Introduction.Based initially on qtwebkit (and currently on kdewebkit), rekonq is a lightweight browser designed to use the WebKit rendering engine in combination with various KDE technologies, allowing it to integrate seamlessly into the KDE desktop.
The name is a throwback to the venerable khtml-based Konqueror which is currently the default KDE web browser.
rekonq has already replaced Konqueror as the default browser in Chakra and Kubuntu, with more distributions expressing similar intent for their future releases.
The current stable release version is Rekonq 0.7.0.
By default, the rekonq window uses only one toolbar. This main toolbar consists of four navigation buttons (back, forward, home, reload/stop), the URL bar and two menu/buttons, one for bookmarks and one for the settings. This minimalist approach to the main toolbar marks the most significant user-interface departure from the traditional multi-toolbar paradigm followed by most other browsers like Konqueror.
Further, the main toolbar offers only limited customization - orientation (locked at the top of the window, by default), icon size (medium, by default) and icon labels (not shown, by default). This helps keep the rekonq UI simple and puts the focus on the webpage on display.
Version 0.5.0 introduces the tech preview of a vastly improved URL bar that offers access to search engines from the drop down completion list itself. The completion list is also populated by matching items from your history and bookmarks.
When started, rekonq displays the New Tab page, much of which is taken by a set of preview thumbnails of favorite webpages. These thumbnails offer a speedy way for the user to access their most frequently used webpages. There is also a pane at the top of this page allows the user to switch to previews of recently closed tabs and lists of bookmarked webpages, download and browsing histories.
Further configuration options activate several other UI elements hidden by default. These include a toolbar for bookmarks, a panel (a panel, being a mini-window that can be resized, detached or re-docked in the main window) each for bookmarks and history and a web inspector panel (handy for web development).
Features.Under its minimalist appearance, rekonq packs a full set of powerful features. Some of them are described below:
KDE integration.rekonq is designed with the aim of being a KDE browser. And it shows;
Appearance.It obeys your themes, fonts, window decoration, menu highlighting, and many personalization options you set for your desktop.
rekonq plays well with other applications in the KDE family. rekonq will always use your chosen default applications to handle file types. PDF files, for example will open in an embedded Okular kpart within rekonq itself. Media files will open in Dragon Player (or any other designated default application for that filetype).
Bookmarks, web shortcuts (more on these later), cookies and authentication information are shared with Konqueror. You will see the same set of bookmarks from either application and you can log onto a website in Konqueror and carry on seamlessly if you decide to switch to rekonq. Your passwords are stored securely in KWallet and can be used from either Konqueror or rekonq.
Your downloads can be optionally handled by KGet. Feeds from websites can be saved to Akregator (or Google Reader).
rekonq supports KIO services, including cookies, cache, proxies and network settings. KIO-slaves like file:/, ftp:/, man:/, help:/, info:/ etc will work in rekonq, too.
In addition to all this, rekonq uses KDE's own file dialog for opening/saving documents. This means, you have access to the Places sidebar from Dolphin while you open or save documents.
Thus, rekonq looks, feels and behaves like a part of your KDE desktop.
rekonq uses the open source WebKit rendering engine which incidentally began life as a branch of the khtml/kjs libraries from the KDE project. WebKit is fast, powerful and used by many other popular browsers today including Google's Chrome/chromium, Apple's Safari and others.
One of the benefits of using the WebKit engine, is that plugins can be disabled from automatically loading. This comes in handy to surf websites fast, without being bogged down by flash plugins. In the so-called Click-to-load mode, you will instead see a button that you can click on to activate the plugin.
rekonq comes with an automatic subscription to the Easylist filter, which is updated every week. Additionally, you can set up manual filters to block loading of elements from webpages that match your criteria. You can even download and import additional published filterlists or export your list for backup. If you want to import your Manual Filters e.g. from Konqueror just copy your list into this file: /home/username/.kde4/share/apps/rekonq/adblockrules_local
Web shortcuts support.rekonq allows you to pick from an extensive list of web shortcuts - these are keywords that allow you to search the web quickly. For instance, entering
in the location bar will search Google for "KDE", while
will search Wikipedia for "KDE". There are dozens of these defined by default. You can edit these or even define custom shortcuts to search on your favorite websites. See Web Shortcuts for details.
Privacy and security features.
rekonq allows users to browse the web without retaining information about the visited pages in your history. Note that this feature does not necessarily make you anonymous on the Internet - it only prevents fresh information from being recorded on your computer. You can also delete your history, cookies and other private data anytime straight from the configuration menu button.
When viewing webpages over a secure connection, you can also view SSL information straight from the URLbar by clicking on the yellow lock icon.
Advanced tab handling.
rekonq allows you to rearrange your tabs on the fly. Just drag a tab to the left or to the right and the other tabs will move out of your way. You can also hover over a tab to see a live preview of the webpage being displayed there.
A context menu (right-click menu) gives access to more tab-related functions such as the ability to detach, clone, reload the tab.
Session restore feature.If rekonq crashes, it will automatically attempt to restore your session, complete with all the tabs the next time you start it. If for some reason, the browser continues to crash upon restoring the session, rekonq will automatically start with a fresh session the second time.
Full screen mode.rekonq supports full-screening the webpage straight from the configuration menu button or through a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+F, by default). In the full screen view, the main toolbar will auto-hide and the webpage will be displayed over your entire screen.
rekonq has a slider to adjust the zoom right from the configuration menu with a handy button to restore the zoom back to default. Of course, you can still use keyboard (Ctrl+ +/-) or mouse (Ctrl + mouse scroll up/down) shortcuts just the same.