A few weeks ago I upgraded my main laptop to ubuntu natty. With that came firefox 4.0 beta. In which vimperator does not work. Argh!
I limped along, tried ‘vrome’ for google chrome, and ended up just using chrome for awhile. Then I updated my netbook last week to natty as well, and did one more search for a ‘vimperator’ firefox extension. Then I found pentadactyl, a vimperator fork!
It has a few bugs, mainly – very rarely – a page will stop responding to any keystrokes. But I’m sure those will get worked out. So, why do I use vimperator/pentadactyl? Well actually there are a few very good reasons:
1. shift-insert works for paste, both into text fields and in command mode (for URLs and searches). That is a big deal, and doesn’t work in chrome, opera, or standard firefox. It means I don’t have to go find just the right place to paste, then clumsily emulate a middle click. In a similar vein, ‘ctrl-w’ does the right thing in insert mode, so i don’t have to worry about accidentally deleting the window as i’m frantically entering text.
2. link hinting. This is becoming a pretty popular feature in other browsers as well. Hit ‘f’ for ‘follow link’ (or ‘F’ to follow link in a new window), then either type the number corresponding to a link (the numbers pop up in red when you hit ‘f’), or start typing the link text until you’ve disambiguated it from all other links.
3. Copy text out of a web page without the mouse. For instance, if I’m on a gitweb page and want to copy the git url to clone, i can ‘/git:’ to search for “git:”, hit return to accept that (and ‘n’ for next until i get to the one i want), hit ‘i’ for insert (actually caret) mode, ‘v’ for visual mode, ‘$’ to go to the end of the line, then ‘y’ to yank the highlighted text. Now I can jump to an xterm, and type ‘git clone ‘. All right it sounds long, but it’s very fast, and it avoids spending 2 minutes trying not to grab the 2 next lines or missing the first and last few characters when highlighting text with the mouse.
4. quickmarks. ‘Ma’ marks the current page as ‘a’, and you can go back to it with ‘ga’.
5. type ‘y’ to yank the url into the X clipboard, ‘p’ (‘put’) to open the URL in the X clipboard, or ‘P’ to open it in a new window. I use these a lot.
Yup, it’s good to have it back. Incidentally, if you’re on a very slow machine, there is a vimperator-like grounds-up-rewritten browser called ‘vimprobable’ which behaves very similarly. I only stopped using it because it segfaults on amd64.