Monday, March 4, 2013

Living in the browser seems to be possible

My primary Git work environment lives inside a GNU screen session that is running forever. In the first virtual terminal is an instance of Emacs, and it also is running forever. That is where I read e-mails and process patches. I have several virtual terminals in this screen session, and no matter where I physically am, I am connected to this screen session over SSH whenever I am working on Git.

Usually I open two or three Gnome terminals on my notebook and from these terminals go over SSH to the said screen session, but I tried Secure Shell in Chrome on Friday evening. An earlier version of this extension I tried long time ago did not support anything but password authentication, but the recent versions seem to grok private key authentication just fine. It is still rough in that there is no UI to tweak font sizes &c, but a few essentials can be tweaked from the JavaScript console (I hear some of you say "eek" already) and these tweaks survive browser or machine restart. I do not mind doing "set once and forget" configuration by hand.

Following its FAQ page, I came up with the following to let me get going:

term_.prefs_.set('background-color', 'white')
term_.prefs_.set('foreground-color', 'black')
term_.prefs_.set('font-family', 'monospace')
term_.prefs_.set('font-size', 12)
term_.prefs_.set('scrollbar-visible', false)

After opening the terminal window (make sure to set the extension to open in its own window—otherwise an innocent \C-w will close the terminal), I clicked to "Inspect Element", then went to "Console" to open the JavaScript console, and then typed the above four lines. Enter the connection parameter and I have a working and usable terminal. Happiness.

I didn't really mean to, but I ended up not opening any program other than Chrome over the weekend. It was rather a fun experience.

I do have to run a few local programs from time to time (e.g. GnuCash, Gimp, and Kid3 come to mind), and I do not think I can switch entirely to a Chromebook yet, but I should be able to survive for a few days with only Chrome.

1 comment:

Pat said...

When you open a new tab and see the Secure Shell icon for launching the web app, right-click that icon and choose Options. You'll find all kinds of configuration options there.

I too am surprised how good it is.