation, etc.)


I've been using Tridactyl with ff quantum for quite some time now and I think it works extremely well. I make a few tweaks to the keybindings and I'm off to the races.

I personally like that Tridactyl adds fast vi emulation without making changes to the firefox interface. The only problem is that vi keybindings don't work on some pages, which is why tridactyl includes its own new tab page.


Would anyone know how this compares to Vimium? I hadn't heard of Tridactyl before. I was using Firemacs before WebExtensions.


> Edit any text input using a real text editor

Does anyone know if you can do something similar in vimium on Chrome? That sounds absolutely awesome.



Awesome - thank you! That link didn't work for me, but this works: https://github.com/GhostText/GhostText




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