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Show HN: Web browser to help programmers think clearly (bonsaibrowser.com)
1070 points by hyferg 11 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 226 comments



Hello, I’m Cameron and one of the two people working on the Bonsai web browser.

We’re focused on making a web browser for programmers to improve their workflow. It helps you look up docs and search information. You can toggle it on with a hotkey and it can overlay on your IDE. Tabs are grouped by domain for easy organization. The history data structure is a tree which shows how pages are back-linked to each other and to spatial workspaces. Both open tabs and pages in your workspaces are just pointers to a node in your history tree!

You can watch a 2 minute video walkthrough here https://www.loom.com/share/93c7c0012f514c37b58a42fa65badc88 or download it from our website

How did we end up here?

Initially we wanted to make a citation manager because myself and a friend had an unconnected workflow moving research articles from Chrome -> Zotero -> Emacs org-mode. After talking to some other PhDs/postdocs the takeaway was that everyone has very different ways of doing research. This would mean that it would be impossible to make a citation manager that everyone would want to use.

Later, a friend in industry mentioned that he had a hard time finding ‘cloud documents’ as part of his job. We then considered making a spotlight application to find and organize these documents. It turns out that this already been done and it seems that people actually just pull up their documents once at the beginning of the day anyway.

We now think that the main problem is that web browsers are actually not currently suited for doing research. The current mixing of research type browsing with web-documents creates a mess and makes people think they want a ‘cloud file search’.

What’s different?

Instead of an add-on solution to Chrome which would create more noise, we are creating a fully functioning, organized way of managing information overload and keeping you on task as you go through your work day.

What’s next?

We are fixing up our Linux and Windows versions for public use.


Love it, this is the most innovative thing in the browser space for a long while. It's baffling to me how boring most 'new' browsers are - most propositions are 'like X but with less friction on these 2 or 3 things'.

I hate that it's only for Mac so far, but glad to see others are on the way. I've been thinking about picking up a cheap older mac for development work, though, and this is one more reason in favor.


I love the spatial organization. I, not even five or six hours ago, had made a note on my iPhone describing something just like it (except where you would get to the spatial organization view by dragging down the bar at the top of the window). My thought was that we (humans) can remember spaces quite well, and certainly much better than we can track a tab's location in an ever-expanding list. IMO, spatial organization should replace bookmarks (and tabs should be treated as bookmarks unless the user has interacted with them since the browser was opened. Maybe I use tabs in a weird way).

Will definitely have to give this a try when it makes its way to other operating systems.


It just so happens I was thinking about spatial org just yesterday, that it would be so nice if I can have 'villages' of tabs on a (geographical) Map. Amazing co-incidence that I woke up to bonsai browser notification!

You might find The Humane Representation of Thought[1] by Bret Victor[2] useful, where he demonstrates by example, how existing tools/software (generally speaking) doesn't utilize all the 'superpowers' that we acquired via evolution.

---

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agOdP2Bmieg

[2]: http://worrydream.com

Edit - grammatical fixes


> when it makes its way to other operating systems.

know you're referring to browser, but an OS - I think Oberon - had desktop as much larger than screen leading to ability to zoom around and create piles of windows


Active Object System / Bluebottle (2002) is the version of Oberon you might be thinking of. But many did it before that - the first variants go back to the early 70's at least.


Innovative? I have been using qutebrowser for a while, and don't see the appeal of this. I just press a binding, start typing the name of the tab (fuzzy), get the list of matches, choose and there I am. As a basic example among many. Nyxt is just as powerful, if not more.

If you like visual layouts like the one offered then OK, but not me, I think it's distracting and unnecessary.

BTW the headline is blown af


Just because it's not useful or innovative to you, doesn't mean it isn't to others.

It's always good to have more players in this game and to me what they are trying to do seems more approachable than the examples you showed.


> It's always good to have more players in this game

I agree with your overall points but this but stood out to me because it's not clear if Bonsai uses its own rendering engine of it is just another reskin of Blink / Chromium. What we really need is more competition with browsers which use their own rendering engines. Or at the very least, more browsers using Gecko (Firefox). If this is another Chromium-based browser then it's still definitely good to see some new ideas in UI but we don't really see much other benefit having more players in the game.

What worries me the most is that this is closed source but presented as if it is open source. Their binaries are stored on Github but there's literally nothing in the repo aside a README (https://github.com/hyferg/bonsai-browser-public). This is of particular concern given the sensitive content that people use browsers for these days (banking, shopping, research on potentially sensitive topics, etc). It would be trivial for a malicious browser to do some real damage to people and there's no way to prove this browser's intentions are sincere given how little information (ie "none") is published about its developers or even the code.


Yes - agree with you, more players in the Browser engine space would be good.

I'm mainly using Firefox, but it's really becoming a resource hog and making my laptop fan spin more violently. I have a lot of tabs open.

But innovation in how to manage lots of tabs is welcome and this is what these guys seem to address too.


I'll edit the readme of that repo to make it more clear. We're distributing the browser off of github so we don't have to pay for download bandwidth and because it integrates with our CI.

Our website got 1TB of traffic yesterday (which it turns out I have to pay for) and thats without hosting the binary on our site!


Your website is a static page. You should put that behind CloudFlare (or similar) and get them to handle the traffic for you.


We're hosting 15mb of video files on that landing page. Netlify says we've had 2.2 TB of transfer out but dividing those numbers gives many more uniques than we've seen in the landing page analytics :/


If anyone's interested, it is likely that the missing traffic is coming from people with blocker scripts that prevent analytics. I've moved the media files from the landing page over to a S3 bucket behind Cloudflare as suggested.


> not useful or innovative to you,

the message wasn't about me or you, it was about browser space


> I think it's distracting

I'm confused why the thread got so much upvotes, and a lot of comments made me more confused. Not trying to be rude, but I don't really understand the usefulness ..


I'm an avid qutebrowser user too! Thanks for introducing me to Nyxt. I'm curious, why are you using qutebrowser if Nyxt is _at least_ as powerful as QB?


Nyxt is more extensible due to CL, which I like. However qutebrowser is working just fine for me so far and I didn't like how some things worked out of the box in Nyxt, and was too lazy to customize them.


Got it. Thanks.


Is that the same as ctrl-shift-a in Chrome?


Can't say, not using Chrome, but I wouldn't be surprised. It does seem like a no brainer to have in a browser, along with tab groups (which qutebrowser currently seems to lack).


You can also just search tabs directly in the address bar (though then intermingled with other matches)


Not sure if you’re truly always that pedantic or if you are some sort of troll. Good for you that you enjoy something different, but I doubt anyone thinks “I think this is innovative, but let me check with maydup first because he knows it all”.


