05.12.2018

The Advent of Void: Day 5: surf

Note: the author of this article is the former maintainer of the surf browser.

surf(1) is a simplistic webkit2 based browser. The characteristic that sets surf appart from other browsers are the features it lacks. surf neither has support for bookmarks nor browser history nor plugins. That leads to a very different workflow in contrast to other browsers.

With browsers like Firefox or Chrome you open the browser once and leave it there. With surf it’s intended to call it from command line, do a task and close the browser once you finished. It’s much like using a pdf reader for websites. This leads to a distraction free and focused experience.

To visit the voidlinux homepage just open:

$ surf voidlinux.org

surf-2.0

You can use vi-like keybindings like Ctrl-h and Ctrl-l to go back and forth in the browser history and use Ctrl-j and Ctrl-k to scroll up and down.

It supports a user defined javascript file to alter the look of pages to your needs. For that create ~/.surf/script.js and add javascript in there. This code will be called on every new page that is opened in surf.

Similiar the browser also support custom stylesheets. For that create a new file with the name ~/.surf/styles/default.css This css file will be loaded and allows to set custom color themes for websites.

surf has a comprehensive manual page and for further reading you can also visit the website.