A few days ago, I started using Qutebrowser. I mean using it for real. It wasn't my first installation: I tried it other times in the past, but I had never considered leaving Firefox. This time I'm using it as a daily driver, migrating my entire workflow into it.

But why I had this mad idea of leaving Firefox in the first place?

Because it was the only software left that made me use the mouse systematically, over and over. Yeah, of course, you can set a lot of keybindings in Firefox, and you can install addons like Vim Vixen for getting to use it with the keyboard only, but you still feel the friction because the support isn't native, therefore every command has to be channeled through a lot of javascript subway sewers. It's not Firefox's fault, though: Firefox isn't imagined for a keyboard-only approach because it's not developed with that kind of user in mind. There is nothing wrong with it. Maybe, if old extensions weren't been abandoned, we could have had a way to shape it as a real keyboard-driven browser, but the total turning on WebExtension wasn't a choice really made by Mozilla, so let's avoid digressing. The point is: Firefox isn't a keyboard-driven browser, so we have to look elsewhere.

Even though keyboard-obsessed users like me really are a small population, it usually corresponds to a tenacious community of programmers, which explains the relative abundance of keyboard-oriented browsers: aside from Qutebrowser, we should also mention Surf, Nyxt (before called Next), forks of old Firefox like PaleMoon with the proper extensions and many others.

Unfortunately, the quantity doesn't automatically means plenty of choices because those browsers usually have some limitations in one sense or another. Among those, Qutebrowser seems like the most solid one to me. Qutebrowser has a series of strong points: it runs on PyQt5, which means it uses QtWebEngine, which is, in turn, based on Chromium. Being tied to using Chromium's engine is the thing that makes me itchy the most, and yet I have to admit it increases Qutebrowser compatibility with a lot of services while making it reliable from a security point of view too.

Thanks to the dedication of the author and maintainer, Florian Bruhin, and to a small but unresting community of developers and users, Qutebrowser already covers the principal needs: themes, bookmarks, dark mode, a good adblocking based on Brave Browser's Rust libraries too. Despite all that, you cannot expect an instant solution for every not-so-common problem like it happens with Chromium and Firefox extensions. In those cases, you don't have an alternative to working by coding. And that's where my actual journey with Qutebrowser begins. In this regard, see SwapForQute, my first userscript for Qutebrowser.

SwapForQute (or just SFQ) is an userscript for qutebrowser that replaces your URLs with new ones following an easy to set configuration.

For a detailed explanation of how to install it, how it works, how to build keybindings and so on, check the repo on GitHub.

If you want to go deeper in the rabbit hole, see my Qutebrowser literate configuration too.