> Not sure if you’re truly always that pedantic or if you are some sort of troll

wat? I responded to this:

> this is the most innovative thing in the browser space for a long while

I simply mentioned how there have been some other browsers for a while that have an equivalent feature set, therefore this isn't so innovative.

The fucking snowflakes. Where every opinion must be cherished and never argued with.


I think you confused what I mean. I was asking if you were always pedantic. I said nothing about not starting a debate. It’s the way you communicate, not what you communicate.

Your tone makes it seem like you just want to toot your own horn and not like you want to actually have a conversation about the topic.

Maybe you could’ve said “there is this other application that I’ve been using that’s been out for a while and has innovated the browser in similar ways, check it out”

Do whatever you want, I just think you might promote healthier conversations if you don’t come across as pedantic. Unless you’re a troll or proud of your tone, either way, thanks for your time.


Well, when something is presented as innovative, while it's really not (given the context of "browser space"), and you say so, how is it pedantry? There was an overenthusiastic false statement, and I responded to it accordingly, that's all.


I'm surprised to see you so excited about this. Have you used tiling window managers? What does this and a rofi or similar component not have, or a gnome3 script? Not as convenient, yeah.

The big concern I would have if I were these guys is their magic is their UI, apparently, and they've given it away. If they truly have something good, it's some Electron windows inside a gui kit. Not to understate the work, but the work is ahead of them, too.


I've been griping about the tedium of trying to organize tabs (and to a lesser extent bookmarks) for a long time. I typically have hundreds of tabs open and my sanity maintenance method is to keep their number under 256. They're somewhat organized with tab groups but the overhead of managing them is a huge pain point for me. So the visual categorization and search looks like a huge win. I don't care that much about the other stuff tbh :)

Visual organizational tools are very important to me. Even if I'm in the IDE and thinking in code, when I jump tot eh browser for something I want the experience to visual and low-friction, so I don't have to push brower things onto my mental stack, which will slow me down when I want to switch back to the IDE.

I'm very good at remembering where things are, I can pick up a book I haven't touched in months and remember the page I was on, or the last sentence I read to find my place with a few seconds. On the other hand, large scale sorting and rearranging tasks are miserable drudgery so I have a lot of stacks and my bookshelves are, ah, suboptimal.


I'm not sure if this is helpful to you, but at some point I realized that I was using "open tab" to represent many different things. Once I started naming the uses, I realized that I could shift them to use-related systems. E.g., a "to read" tab gets fed to Instapaper and closed. a "to do" tab ends up on a relevant Kanban board. A "I might want to be able to find this again" tab goes into Pinboard. Tabs that are basically apps I want to keep open get turned into apps.

That, combined with relatively small units of work (most of my kanban cards are in the 0.25-2.0 day range) means that I can just go on tab closing sprees frequently.

I ended up liking this approach because having a zillion open tabs introduces a subtle stress and anxiety that's sort of like when I visit a hoarder.


I like the idea of de-convoluting purpose from the information-pile, and indeed there is some weight associated with the thousand-something tabs I have open across multiple computers because they're all "open loops" in some form or another. When I try to deal with it, I often feel resistance to relying on cloud-based services, since it takes a while to get everything you want into that system, and there's the "what-if" questions about service longevity and if they allow exporting complete backups of the data you put in, etc. Certainly doing nothing about it doesn't help though. I do at least make sure my browser application data folders are part of my file-level backups.


> I ended up liking this approach because having a zillion open tabs introduces a subtle stress and anxiety that's sort of like when I visit a hoarder.

Sort of like when I'm being a hoarder, for me... :-( Gotta try and learn something like your approach. (I'll do that as soon as I can get around to it, i.e. when I'm done with all the procrastinating that's piling up on my to-do lists.)


Speaking as someone who often communicates before considering whether the people I'm speaking to share my background knowledge... this might be a more effective message if you ask "have you tried ____?"


Sure, I know this sounds like well-actually anyway, but I tried to soften it by not asking "have you not used..."?

On any Ubuntu/debian system this is pretty trivial try using apt install. You've i3 which is an old popular program with a big community. You use it with scripts like dmenu. It's definitely more of a "hacker" setup that your parents probably aren't going to want to use, but if what you are doing is focusing on a few documents, it's hard to beat. It's a lot more complete than floating single windows over your pane of code. The Bonsai implementation is slow in comparison.

There are lots of others like bspwm (even more hardcore), but my favorite anyone can use this tiling window manager is easily pop_os's from System76. When I have to use Windows or Mac and I don't have that functionality it is annoying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUrvF0Y9AUg

This functionality really should just be built into the OS. The mac equivalent hacks have slowly gotten incorporated into official releases over the years (side by side windows), but they seem to pop up and then die, like Spectacle. If these guys want to do more than just browser documents, what they've got to build is essentially a cross platform tiling window manager. Not easy.

I think the closest you could come to hacking this together is with qtile (py) and you could get pretty close functionality wise.

http://www.qtile.org/


Spectacle has been succeeded by Rectangle: https://github.com/rxhanson/Rectangle

I've been using Rectangle for ~1.5 years now, and it's been pretty stable and gets regular updates and patches.


This looks really great, something I could use and would pay for when polished but there's definitely a few issues for me at the moment:

* Why go fullscreen and modal? I want to drag in links from docs, email, other browsers, have it side by side while reading PDFs etc. etc. this stops me from doing any of that

* Please let me change the shortcut! I already have Option-Space bound.

* Let me put the browser window anywhere I want when it's in the single page non-fullscreen mode, don't levitate it to where you think I want it

* Unless I'm missing something the process of opening a page then adding it to a workspace seems to be three clicks - open page, hit + (plus) button, select workspace, select workspace/inbox - need to make this one click, maybe just show the inboxes? This also seems clunky, I'd much rather browse, drag that page to the workspace/inbox, continue browsing and adding further pages, then arrange all the pages in the workspace after i've added all the links. Seems a faster workflow.


I agree with everything, except that this is something that can be polished into sth. usable. After trying Bonsai, I think it's a promising proof of concept that demonstrates what should now be implemented properly. A ‘quick’ hack on top of Electron is just really slow and clunky compared to a ‘real’ browser.

I know this is asking a lot, but as an end user with an unlimited budget for big dreams, I'd like to see something like this as a fork of Firefox that eventually gets enough of its changes upstreamed so it can become just an extension for the browser I'm already running anyway.

Anyway, a little addendum:

> Why go fullscreen and modal?

And for when I want it full-screen and modal, at least do it right, please. E.g. it shows up in the cmd-tab task switcher, but that can't actually be used to switch to Bonsai, nor away from it (!!). And, again, it's too slow. (What's with the dramatic fade-out animation?)

