Rekonq

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rekonq 0.5.0
The fast, simple WebKit-based KDE browser

Introduction

Based initially on qtwebkit (and currently on dewebkit), rekonq is a lightweight browser designed to use the WebKit rendering engine in combination with various KDE technologies, allowing it to integrate seamlessly into the KDE desktop. The name is a throwback to the venerable khtml-based Konqueror which is currently the default KDE web browser.

rekonq has already replaced Konqueror as the default browser in Chakra, with more distributions expressing similar intent for their future releases. The current stable release version is rekonq 0.5.0.

Interface

rekonq 0.5.0 main toolbar

By default, the rekonq window uses only one toolbar. This main toolbar consists of four navigation buttons (back, forward, home, reload/stop), the URL bar and two menu/buttons, one for bookmarks and one for the settings. This minimalist approach to the main toolbar marks the most significant user-interface departure from the traditional multi-toolbar paradigm followed by most other browsers like Konqueror.

Further, the main toolbar offers only limited customization - orientation (locked at the top of the window, by default), icon size (medium, by default) and icon labels (not shown, by default). This helps keep the rekonq UI simple and puts the focus on the webpage on display.

rekonq 0.5.0 URL bar

Version 0.5.0 introduces the tech preview of a vastly improved URL bar that offers access to search engines from the drop down completion list itself. The completion list is also populated by matching items from your history and bookmarks.

rekonq 0.5.0 new tab page

When started, rekonq displays the New Tab page, much of which is taken by a set of preview thumbnails of favorite webpages. These thumbnails offer a speedy way for the user to access their most frequently used webpages. There is also a pane at the top of this page allows the user to switch to previews of recently closed tabs and lists of bookmarked webpages, download and browsing histories.

rekonq 0.5.0 hidden UI elements

Further configuration options activate several other UI elements hidden by default. These include a toolbar for bookmarks, a panel (a panel, being a mini-window that can be resized, detached or re-docked in the main window) each for bookmarks and history and a web inspector panel (handy for web development).

Features

Under its minimalist appearance, rekonq packs a full set of powerful features. Some of them are described below:

KDE integration

rekonq is designed with the aim of being a KDE browser. And it shows;

Appearance

It obeys your themes, fonts, window decoration, menu highlighting, and many personalization options you set for your desktop.

Applications

rekonq 0.5.0 opens a pdf file in a Okular kpart

rekonq plays well with other applications in the KDE family. rekonq will always use your chosen default applications to handle file types. PDF files, for example will open in an embedded Okular kpart within rekonq itself. Media files will open in Dragon Player (or any other designated default application for that filetype).

rekonq 0.5.0 shares bookmarks etc. with Konqueror

Bookmarks, web shortcuts (more on these later), cookies and authentication information are shared with Konqueror. You will see the same set of bookmarks from either application and you can log onto a website in Konqueror and carry on seamlessly if you decide to switch to rekonq. Your passwords are stored securely in KWallet and can be used from either Konqueror or rekonq.

Your downloads can be optionally handled by KGet. Feeds from websites can be saved to Akregator (or Google Reader).

rekonq 0.5.0 + Akregator
rekonq 0.5.0 + kget

Services

KIO support

rekonq 0.4.0 browsing an ftp share

rekonq supports KIO services, including cookies, cache, proxies and network settings. KIO-slaves like file:/, ftp:/, man:/, help:/, info:/ etc will work in rekonq, too.

Dialogs

In addition to all this, rekonq uses KDE's own file dialog for opening/saving documents. This means, you have access to the Places sidebar from Dolphin while you open or save documents.

Thus, rekonq looks, feels and behaves like a part of your KDE desktop.

Webkit engine

rekonq uses the open source WebKit rendering engine which incidentally began life as a branch of the khtml/kjs libraries from the KDE project. WebKit is fast, powerful and used by many other popular browsers today including Google's Chrome/chromium, Apple's Safari and others.

Auto-load/click-to-load plugins

rekonq 0.5.0 demonstrating the click-to-load-plugins feature on youtube.com

One of the benefits of using the WebKit engine, is that plugins can be disabled from automatically loading. This comes in handy to surf websites fast, without being bogged down by flash plugins. In the so-called Click-to-load mode, you will instead see a button that you can click on to activate the plugin.

Adblock support

rekonq 0.5.0 blocking images on kde-apps.org

rekonq comes with an automatic subscription to the Easylist filter, which is updated every week. Additionally, you can set up manual filters to block loading of elements from webpages that match your criteria. You can even download and import additional published filterlists or export your list for backup.

