Polypane: A browser for responsive and accessible development

97 points62 comments12 days
by cgrs12 days ago

Open source alternative:

by vladsanchez10 days ago

Thanks for sharing it. I'll experiment how to parallelize my Robot/Selenium tests with it. ;) Gracias.

by sillycube12 days ago

I am using this one. There are a few apps monetizing this idea with a paid option. But I don't see what is extra except there is a price tag

by elondaits12 days ago

In case someone from Polypane drops by:

Your pricing page breaks completely when accessing it from Argentina where prices are "larger" (ej. "ARS 1,037.20" for the Individual plan).

Worse, I see no way to change the currency. You shouldn't assume that because I accessed from Argentina the price in Argentine Pesos is helpful for me (it isn't). You should provide a way to change the currency (normally people put it in the footer) or not try to match currency with visitors based solely on the geolocation of their IP address.

by MrDresden12 days ago


I rarely speak the language of the country I may be in atm.

I rarely use the currency of the country I may be in atm.

Please, do not try to be smart about these things.

by nnf12 days ago

As long as there’s an easy way for the user to choose a different language and currency, it seems defaulting based on location would be correct for the highest percentage of users, unless you have some reason to believe it’s more likely that your audience is, say, English-speaking users who prefer to see prices in USD.

by MrDresden12 days ago

In the vast amount of cases there is never any (clear or otherwise) option to set the language of the site. This has held true for Google as well as small mom and pops web shops.

Larger entities like Google can just send you into redirection hell sometimes if you try to set a language (where you can even find the option).

Others decline to show you the content since it is not "available in your part of the world" even though what you were doing was simply setting the language of the webpage, not changing its location in the world (I have been temporarily in the Netherlands now for a few months and this keeps happening on .nl domains!).

If the page is a for a SaaS, the pricing structure should allow me to select from all of the options they have. I do not want to be forced to only have prices in DKK, SEK, EURO or US if it is just tied to the location that the page thinks I am coming from.

Here I'm obviously excluding cases where the store/saas/service is location specific (i.e for Sweden for instance).

by zamadatix12 days ago

> In the vast amount of cases there is never any (clear or otherwise) option to set the language of the site.

Unless manually disabled for privacy reasons (in which case... well yeah) your browser sends a weighted list of your language preferences with the HTTP request, the option on the site should only be an override.

> This has held true for Google as well as small mom and pops web shops.

Google follows the above language list unless your account or temporary session settings override it. Mom and pop probably don't know how to support more than one language let alone how to implement it well.

by ImprobableTruth12 days ago

There's the accept-language http header that any browser sends depending on your system language, no need to guess based on location.

by brokenkebab12 days ago

On language you may be right. On currency, it's complicated. In economically unstable countries people generally prefer to count in USD, or EUR, especially if it's something which has to be paid across borders.

by elondaits12 days ago

The language thing is terrible. I use the English version of Chrome on an English language MacOS, configured English as my preferred language with Spanish as the second option (which are sent to the site)… and of I travel to Germany many internationalized sites decide I want to read in German… or Portuguese in Brazil. Language options and localization are old as time but sites use defaults based on IP addresses.

by epolanski11 days ago

Some websites on mobile still display in swiss french for me, because I lived there in 2015. And I have changed 4 smartphones since then, but some websites that I registered or logged from years ago in switzerland still assume I'm living there. Worse of all? I cannot change the currency, and everything is shown in CHF.

by tentacleuno12 days ago

> Please, do not try to be smart about these things.

There must be some sort of sales benefit to it, otherwise websites wouldn't be doing it. I'm guessing the main advantage is when it gets the currency right, it's easier to buy the product.

by kingcharles12 days ago

Not true. I've made i8n features like that in the past for companies where they thought it would be nice and did not put any research, before or after launch, into whether there was any benefit whatsoever.

"Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." -- Dr. Ian Malcolm.

by tentacleuno12 days ago

> Not true. I've made i8n features like that in the past for companies where they thought it would be nice and did not put any research, before or after launch, into whether there was any benefit whatsoever.

That makes sense in a way. Managers tend to implement features nonsensically, as Hacker News constantly reminds me :-)

What would be the best compromise in your opinion, then: doing this magic automatically and giving the user an option, asking them up-front, etc. ...?

by laurent12345612 days ago

Stripe recommends setting the currency based on the detected country, as that apparently increases conversion.

by easton12 days ago

Speaking anecdotally, it does. Sometimes (not as much in the past couple years with Adafruit) I’ve been shopping for electronics kits on the internet and would usually bounce when the prices weren’t in USD. Occasionally I’d see the magic switch currency button, but usually it’s 10px wide somewhere I don’t see it.

by otrahuevada12 days ago

I'm in Uruguay and it gave me Euros as currency? I'm not sure what 3rd party they're using for this but it looks like it could use some fine tuning

by chrismorgan12 days ago

Presenting such converted prices (without saying “this is an approximation”) also requires that you lock in the price in that currency indefinitely (which is possible, but I’d be surprised), or else you’re lying to your customers about the price.

