Hack and / - Dr hjkl Meets the Vimperator
In my mind, the real power of Vimperator besides the standard keybindings is the fact that you can use the keyboard to open links, move to input boxes and even simulate mouse hovering. Vimperator calls this Hint mode, and to activate it, press the f key on any Web page. All of the “hintable” objects on the page, such as hyperlinks, text-entry boxes and drop-down menus will be highlighted with a number assigned to them (Figure 2). To select one of the highlighted items, you either can type in the number next to it and press Enter, or you can start typing part of the highlighted text. For instance, if you are reading a multipage article on the Web and see links to each page of the article along with a Next link, you could press f and then type N e x t. As you type, hints that no longer match drop away, and once there is only one match left, it automatically will load. When you use f, hints will open up in the current tab, but if you want to open the page in a new tab, simply start Hint mode with F instead of f. Like with other modes, you can press the Esc key to exit Hint mode.
The f and F keys activate a Quick Hint mode, but you also can activate an Extended Hint mode to enable other actions on a link beyond a left-mouse click. To enable Extended Hint mode, press the ; key, followed by a special key to set the type of action you want to perform, and finally type the number associated with a particular hint. Here is an abridged list of some hint modes you might want to use, but for the full list, check the Vimperator help page. Keep in mind that you will press the ; key before any of these keys:
s — save the destination of a link.
f — focus a particular frame.
y — yank the destination location for a link.
Y — yank the text description of a link.
Believe me, I've barely scratched the surface of Vimperator here. It really reminds me of vim in the sense that I always feel like I'm using only 10% of the available features. As with vim though, Vimperator rewards you while you progress through its learning curve. I use Vimperator on all of my Firefox sessions, and it seems weird (and slow) to me now to browse Web sites with a mouse.
Kyle Rankin is a Systems Architect in the San Francisco Bay Area and the author of a number of books, including The Official Ubuntu Server Book, Knoppix Hacks and Ubuntu Hacks. He is currently the president of the North Bay Linux Users' Group.
Kyle Rankin is a VP of engineering operations at Final, Inc., the author of a number of books including DevOps Troubleshooting and The Official Ubuntu Server Book, and is a columnist for Linux Journal. Follow him @kylerankin.