Try this Linux web browser dedicated only to web applications


If you use a lot of web applications, you might like this Linux browser specially designed for this purpose. Jack Wallen shows you how to install and use Tangram.

Image: Zhanna Hapanovich / Shutterstock

When I’m on the move, I need everything to work as efficiently as possible. And while you might be thinking, “But a web browser is as efficient as it gets, isn’t it?” It depends on the task you are performing and the site you are working with.

This is especially true in the modern age of web applications and with a workforce that is constantly on the move. Instead of always having a full-featured kitchen sink-style web browser, sometimes we need something a little more stripped down, a tool focused on one thing and only one: web apps.

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I depend on web apps for a lot of the work I do, and I prefer to use them in a dedicated browser. For a really long time, I used Chrome and saved these sites as Dedicated App Windows. But Chrome is Chrome (and always will be Chrome), which means I can’t always depend on it not to gobble up system resources or pass information to lots of third-party entities.

That’s why, when Tangram came out, I was done with it. Tangram is a web browser created specifically to run web applications. That’s all he does. In fact, using Tangram as your specific browser for your web application makes perfect sense (once you start using it). Tangram lets you save all those web app urls in a handy sidebar, so you can open the app and quickly log into the web app you need. It’s fast, it’s simple, it’s reliable, and it’s open-source.

Tangram’s feature list is short (because it has such a narrow focus) and includes:

  • Saved tabs can be rearranged in the sidebar (which can be moved to a top bar).
  • Add any website or service as a web application.
  • Integrated user agent selector.
  • Keyboard shortcuts.
  • Persistent and independent tabs.
  • Custom Title
  • Smart notifications
  • Downloads

And that’s all. But what more do you need?

Let’s install Tangram. It is only available for the Linux operating system and can only be installed through Flatpak or from Arch User Repository (AUR). I will demonstrate the installation on Pop! _OS Linux, but the installation will be the same on any Linux distribution that supports Flatpak.

Let’s install Tangram.

How to install Tangram

Installation with Flatpak is incredibly easy. Log into your Linux desktop and open a terminal window. In the terminal, run the command:

flatpak install flathub re.sonny.Tangram

You will be prompted to continue with the installation (Figure A).

Figure A

tangrama.jpg

Approve the installation of Tangram on Pop! _OS Linux.

Once the installation is complete, locate Tangram in your desktop menu and launch it.

How to use Tangram

If you used a web browser, you can use Tangram. Open the newly installed app and you will be greeted by the simple browser (Number B).

Number B

tangramb.jpg

The main Tangram window is as basic as it gets.

Type a URL in the address bar and press Enter. Let’s just say, for example, that you want to add the TechRepublic site as a web application in Tangram (although it is not actually a web application). Go to www.techrepublic.com and press Enter. Once the page loads, click Done (Figure C).

Figure C

tangramc.jpg

The TechRepublic site loaded into Tangram.

When prompted (Number D), give the entry a name and (if necessary) change the User-Agent. Click Add and the site will be saved in the Tangram sidebar.

Number D

tangramd.jpg

Give a name to the new site in Tangram.

Once you’ve saved all the sites you need in the sidebar (Encrypted), just click one (in the sidebar) to use it.

Encrypted

tanrame.jpg

A few sites have been added to Tangram as an example.

The warning

You knew this was coming because every app and service on the planet has a caveat. Some sites just won’t work with Tangram. In my experience so far, these sites are rare. One site that absolutely won’t work is Zencastr, which happens to be a service that runs on very few browsers to begin with, so it’s no surprise that it doesn’t work with Tangram. So if you are using a site that is finicky about which browser it will load on, test it on Tangram to see if it will load. You might be surprised.

Other than that one caveat, Tangram is a fantastic way to make using your web app on the go a little more efficient and organized.

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