A Vim-like interface for Firefox, inspired by Vimperator/Pentadactyl.

readme.md

Tridactyl logo

Tridactyl Build Status Matrix Chat Gitter Chat

Replace Firefox's default control mechanism with one modelled on the one true editor, Vim.

Gigantic GIF showing Tridactyl in action

Installing

Simply click this link in Firefox to install our latest "beta" build. These betas are updated with each commit to master on this repo. Your browser will automatically update from there once a day. If you want more frequent updates, you can change extensions.update.interval in about:config to whatever time you want, say, 15 minutes (900 seconds). Alternatively, you can get our "stable" builds straight from Mozilla. The changelog for the stable versions can be found here. If you want to use advanced features such as edit-in-Vim, you'll also need to install the native messenger or executable, instructions for which can be found by typing :installnative and hitting enter once you are in Tridactyl.

Type :help or press <F1> for online help once you're in :)

Remember that Tridactyl cannot run on any page on about:*, data:*, view-source:* and file:*. We're sorry about that and we're working with Firefox to improve this situation by removing restrictions on existing APIs and developing a new API.

We can now run on addons.mozilla.org and a few other websites if you run fixamo once you've installed the native messenger. help fixamo tells you exactly what it does.

If you're enjoying Tridactyl, or not, please leave a review on the AMO.

Highlighted features

Like Vim, Tridactyl is modal, with the default mode being "normal mode". In "normal mode", many functions are available using keybindings. In "command mode" (when the command line is shown), you can execute more complex commands, known as "ex-commands". All Tridactyl functionality can be accessed by ex-commands. You can bind any ex-command to a normal-mode shortcut. We also support a .tridactylrc file, of which there is an example in the root of this repository.

Default normal-mode bindings

This is a (non-exhaustive) list of the most common normal-mode bindings. Type :help to open the online help for more details.

  • : — activate the command line
  • Shift + Insert — enter "ignore mode". Press Shift + Insert again to return to "normal mode".
  • ZZ — close all tabs and windows, but only "save" them if your about:preferences are set to "show your tabs and windows from last time"
  • . — repeat the last command

You can try :help key to know more about key. If it is an existing binding, it will take you to the help section of the command that will be executed when pressing key. For example :help . will take you to the help section of the repeat command.

Navigating with the current page

  • j/k — scroll down/up
  • h/l — scroll left/right
  • ^/$ — scroll to left/right margin
  • gg/G — scroll to start/end of page
  • f/F — enter "hint mode" to select a link to follow. F to open in a background tab (note: hint characters should be typed in lowercase)
  • gi — scroll to and focus the last-used input on the page
  • r/R — reload page or hard reload page
  • yy — copy the current page URL to the clipboard
  • [[/]] — navigate forward/backward though paginated pages, for example comics, multi-part articles, search result pages, etc.
  • ]c/[c — increment/decrement the current URL by 1
  • gu — go to the parent of the current URL
  • gU — go to the root domain of the current URL
  • gr — open Firefox reader mode (note: Tridactyl will not work in this mode)
  • zi/zo/zz — zoom in/out/reset zoom

Find mode

Find mode is still incomplete and uses the built-in Firefox search. This will be improved eventually.

  • / — open the find search box
  • C-g/C-G — find the next/previous instance of the last find operation (note: these are the standard Firefox shortcuts)

Bookmarks and quickmarks

  • A — bookmark the current page
  • a — bookmark the current page, but allow the URL to be modified first
  • M<key> — bind a quickmark to the given key
  • go<key>/gn<key>/gw<key> — open a given quickmark in current tab/new tab/new window

Navigating to new pages:

  • o/O — open a URL (or default search) in this tab (O to pre-load current URL)
  • t/T — open a URL (or default search) in a new tab (T to pre-load current URL)
  • w/W — open a URL (or default search) in a new window (W to pre-load current URL)
  • p/P — open the clipboard contents in the current/new tab
  • s/S — force a search using the default Tridactyl search engine, opening in the current/new tab. This is useful when searching for something that would otherwise be treated as a URL by o or t
  • H/L — go back/forward in the tab history
  • gh/gH — go to the pages you have set with set home [url1] [url2] ...

