More than a decade into the browser wars, and they show no signs of abating. But while the behemoths of Microsoft, Google and Mozilla battle it out in the heavens for market share, closer to earth there’s still room for niche web browsers to make their mark.
One such browser is Sundance 4.0, which aims to carve itself a niche by providing easy access to advanced search tools, direct from the browser’s main interface.
The search tool is basically an integrated version of developer Digola’s Noog Search Assistant, and allows users to search one of Google, Bing or Wikipedia using advanced tools such as exact phrases, words to exclude, specific websites or domains, and even file type.
Sundance itself is little more than a shell that runs using Internet Explorer’s Trident web engine. The user interface isn’t particularly sophisticated, with open tabs displayed as thumbnails across the top of the application window.
A series of buttons provide access to the browser’s key tools – click Search Assistant and it appears in the left-hand pane. Other tools worthy of attention include an option for displaying two web pages side-by-side in the main browser window, and a RSS feed manager. There’s even a built-in WYSIWYG page designer for editing pages.
Sadly, Sundance feels like it’s a long way from the mainstream. Aside from the dated user interface the RSS tool in particular feels underdeveloped – users must enter feed URLs manually to add them to the tool, as opposed to Sundance being able to detect when a feed has been accessed in the browser itself.
There’s also a lack of documentation to help users along – one of the key things you’ll need to find out for yourself is that right-clicking any of the sidebar icons reveals a menu that’s critical to accessing certain features and tweaking the app’s options.
Nevertheless, despite these gripes – and helped immeasurably by its tiny footprint (around 3MB after installation), Sundance may be worth installing alongside your existing browsers as a go-to option when advanced searches are in order.
Sundance 22.214.171.124 is available now as a freeware download for PCs running Windows XP or later.