Split Browser is a Firefox plugin that can”split” your browser into multiple panels, enabling you to view multiple web pages simultaneously in the same Firefox window. It is useful in situations where you would like to be able to surf the internet using a part of the screen while maintaining another site, web mail service, or web app etc. visible in another part of the screen at the same time.
I first saw this plugin being used by a colleague at work who was using it to keep a page on display at all times in the lower part of the screen that displayed his “tickets” (we use a “ticketing” system in our office to assign tasks), while doing his normal browsing in the upper part of the screen.
Which of course prompted me to start thinking about other pages that someone might want to be able to see alongside their normal surfing activity, e.g: web-based email, streaming internet radio or music services such as Pandora, online to-do and productivity software like GTDAgena or Vitalist, online instant messaging services such as Meebo, online note-taking services, and, naturally, the various social networking sites, etc.
Of course it is possible to have something quite similar to what Split Browser does by arranging sperate Firefox windows around your screen (for example using a program such as WinSplit Revolution), but Split Browser does the job elegantly and seamlessly inside Firefox. Here are more notes on this program:
- Number of split browsers: You can add as many split browsers as you like and place them anywhere on screen (top/bottom/left/right). I had 6 sections going on at once at one point.
- How to create a split browser: right click on the tab or anywhere on the page and find the “split tab to” context menu. Or otherwise hover ove r the edge of the frame and a little arrow will appear on the side that will create a split browser window for you in that side of the screen.
- Synchronized scrolling: makes scrolling actions in any one window apply to all other split browsers which have this option enabled. Although this option appear in the main “split menu” I found that you have to enable it individually for each desired window for it to work.
- Home page and new pages: any split browsers you create will appear alongside your home page the next time you restart Firefox or whenever you create new Firefox windows. While this makes sense on some level (if, say, you’ve splitting your browser window such that your web based IM shows on the bottom you are likely to want that window to appear every time you start your browser) .. nonetheless I would have preferred some sort of control over which split browsers are always displayed when launching new windows.
- Split browser controls: the main “split menu” allows you to manage your split browsers quickly including closing all of them, arranging them (horizontally, vertically, or tiled), expanding or collapsing them, and gathering them all back as tabs in the main display.
- Tabs: you can create tabs freely in the split browsers just as in the main display.
The verdict: a very interesting concept and in general a nice option to have even for normal browser activity. If there is a web page (or pages) that you would really like to be always on display Split Browser does the job simply and elegantly. Moreover if you have a large monitor/display you will find Split Browser a great help in enabling you to get the most out of it.
Version Tested: 0.5.2008101801
Compatibility: Firefox 2/3
Go to the plugin page download the latest version (approx 101K).