One of the tasks that sucks up my time is managing open tabs in Safari or other web browsers. Especially when I'm working on designing a website, troubleshooting online problems, or writing articles like this one, I can open several tabs and end up spending time searching for pages already opened or previously closed.

I'm still working on ways to manage browser tabs, but for now I found a solution that is partially helpful. I'm now more intentional about using the website and web app management application Biscuit to access and work in my regularly used websites and pages.

Biscuit asks, “Is your browser buried in tabs?” Hell yes!

Biscuit Overview

Biscuit's solution to the open tabs problem is to enable you to download what are called web apps and web pages, and then bookmark them in groups, located in the side bar. This method allows you to switch between tabs or workspaces, which means you're not constantly opening and re-opening pages you access regularly.

Any sites you download in a traditional welb browser can be downloaded in Biscuit. Some websites, as you know, are basically applications. For example, the personal finance service I use, YouNeedABudget (mentioned here) is a budget management application—basically a well designed spreadsheet. I now access it in Biscuit, which means I don't to re-download it or sign in each time to access it.

Biscuit includes a directory of existing apps that you can add and log into your account. But you can also just enter a URL and download a page into your Biscuit.

Biscuit has directories that you can download.

Managing WordPress Pages

In my Biscuit, I have a group of pages related to MacAutomationTips. Just like in Safari, I can open tabs and switch between them, but unlike Safari, I'm less likely to close and reopen these tabs. I keep them opened because I use them regularly.

Open tabs in Biscuit.

Inside my MacAutomationTips group, I also have two other related websites that I also access when I'm working on an article. I will be adding a few more sites to the space.

Admittedly, the only difference between Biscuit and a traditional browser is that your tabs and workspaces stay in place. You can open a separate window in Biscuit, but the goal is to work within the spaces so that you don't have lots of browser windows opened and cluttering your desktop.

Big Wish: Visual Tabs

For me, though, I wish tabs in Biscuit and other web browser were bigger, and provide a thumbnail snapshot of their respective pages which would make them easier to view and access.

Here are two examples of visual tabs. The first is the now defunct Omini Web Browser, and the other is Opera Neon, which I'm not sure is still updated and maintained, though it's downloaded on my computer.

Omni Web Browser

I'm not sure why the leading web browsers all contain tiny thumbnails for tabs which make it difficult to see them, and it's more difficult to grab and drag window in most browsers because there's hardly no area on the edges of the UI to click and drag. A more visual tab orientation could be an option to hide or show, and it could possibly reduce tab clutter.

Like in Safari, you can use keyboard shortcuts in Biscuit to switch between tabs and groups. But as a BetterTouchTool user, I use finger gestures instead to trigger the shortcut for the switching between pages and groups.

Using a Three Finger Swipe Down, I trigger open the App Switcher in Biscuit. It's similar to showing all tabs in Safari.

The App switcher in Biscuit is similar to the tab browser in Safari.
I trigger the Biscuit App Switcher using a BetterTouchTool finger gesture.

If I'm typing and I want to switch to another tab or space, I don't have to remember the keyboard shortcut for triggering the Switcher, I simply use a Keyboard Maestro string trigger to trigger open the Switcher. Using the string trigger also means I don't have to look down at my keyboard to locate and press the designated hotkeys.

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Other BTT Finger Actions

When my hand is on my trackpad and I'm browsing pages and groups in Biscuit, I definitely don't like moving my hand back to the keyboard in order to trigger shortcuts. So just as I do in Safari, I have several other finger gestures specifically for Biscuit that allow me to quickly switch between tabs, resize the Biscuit window, refresh the current page, close tabs, and even insert a password for a website that always requires me to do so.

Here's a collection of BTT finger gestures and triggers that I’ve developed so far for Biscuit

Other Biscuit Features

  • The ability to export and import your apps and tabs to use in Biscuit on another machine, or to back up .
  • The ability to share your app sessions with other users.
  • You have the option to save your login data for your sites inside of Biscuit so you don't have to keep re-logging into websites.
  • The ability to split and open two pages in the same tab.
  • Receive notifications from your web app accounts.
  • Biscuit doesn't track or analyze app use.
  • “Links to Google Drive in your Gmail or links on Backlog will automatically open as tabs from the app.”

Biscuit also contains a feature for quickly copying the title of a page, sharing a page link to Facebook, or taking a screenshot of a page.

Biscuit Share feature

Missing Features

Biscuit does not allow for bookmarking web pages in folders, as in Safari. In some cases the lack of folders may lead to crowded groups of tabs for a particular site or groups of pages. In Safari I keep collections of bookmarks in folders, which allows for opening collection of URLs at once, and closing them when I'm done.

There's no iOS or Window's versions of Biscuit, and there's no ability to add extensions to the browser.

Biscuit is available for completely free download.

Closing Thoughts

Biscuit doesn't solve all my web browsing challenges, but I'm figuring out how I can use it more to reduce the amount of times I need to re-open frequently accessed web sites and pages.

There's a similar Biscuit browser called Shift, but its premium features are $99 per year. It does have a very limited free version.

Review Summary of Biscuit

Ease of use
Useful productivity features
Automation features
Menu items and shortcuts
Security
User options/preferences
Cross platform
Price

Summary

Though Biscuit doesn't include automation features and is not cross platform, it's very handy for Mac users who spend a consider amount of time working in browser applications. Overtime, Biscuit could expand to include more features and options for users.

3.9
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