Run Web Applications in Linux Using Tangram Browser

Brief: Tangram is a browser that aims to help you run and manage web applications in Linux. Let’s take a look at how it works.

Even if we have native Linux applications available for several tools, many end up using web applications.

Maybe in the form of an electron app or directly through a web browser, native experiences are becoming an old-school thing.

Of course, running web applications, no matter the platform, needs more system resources. And, considering every service is going for a web-based approach instead of a native experience, we need solutions to manage the web apps efficiently.

An open-source Linux app, Tangram, could be the solution.

Tangram: A Browser Tailored to Run Web Applications

tangram web app browser

You can choose to use some of the best Linux web browsers to run web applications. But, if you want something that entirely focuses on web application experience, Tangram is an exciting option.

The developer took inspiration from GNOME Web, Franz, and Rambox.

You do not get any fancy features but just the ability to change the user agent and manage the web applications you have logged in to.

It can be used to access multiple social media platforms, chat messengers, work collaboration applications, and more.

Features of Tangram

tangram settings

Considering it is a minimal browser based on WebKitGTK, not much you can do here. To list some of the essentials, here’s what you can do:

  • Re-order tabs in the sidebar
  • Easily add any web service as a web app
  • Ability to tweak the user agent (Desktop/mobile)
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Change position of the sidebar (tab bar)

All you need to do is load up a web service, log in, and click on “Done” to add it as a web application.

tangram web app whatsapp

Installing Tangram in Linux

Tangram is available as a Flatpak for every Linux distribution, and you can also find it in AUR.

If you want to install it via the terminal, type in the following command:

flatpak install flathub re.sonny.Tangram

You may refer to our Flatpak guide if you do not have it enabled on your system.

To explore more about it, you can check out its GitHub page.

Have you tried this yet? Do you prefer web applications or native applications? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • Do you know if it creates isolated environments for the apps ? something like container tabs of firefox ? Because I just don’t want the cookies to be accessible amongst different apps

  • In general I try to avoid flatpak, snap, and appImage, but it’s not always possible. For example, I use Cozi as a family calendar, but it has no native Linux application, and I like to keep it open even if my browsers are closed. I current do not run any flatpaks, but a few snaps and appImages.

    Do you know how this compares to Brave “shortcut”? Right now, if there is a web app I need, like Cozi, I create a Brave shortcut. It opens just that page, not all tabs (like Tangram sees too according to Github, and though each tab is walled off that means system resources for each web application you’re using instead of one). Brave shortcuts also have one’s extensions, like ad blockers, uBlock, etc. (and Tangram doesn’t seem to have extensions, again according to Github).

    In addition, I use Firejail to run Brave in a sandbox. I suppose I can do that with Tangram, but the all tabs and no extensions suggest to me that Brave shortcuts, or even Nativifier (basically wrapping in Electron, but still only running the one app you need at a time), is probably still a better solution.

    Thoughts?

      • It wasn’t a gripe and it can’t be divorced from the other methods. I don’t use npm or pip either. I don’t want a Frankenstein system of packages and web apps from a dozen graveyards.

  • When the article author says (quote).. “considering every service is going for a web-based approach instead of a native experience…”, can he explain which of the “every” services he is referencing, since it is not generally possible to “webify” very many native (on computer) applications like Bleachbit – a popular disk cleanup App, Adobe Photoshop, Anti-virus, password manager, SSD/HD setup/configuration software and several others.

    In many if not most cases, there is also no ‘preference’ to webify or “Brower-ize” applications, since this approach completely restricts user productivity if internet access is not available, even temporarily.

    • Office 365 and Google Docs respectively run as webapps. Pretty much every instant messaging and most email clients/services run as webapps. There’s a webapp version of photoshop which you mentioned. Almost all password managers have browser plugins and are in essence web applications. In fact even anti virus applications you mentioned are mostly cloud based and the only thing that runs locally is the runtime.

      In a world where webapps are the norm, there is no need for a lot of the little utilities you mentioned because everything is locked down and runs in containers with limited access to your system.

      • “everything is locked down and runs in containers with limited access to your system.”

        If only that were true (e.g. see cross-browser fingerprinting) which is why I Firejail all my browsers. Shoot, a couple of years ago at one of the security conferences, someone demonstrated how to get into the host system from a VM and get root of the host. Browser to OS is trivial comparatively.

        As for email clients as web apps, sure, they exist, but why anyone would use webmail or a web app for email is beyond me. The biggest threat vector in email is html, and a browser is nothing but an html rendering engine. The biggest threat vector in a browser is javascript. Why combine them?