Developer's Blog

Why is there no address bar in the Sleipnir 3 for Mac Web browser?


Today, I want to talk to you about something that I think is very important – There is no address bar.

Address bar, is it really needed?

There has been a doubt on my mind for a while now. That is [Who is the address bar made for?].
This is because I think at least [It’s not for people these days].
You may find it hard to believe, but Web browser applications have a 20 year history now. In the beginning, there were nowhere near as many Web pages as there are now, not even Google existed, and many people just punched in certain set URLs into the address bar. Also, in the dawn of the internet era, they were still something for computer technicians and other specialists.



One of the major applications that has left its name in history NCSA Mosaic.You can see from the image above that this browser that appeared in 1993 already has the address bar we know today.

However, since then, 20 years have passed, and now the internet world has expanded beyond what could possibly have been imagined. A countless amount of pages exist supplying a wide range of information from practical use topics to pleasure.

Also, the people viewing this information is not just limited to technicians and specialists, but has expanded to every day folk all across the globe. Even the old man you see holding you up in the supermarket queue by insisting on paying the exact total with his remaining change is probably doing it.
These days people can enjoy a variety of services through their Web browser.
However, even though there has been so many changes, one thing has not changed. That is the URL.

What is a URL?

If you are familiar with computers then you will know about it, and even if you are not, you probably were washed away by it the first time you tried surfing the Web.
It is something that is very hard to explain to someone who doesn’t know it. The correct answer is probably if you have seen it then you don’t need to know exactly what it is.
Yeh, in reality, even if you don’t know what a URL is, you can still view pages, right?

Rather, after clearing the URL hurdle, and understanding it a bit, you can avoid URLs, and start using [Search] or [Bookmark] functions. You probably all have experienced this move.

This is the URL of the Japanese version of this blog article. If you understand the meaning you can read the contents, but it requires expert knowledge.

Regardless of that, Web browsers until now have always set in stone a box to punch in strings of information as if it is totally necessary. There probably are countless people using Web browsers still not understanding about this, and I might be one of them.

It may have been different when the internet first came into existence, but in this age of everyday internet users, filling in communication protocols and full paths of file as strings just makes me crazy. Well, I might be going a little overboard, but you know what I am getting at, right?

Of course, I understand that URLs are necessary as an internet specification. Also, it is no doubt that a function for checking/editing URLs in browsers are necessary. However, this doesn’t need to be something that is placed right in front of the user’s eyes.

People think of them as Web sites, not HTML documents

Web sites are an easier concept to understand compared with URLs. Most people regard pages they want to view as [Web sites], right? I am the same. You are too right?

The pages you bookmark are mainly top pages, right?This can also be thought of as proof that we think in terms of sites.

In contrast, URLs are a method for regarding Web pages as HTML documents and files. However, this is just a technical [specification].
In the modern era where many people browser for fun, I don’t think it is right that Web browsers are [just a mere HTML document viewer].

That is why there is no address bar!

It may seem a little strange at first when you see there is no address bar. However, I think of it as one step away from the computer-like world for Web browsers, and as an important evolutionary stage towards becoming a tool for everyday people. I think it will be great when everybody is using Web browsers like this.
So, for that reason, the address bar has been revised in Sleipnir 3 for Mac to provide users with more feeling and appropriate functions. However, we haven’t really [removed] the address bar, we have just changed how we present it (However, that is what is important).

The address bar is usually displayed in a compact size. This is so that it can still be easily used while keeping the displayed size to the absolute minimum possible. Clicking the address bar changes it into the regular full-screen address bar. Of course, you can also achieve this with Command + L.
Normally, domains are displayed. This is so you can understand the information by Web site. This is also to consider security. Even the http:// is not inserted. https:// is represented using a padlock icon.

Being able to check what site you are on is important. In the end, do you want to know the name of the HTML file of this page?
Incidentally, you can search bookmarks/history/open tabs when editing the address. More functional than expected, right? Simple does not equal no functions.

Search candidates are displayed when keywords are entered. The feeling if close to that of a standard address bar.

Not merging the address and search bars comes from thinking that the role of the address bar will become hard to understand and that inserting addresses will become a problem. However, as we consider each platform separately, the Windows version can use a merged version as well.

At first glance it may seem a little strange, but once you get used to it, you start to think [This is better than expected]. There are also times when you want to edit the address, but you can use it without it always being right in front of you at all times.

Browsing freely without having to think about unnecessary things is what the browsers of today are about, don’t you think?

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