Web shortcuts support

rekonq allows you to pick from an extensive list of web shortcuts - these are keywords that allow you to search the web quickly. For instance, entering

gg:KDE

in the location bar will search Google for "KDE"', while

wp:KDE

will search Wikipedia for "KDE". There are dozens of these defined by default. You can edit these or even define custom shortcuts to search on your favorite websites.

Privacy and security features

rekonq 0.5.0 in private browsing mode

rekonq allows users to browse the web without retaining information about the visited pages in your history. Note that this feature does not necessarily make you anonymous on the Internet - it only prevents fresh information from being recorded on your computer. You can also delete your history, cookies and other private data anytime straight from the configuration menu button.

rekonq 0.5.0 URL bar showing the SSL info icon

When viewing webpages over a secure connection, you can also view SSL information straight from the URLbar by clicking on the yellow lock icon.

Advanced tab handling

rekonq 0.5.0 showing a preview of a tab on hover

rekonq allows you to rearrange your tabs on the fly. Just drag a tab to the left or to the right and the other tabs will move out of your way. You can also hover over a tab to see a live preview of the webpage being displayed there.

A context menu (right-click menu) gives access to more tab-related functions such as the ability to detach, clone, reload the tab.

Session restore feature

If rekonq crashes, it will automatically attempt to restore your session, complete with all the tabs the next time you start it. If for some reason, the browser continues to crash upon restoring the session, rekonq will automatically start with a fresh session the second time.

Full screen mode

rekonq supports full-screening the webpage straight from the configuration menu button or through a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+F, by default). In the full screen view, the main toolbar will auto-hide and the webpage will be displayed over your entire screen.

Zoom slider

rekonq 0.5.0 showing the zoom slider in the configuration menu

rekonq has a slider to adjust the zoom right from the configuration menu with a handy button to restore the zoom back to default. Of course, you can still use keyboard (Ctrl+ +/-) or mouse (Ctrl + mouse scroll up/down) shortcuts just the same.

FAQs, Tips and Tricks

How do I set rekonq as my default browser?

Head to System Settings -> Default Applications. Here, click on Web Browser to set your default browser. Select to open http and https URLs in the following browser and enter

rekonq %u

as the browser. Click Apply.

Setting rekonq as the default web browser

How do I load flash on demand?

Click on the configuration menu button, and open the Configure rekonq dialog. Click on WebKit and under Plugin settings, select to Manually Load Plugins. Click OK.

Setting rekonq to not automatically load plugins

How do I make rekonq behave like chrome/chromium?

Using KWin's window tabbing feature, we can make rekonq emulate the behavior of chromium by opening new windows instead of tabs within the same window. This will not however allow each window of rekonq to crash independently - all windows of rekonq crash as a single process. It merely emulates the look of chromium, giving individual controls for each webpage you load.

Click on the configuration menu button and open the Configure rekonq dialog. Click on Tabs. Unselect all options to disable all tab handling in rekonq. Now, rekonq will always open new windows instead of tabs.

Now, we'll set up KWin to automatically tab all rekonq windows together. Head to System Settings -> Window Behavior. Select <menuchoie>Window Behavior</menuchoice> on the left and go to the Advanced tab. Here, under Window Tabbing, check Automatically group similar windows. Click Apply.

Now, rekonq will open windows by default which will automatically get tabbed together.

rekonq 0.5.0 configuration
System Settings configuration
The result

How do I enable Adblock?

Adblocking should already be enabled for you using the Easylist adblock subscription. You can further configure it by clicking on the configuration menu button and opening the Configure rekonq dialog. Click on AdBlocK Filters. Here, you can add custom filters using wildcard strings (e.g. http://www.site.com/ads/*) or regular expressions within forward slashes (e.g. //(ads|dclk)\./).

Clicking Apply activates your adblock filters instantly.

rekonq 0.5.0 AdBlocK (automatic) configuration
rekonq 0.5.0 AdBlocK (manual) configuration

I have more questions!

If you have rekonq installed, you can load up the Help document (just press F1) for more information. A user-generated manual is also available here. KDE Forums is always a good place to ask user-specific questions.

The rekonq website has release announcements for the latest stable and unstable releases along with more helpful links. You can also contact the developers on the #rekonq IRC channel or the mailing list with more questions.

How do I contribute?

See above for now. :)


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