Btw., you can drag a link on top of it (at least when option-space doesn't do something else already ;) and the cursor changes to identify a valid drop target, but when you drop, nothing happens.


This looks great.

I was sceptical from the article title, but was immediately sold on the idea when I saw it in action.

A good sign to me is that you have solved problems I didn’t realise I had. I like the floating window concept - can definitely see how that would be useful for having documentation front and centre while working on something. The spatial organisation thing is very nice too.

Looks like it’s early days still for the project but I think you’re onto something. Good luck with it!


Downloaded it, installed it, and loving it!

The big thing I'm missing most is LastPass. Without access to my passwords, I can see myself falling back to Chrome. In fact, I need to keep Chrome running so I can look up my login names and passwords there in order to copy them over to Bonsai when I'm being asked to log in. If you could support popular password managers inside your browser, that would help a lot!


yeah, good suggestion. i'm trying to use a password manager on my first try. can't figure out how to without leaving the app.


You should drop any software that prevents you from changing another unrelated software. In other words, move from LastPass to Bitwarden.


OP is saying browser extensions don't work. Not that LastPass doesn't work with the browser.


Browser without extensions is like bike without wheels. All those ads and javascripts...


And I am saying Bitwarden is not tied to a web browser - it has a desktop client.


You assume most people have the patience to copy paste passwords from Bitwarden rather than the ease of Lastpass - just doesn't work for 99% of the population.


I don't know about Keywarden, but KeePass just uses a global hotkey that can be used to type in your password in a context-dependent fashion (figures out the relevant password from the page you're on). No browser integration required, yet no UX hit. (Edit: But I have no idea if its "figure out what page you're on" functionality would work with Bonsai.)


Ease of Lastpass is the same as ease of Bitwarden, both have extension for browsers :)


And now we’re back to the original commenter pointing out that this new browser lacks such extensions


A password manager integrated with a browser can offer more security, because it can verify the domain to prevent copy-pasting the password into a phishing site.


As does LastPass


No, it does not.



Mac only though. Many of us don’t have or want Apple PCs.


This still refutes the previous poster's point though. Just because you don't use apple, does not mean that LastPass doesn't offer this service.


It doesn't.



It's not official (not listed on their website).


It's created by Lastpas...?


Well, Bonsai only works on Mac, so...


Having your password manager tied to your browser is more secure because the saved password doesn't show up unless you're in the correct domain, preventing phishing attacks.


Plus the password doesn't transit through the copy buffer, which is probably less secure


Love the opened-from tracking for tabs and spatial organization, which reminds me of the Promnesia extension [0] that helps you track when you've been to a page in the past and where you came from.

I think there's a huge untapped potential value for users in historical browsing activity that is just wasted by browsers today (well when they're not busy siphoning it off to advertisers). The standard browser history data and ui is so crap at mapping to your intuition about how to find some tab you had open recently that it's basically useless. It was modeled when the primary navigation in a browser was one window with no tabs and you clicked from site to site literally linearly, and this design has never been updated since. Now I have 2-4 windows, with dozens of tabs each, on 4 computing devices, where windows have been open for times ranging from 2 minutes to 2 months, where on each each tab I may switch to it or move it or close it or open new tabs from it at any time. And all that activity is reduced to a single linear 'history' where the order in which items appear is nonsensical no matter what sort order you use. Real browsing activity is no longer linear, modeling it as linear is hostile to the user.

Knowing that you've seen something before but you can't figure out when or how you got there because it's pointless to trawl through thousands of completely unrelated links in history is despair.

[0]: https://github.com/karlicoss/promnesia


What I really want is a browser that displays information in a clear, unified format that I can customize to my liking.

I want this browser to disregard all visual HTML and CSS rendering, and rather instrument a headless browser to gather the navigation and content from sites.

I want to be able to easily make my own instrumentation for sites that do not yet work on this browser.

I’m want to allow some branding in the form of one theme color, used for one top navigation bar background, and a site logo there. That’s it. Nothing else. But maybe make this easily customizable with the rest of the interface.

In effect, a ”reader mode” but for the entire browsing experience, not just the main content.


It doesn't address your specific desire (uniform rendering of existing HTML), but the Gemini protocol seems to align with your desire for a simpler internet. It's worth a look if you aren't already familiar. https://gemini.circumlunar.space/


I like the idea of Gemini but the reality is 'here's a list of random servers which could be anything but at least our user interface is from the 1980s'. I like how it's lighter than the web, but I don't see how it's 'heavier than Gopher' as suggested (and I have been watching the Gemini project for a few months now).

I was on the internet well before the web and I used Gopher all the time. It was great by the standards of the time (ie 1200 baud modems so a page of text like this HN discussion would easily take a minute or more to load and would probably do so with many errors). Gopher was (somewhat) integrated with two other services known as Archie and Veronica for content discovery. It was primitive, but relatively easy to navigate if you knew what you were looking for.

What we have here is a bunch of Gemini servers but no concept of user service. Are they blogs? aggregators? malware endpoints? interactive fiction/text adventures? I don't know, and that's not part of the fun. It's as if Gemini has fetishized the least good aspects of the BBS/Gopher/pre-web experience - lack of UI consistency and non-discoverability - in the hope of getting something better by forcing everyone to start over.

Nobody* has time for that. Harder doesn't automatically equal better. Gemini would be vastly improved if it presented with some color/minimal formatting (like syntax highlighting controlled at the user end or with typography for the color-blind)and seeded some useful information like mirroring Wikipedia or something that people are already familiar with. There are some Wikipedia proxies (gemini://medusae.space/index.gmi?25) but the only working one I know of is not listed (gemini://vault.transjovian.org).

This is Not Great.

* hyperbole is always an option

To change the world, there needs to be some critical mass of people using it, and to get people using it there needs to be some demonstration of what it's capable of. I want to love it. I have clients (plural) installed. But honestly, I don't want to invest the time figuring out how to make the server do interesting stuff, if I can't find anything very interesting to do with the client. Absent any effort to make it functional for one external thing, it's doomed to remain a toy, or an 'esoteric protocol' that everyone pays lip service to but nobody actually uses.

Here's a suggestion: get a gemini HN proxy running. It ought to be super easy given how minimal HN is, and would give people and excuse to have a Gemini browser running all the time.


These are not problems with the Gemini protocol itself.

The Gemini clients that I have seen do usually allow the user to change the colours, as far as I can tell. (This is usually better than the document specifying the colours, in my opinion.)

