Elegantly browse two websites at the sametime with TwoBrowse

Need to browse two sites at once?  Need to split the screen 50-50?  Try TwoBrowse, a free HTML page developed by myself and Caleb Stein.  TwoBrowse is based on the QuickBrowser source code and is a great way to look at two pages at once:

TwoBrowse has two different sets of back, home, and forward buttons and two different URL bars.  When you enter a URL into one of the bars and click Go it’ll take you directly to the page you want.  This is great if, say, you want to watch a YouTube video on one side and browse on another, and you’re on a computer like the Wii where you can’t use two windows or if you simply want a more elegant solution (for this enter full screen).  TwoBrowse, being open source like its originator QuickBrowser, is quick to modify and relatively simple to use.

Here I’m comparing two search engines in full screen, one extremely popular and the other the leading rival:

What kind of things would you like to see in TwoBrowse?

TwoBrowse homepage

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  • Jeffrey Solomon

    do you think there will be a time when I can use the fantastic idea to be able to have google voice on one side (it is https://) you guys do great work!!!

  • http://cogizio.org Locutus

    @lol768: Doesn’t work locally in Chrome, it may be because Chrome doesn’t allow local cookies correctly, but I’ll not upload it as the main one just yet.

    Also, if you have a website, feel free to add it to the CREDITs comment at the top.

  • lol768
  • http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_Picard Locutus

    @lol768: There’s a slight issue with your code. It splashes the home page of the left frame in an Alert.

  • lol768

    @Locutus: The reason it flashes a 404 and then shows the hompeage is because the onload function of the body tag automaticly executes the function. The javascript in the src of the iframe won’t do anything :)

    IE is a totally useless browser :) but I’ll see if I can fix it. For the frame written in Javascript idea – that would work but wouldn’t it be easier to set the src of the frame to the default page and then if they have the cookie then redirect them to their homepage. There might be some delay in this method but it would work.

    As I was on ubuntu when writing the code I only tested it in Firefox but itmay be that IE doesn’t support the jquery cookie code.

    Another thing, I hotlinked the cookie code from github. You may want to download the file and upload it to your htdocs/twobrowse folder and link to it like that.

  • http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_Picard Locutus

    @lol768: I just had an idea–what if we use Javascript to write the iframe, and thusly use a variable?! We could then also define a starting frame src for people without a stored cookie.

  • http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_Picard Locutus

    @Locutus: …
    The whole thing is broken in IE. Whatever.

  • http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_Picard Locutus

    @lol768: Wait, really? It works fine for me in Firefox…. it flashes a 404 message and then goes to my home page. It works fine! I’ll try it in IE; but for now try my site.

    BTW the site defaults to just a blue page.

  • lol768

    @Locutus: I’m glad you’ve found it useful. I found some bugs (not validating user input mostly) so I have updated the code: http://pastebin.com/ktWuW4P1

    I can see that you are trying to get to src attribute of the frame from the function and while it is a logical thing to try and do it won’t work as html doesn’t understand JavaScript in tag attributes.

    Now that the homepage feature works I use TwoBrowse to browse dottech and cogizio. Maybe I could get it to display 3 panes…

  • http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_Picard Locutus

    @Locutus: Ok, you can see what may or may not be the final version on the site now!

  • http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_Picard Locutus

    @lol768: Brilliant! I’m really busy tonight (but then what am I doing on here?!) but I’ll try to integrate it into the site today or tomorrow!

  • lol768

    I have uploaded the code to pastebin. Link is http://pastebin.com/VU164AkG

    Tested in Firefox (ubuntu) and it seems to work.

  • lol768

    @Locutus: Shouldn’t be too hard. I’ll try it and if i get it working I’ll send you the code

  • http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_Picard Locutus

    @lol768: No, I was planning on taking the home page URL as taken from the URL field. The URL field doesn’t update from the iframe, but is used for entering other urls.

  • lol768


    I had a look at some code to see if the whole setting homepage idea would work, and the issue is with browser cross-domain security which limits what you can do in JavaScript if you are interacting with other domains.

    From what I’ve read you’d need to use a HTA extension file for any hope of getting this to work and then that would only work with IE. JavaScript is quite limited when working with external domains. Another way I can think of achieving (server-side unfortunately) this is by using php and two divs (controlled by jQuery’s AJAX functions). The PHP script would act as a proxy, passing through the code from the external page so the frame would see it as being on the same domain. This would allow you to set a home page cookie, but there is little chance that a shared hosting provider would let you run such a script as it could be used for malicious purposes.

