A short Flock Review

Today I decided to give Flock a short run, and see what all the commotion was about, or if there even is any.

So read on to see what I think about it.

Pleasant Design

Usually, people disregard this, but for me to use a program for a long period of time the interface has to be just right.

The buttons are all nice, and well designed, and I find the “Star” Button, next to the address bar very intuitive and easy to use. Perhaps this is one of the things that sets Flock apart from other browsers: they don’t fear doing some things differently.

Overall, the browser looks really nice. The only slight remark I have to make is that when you have the “My News” (RSS manager) or the History bars open, the sky blue background of it can become a bit distracting, or at least it does to me. In this aspect, Firefox’s default theme is better, since the icons all have neutral colors and you’re hardly ever distracted by it.

Inconsistency

Be it outdated or not, I like the good old, functional, bookmarks bar. It’s easy, fast and intuitive to use, and I usually keep it open always for fast navigation between sites. Perhaps, the problem is mine alone, but I like the good old Internet Explorer approach to bookmarks. On Flock, when you open your Bookmarks (which are known as Favorites in the program) it will open a new tab with all your Bookmark Folders on the left and their included sites on the right. You can’t middle click one of the bookmarks to open it on a new tab (you have to right click it and select open in a new tab), and you have to double click to open the link you want on the actual tab.

Now, as I said once again, perhaps it is me, who is too used to the old system, but I find this new one irritating. And the inability to change it so it displays as Firefox and IE do makes my browsing experience worse. All my screen resolutions are 1280p wide, and I don’t like using the browser maximized because of liquid design sites (like most forums) spreading the text too wide.

Why do I speak of inconsistency? Because the History and RSS files, are displayed in the same way as Firefox and IE.

After a small search on the forums and Extensions page, I found out that there was an Extension to make the bookmarks display the same as Firefox, however, it is not compatible with the latest version of Flock.

Innovative Features

Now onto the good stuff. After hardly any time at all (a minute or two), after first installing Flock, I could already view my Flickr Pictures on it, and easily post them on my blog, and had all my bookmarks arranged the same way I had them on Firefox. And since the interface is pretty much the same as Firefox, with the exception of a few options, picking it up and starting to use it takes no time at all.

By pressing a “Photos” Button, Flock will display a bar, similar to the history bar, but horizontally, with all your Flickr Pictures. You can also upload pictures to Flickr easily using Flock’s integrated uploader.

To use one of those pictures on your blog just open the the Blog Post window (also by clicking a button), and drag to it. And what if you want to use a picture from another website (by hotlinking it)? Just as easy as using a picture from Flickr. You just drag the picture you want from the website (though it can’t be a background) to the bottom of the browser, and it will be added to a similar bar as an item, and you can use it later, wherever you wish, be it a blog post or a forum. When you drag, by default what will appear is the URL of the picture, but if you right click it and select “Copy Snippet’s HTML” it will automatically add the img tag for you from the source. Even though in ForeverGeek we don’t usually hotlink, for a personal blog this is an excellent functionality.

Usually, when writing articles, I’m confronted by the problem that I wish to copy two parts of text, but without changing back and forth on tabs, specially when I have many of them open. In Flock, all you have to do is click an option at the bottom right, that says “Create Snippets” and it will open a Notepat-style window for all your copy pasting needs. And by clicking save, it goes to the same bottom bar as the one you drag images from sites to.

Last Thoughts

All in all, Flock is a nice browser, first of all it uses Mozilla as it’s base, and adds many new features to it that are great for bloggers.

I don’t know if I will be switching to it just yet, as I have to get used to it’s way of handling things, however, I do plan on using when I want to blog for my personal page. In that, Flock facilitates my life a lot, and it’s definetely worth keeping an eye on.

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