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Browse the web with stripped-down speed with wInNeR 14

by Derek Kessler Sun, 20 Jan 2013 6:14 pm EST

Browse the web with stripped-down speed with wInNeR

webOS homebrew developer 72ka - or as the humans say, Jan - has already left an indelible mark thanks to his highly functional and repeatedly improved Google Maps app. But he's not a one-trick pony, nor is he stuck in Mojo like the Google Maps app is. No, Jan can program in Enyo 2, and he's proving his chops with the newly-released wInNeR. The name might not make it immediately obvious what it is that wInNeR does, at least no until you break it down into its origin words, NASA-style: webOS Intelligent News Reader.

wInNeR serves as a stripped down web browser that does a lot of stripping down itself, and we're not talking about the kind of stripping that requires platform heels and a pole. No, wInNeR takes the websites you point it towards and strips away all of the formatting, shrinks down the images, and serves it up to you in a compact, easy-to-read format that focuses on the text content. By way of example, a graphics and formatting heavy website like the desktop version of the webOS Nation homepage, which weighs in at close to 3MB, is cut down to 900KB by wInNeR. Granted, the webOS Nation mobile site is far lighter than that, but it doesn't include any images on the main page to achieve that feat.

What makes wInNeR really unique is its use of caching; so long as you've got free RAM (which can be a hassle on webOS, we've learned over the years), wInNeR will cache up previously-visited pages, so going back not only doesn't require an additional load as the current crop of webOS browsers demand. So not only to you save precious KBs on your cellular connection, but you get to save that time you would have wasted waiting for a page you've already seen to redownload. That caching also saves your location on said page, dropping you right back where you were in an instant.

wInNeR's not perfect just yet - it is a first-release homebrew app, after all - but it's a novel idea with excellent execution. Heck, you can even tweak the text size so it works better on your little smartphone screen. As an Enyo 2 app, wInNeR includes the framework core, so you can install it on any webOS device, even that first-generation Pre or Pixi. No promises about performance, but our testing on a Pre3 revealed a lean and speedy app that does exactly what it promises. So fire up WebOS Quick Install or Preware and give wInNeR a go, you might be surprised.

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14 Comments

So is all reformating done in app or by something at the backend (ala Amazon silk browser?

72ka - you've got good projects going, google maps, Open WebOS port to Allwinner A10 tablets and this. Keep up the good work!

72ka is the boss. He still working on phones and he just delivers, and for free at that. While on the other hand we have some paid app developers promising updates/fixes/improvements that never arrive. Donation is in order an coming up.

Awesome! Thanks 72ka!

Hi all, the backend is Google mobile proxy, it is only one free online tool what I found. You can find the proxy here http://www.google.com/gwt/x?u=www.yoururltoformate.com
And, please look at this app as proof of concept, I made it mainly for gain skills in Enyo 2. Then decided to share with you, why not... 
At this time is the app new, rough... please be patient and enjoy the piece of Enyo 2 code on your device :)

Wonderful-thanks for the heads up, Derek

Long live webOS!

This is a genius app. Perhaps it could be built on to be a lightweight news reader - add some news sites and make it format them in this mobile lightweight way with caching etc. I love to read BBC news, engadget etc on the move and would love it if there was a fast and low data usage way of reading them :)

72ka, thank you for your helpful apps!

if I can have bookmarks on winner, this browser would be great for websites the default browser can't handle due to formatting and other functional issues.

+1

This is a great app, already using it more than the default browser. The biggest feature missing is a similar start page with bookmarks to tap on.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !!!!

Hi, at this time I´m back in Google maps coding. But the next wInNeR release will have bookmarks, and some bug fixes which I found...
Please, all the bug reports, issues, feature requests report here https://github.com/72ka/wInNeR/issues/new

But that requires a github account...

Looking forward to the next release.

When I turn off images, the image placements still appear but all are filled with the same default image. Is this a bug or design choice? Was that just the quickest way to offer this feature? If so, I'm not complaining but ideally turning off images = no image placements at all.

Thanks! Works on Pixi! Support for bookmarks and google home page would make it more useful.