  • http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_Picard Locutus

    @Tim: Glad to know it’s of help to you!

  • Tim

    As a web designer who often has to compare different versions of a website in multiple browsers, this is a godsend!

    Previously I could only do it in Firefox using an add-on called TileTabs. Now I can compare sites in any browser.

    Thank you.

  • http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_Picard Locutus

    @Samuel: I’ve really gotten no where unfortunately. So… unless you want to do the whole thing? :|
    Thanks for the offer! I know no javascript so the only help I can give you is the help of “this looks good here, and how about changing this here”.

  • http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Profile/en-US/?user=Bill%20Gates%20II Samuel

    @Locutus: I won’t call JS my specialty. Technically I’m a Client/Server programmer by training, but I’ve been working on increasing my web programming abilities. If you need any help I can try, though like Ashraf and yourself I’m sure I do have a “real life” so I can’t say how much priority I could give it.

  • phoenix_rising

    @Locutus: And therein lies the beauty of it.

  • http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_Picard Locutus

    @phoenix_rising: Fun fact–it was designed so no software was needed! :D

  • phoenix_rising

    @Ashraf: For me, the beauty is in the simplicity and ease. For the purposes I use it for, it’s perfect. And I highly recommend it to people who, like me, are working on bilingual pages and just want to be able to bring them up quickly side by side. Plus I don’t have to install a program to do it.

  • http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_Picard Locutus

    @Ashraf: Well for one thing it’s open source and it’s not exactly the world’s hardest javascript.  Heck, I don’t even know any javascript!  I’ve tried to add a cookie-based home page and bookmarks system but I don’t know enough JS at all.
    I suppose for a future release I could try to manage a plus/minus system for adding and subtracting panes.  It’d be totally possible, I just don’t know how.

  • Ashraf

    @Caleb: I suppose it is a matter of perspective. I prefer the flexibility to opening/closing and moving around windows using WinSplit. This limits me to two and if I ever want to go back to just one I have to reload the page.

    Furthermore, if I was just some random person (who didn’t know you two) how could I trust that you aren’t redirecting my data through your servers and storing it somewhere?

    @phoenix_rising: To everyone there own — I am sure there are people who find this tool useful, but as I said I prefer WinSplit.

  • phoenix_rising

    I’ve been using this since Locutus and Caleb first put it on Cogizio. It’s perfect for the work I do on our bilingual website. I can have one side up in English and the other side up in my home country’s language. It makes translating, editing, etc, so much easier. Plus, thanks to these two brilliant boys, I was able to customise it to open at my preferred home pages. Love it. Can’t speak highly enough of it.

  • http://hackmyphone.wordpress.com/ Caleb

    @Ashraf: It is a more elegant solution than having two browser windows, especially if you full-screen it.

  • Ashraf

    @Locutus: Very clever – you should advertise it as such, because otherwise I agree with Paul… there are no advantages over two browser windows.

  • http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_Picard Locutus

    @Paul: It’s useful for when your browser can’t use multiple windows… the person who had the original idea (Caleb Stein) wanted it to use in Opera for Wii.

  • http://Website(optional) Paul

    Does this have any advantages over just having two browser windows open next to eachother?

  • http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_Picard Locutus

    @rueaskew: I’ve been trying to add a customizable home button using cookies.  It’s been amazingly hard as I don’t actually know much Javascript at all, but if/once I get it I could easily use the same code to make a bookmarks system.

  • http://Website(optional) rueaskew

    An excellent idea! Would there be a way (in the future) to personalize the two screens? Perhaps Bookmarks & Favorites? I’m aware this would probably require a downloaded application of some type but…why the hell not? At any rate I believe I can use this combining YouTube concerts with sites for guitar chords or lyrics; or maybe to copy/edit a recipe from a cooking video as I watch it…or even to report on breaking news as I simultaneously watch the feed. I’m sure you’ll be hearing of some very innovative ideas from other readers.

  • http://www.banidincriza.webatu.com Beny

    Great tool!

  • http://www.banidincriza.webatu.com bani

    Wow!This is a useful tool!