Invention, mother of necessity

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A minor quality-of-life hack: use site-specific browsers
Jul 14, 2021

We use gmail at my work, and I often find that I’ve lost the actual gmail tab among the hundreds of others that I open up during the day. I try to keep gmail in a separate window, on its own dedicated desktop, but even so Chrome opens new tabs in that window when it was the last one I’ve visited, and my mail gets buried again.

It turns out there’s a better way: site-specific browsers (ssb’s). Invoking Chrome like this:

chrome \

Or Firefox like this:

firefox \

Gets you an app-like browser window with no address bar, no tabs, no tool bars, no menus, etc. Just the gmail app in all its glory. Clicking on a link in an email opens the page in different window, so your gmail doesn’t get buried. And it works for any url, not just gmail.

I use ssb’s for gmail, Slack (I prefer the Slack web interface to the app because it is easier to get links to threads), and a couple other pages that I don’t want to lose track of in a forest of tabs. Not losing track of them has been a small but real improvement in my daily tooling quality of life.

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