me as idiot-s[avant]

Today’s browser discovery is the Avant Browser. It’s a browser that basically puts a shell over IE for windows, giving it many of Mozilla’s most beloved properties. (tabbed browsing, searching from the address bar, and popup blocking, to start with.) I have a few beefs with the thing. To search using google (msnsearch is the default) you have to hit CTR-Q from the address bar. This makes little sense as a shortcut, but since CTR-Q doesn’t quit much of anything anymore, I suppose it had to do something… But unfortunately, one of my favorite mozilla for PC features, hitting CTR-L to get to the address (or Location) bar as you have always been able to do on a mac, doesn’t work. And so you can’t search google from the stupid little location popup window that IE has always had when you hit CTR-L.

I also really like some things about it. Well, two things about it so far. The way that this thing handles your tabs and windows is pretty amazing. (You loose the ability to open a new “window”, and “tabs” for all intents and purposes are referred to as “windows”. Maybe I’ll get over that, even though I can’t–as I expected–open a new process to open a new traditional “window”.)

Basically, you have several window displaying options. The default, and the one familiar to mozilla users, is all windows maximized. (You can also “tab through” windows, by hitting CTR-up and CTR-down, which is one of those hit and miss features in mozilla… it works, but is relatively undocumented, and I always forget the shortcut, even though it seems like one of the most important ones!) But you also have the traditional cascading window option… which basically means you get the grey application background-type-thing, and can move windows around within it. Here’s where it gets cool: There are also window tiling options, vertical and horizontal. This will basically fill your avant window with your open pages, either horizontally or vertically. I don’t know how often I will use this, but it’s really cool, and I’ll definitely be playing with it more soon.

Next feature I like… You can save your state and close all windows. This will basically mean the next time you open Avant it’ll re-open all the windows you had open previously… I’m going to be checking in a few minutes if this will refresh the windows, or just save them in cache. For blog-reading reasons, I’d rather have it refresh them, but it might make more sense to hold the state in cache. Anyway, I’m definitely throwing this thing on my PC at home… especially because the new version of mozilla (1.3a) is crashing like crazy on that machine… it’s so bad I may even downgrade.

(Link via

UPDATE: It refreshes! It refreshes!

SECOND UPDATE: this tiling thing is less cool than it seems at first. Perhaps I spoke too soon. Basically, if tiles based on how many windows (tabs) you have open. With two or three, you can tile vertically or horizontally, but anything more than that, and it starts doing its own thing. With 4 windows, it splits into equal sized quadrants, whether you chose vertical or horizontal. Also, I can’t CTR-down through the tabs that are displayed and then use the arrow keys to scroll within the tab. I can use CTR-down to focus the window, (er, tab?) but scrolling doesn’t work till I use the mouse to click implicitly in the window itself. Hmmm. I wonder if it’s worth posting this on the message board.

2 Replies to “me as idiot-s[avant]”

  1. Just in case you didn’t see my comment on my blog:
    -You can put the Windows bar at the top – just go to View~Windows~Top.
    -You can use the Google toolbar in the latest beta builds (it’s similar in functionality to IE’s Google toolbar)
    -You can get rid of the XP look by turning off skins (View~Skins I believe)
    -As with IE itself, you can press Alt+D to get to the Location bar. I think that Mozilla does this, too.
    -You can use Ctrl+Tab/Ctrl+Shift+Tab to switch through tabs.

    As of right now, I think that I’m gonna be sticking with Avant. It’s a great browser, imo. :)

  2. AH! I’ve never known about the ALT-D shortcut in IE to get to the address bar!!! Sweet! I wish I’d have known about that months ago! (Actually, it just shows how much time I spend on my PC browsing the internet, vs my Mac at work.)

    I’ve never actually tried using the google toolbar… it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me to have a sepparate textbox in the interface… searching from the address bar seems like such a no-brainer.

    Finally, about the skin, you can get rid of their weirdly lined look by turning off the skin, but you’ve still got bubble-gum looking buttons that scream XP at you. No turning those off… ;)

    There was never a chance I’d stop using mozilla for this thing… (I like the open source concept far too much,) but for those times I have to view something in IE, Avant is now a viable substitution.

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