Gemini does have a write protocol (I think it is to change "gemini:" at the beginning of the request to "titan:", add some URI parameters for the size and MIME type of the data (I think it might have been better to put those things on the next line (I am not really sure), but well, now it is what it is), and then the data to be written starting on the next line). However, for some kind of things, other protocols would be better.

For interactive fiction/text adventures (or other interactive applications), Telnet/SSH will be better than Gemini, I think. For message forums, NNTP will be better.

Gemini does have the advantage that the file format is easily readable/writable even if only treated as plain text, you do not need a software to interpret it, but that you can also use a program to interpret it too if wanted and if you do then it is still simple.

I would also propose a unencrypted variant. The differences are: The URI scheme is "insecure-gemini" for the unencrypted variant, and 6x responses are not allowed (if a client certificate is needed, it should issue a 3x to redirect to the encrypted version and then the encrypted response will be 6x).


I have no issues with the protocol - I really like it. I really want this to succeed. I'm talking about the way the protocol is presented to the world, the project as a whole. You need to show people it's cool, it's flexible, it can do useful things while also embodying privacy and low cruft.

Otherwise it ends up like Brainfuck - impressively clever, but you wouldn't want to use it for anything. It could be great for education or in many other contexts, but it's important to show something.


> Archie and Veronica

What I've always found hilarious is how stone-age the comic these were obviously named for was already then, thirty years ago.


Here's a cook UX project [0] that shows a potential UI-free operating system like you described.

[0] https://uxdesign.cc/introducing-mercury-os-f4de45a04289


I also wanted some things similar to like that (although without any site branding either). Some web pages don't work properly with CSS disabled. There is ARIA, although it isn't perfect either (and as far as I could tell when I checked, formatting such as bold, fixpitch, etc doesn't seem to work properly with ARIA; this is determined by writing a short HTML file and then viewing the accessible tree (I don't know if I made any kind of mistake)). So, rather I think the way to do is to use a combination of the HTML, CSS, and ARIA to produce a kind of "augmented HTML" which can then be displayed. (If it contains only simple HTML without layout or CSS or whatever, then the same HTML could usually be used.) (ARIA can be used to e.g. find out what is a checkbox etc, so that the renderer can render that element as a checkbox and ignore any CSS and HTML and other stuff that it tries to use to make it fancy.)

Supporting the Gemini protocol and text/gemini file format is also good to have, but that is separate.

Stuff such as a table of contents window can also be implemented (by looking for the relevant HTML commands in the document which denote headings, sections, etc). (I think I have seen one web browser that can do such a thing for Gemini and Markdown but not HTML. However, it would be possible to do with HTML too (although a bit more complicated).)

You could also add such thing as local annotations, form data save/recall, etc. (These would be controllable only by the local user. There would be no HTML or JavaScript commands for documents to control them.)

I mean that, to make a better web browser: remove half of the stuff, implement the other half of the stuff differently, and then add some stuff.


I've thought often that one could write robust automation engines that boil any SaaS app down into a few functions:

search(terms?: string) -> Promise<Item[]>

expandItem(itemId: string) -> Promise<Item[]> # gets more details for the given item (e.g. a thread) and any child items (e.g. messages within the thread)

...

One could build this for Gmail using https://inboxsdk.github.io/ , and other apps ranging from Slack to Google Calendar to Dropbox to your issue tracker du jour with screen scraping, treating each message or ticket or document as an item. Not an easy task as you'd be fighting against the current of rapidly-iterating frontend teams changing class names and structures as they see fit, but doable. The possibilities of how to collate and visualize this data would be endless!


If you add in `list(grouplist?: string[])` you'll get 99% of the functionality that most controllers in MVC need.


I've been dying for a browser mode that works more like Sublime's Distraction Free Mode (Shift+F11). The main thing I want is the browser to remain full screen, but render webpages as if the browser is about half-width. Blank columns on either side.

So many webpages with text are better if you view them at about half-width, and I often end up being forced to leave full screen and manually set the browser width to do this anyway. If anyone knows of an addon or script that accomplishes this, I'm curious to know about it.


Option A: Use Firefox or Edge, press F9.

Option B, for when F9 doesn't work: Narrow down your browser to a strip of desired width down the centre of the screen, keep a maximized blank window -- text editor with a new empty file, or something -- behind it.

HTH!


The resurgence of the email newsletter in recent times is a sign that, regardless of advances in web and web-connected applications, on a broad timescale open connectivity protocols ultimately hold lasting appeal.

Open protocols and techniques that enable effortless parsing of information serve a growing need for users of the web today. While I’m not sure if it will be gopher or something new, I foresee significant disruption potential for whatever effectively fills this need at scale.


Opera Browser had this feature for a long time.

User styles vs site styles. Either or both could be on or off.


Mothra in Plan9 or the gemini protocol as suggested.


This is interesting and fun to use. I am not sure it would become part of my daily work flow because it is another browser and I am fairly attached to my current browser workflow.

Is it out of the question for a lot of these feature to exist as a plugin to an existing browser? Bonsai could then be integrated to use my search engines prefs, my ad blockers, etc.

Keep up the good work! It is great to see people pushing UI concepts.


Some of these features would be great built into a window manager. I'd love to be able to handle open windows the way you handle open pages.


If you have awesomewm you can already build things like this Albeit with a bit of scripting I combined the floating mode with the tiling mode to make one window draggable and shrinkable.

Let me know what tilingwm you use (just comment i’ll check later) , I’ll try to find a tutorial to help with it.

You can already do this with firefox and chrome , just need a bit of scripting


What types of things do you run in your OS that you think would be useful to group like this?


Terminals with man pages, REPLs experimenting with different libraries, PDF readers with documentation, browser windows — lots of things.


Hey Cameron. Here's another vote for PDF. With regards to additional applications I can strongly recommend adding as a first-class use case electronics design where summoning, displaying, comparing and extracting data from electronic parts datasheets is a huge part of workflow. Specific parts of these documents are typically the focus - eg. schematics, physical package drawings, tables. Adding a local (non-cloud) feature to auto-identify or quick scroll-through those to show them larger without manual zoom/repositioning as per current PDF viewer workflows would win many loyal users and should be feasible to build based upon open source OCR layout analysis engines such as tesseract. You may also consider for UI/UX purposes creating either voice input datasheet <MPN> and/or a popup search box with bangs: !datasheet <MPN>, !diagram <MPN>...


Thanks for the info. What OS do you run?


Various Linuces, currently Debian.


Have you tried KDE? It has tiling shortcuts (not enabled by default) and an always-on-top feature for windows.

Also, I once set up KDE 4 to put different apps into tabs of a single window. I'm not sure if KDE 5 can still do that, but it sounds like something that you would be interested in.


