June 17, 2008

Konqueror 3.5.9 Review - The Great Swiss Knife

I can't say exactly whether Konqueror is mainly a file manager, web browser, document or image viewer. Of course, it's mainly used for managing files in KDE and some also prefer to use it as a web browser due to better KDE integration and an obvious more responsive interface than Firefox. Konqueror is so many things that I really can't cover all of them in a single review. This article aims to review the most important features this multi-purpose application comes with, and the main ways of using it.

File manager
KDE benefits now of several pretty good file managers beside Konqueror, like Dolphin or Krusader, the latter being around for a long period of time. I think the favourite file manager for one is not necessarily a matter of taste, but it regards more what features does it have, how it behaves. In less words, what can you do with it. If it eases your work and includes everything you need in order to get work done quickly, than it's good. Konqueror makes no exception from this, being probably the best file manager I have ever seen.

Konqueror as file manager - tabs, split windows vertically

It has eight default view modes, like icon view, multicolumn view or detailed list view, several more also. You can practically see your files and folders in any way possible, and you can resize icons as well. The background can be changed to some default image or a custom one. It supports tabs, and the nice thing is that you can have one tab opened browsing for files in your home directory, the next tab can be a website, and in a third tab you can have a video or a song embedded using Amarok or Kaffeine integration. You can also split windows horizontally or vertically, making copying or moving files easier.

Web browser
Konqueror uses the KHTML layout engine in order to render web pages. As a web browser, Konqueror benefits from configurable web shortcuts, a good and fast bookmarking system (with the ability to export to HTML or Opera bookmarks), ability to preview movies or audio tracks, and, probably the best of all, very good KDE integration. It's also highly configurable, having an option for almost any thing you could think of. Some drawbacks are that it can't display very well some web pages or submit forms, for which you will really need to use Firefox or another browser.

Konqueror as a web browser

It supports configurable profiles, so you can make desktop shortcuts to start Konqueror either as a web browser or file manager. You can save even the window's size, position and the URL you want to be displayed when you start it. That's better than just set a single homepage which will always be displayed when you start it. It was slower at fetching and displaying web pages than Firefox though.

Profile Manager

Another good thing about using Konqueror as a web browser is the integration with KGet, a very powerful and complete download manager for KDE with the ability to auto-shutdown and be embedded in the system tray.

KGet - the powerful KDE download manager

Configuring Konqueror - a highly configurable application

It's a good web browser overall, and can win the battle over Firefox, at least on the KDE platform, given that several improvements at displaying web pages will be done.

Image viewer and multimedia preview
Konqueror is also very good at displaying any images, playing audio and video files. Not to mention you can also view your PDF files and most of other documents.

Viewing a PDF

The sidebar
Pressing F9 toggles showing the sidebar, which is rich in tabs. The highlights are Amarok integration (yes, you can control Amarok from within Konqueror, and not only this, but the context browser is shown in Konqueror's sidebar); bookmarks (I don't find this very useful, since the sidebar occupies a lot of space and there is already a menu for bookmarks); history; tree-view directory structure; file/folder information. The sidebar can prove very useful once you get used to it, and it can be hidden easily with F9.

The sidebar - integration with Amarok

Konqueror also supports plugins and comes with several default tools, like the one to create an image gallery from the files inside a directory or the integrated search ability.

I think that over the years, Konqueror almost became synonymous with KDE. Even though there are alternative web browsers, file managers, good image viewers like Gwenview or PDF viewers like KPDF, Konqueror is still one of the most popular and most used application on the KDE desktop.

About Konqueror - 3.5.9

Updated: Jun 17, 2008 (Created: Jun 17, 2008)


Anonymous said...

Konqueror is definitely not a pdf viewer in itself but it uses embedded KParts such as Kpdf to display the content.

I concur, Konqueror is awesome! It is, however, deeply tied to the KDE so it's not really an option for users of other DE's or window managers.

Anonymous said...

Nice review a little small though. Konqueror is so many more things!
I was so excited in finding out (some time ago casually) that Konqui lets you rip and encode music cds with just a simple move as drag n' drop of a directory! :-D

blackbelt_jones said...

Being a web browser/file manager gives Konqueror the ability to create a home page that can open files, applications, and navigate your system with html links.