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Web Browser Hero

Perhaps the most versatile, feature-rich web browser available today is on your Desktop and you may not even know its name.

For those of you who have been using KDE since its introduction, may remember the original file manager kfm. It was only around for the debut version of KDE. By KDE 2.0, it was replaced with Konqueror. Since that time, Konqueror has remained an integral part of KDE as a file manager but is so much more. A rule-breaker by definition, Konqueror is a file manager, a web browser, a universal viewing application, a client for many protocols, and the most customizable of KDE applications.

Konqueror the File Manager

Konqueror’s first job is as a file manager and it is one that it does so well. It has all the standard copy, cut, paste, delete, create, and undo functions you’d expect from a file manager. Standard file manager features just scratch the surface of Konqueror. A closer look reveals that Konqueror can open almost any type of file on your filesystem, including those that have proprietary file formats. PDF files, for example, are opened inside Konqueror with no external program, like xpdf, to assist.

You can expand the already vast list of file associations by going to Settings->Configure Konqueror->File Associations. Search for the association before you add it to see if it already exists.

File Manager Features

  • Copy, Cut, and Paste via Drag and Drop or Menu
  • Right-click Menu for File Operations
  • Able to open and view a variety of file types

Open Konqueror, which can be found under Applications->Internet, and note that the file opened by default is /usr/share/doc/HTML/index.html. Unless you have changed the default location, this file should be related to your Linux distribution. This is how Konqueror works as a file manager–by opening a file on the filesystem using the explicit path in the Location (URL) field.

To see another example of how Konqueror works as a file manager, type /etc/passwd into the Location field. You probably noticed that when you get as far as /etc/, the address bar fills with all files and directories under /etc. If you simply enter /etc and press Enter, you will see a list of files and directories as you might expect to see in any file manager program (See Figure One).

Figure 1: Browsing /etc Files
Figure 1: Browsing /etc Files

The Browser Wars

Mosaic opened the door.

Navigator showed us the way.

Explorer taught us to fear.

Opera sang its own song heretofore.

Lynx handles the text-based fray.

Konqueror’s time is here.

Konqueror the Web Browser

As a web browser, Konqueror is pretty standard fare and is HTML 4.01 compliant but it still lacks some advanced and desirable features found in other browers. Whether or not these additional features are standard doesn’t seem to matter to most users; they are used to the non-standard features and they want them included in [insert browser name here]. An example of a missing non-standard feature is ALT text doesn’t show up when hovering over an image in Konqueror. There are also some sites, like yahoo.com for example, that don’t play well with Konqueror. You will get a reminder like the one shown in Figure 2 that you should use an updated browser.

Figure 2: Yahoo.com's Konqueror Diss
Figure 2: Yahoo.com’s Konqueror Diss

Browser Features

  • HTML 4.01 compliance
  • ECMAscript 262 (JavaScript) support
  • Java compliant
  • Supports CSS 1, 2.x, and 3
  • Bidirectional (bidi) Script Support
  • SSL Support

Konqueror works like most other browsers until it comes time to install a browser plugin. To install a plugin, you will most likely be redirected to a download for the plugin in source or rpm format. Install the plugin, restart your browser and, in most cases, you will be able to use the plugin without issue. Netscape plugins should all work without issue and are enabled by default.

Web Shortcuts

Web shortcuts are search engine abbreviations that you can program directly into Konqueror. For example, type in wp:Linux into Konqueror’s Location field and you will automatically be taken to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux. The shortcut wp is actually an alias for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search=\{@}&go=Go. You can see the list of preset shortcuts and build your own under Settings->Configure Konqueror->Web Shortcuts.

To build a new shortcut to search through Linux Magazine’s archives,

  1. Select New.
  2. Enter Linux Magazine in the Search Provider field.
  3. Enter http://www.linux-mag.com/search.php?q=\{@} into the Search URI field.
  4. Enter lm into the URI Shortcut field. Click OK twice.

The configuration will update automatically. Now type in lm:apache into the Location field and press Enter. Konqueror takes you to Linux Magazine’s website and automatically searches for apache. You will see a list of all articles that have something to do with apache displayed for you. There is no magic to setting up a generic search string. You need to go to the site you wish to search, perform a search and copy the search string (http://www.linux-mag.com/search.php?q=) and place \{@} as the string to match. Use a unique URI shortcut for the site and you are set. As you can see, web shortcuts will work with any site that has a searchable site index.

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