I have tried KDE, but it's been a while. Maybe I'll give it a look again now that I have a nice powerful machine.


  > now that I have a nice powerful machine.
You're going to love KDE 5, if your last experience with KDE was back in the early 4 days when it was a memory and CPU hog. Today I don't even notice it at all. Just be sure to disable the File Search feature in System Settings. And it really is called File Search now, not some cryptic name that changed every other version.


Bonsai browser looks great! Especially Spatial Organization.

Is it possible to have nested subfolders?

This could be for browsers (tabs in [project] in [work]). Also in spreadsheets (Excel Sheets inside folders - anyone from Microsoft here?). Also in music (iTunes has playlist folders!). Also in Contacts (people in [social group] in [country]).

The way I imagine the user interface is similar to existing tabs or bookmarks, but with a drop-down menu, and to be able to easily access all sub-items by clicking the folder.


I do this using workspaces. Have done for more than a decade of using Linux. The Unity WM for Ubuntu was quite good at this too.


I don’t know why I’m unable to see a reply link to reply to the OP’s comment here. I visited the website and was excited to see the organization screenshots. However, I didn’t see anything else on the website and I have a bunch of questions.

Is this closed source or open source? Which browser engine and framework is this based on? Can I (or will I be able to in the future) install WebExtensions line in the popular browsers? Is it (or will it be) a paid product? Will it be a paid subscription? Will it start showing ads? What information does the browser collect and send back for telemetry or any other tracking purposes (I couldn’t find a privacy policy)?

If there are pages on the website with answers to these questions and more, please share those. If not, please document these on the website.


I had the same questions so did some sleuthing and all I could find was a Github repo with a practically empty README (the same repo that's used to service the compiled application) hosted in a personal account: https://github.com/hyferg/bonsai-browser-public

This very much looks like someone's hobby project -- which is fine -- but without the source code and given the sensitive stuff we all do web browsers these days, I'm not willing to trust a random developer that their closed hobby project is safe to use.


I’d love for a web browser to have first-class integration with a universal personal search system like Monocle [0]. I find if I want to learn something new I am searching externally, but if I am attempting to recall something, being able to search through all my indexed notes in the same interface I’m building, researching, and planning in has potential.

[0] https://github.com/thesephist/monocle


I didn't think much of the Bonsai Browser when I saw that it was MAC only. I decided to check out the comments anyway, and I'm glad I did. The Monocle personal search engine that you referenced looks like an exceptionally useful tool, and I will definitely give it a try.

Yes, I did notice the comment about a Windows and Linux version coming. I'll check out the Bonsai Browser when the Linux version is available. I suggest that the developers post on HN again to announce when the other versions are available.


Perhaps something like Raycast or Alfred would let you build this kind of universal search as a plug-in?

You’ve got me thinking…


Some of these features look awesome and I can see how much thought went into them. The hotkey toggle looks like a viable alternative to splitting the screen with a console and pop out mode seems similar to how Firefox allows videos to be overlaid on other pages. I'll be honest, I don't really see the utility of some features like workspaces or the tree history, but then again I initially rolled my eyes at Gmail's pop out compose and clearly they knew what I wanted better than I did!

I have a few questions:

1. Did you code the engine from scratch, or is it based on Chromium or Gecko or something?

2. What's your sustainability, e.g., monetization, plan for the browser?

3. Do you have any estimate on how long until I can `apt install bonsai-browser` from an official distro repository?


Hey thanks for the feedback.

> Did you code the engine from scratch…

We’re using Electron with all the UI done with HTML. The criticism against Electron is that you don’t need to bundle a fully functional web browser to distribute a your app but distributing a fully functional web browser is one of our goals! The other options were using CEF or actually recompiling Chromium. To have a sensible workflow with Chromium you would want to hook into it with a scripting language so you can develop the chrome [0] without recompiling. Electron already has done this with the BrowserView API accessible with javascript! We’ve already run into limitations of the Electron framework so we will be considering extending it or doing our own thing when it makes sense.

> What's your sustainability…

I really like the JetBrains perpetual fallback license so something like that at a price point of $50 makes sense. If we can provide some useful paid services that run on a server then we could make the browser free.

> Do you have any estimate on how long…

I’ll look into it! If it’s no harder than signing/notarizing the app for macOS distribution then the main work to be done is fix some bugs and make sure the windows play nicely with the host OS. This could be done in less than a month from now!

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphical_user_interface#User_...


I actually really love that there's more people focusing on this problem. Its one a friend of mine also tried to address, with https://enterflow.app/

As someone with extreme ADHD, this has made my life so much easier and reduced my tab clutter.

I love how this is so hot-key rich, I think like everyone else has kind of mentioned I wish we had chrome extensions, last pass, editthiscookie etc. It's the pro vs con of going extension vs full blown browser.

One of the other hurdles I've encountered is restricted installs by internal companies due to "security" reasons.

I am gonna be giving this a go for the next few days and see how I adapt to it.

Seriously love the fact this is becoming a focus for people.


Today I decided to check out the state of Microsoft Edge after installing Windows 11 and it felt like I am fighting the browser to stop throwing stuff on me in order to focus and just do the work I want to do. News section, sports, suggestions flooded me. The address bar tapping both bookmarks and history spits a dozen lines on every keypress assuming things.

I'm not even diagnosed with ADHD and I'm still tired that I have to spent time configuring things to fix a user experience more aligned with the company behind the browser than my needs. And I only covered the things I am allowed to touch with a little googling, not the ones I just have to accept as inevitable.

A browser that helps me go straight into what I want? Sign me up!


Alas, the state of the tech advertising industry…

Honestly, it’s all so exhausting I’m just so damn tired. You can’t even buy an OS anymore that isn’t loaded to the brim with bloat and spyware—provided BY THE MANUFACTURER nonetheless.

Honestly, once Windows ten is end Of life I’m done with tech industry.

I’ll go to the library and read some books; I’ll use a pen/pencil; I’ll wander, blissfully into the sunset.


Why, there's Linux.


I agree Linux is great—and I shall continue to use the OS. But the online ads are even more exhausting than desktop-bound ads no matter which browser, no matter which ad blocker, no matter which OS. Not just ads but those annoying “cookie” banners …

And let me just say: God help those who frequent TikTok… Their minds will be mush 2.0.


Enable EasyList cookie filter for your Ad Blocker (uBlock Origin in Firefox highly recommended). This has drastically cut down number of banners I see.


Your "Add Flow to Firefox" Link results in a 404 for me. It links to https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/enter-flow/.


Not mine, but I'll pass the message on to the friend. I know they're focused on some other areas now. Thanks!