Handling tabs

  • d — close the current tab
  • u — undo the last tab/window closure
  • gt/gT — go to the next/previous tab
  • g^/g$ — go to the first/last tab
  • b — bring up a list of open tabs in the current window; you can type the tab ID or part of the title or URL to choose a tab

Extended hint mode

Extended hint modes allow you to perform actions on page items:

  • ;i/;I — open an image (in current/new tab)
  • ;s/;a — save/save-as the linked resource
  • ;S/;A — save/save-as the selected image
  • ;p — copy an element's text to the clipboard
  • ;P — copy an element's title/alt text to the clipboard
  • ;y — copy an element's link URL to the clipboard
  • ;# — copy an element's anchor URL to the clipboard
  • ;r — read the element's text with text-to-speech
  • ;k — delete an element from the page
  • ;; — focus an element

Additionally, you can hint elements matching a custom CSS selector with :hint -c [selector] which is useful for site-specific versions of the standard f hint mode.

Binding custom commands

You can bind your own shortcuts in normal mode with the :bind command. For example :bind J tabprev to bind J to switch to the previous tab. See :help bind for details about this command.

WebExtension-related issues

  • Navigation to any about:* pages using :open requires the native messenger.
  • Firefox will not load Tridactyl on about:*, some file:* URIs, view-source:*, or data:*. On these pages Ctrl-L (or F6), Ctrl-Tab and Ctrl-W are your escape hatches.
    • addons.mozilla.org is now supported so long as you run fixamo first.
  • Tridactyl now supports changing the Firefox GUI if you have the native messenger installed via guiset. There's quite a few options available, but guiset gui none is probably what you want, perhaps followed up with guiset tabs always.

Frequently asked questions

  • Why doesn't Tridactyl respect my search engine settings?

    It's a webextension limitation. Firefox doesn't allow reading user preferences.

  • Why doesn't Tridactyl work?

    Please visit our troubleshooting guide.

  • How can I change the search engine?

    set searchengine duckduckgo

  • How can I add a search engine?

    set searchurls.esa http://www.esa.int/esasearch?q=

    You can also add %s to specify exactly where the search query should go, which is useful for more inventive uses, such as

    set searchurls.phrasebook https://translate.google.co.uk/#en/%s/my%20hovercraft%20is%20full%20of%20eels

    after which open phrasebook [fr|de|la|es|hi|it...] will work as expected.

  • Can I import/export settings, and does Tridactyl use an external configuration file just like Vimperator?

    Yes, if you have native working, $XDG_CONFIG_DIR/tridactyl/tridactylrc or ~/.tridactylrc will be read at startup via an autocmd and source. There is an example file available on our repository.

    If you can't use the native messenger for some reason, there is a workaround: if you do set storageloc local, a JSON file will appear at <your firefox profile>\browser-extension-data\tridactyl.vim@cmcaine.co.uk\storage.js. You can find your profile folder by going to about:support. You can edit this file to your heart's content.

  • I hate the light, can I get a dark theme/dark mode?

    Yes: set theme dark or colors dark. Thanks to @fugerf.

  • How can I pretend that I'm not a 1337 h4x0r?

    We cater for you, too! set theme shydactyl. Thanks to @atrnh.

  • How can I pretend that I'm a 1337 h4x0r?

    We cater for you, too! set theme greenmat. Thanks to @caputchinefrobles.

  • How can I bind keys using the control/alt key modifiers (eg: ctrl+^)?

    :bind <C-f> scrollpage 1. Special keys can be bound too: :bind <F3> set theme dark and with modifiers: :bind <S-F3> set theme default and with multiple modifiers: :bind <SA-F3> composite set hintchars 1234567890 | set hintfiltermode vimperator-reflow

    The modifiers are case insensitive. Special key names are not. The names used are those reported by Javascript with a limited number of vim compatibility aliases (e.g. CR == Enter).

    If you want to bind <C-^> you'll find that you'll probably need to press Control+Shift+6 to trigger it. The default bind is which does not require you to press shift.

  • How can I tab complete from bookmarks?

    bmarks. Bookmarks are not currently supported on *open: see issue #214.

  • When I type 'f', can I type link names (like Vimperator) in order to narrow down the number of highlighted links?

    You can, thanks to @saulrh. First set hintfiltermode vimperator and then set hintchars 1234567890.

