You use web applications? Would prefer it if they were more integrated to your desktop? There is a web browser GNOME Web, or Epiphany, which is responsible for this task, besides it is free and open source.
The web application can be created not only in GNOME Web. You can find the web app for Google Chrome in the Chrome web store, and Google has made it possible to create your own web application. The creation of web applications in Mozilla Firefox is possible, but will require more effort.
GNOME Web, on the contrary, is very simple to create custom web applications and you will see that it is much better to cope with this task.
What is a GNOME Web?
GNOME Web is the largest web browser developed specifically for Linux and other free desktop. This browser is part of the GNOME project and its design is characterized by simplicity and minimalism, like many GNOME applications. Such programs with GNOME as the Desktop environment GNOME and the GTK+ widget set are the basis for many desktops and apps with open source.
Earlier GNOME Web was known as Epiphany. On GNOME Web, the name was changed only in the version of GNOME 3.4 in 2012, but behind the scenes developers are still called the Epiphany project.
For this reason, the GNOME Web known by several names. If you look for it in the app store Linux you can find at the GNOME Web. But if you use a package Manager working with the terminal, you can try to look for called epiphany or epiphany browser.
Meanwhile, in the operating system elementary OS pre-installed Epiphany browser, and perhaps this is the most popular Linux desktop, which has the default browser.
What are web apps?
Traditional websites are relatively static. They read like newspaper or magazine pages. Web applications function more like a program for the desktop, only access to them is through the browser. Technically these are programs that run on someone else’s server and you access remotely.
When you check your email, you are using a web application. Opening YouTube, Netflix or Spotify in the browser, do you also use the web application. Today, you can replace most of the desktop applications, web applications.
It may seem that the web app are separate from the desktop. To access them, you need to open the browser, enter the address of the web application on the Internet and log in to your account.
GNOME Web provides tools for better integration of web applications with the desktop, so you can access the web application using the Launchpad app and see them on your task bar or dock bar. Thus, they are more like applications than websites.
Why you should use GNOME Web for web applications?
If you like web application and you use Linux, then there are several reasons why GNOME Web is one of the best options for you.
1.In GNOME Web best integration with the desktop Linux
Web application Epiphany perfectly fit into the GNOME – native desktop environment for Gnome Web. Well they fit elementary OS. They both have interfaces where applications have a single Title Bar, and no combination of such a panel and other toolbars.
This approach allows the Windows to take less space vertically, at the same time providing access to multiple buttons and settings.
When you create a web application in the Title Bar will be black arrow, forward arrow and the button to update. Also it shows the site name and its URL. Unlike a conventional browser window, you cannot enter another URL manually. However, it is bad or not, but thanks to its design you will not forget that the app you are using, is a separate browser window.
On non-GNOME or Pantheon in elementary OS desktop environments web application that you create using GNOME Web are likely to look out of place. This is because their interfaces are different recommendations for the user interface.
2. Log into web applications, using multiple accounts
GNOME Web allows you to create as many web applications. Moreover, you can create multiple applications for the same site. For example, if you have multiple email accounts in Slack or accounts in social networks, you can create different web application for each of them.
In addition, with such property, as the individual control sessions, the GNOME Web considers each web application as a separate page. So you can go to more than one account at the same time. It’s like opening a second (or third) window in incognito or Private Browsing in the browser, only better.
3. GNOME has a built-in Web Manager Web applications
GNOME Web is together with a simple but great Application Manager. This section of the browser shows which web application you have created and gives you the opportunity to remove them. This is very important because desktops often do not provide an intuitive way to remove web applications.
In newer versions you can open the Application Manager from GNOME menu Web. In older versions there is no indication of the existence of such a Manager, but he was there. For this it was necessary to write about:applications in the navigation pane.
4. GNOME Web offers safety benefits
When you open the web application in a web browser, the site may store cookies that track the visited pages and links that you click on the Internet. That is, such files can violate your online privacy.
If you decide to create a special web application, you isolate cookies and other data the web site from the rest of your browser. Thus, you can log in to Facebook or Gmail via the web app without the ability to cookie any company to track you online.
5. The web application from the GNOME Web easy to edit
GNOME Web allows you to give each web application its name, but does not allow you to change the icons. Instead your downloads. Fortunately, if you know where to look, you can easily change them.
Open your file browser and navigate to the folder /home/.config/epiphany (if you type a path directly in the address bar, write /home/user/.config/epiphany). You may have to press Ctrl+H to reflect the hidden folders.
Each web application will have its own folder labeled “app-epiphany”, followed by the name of the web application and the string of digits. Inside this folder you will find an image called “app-icon.png”. Replace this image that you need, retaining the title.
How to create web applications using the GNOME Web
Now that you know why the GNOME Web great, let’s start creating web applications. The process can be easier than you expected.
Go to the web site or web application for which you want to create a separate version, and click the menu icon in the upper right corner of the application. In the appeared menu choose to Set the Website As the Web Application. Or you can press the key combination Ctrl+Shift+A.
A new window will appear that will ask to give the name of the web application and automatically suggests a name based on the current web addresses. After clicking Create , you can find the web app in your launcher of applications with other desktop applications.
Well, you have already had an Epiphany?
GNOME Web is not cross-platform web browser, and because the popular versions of Linux come with Firefox pre-installed, you did not learn about the existence of GNOME Web. But for many of us this web browser is a hidden treasure.
I appreciate the GNOME Web for its simplicity and integration into GNOME, and the ability to install web applications is another reason why this is one of the best web browsers available for Linux.