I've been working on adding better support for browser extensions in Electron. It's an absolutely necessary feature for web browsers. Maybe OP can have a look: https://www.npmjs.com/package/electron-chrome-extensions


it's giving 404 when you try to download it


Thinking about how to achieve some of these features in Firefox

1. An extension like Tree Style Tabs, but in a dedicated tab, which is pinned to the first tab, so easily accessible with `Alt+1`.

2. A keyboard shortcut for detaching the tab (via something like Tridactyl) and then resizing it using a tiling window manager.

2 is easy to achieve, if 1 does not yet exist in some form I might build it someday.


And I too prefer Firefox with Tree Style Tabs, been using that for years.

In general similar setups are not uncommon on Linux with tiling window managers. Probably the reason this app is available for Mac only. :)

Setting up a nice environment takes time, it doesn't come out of the box. So it is good to see people trying to come up with ready solutions.


For Mac, there's yabai: https://github.com/koekeishiya/yabai


Would love to try this, but I am using Ubuntu :( Do you think a Linux version will be out sometimes soon?


"We are fixing up our Linux and Windows versions for public use.": https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28446157


Check Pop!_OS's tiling window manager.


Very cool demo!

Years ago I built a chrome extension tab manager that had some of the same features- fuzzy search, spatial grouping, tree history. I built it for my own use because I usually have too many tabs open and need some kind of principle of organizing the tabs I have open. I couldn’t get far enough on the browser extension for it to work well for me, so I just gave up on organizing my browser. Now I’m just scared to ever close all my tabs for fear of losing some train of thought.


I'm sorry but couldn't find the information. Is this built on top of chrome(chromium)? Do you have plans to release it as open-source given the market you are targeting is a small one and (rightfully) a paranoid one.


It is chromium based: https://envs.sh/X-.png


Looks really cool and I'd love to give it a shot! Is this intended to be open source? It looks like the associated repo [0] only has a README and some releases with the Mac installers in the assets.

[0] https://github.com/hyferg/bonsai-browser-public


I'm using that repo to distribute the app since it works well with our CI. We could make the browser open source if we can find some paid services to run on a server and more importantly there is a potential community that is interested in its development.


For many of us switching to a closed browser in 2021 is a difficult proposition because of the security, trust and longevity issues. The value trade-off would have to be pretty extreme to even consider it.


Like what?


The whole concept of this browser is really great. It would solve a lot of my problems regarding where to properly store topics I'm doing research on (since I'm a student and knowledge junkie I tend to just dig for 10-15 resources and never get to reading them)

My main question is what's your businesses model? You monetization plan?


Thanks! Our plan right now is to do a perpetual fallback license for $50 when we can prove the browser is something people want. We could make the browser free later on if we can provide paid features that require us to run servers.


> prove the browser is something people want.

prove the browser is something people want for free


Charging for a browser sounds crazy to me.


Crazy? I’m curious how you would characterize a cloud-based web browser that is sold using a subscription model?

Link: https://www.mightyapp.com/

Show HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26957215


I'd buy a browser if it guarantees me privacy, is fast, and does the job. I use a browser every day for multiple hours per day, $50 seems very reasonable.


Sure, but a wrapper around Electron isn't a hard thing to copy, and they've got to go from a neat tech demo to what you are describing.


Also what's your stand point about privacy?


Okay, this is fantastic and not just for programming. I'd like to see this be actively developed and enhanced. Might even pay for something like this.


> ... that helps programmers think clearly

This marketing pitch does not ring true to me.

I think the founders can do better. The bar, in my view, would be a phrase that embodies the product without stretching credibility. In other words, the current phrase sets expectations too high relative to the product.


I find the pitch true to the extent that it says "helps" and I think that much is true. How much is helps and whether it helps more than any other random tool is another matter. There's another comment that says something more general like a window manager or DE that allows any content to be overlaid like this would be better. I think I agree with that.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28447659


Love the concept. My only blocker for adoption is being able to import bookmarks from Firefox into Bonsai.

Feedback and ideas:

1) On macOS Catalina - can't Cmd+Tab out of full-screen.

2) Bookmarks import.

3) Search somewhere other than Google. Would love to be able to define a set of URLs to hit, instead of being limited to https://www.google.com/search?q=...

4) Search within pages. In addition to search engines. So if I export my bookmarks to an HTML file, I could search that file. Or if I could search within local documentation that's not online.

5) Collab workspaces. A team could share a workspace that defines the same search engines and documents.

6) Window size other than fullscreen.


Lots of great stuff in here! Tried it out for a spin and it's very snappy, and I love all the mgmt features!

Two quick things:

1. I don't think there's gesture support for the mac touchpad or a ton of keybindings. Adding those would be great b/c I try to avoid the mouse :) and it's easier on Chrome for the moment.

2. Do you guys have some kind of social presence we can follow to track your progress ? Could def see myself buying this in the future. EDIT: Checked out your site again and saw your discord.


Really cool idea, looking forward to trying it out! My only complaint is that the default hotkey is the same as Alfred -- Is there any way to customize it?


Not right now. I'll add that to our todo list.


It's also the way to input a non-breaking space (\xa0) with the standard keyboard, something I use a lot.


Same for me too, using Raycast


Love the concept. Haven't tried it yet, but it looks awesome. If it's as good as it seems to be I would pay for it.

A must however is support for password managers (bitwarden in my case).

I also very much like that you made a complete browser instead of a chrome plugin. It allows you to rethink navigation and organization in a much less restricted way and I think it shows.


Very compelling demo. I like how this is basically a tool for grouping, labeling, and connecting webpages - it feels like it gets at the heart of 'the web', (or at least the part a lot of us interact with forums), a big connected graph that we have to manage in this disconnected tabular manner due to browser UX.

Curious to see more in the future.


It looks like a nice idea. Definitely add a feature to change the shortcut. I want it to behave more like a regular window. The full screen version can't be un-maximized. The Groups in the workspace can only be expanded horizontally. I want to be able to pick a color for the box too.

I think this will be great once you have added some more features.


Those seem like awesome features! Hopefully it will be implemented in a non-Chrome browser one day, like Firefox/Gecko…


Lynx¹ and NetSurf both display history in a tree, good to see browsers with "modern" engines catching up! (I think Firefox's Tree Style Tab extension was the closest alternative available before this)

¹requires configuration (under "Special Files and Screens", set "Visited Pages" to "As Visit Tree")


I'm not sure I see the point. Firefox can do that with tab groups (E.G: https://addons.mozilla.org/fr/firefox/addon/panorama-tab-gro...), and your OS can put it in the foreground with the shortcut you like.

Why an entirely new browser?

