Make use of the bookmarks side panel that should have been there in Chrome

Did you know Slimjet supports a bookmarks side panel/bar that is not available in Chrome and most other Chromium-based browsers?

Select Bookmarks->Show bookmarks side panel from the main menu to show the bookmarks side panel as shown below,


The advantage of a side panel is that it should show many more bookmarks that the horizontal bookmark bar. Many people has asked for a multiple-row bookmarks bar in order to have quick access to more bookmarks. The side panel is a great alternative way to solve the problem. You can show about 50 bookmarks/folders if you have a monitor with a vertical resolution of 1200. Nowadays, most monitors have more enough width that typically needed for most web pages. So, it actually makes more sense to let the bookmarks side panel to fill up the extra width than let the previous vertical space taken away by the horizontal bookmarks bar.

Slimjet 64-bit Experimental Build

Slimjet 64-bit experimental build is now available for download.

Regular installer:
Portable version:

Chrome also introduced both 32-bit and 64-bit since V37. However, if you install the 64-bit version, it will directly overwrite the 32-bit version. You can’t have both version installed. For people who want to keep 32-bit and 64-bit version side by side, that’s inconvenient and awkward.

We have made tweaks in the Slimjet project so that the 32-bit and 64-bit version can sit side by side on the same system. They share the same profile folder unless you are using the portable version.

According to the Chromium blog, the 64-bit version of the Chromium has the following three major advantages:

  • Speed: 64-bit allows us to take advantage of the latest processor and compiler optimizations, a more modern instruction set, and a calling convention that allows more function parameters to be passed quickly by registers. As a result, speed is improved, especially in graphics and multimedia content, where we see an average 25% improvement in performance.
  • Security: With Chrome able to take advantage of the latest OS features such as High Entropy ASLR on Windows 8, security is improved on 64-bit platforms as well. Those extra bits also help us better defend against exploitation techniques such as JIT spraying, and improve the effectiveness of our existing security defense features like heap partitioning.
  • Stability: Finally, we’ve observed a marked increase in stability for 64-bit Chrome over 32-bit Chrome. In particular, crash rates for the the renderer process (i.e. web content process) are almost half that of 32-bit Chrome.

However, we doubt any average user is able to feel significant performance improvement during daily browsing activities. And it’s also worthwhile to mention the catches with 64-bit version

  • It won’t be compatible with 32-bit plugins. If you often visit sites with 32-bit NPAPI plugins, we’d advise you to stay with the 32-bit version for now.
  • 64-bit version uses more memory due to its wide word width.

The 64-bit version hasn’t gone through extensive testing yet. Be prepared for bugs and issues. If you find any problems, please report to us via the online feedback menu under Help center.




Does text look better with DirectWrite?

Slimjet 1.2.0 (based on Chromium 37) has officially introduced the feature of using DirectWrite to render the text in the web pages. The option is enabled by default.

DirectWrite uses sub-pixeling positioning and anti-aliasing. It does make the strokes of the text look smooth and more natural. But on the other hand, it makes the text look a little blurry, just like the text you see in a PDF file. Not everyone likes the smoothing effect. There are plenty of people who always like to see clear pixels with sharp boundaries. If you are one of those people, you can easily turn off DirectWrite by typing slimjet://flags in the omnibox and turning on the option “Disable DirectWrite“. 

Feel free to reply to this post and let us know if you like DirectWrite or not.




Automatically optimize memory usage in Slimjet

Support for automatic memory optimization is added in Slimjet 1.2.0. The option “Automatically optimize memory usage” is located in  the misc section of the settings page. The option is on by default and the default optimization period is set to 10 minutes. This can help minimize the memory usage of Slimjet. Theoretically speaking, this memory saving comes at the price of some performance degradation. However, based on our testing result, we can’t barely notice any slowdown at the default setting. And it can save the memory usage by 30% on an average system.

You might further reduce the period or even set to the zero to do more aggressive memory optimization. However, that might increase the chance of performance degradation depending on your system configuration. If you experience significant slowdown after enabling this option or reducing the optimization period, consider increasing the period or disable this setting completely.

How to disable all the desktop notifications in Slimjet

Chrome introduced the feature of desktop notification center around m35. While it might be useful for some users, it is not really useful for most of us, at least not useful enough to take an icon’s position from the premium real-estate on the system tray. What makes it even more annoying is that it is very hard to be completely disabled. Chrome added an icon in the system tray already to allow Chrome to run it background. Why not let users manage the notifications from the existing icon, instead of adding another one? This feature does feel like another aggressive-yet-doomed-to-fail attempt to push the Google+ social networking service into people’s life.

Disable desktop notifications in Chrome is a confusing task for most people. There used to be a simple switch in Chrome://settings you can flip to turn it off. But somehow the Google developers decided to take it away in the latest version, obviously for some business reasons not exactly aligned with user’s interests.

We have made it VERY easy for Slimjet users to fully disable the desktop notifications. Whenever you see the white (or grey) bell icon showing up in the system tray area, right click on it and select “Disable desktop notification” from the context menu. After that, the icon is removed and no more notification popups will come out again.

If you somehow miss the desktop notification again after disabling it, go to chrome://settings and scroll down to the Privacy section. Turn on the option “Enable desktop notifications”.