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From Two Guys Building Their own Browser (medium.com)
44 points by dominik-space 68 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 48 comments



IMO: Get to the point early! establish what's different / special / unique about your browser. All you need is 1-2 paragraphs early in your story.

I made it to "Rebranding and the early days of Space Browser" and stopped reading. Why? The article is autobiographical without establishing enough context to keep me interested in you. (In other cases, if you or your product was well known, something autobiographical without establishing context is okay.)

BTW: It's worth trying to disambiguate, early on, if you're building your own HTML rendering engine, or just reusing something else.


It's just a little bit disingenuous to describe it as "building your own browser".

Because a browser has so many features at this point that it basically contains an operating system. So to duplicate that its just necessary to start with some existing browser and tweak it.

Out of the thousands of features that enable me to browse across diverse websites, what percentage of those features did you implement in your "new" browser?

What does it actually do that is different from WebKit?


I don't see how it's disingenuous. They made a browser the same way google chrome started (from WebKit), or WebKit started (khtml), or the way opera and Vivaldi currently are (chrome).


I think it’s more equivalent to making a new distro - still a lot of work.


Had a quick look. None of this looks like features for power users. How are "spaces" different than having multiple open windows?


They do not need the same amount of memory than different windows would need, since we use an intelligente caching system.


Any trick you do to reduce resource consumption from spaces (such as suspending and evicting) can also be applied to normal windows. Even the currently shown page can be evicted if your browser is hidden, should one want to do that.

However, listing this as the only difference when asked make it sound like you're selling "spaces" as only a slight performance improvement and nothing else.


Can you elaborate more on this? My understanding is that on modern browsers, most of the memory usage comes from the tab's contents (pages), or extensions. In both cases they don't scale up with the number of windows.


A lot of browser memory consumption comes with overheads from their multi-process models.

However, that aside, it makes no difference whether you have a window, tab, or "space".


The multi process model was an improvement. In days past browsers were single process, and suffered from:

- JavaScript on one page dragging down all tabs

- Memory leaks

- JavaScript exploits that crossed tabs

And so on.

Multi process browsing is fantastic.


We still have all but the first issue, and that one has nothing to do with multi-process browsing, just multi-threaded processing.

So all we really won was performance regressions (the IPC is expensive) and significantly increased resource consumption.


> Usually the tabs just lay there and cost you a lot of memory. And forget to find this one tab you were looking for. It’s impossible. The time has come for a change.

I use bookmarks.


I understand why you’re going for mobile, but I think the market would be way bigger if you would go for desktop. Nice concept though.


I’m thinking along the same lines, because I would never attempt to navigate the Tab Sea of Doom on a tablet, with a standard browser like Safari or Chrome.

I’m going to give this a try anyway. Maybe the utility of having reference materials on a third screen, that I can glance at without obfuscating my editor behind a browser window will net some productivity gain. When I need copy/paste and codepen-type solutions, I’ll fire the link over to my MBP.


Sounds good. Let me know how we are doing!


I can't test it, but maybe it's already there... :)

But if I need to add websites to spaces by hand it's not for me as a power user. Make something that will know what websites I often visit and place them automatically in certain spaces. You don't need to stop here! You can go further with this, so if I open 30 tabs of PornHub it will create Adult space for me so I don't need to worry. ;)


> Will our project ever reach a critical number of people?

To me UI improvements are quite low on the totem pole of “things I wish my browser did/didn’t do”

For one, we still don’t have sufficient privacy on any major browser. Even Chromium, FireFox, and Brave don’t cut it.

> Power Users

Second, scriptability, headless, and Unix-like pipeline integrations without having to use headless chrome and puppeteer. With Phantom gone, it seems we have no choice.

iOS-only WebKit with a neat tab interface doesn’t strike me as a “power user” browser.


> iOS-only WebKit with a neat tab interface doesn’t strike me as a “power user” browser.

But it's a great way to experiment with different UIs.


Great blog post! Like it! When is your browser launching?


We are live on Product Hunt today! Check it out here: https://www.producthunt.com/posts/space-browser.


Remember Flock? These never work out - its hard to make any money and people will often revert to the defaults.


The list of discontinued and abandoned browsers is longer than the list of active browsers...I'm not sure why someone would want to develop a new one in this day and age when the market for them as settled.


The list of discontinued and abandoned businesses is longer than the list of active businesses...I'm not sure why someone would want to develop a new one in this day and age when the market for them as settled.


Was expecting them to actually be writing a web browser engine though with the current web standards you would need huge team of seasoned devs a several years if not decades of work to do this, missleading title. Basically they are wrapping webkit in a new UI. Boring...


It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood - Theodore Roosevelt


Looks spiffy ! Too bad I can't try it out, what with being a linux user and all. I like the time traveling aspect and the visualization of it all. Kudos on the launch. Wish you guys the best.


Is this an indication that mobile browsers need support for extensions?

Maybe if companies won't add that then it's a symptom that we need to combat their browser monopolies somehow.


Maybe by using Firefox for Android?


> we unsuccessfully tried to approach bars with a Netflix like subscription for drinks.

... wow. Glad you dodged a MoviePass-style bullet on this one.


@dominik-space just reached out to you on twitter.


Thanks! Saw it :)


if you don't use Chromium, what's the back engine then? Gecko? WebKit?


Since it is an ios app, it has to use safari (webkit).


Exactly, we build on top of WKWebview.


Why is their age something to mention?


Asymmetric advantage in their favor

If it sucks “they’re just 20” If it’s interesting, they’re precocious

imho if you’re using age as downside protection you’ve already lost


Seems like a bold move to me regardless if the engineers are 20 or 50 or 90.


Being really young is a good story – except that by 20, it invites comparisons to Stripe's 19-year-old founder.

Being really old is a good story – everyone likes to see someone 60+ still fighting[developing], especially because there is a pervasive fear of age discrimination here.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

EDIT: I 100% guarantee that even if this project is not successful, if these fellows continue plugging away in the industry, they are going to ship something really awesome.


Any plans for an Android version?


@dominik-space there’s a typo in the link to spacebroswser.io at the end of your article. A trailing . is in the href attribute and it doesn’t open on my iPad unless I edit the link.


Oh, thanks for reaching out! Just fixed it!


[flagged]


Unsure what this is contributing to the conversation.

It’s similar to a bunch of naive HN commenters trivializing work our peers do by suggesting they can build out every startup in a weekend.

The creators of the product have responded in a couple of places about what separates this from a skin, and honestly I think it’s great software design where the complexity is abstracted away from the end user.


Just like Safari and Chrome. What have you built?


They did not implement a browser engine, akin to a Linux kernel, sure, but to be fair some Linux distros just add pre-installed tools or removal thereof.


to be fair some Linux distros just add pre-installed tools or removal thereof

And that's why we call them distros instead of separate operating systems.


We also implemented the logic with the Spaces and a caching system. Was more work than just a fresh skin.


I think you're burying the lede. You do finally mention, in the seventh paragraph, that your problem with existing browsers is that you have too many tabs. Your solution, apparently, is "spaces", a word mentioned zero times in the article -- just the name Space Browser, and no suggestion of how spaces work.

It would be more interesting to discuss the UX factors and why you think that is a sufficient diffentiator from existing browsers. Just "I wrote a browser and I hope it competes" is a far less interesting story.


well said.




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