  • How to remap keybindings in both normal mode and ex mode?

    You cannot. We only support normal mode bindings for now, with bind [key] [excmd]

  • Where can I find a changelog for the different versions (to see what is new in the latest version)?

    Here.

  • Why can't I use my bookmark keywords?

    Mozilla doesn't give us access to them. See issue #73.

  • Why doesn't Tridactyl work on websites with frames?

    It should work on some frames now. See #122.

  • Can I change proxy via commands?

    Not yet, but this feature will eventually be implemented.

  • How do I disable Tridactyl on certain sites?

    In the beta you can use blacklistadd, like this: blacklistadd mail.google.com/mail.

  • How can I list the current bindings?

    viewconfig nmaps works OK, but Tridactyl commands won't work on the shown page for "security reasons". We'll eventually provide a better way. See #98.

  • Why doesn't Tridactyl work on some pages?

    One possible reason is that the site has a strict content security policy. You can try to use set csp clobber to fix this, but know that it could worsen the security of sensitive pages.

  • How can I know which mode I'm in/have a status line?

    Press j and see if you scroll down :) There's no status line yet: see #210, but we do have a "mode indicator" in the bottom right. It even goes purple when you're in a private window :).

  • Does anyone actually use Tridactyl?

    In addition to the developers, some other people do. Mozilla keeps tabs on them here.

  • How do I prevent websites from stealing focus?

    There are two ways to do that, the first one is set allowautofocus false (if you do this you'll probably also want to set browser.autofocus to false in about:config). This will prevent the page's focus() function from working and could break javascript text editors such as Ace or CodeMirror. Another solution is to use autocmd TabEnter .* unfocus in the beta, JS text editors should still work but pages won't steal focus when entering their tabs anymore.

  • Help! A website I use is totally blank when I try to use it with Tridactyl enabled!

    Try set noiframeon [space separated list of URLs to match]. If that doesn't work, please file an issue.

Contributing

Building and installing

Onboarding:

git clone https://github.com/cmcaine/tridactyl.git
cd tridactyl
npm install
npm run build

Each time package.json or package-lock.json change after you checkout or pull, you should run npm install again.

Addon is built in tridactyl/build. Load it as a temporary addon in firefox with about:debugging or see Development loop. The addon should work in Firefox 52+, but we're only deliberately supporting >=57.

If you want to install a local copy of the add-on into your developer or nightly build of firefox then you can enable installing unsigned add-ons and then build it like so:

# Build tridactyl if you haven't done that yet
npm run build
# Package for a browser
$(npm bin)/web-ext build -s build

If you want to build a signed copy (e.g. for the non-developer release), you can do that with web-ext sign. You'll need some keys for AMO and to edit the application id in src/manifest.json. There's a helper script in scripts/sign that's used by our build bot and for manual releases.

Building on Windows

  • Install Git for Windows

  • Install NodeJS for Windows

    • Current 8.11.1 LTS seems to work fine
  • Launch the installation steps described above from MinTTY shell

    • Also known as "Git Bash"

Development loop

npm run build & npm run run

You'll need to run npm run build every time you edit the files, and press "r" in the npm run run window to make sure that the files are properly reloaded.

Committing

A pre-commit hook is added by npm install that simply runs npm test. If you know that your commit doesn't break the tests you can commit with git commit -n to ignore the hooks. If you're making a PR, travis will check your build anyway.

Documentation

Ask in #tridactyl on matrix.org, freenode, or gitter. We're friendly!

Default keybindings are currently best discovered by reading the default config.

Development notes are in the doc directory, but they're mostly out of date now. Code is quite short and not too badly commented, though.

Principles and objectives

Principles:

  • Keyboard > mouse
  • default keybinds should be Vim-like
  • actions should be composable and repeatable
  • ex mode should expose all the browser functionality anyone might want
  • Arguable: most (all?) actions should have an ex mode version (departure from Vim?)
  • users can map and define their own actions and commands

Other objectives:

  • be fast - the whole point of a keyboard interface is to be more efficient, don't compromise that with slow code
  • don't crash - we're the new UI and we shouldn't crash
  • be maintainable - code should be well documented, reasoned about and tested.

Logo acknowledgement

The logo was designed by Jake Beazley using free vector art by www.Vecteezy.com