Site-Specific Browser Examples from TidBITS Sponsor Coherence X

Originally published at: Site-Specific Browser Examples from TidBITS Sponsor Coherence X - TidBITS

Do you like the idea of using a site-specific browser but have trouble coming up with use cases? We share real-world examples of how Coherence X users create and use site-specific browsers to increase their productivity.

I’ve a bunch of video subscriptions beyond Netflix, never feels right in Safari somehow.

It’d be nice to call them up with an app launcher too, Raycast my current choice.

But the first thing I thought of was as a PocketCasts Plus subscriber I’d like to try that.

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I created an SSB using Fluidapp last summer so that I could use Twitter’s browser-based Tweetdeck. I figured that having a separate app would sandbox any cookies and trackers that Twitter tried to impose on me.

More recently, I created another SSB for Tweetdeck using WebCatalog so that I could use the Brave browser since Brave has pretty strong privacy controls built in to the browser.

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I use Flotato for this.

It’s a WebKit-based SSB app where each app is ~30MB compared to Chromium-based SSB which are hundreds of megabytes each.

I use it for…

Specifics

  • Gmail
  • Twitter
  • Messenger
  • WhatsApp
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Translate
  • Yandex Translate
  • Trello
  • Letterboxd
  • Backloggd
  • WordPress

Generally:

  • Forums
  • Documentation
  • self-hosted apps on my NAS

I only use an alternative, Nativefier, for:

  • Google Sheets
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Does anyone have any experience using Coherence X for WhatsApp on the web? The desktop WhatsApp app, available from the Mac App Store, is a real RAM hog.

So, in general, is Chrome. But more importantly, RAM use has been of little importance since macOS Mavericks days. Launch Activity Monitor to the Memory tab and observe the MEMORY PRESSURE gauge in the lower left corner. If it never turns red, then you have sufficient RAM for your setup.

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I can recommend Flotato for WhatsApp SSB. Super lightweight WebKit compared to the Chromium-based alternatives.

There’s a WhatsApp Beta which is much better but after using it for a while it now displays an empty window. So still some work for them to do. It uses Catalyst and runs native on Apple silicon.

https://www.macrumors.com/2023/01/23/whatsapp-beta-apple-silicon-mac/

This is a really good point.

RAM is there to be used, so the theoretical best scenario is 100% RAM usage and 0% page/swap usage. Unused RAM is wasted RAM.

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Many of the sites I would like to set up as an app require a secure login. ie accounting and bank sites. Can a Coherence app also login, and if so, how does it securely handle secret passwords? If not, how is it going to be any quicker than just using Safari directly?

The main attraction of SSBs is separation. Though it’s usually faster to Cmd+Tab, or click on an app in the dock, than hunt for a particular tab or window in your browser.

Of course you can login, and the login is stored and remembered for the correct duration of time as it’s WebKit/Chromium/etc at the end of the day.

Secure passwords, integration with Keychain, or 1password… it varies. Try your choice of SSB and see.

To add on to what @gingerbeardman said, one slight annoyance with SSBs is that, although they support extensions for things like password managers, you do have to install them in each SSB separately. I’ve found that it’s usually easiest to let the SSB manage and autofill the credentials for the (usually) one site in question.

I’m not aware of any SSBs that work with Keychain for passwords.

I’ve tried:

  • Coherence X
  • Flotato
  • Nativefier
  • Unite

Anybody know of one?

I have been forced to use at least four different browser running all the time to “load balance” across them and to be able to being logged in to multiple Microsoft, Google, Dropbox etc. accounts at the same time. I think certain websites are perhaps best kept in a separate web app though, like Twitter, but having hundreds of web apps open at once would likely not make things work any better. Safari regularly crashes (without crash reports) these days on MBA M2 16GB, but luckily it starts quickly and remembers the tabs/windows. Good to know.