[So called "modern" web design]
A few months ago I had to upgrade my version of ungoogled chromium v60 so I could change my bandcamp email address. I couldn’t log into my account on a different browser without verifying an old email that I think someone hacked and changed the password on (the password was password1). Yes, even though I was logged into my account and could get to the settings, (magically due to the horrid practices of modern web design forcing web browsers to just NOT WORK on certain things for no real reason if your version number is below a certain value) I couldn’t actually access the menu on the site where I could change the email. SO I had to upgrade chrome to something slightly newer in order to save my account.
Luckily this worked and I was still logged into everything including my bandcamp account! I was then able to get to the page and change my email so I could finally log in on a different browser, Whew ACCOUNT SAVED! Next I thought, WOW I already hate this new version of chrome! I am going to go back to using my old version! Well this was a massive mistake because the old version refused to load my browser profile. So I launch the new version again, thinking whatever I’ll deal with this later and now suddenly my browser profile is corrupted and everything including my logins are gone! The only thing I was able to save were my bookmarks and tabs but I keep those backed up pretty well anyway. I’ve been using the same bookmarks file since before 2009. And I use “the great suspender” to back up my tab sessions in chrome.
To make matters worse the new version of chrome was running from its own folder but windows would still launch old chrome every single time I clicked a link. My solution to this was just deleting the old chrome.exe and setting my chrome shortcuts to launch the new version. COOL PROBLEM SOLVED. Except for one minor issue, clicking on links people send me on things like steam or telegram or whatever, just didn’t do anything.
[My Web Browser HELLSCAPE]
I again thought “I’ll fix it later” but never did. So for all these months I have been right clicking - copy to clipboard - for every single link I have been sent and then pasting it into one of my various web browsers. You may think, “WOW that sounds like hell” and yeah it kind of was. It certainly is a BAD UI design, you should never have to right click and copy a hyper link when you want to open it. But I kind of got use to it. It also surprisingly solved two other problems I had been dealing with for years.
Problem one is simple, I have multiple browsers for multiple different things. For example I have my ShyStudios browser which is logged into all my ShyStudios stuff then I have my personal browser and a browser for shopping stuff or for accessing some specific email account and so on and so on. Ungoogled chromium was always my default browser which I used as my general browsing browser but it WAS logged into certain things as it was my “main”. A lot of times when I was sent a link I wouldn’t want to open it up in chrome. For example if it was a video I would want to open it in the ShyStudios browser so I could make a comment on it or something. Having to right click and copy a url every single time gave me the choice of what browser I wanted to paste that url into every time. No longer was I worrying about if the link I click is going to read cookies from other accounts I don’t want associated with each other or something like that.
Problem two stems from the fact all chrome based browsers have code in them which force buffers youtube videos in the background even if the tab hasn’t yet been loaded. Most people would NEVER notice this as an issue and might in fact notice it as “chrome being faster than other browsers”. But for me it causes MASSIVE ISSUES due to two facts. The first of which is the amount of tabs I have open. Currently as of writing this my chrome session is 6 windows with 119 tabs. I use this browser as my general browser so a lot of stuff I want to look into later or access frequently goes here. And for the people saying “just use bookmarks” tell that to my 40K+ unsorted bookmarks folder with over 10 years of saved pages half of which don’t work and there is NO good way of sorting it all! Fact #2 Is my internet is ASS!
I still have ADSL in 2023 and can’t get anything faster because of the ISP monopoly in my area. What this means in this context is, any time I would reboot my computer, or need to restart chrome. Chrome would FORCE buffer ALL tabs containing youtube videos. Because of the amount of tabs I have, and because of my slow internet it would bring my entire network to a standstill and I would have to wait sometimes upwards of 10 min just for chrome to pre buffer all of those videos. I would usually not want to wait this long so I would navigate to chrome://net-internals/#sockets and I would close all active connections. My other trick was turning off my internet and THEN launching chrome which would stop videos from pre buffering.
Eventually I got sick of having to jump through these hooks and began using the watch later playlist on youtube to store MOST of my videos. Also I would try very hard to no have that many youtube tabs open in chrome and eventually moved my entire youtube watching profile to a different browser. Though I still have a FEW youtube videos open in chrome tabs. The fact that clicking on a url would no longer launch chrome meant I didn’t have to constantly think about “is chrome running? it is gonna launch itself and ddos me if I click this link while I am doing something important?” Seriously I had so many situations over the years where I would restart my computer, be playing a game or something, click a youtube link someone sends me without chrome already being launched, and I get kicked off the game because chrome eats up 100% of my bandwidth.
Now with no real default browser I could launch chrome on my OWN terms, not accidentally when I muscle memory click a link someone sends me and then immediately regret it. So once again, even though I was SUPER PISSED OFF when my profile got corrupted. like probably the most pissed off I’ve been all year. In the end this hardship turned out to have been a blessing. (ALL GLORY TO GOD) It also got me thinking, Why would I keep right click – copying a url, why isn’t there a way to just click a link and have it automatically copy itself to my clipboard…
Recently I re-installed Epic Games launcher and unreal engine for like the 10th time and noticed clicking on account settings just gave me a big error. Well as I suspected it turns out epic games launcher has NO inbuilt account settings and instead just opens a huge link to a pre authenticated account settings page in whatever your default browser is. Because the file that windows thought was a web browser just didn’t exist epic games couldn’t get me to my account settings. This is probably what finally got me to actually do something about my issue. I had already grown to like the copy and paste url only lifestyle but finally something in my mind clicked and I released how absolutely EASY it would be to make a program that just takes an argument and copies that to the clipboard.
So that is what I did. Using python this functionality was ONE line of code if you ignore the included modules that do the actual work. Now I of course had to do a lot more work than that single line! I had to figure out how to read and write from the windows registry to actually get my program to work as a “web browser” that windows would open URLs in. I also decided to add in notifications so I get a little pop up and it plays a cool sound that I recorded myself with the mechanical pencil (sakura 127) I had laying on my desk. I had Gunther create a cool icon for the program and I packaged it as an exe. It took less than a day to get everything working as intended. I spent the next day trying to get it working on linux, windows xp, and macos. I also wrote the manual, this article, and published the program on github so other people can use and modify it for their own needs. It is a little janky and there are prob better ways of doing the configuration but for something slapped together in one day it WORKS ON MY MACHINE!
So that is the story of how ClipBrowser came to be. If you are interested in this software go download it on github! Or here is a link to it on MEGA.