If you want something more polish, a firefox add on or some OS service would be less work and benefit from the ecosystem.

Or is it a case of FTP vs Dropbox and I'm nerding out?


The spatial organization thing looks pretty novel to me.


Tab groups do that, unless I'm missing something. Probably not as good, but again, why do an entire browser?


Because, looking at the demo, it can do a lot more than what you can achieve with tab groups…


Could you mention what? As they said, the shortcut to bring to front is OS configuration and spatial organization is in tab groups addons (though without arbitrary spatial locations), and the fuzzy find seems similar to what Vimium provides. I'm open to the idea that there's value in grouping such features together - but unless I'm missing some other feature, this seems much better implemented (and has a better chance to be long term supported) as a Firefox profile with those addons installed and perhaps a tiny program to capture the shortcut and execute that Firefox profile.


Yes, but cound't you make an add-on that does those additional things? Or a service? Or both?


Just a suggestion - I tried to look this up in HN search (there is an unrelated YC company, Bonsai, that I thought this was connected to) and didn't get a hit as the title doesn't include the name of the project - so please consider including it next time. I love the direction you're going here!


Some simple constructive criticism: I think you should find a more pleasing and modern color palette. The green and orange you’re using are, to my eye, quite ugly and distracting. A better color system will go a long way aesthetically and will make the site and UI feel more inviting. [edit: typo]


I definitely agree with this.

The rest of the UI looks really nice from the screenshots but the blocks of colours stood out to me too.


This looks like one of the many grouping-addons that firefox has, just a better look. It doesn't seem to say anything at all about the actual features besides those three animations? Or is my adblocker just removing something important?

Anyway, as someone who has used all kind of flavors of grouping in firefox (and still is using it with tree style tabs now), I can say that grouping is nice, but on the long run not nice enough. It helps to organize your mess, but the lack of effortless integration into something outside your browser is a real problem for serious work.

Maybe MacOS can offer some ways there, I remember in the past they had good options via applescript.


I love that workflow-oriented browser ideas are popping up. Funny enough I just ran into Sigma OS browser earlier today, but haven't tried it yet: https://sigmaos.com/


That looks pretty cool. Some kind of combination between SigmaOS and Bonsai would seem especially interesting and useful.

(Side note: "SigmaOS" initially made me think it'd be an operating system. And "Bonsai Browser" reminds me a tiny bit of everyone's favorite purple monkey helper/[ad|spy]ware, Bonzi Buddy. Especially with the top of the page landing page saying things like "Use a hotkey to make bonsai appear anywhere". I don't actually think anyone would ever possibly confuse the two, but just an amusing thing that came to mind.)


This is fantastic. Seconding the comment that this isn't only for developers—optimizing all user experiences for ease of use has become an antipattern and what's needed is UX that optimizes for preserving the user's brainspace.


I really like the tab view by domain. Seems like it could be handy to even display pages on the domain from history in those columns, sorted by most recently visited. Maybe also grayed out a little or under a "history" section


Really, really like it. My one thought so far:

- it would be nice to not have to use Google for search.


Curious if you considered to write a window-manager instead, because that would allow programmers to use other applications besides webbrowsers. E.g. you could put a Mathematica window in a pane, while coding in another pane.


I'll look into this. We could bundle a terminal emulator like Hyper easily. Ideally we could get access to some sort of frame-buffers for other applications. I wonder how much control apple lets you have.


KDE (Plasma) makes this very easy, with tiling shortcuts and always-on-top features.

The other killer feature of Bonsai - grouping tabs - is far better done by Tree Style Tabs in firefox.


Just gave this a try, looking forward to trying it out more over the coming weeks, really refreshing to see a new take on what a browser is and how it should look like.

The only thing that I found missing was the lack of gesture support.


Something I’ve wanted for a while in my other browsers, I’d love a “no distraction” mode that ran a simple topic classifier on the last few pages I’ve been looking at, and then greyed out links to pages that were obviously nowhere near that topic. Thinking specifically of the “links from across stack exchange list on the right sidebar of SO” that often draw me into reading about eg DND, Wikipedia rabbitholes, or any page component that tries to get you to lose your train of thought and get lost on that site.

Also, the ability to grey out links to domains I’ve decided I never want to visit.


This looks awesome! Any way to subscribe for when a Linux version is available?


There's a link to a discord server on the bottom of the landing page. We'll post updates there.


Yea, let me just install this big binary blob and trust a random folk on the internet it will never contain any "ad sdk" that will collect my ssh key and gcloud token.

Cool idea, however.


It's really nice, and a great idea but the lack of basic thought on look and feel really puts me off.

I know probably some feel this is trivial and not as important somehow as the idea / execution but to me it's critical that something is beautiful as well as functional. In this particular instance, it isn't even anything terribly hard - just pushing some spacing around, font sizes, making sure there are consistencies between UI elements, etc.

Sorry to be That Guy.


Pretty cool. Looks somewhat similar to Dash (https://kapeli.com/dash)


The problem with Dash is that the guy is a creep. He’s also gotten quite greedy, with new versions with only minor changes every year since he was kicked out of the App Store (for one of his lesser creeps).

There are a bunch of clones, however. The format has become somewhat of a standard.


Seems similar to my usual workflow with Firefox's Tree Style Tabs extension: using a parent tab (usually pinned) as a kind of stand-in for a category, then putting child tabs into those category branches.

Obviously Bonsai seems to do this a lot slicker. If it was FOSS and available outside of macOS I'd definitely consider trying this out.


If you want a chrome extension that turns your history into a tree I made it: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/histree/linpklflmo...


I appreciate the concept, but IMHO when software is only available for Mac, this should be highlighted in the title.


I’m impressed. I could see using this browser in addition to keeping FF as my main daily driver.

I would use it specifically for programming or my security engineering work. Do y’all envision the product being used to fill this specific research niche? Or do you intend to create a browser to replace chrome/ff/safari?


Looks very cool! Is there a way to change the hotkey? I have option-space deeply encoded in my brain to bring up Alfred, so I'd rather not change that. And is there any way to navigate between open pages with the keyboard? Seems like all the navigation is very mouse-centric.


What about resource usage? Are the tabs always loaded or just reference and loaded only when clicked?


And yet another great idea that only works on a Mac. Would love to see this on Linux + Windows!!


Love this idea! Trying it out now.

FYI the window title bar text is still set to "Hello Electron React"


Kind of a vague question: what's been the experience with the Bosai browser for you, or the people you have surveyed, in terms of researching stuff?

Love the concept and from the demo it looks well executed, defintely will try when I hop on a mac.


