QtWeb – An Alternative Browser for Webkit Testing
Wouldn’t life be boring if we only had one browser to test our websites? It would be like 2002 all over again!
In a rapidly expanding browser market, QtWeb may have escaped your attention. It is an open-source project that has only been available for a few months, but it is already in version 2 and could be of interest to web developers or those who rely on portable applications.
First and foremost, QtWeb is a lightweight and nimble browser. The installation package is 5Mb and there is a ZIP version that can be installed on a USB drive or any other location. It works on any Windows version from 2000 and most users will just need the single QtWeb.exe executable.
Its minimal requirements means that QtWeb starts quickly and feels responsive. The interface is reminiscent of Firefox but a little amateurish. That said, it is functional, the icons are obvious, and the toolbars can be moved around at will – even outside the browser window. It has all the standard features you would expect from a modern browser:
- a search bar
- bookmark import and export
- tabs and session support
- download management
- SSL, FTP and plug-in support
It even offers a unique virtual on-screen keyboard so you can enter secure data or passwords without worrying about key loggers.
As a portable browser, QtWeb easily beats the competition. Copy the exe to a USB drive, import your bookmarks, and you have a secure browser that can be run from any Windows PC. It is far faster and less resource-hungry than the portable edition of Firefox.
Whilst few people would use QtWeb as their default browser, developers should note that it uses the same WebKit rendering engine as Apple Safari and Google Chrome (it is a slightly older version than Safari 4 Beta, but newer than Chrome). In my brief tests, it rendered pages identically to both. It also offers the excellent web inspector – a feature that is missing from Chrome:
I was impressed with QtWeb. The developers identified their niche and make no presumptions about it taking over the browser market. It is great for portable browsing, but is also ideal for quick and dirty WebKit testing without having to install Safari or Chrome on your development PC.
Are you using QtWeb? Is it a viable testing alternative to Safari or Chrome? Has it become your default browser?