One of the things that I found interesting was that as you become more expert in a field you take less notes. At the start of your PhD everything is new but by the end you know the name and research group of everyone in your field.

What does not go away is the need for a flexible and low friction way to collect and organize things like journal articles. Some sort of mental ontology about your field replaces the need for actually writing lots of stuff day to day.


The spacial organisation and fuzzy finder looks great.

the whole reason I use linux and gnome is because it's easy to pin window on top for this exact reason, (plus some other tweaks). You've captured how I ( and perhaps many) do work really well.

Well done.


I am sure many others have thought about doing something like this, including me, but you guys have done it.

Looks awesome and has huge potential. Hurry up with the Linux build.

It's about time for a browser akin to, you know, a desktop. What an inspiring project


Looks neat. One suggestion: add a simple newsletter signup form to notify people when other platforms are supported (and whatever else you want).

I'd love to follow the project and try it on linux when that comes.


As a consultant using a client macbook that is heavily neutered by its security and safety protocols... I'm wishing that I were able to install this. Excited to try it in the future.


I love the idea of a web browser that integrates more cleanly with the operating system. I use Linux, and can definitely can see this working very well on my DE of choice (gnome)


This is one of those ideas that causes you to kick yourself for not thinking of it earlier. Simple, and with the power to be transformative. Well done and good luck!


One of trends in modern UI is that it thoroughly removes control from the user, especially direct control, so it's refreshing to see an example to the contrary.


I'm guessing this is done with WebKit so I wonder how hard it would be to port to Linux/Windows. Also it would be neat to have vim-like keyboard shortcuts.


I was thrilled to see that SICMUtils, FDG and friends are there as one of the examples! This looks awesome, and thanks for taking a look at those projects :)


Looks interesting.

How does this handle multiple desktops in Mac OS X?


the hotkey conflicts with Alfred and I wish it was modifiable because Alfred is dear to me and I do not want to change it's hotkey.


Looks cool, all browsers look samey these days. The big firefox update some time ago basically turned it into chrome. Appearance-wise.


Have you had any problems logging into Google? IIRC Google blocks logins from using embedded browser frameworks like Electron and CEF.


Looks cool, waiting to try the windows release :)


This is incredible. It takes the best parts about Spotlight/Alfred on MacOS and applies it in-context to the web. Great job!


These feature look amazing. Ah I clicked, I didn’t expect it to be compelling but I’m intrigued enough to try it out. Great work!


The spatial organization is slick.

Give this thing a slick UX pass and it'll be a pretty nice tool I could actually see myself using.

Also dark mode is a must.


Can I change the default browser to DuckDuckGo?


>We are fixing up our Linux and Windows versions for public use.

Very glad to be reading that, would be glad to help with testing, as well.


I haven't used it but demo already got me so excited. This is the reason I check HN on a daily basis. Great work!!


This is so cool. Kanban for my tabs. I didn't even know it was a thing until you showed it. Thank you!


This is awesome, good work! This is exactly what i was hoping to be able to use Dash from kapeli for.


I'm happy to beta test a Linux version if you have anything in the works, this looks fantastic.


Wow! This is something new. Keep going with that, I keep my fingers crossed for you! :)


macs have 8% of the market why oh why does HN feature so many mac only products?


I use a mac so bugs get caught quicker in that version. The Linux and Windows builds are comparatively buggy so we did have not launched them yet.


Maybe a majority of HN users is in that 8%?


Awesome! Would be cool if I could use arrow keys to navigate tabs/history


I love the idea of domain specific browsers.

Congrats on shipping, will be monitoring this one!


Look very interesting. I'm looking forward to trying this in Windows.


Great job, really looking forward to trying this out when I get to my mac.


The walkthrough video is under 2min and has everything you need. Awesome.


These kinds of niche browsers come up so often, and I love the idea, but I'm constantly thrown off by both the lack of extension support and the lack of other privacy guarantees that come through Firefox. I can't, for example, turn off webGL on this browser, or use Firefox's anti-fingerprinting features. And of course uBlock.

What I'm starting to realize is that the answer to this probably isn't just to try and add extension support to Electron or to get every project to reimplement webExtensions. Reimplementations are likely to have errors anyway. I'm slowly starting to realize that this is likely the wrong way to solve the extension problem.

Instead what I think is needed here is some kind of shared base for handling network connections, extensions, privacy, and adblocking. Honestly, it doesn't necessarily even need to be a graphical browser, these projects don't have a problem rendering content or embedding a V8 engine. What they need is some kind shared, trusted utility that they can all use to hook into that would almost act like a MITM between the page and them.

I look at stuff like Servo/Stylo, and that's obviously exciting, but the hard part here doesn't seem to be rendering CSS/HTML, laying out pages, and executing Javascript. The hard part is switching browsers without feeling like you're giving up a lot of security/privacy work in the process, and maybe there's some way for a shared framework to do that without worrying about the rendering part at all? I would love to try out a browser like Bonsai while keeping most of my existing Firefox settings in regards to privacy, site isolation, adblocking, etc... Whether that would be some kind of proxy that sat between browsers and the Internet, or whether it was something that browsers could be built on? I don't know, I'm sure there are complications I haven't thought of.

Am I off base with this? There's so much talk about how browsers are wildly complicated and that makes it hard to build new ones. But the showstoppers for me with indie browsers rarely have anything at all to do with web compatibility or what engine they're using. That's not really the part that I feel like is missing. I almost wonder if it would be possible to hook something up to headless Firefox as a middleperson so that Firefox could at least do some work with forcing DoS, running pages through uBlock Origin, quarantining storage, etc...

Matrix has sort of tried to work in this direction with some of their clients. Stuff like E2E encryption isn't recommended to build yourself -- Matrix tries to provide a service you can link with whatever your custom client is that just handles E2E for you -- that way when you use a custom client, it's less likely that they've accidentally encrypted all of your messages incorrectly.


Wicked demo. Been looking for something like this for years. Cheers.


I would love this as a browser extension than a separate browser!


Can you change your search engine? I don't use Google.


Great job, really looking forward to trying this out.


sorry if I'm being dense but what's the hotkey to get it into "floaty" mode? That looks super useful.


We've not added a hotkey for that, you have to press the button to the right of the url bar. I'll add a hotkey soon!


Love this. Using it already. Thank you.


Cool concept! Does it come in OS?


I need a windows version please.


Waiting for other OS support


The name reminds me of Bonsai buddy... a complete wreck the head computer program from the 90s/00s


I need a windows version


waiting for windows version. thanks for amazing browser.


anybody know similar apps for Linux?


from the author:

> What’s next?

> We are fixing up our Linux and Windows versions for public use.


was asking for existing products that I an use right now..




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