I can’t find any plausible correlation between the prices it’s presenting me (AUD745.40 billed annually for the business plan) and any base currency. The Individual-to-Business ratio suggests 9 and 39 units of currency per month, but which that would be, I don’t know. “Includes VAT” makes the whole thing a mess; European VAT is inapplicable in Australia, though if they do enough business here they should register for GST (and the procedure for skipping that taax is different, too: in Europe the buyer gives the seller their VAT ID and the seller removes the VAT charge, but in Australia the seller charges GST and business clients can claim it back from the Tax Office in their Business Activity Statement).

Making this worse, the page source has a JSON-LD block listing an aggregate price range of USD9–49, which I’m pretty sure is just flat-out wrong.

by kadomony12 days ago

Their pricing breaks the entire deal for me. :) Just use the free alternative Responsively.

by CallMeMarc12 days ago

If you like Open Source, I’ve been using Responsively which seems to be roughly the same but without any monthly subscription.

by bennyp10112 days ago

I used this last year when I was working on a new site for something, I ended up paying for a month, then cancelling. I used it pretty much everyday, so I think, the £9 was well worth it.

There are obviously still browser quirks that needed ironing out, but this got me a good way there in multiple screen sizes at the same time - seeing how a little change looks instantly across different screens was super helpful.

Edit: The dev was super responsive as well, I emailed about a bug that I found, and he emailed back a version to test with the fix in, with the full version being rolled out later in the week.

by defanor12 days ago

That's yet another accessibility-related project with a website that is broken if accessibility features (e.g., slightly configured FF with minimal font sizes and colours set) or textual web browsers (e.g., lynx) are used. It seems that such projects tend to pick some very narrow view of what accessibility should be about, and only focus on that. I'd say it's ironic, to have inaccessible websites for accessibility-related projects, but at this point it just looks like a general rule.

by ricardobeat12 days ago

The SaaS pricing of these tools is getting out of hand. €108/year for this. Another hundred for retool, another hundred for Postman, mmhmm / camera apps, Notion, Gmail, Trello/Jira, Github/Gitlab, Slack, an image resizing service, some load testing tool, Figma.. now every developer has a $1000+ monthly burn rate (!).

Can we go back to buying plain software licenses?

by jeroenhd12 days ago

Most of the tools you listed are hosted services, not products you buy once. Gmail, Trello, Slack, Figma, and Jira are all closed source components on a hosted platform. Their core features are that you can use them and collaborate on them without taking care of running the actual software itself.

You can switch to alternative you host yourself. RocketChat or Element instead of Slack, Gitlab instead of Github, you name it. There are tons of open source and closed source alternative to all the cool hosted platforms if you dare look outside what everyone else is using.

This strategy incurs the cost of maintenance and management, which is why in many cases the hosted services are usually cheaper. Getting Gitlab on a $10 VPS isn't a problem, but getting regular backups, failovers, etc. is incredible difficult.

My personal developer burn rate is less than $50 per month. The company I work for doesn't even need pay for Docker's fancy account with higher limits because there's no need to, even if you run containers all day. You don't have to use all these expensive online services if you're willing to run some software in-house, but don't underestimate the cost of paying someone to set up all those cost-saving services.

by horsawlarway12 days ago

I've mostly switched to the self-hosted side.

Yes - there is some initial ramp up time and some hurdles to face (and I actually ended up going the self-hosted K8s route, which is definitely a lot of additional ramp up time, but IMO - worth it.)

That said... I save a LOT of money.

Currently hosting

- Bookstack

- Seafile

- Jellyfin

- Grocy


- Gitlab

- Youtrack

- Keycloak

- OpenHab

~$50/year for dynamic dns. ~$15/year for hostnames. ~$5/year for backup and long term storage (this varies, but is often within the free tier on backblaze unless I have to restore a service).

Or about $5/month (not including the internet, which I already pay for anyways, and the hardware, which is literally my old/outdated machines running micro-k8s, and a NAS).

The maintenance can be annoying every now and then - but it's also the kind of work I don't really mind, and it's a nice exercise to stay up-to-date on tech I end up interacting with in the office anyways.

by theamk12 days ago

Why on earth would you pay monthly for image resizing tool? Also, not quite sure what load testing tool you mean, but there is a chance local version would be enough.

You can go to buying plain software licenses, but I most people don't bother.

by ricardobeat12 days ago


by harrybr12 days ago

Sizzy is a similar product that I've been using for a year or two. It's pretty good:

Monthly licence fee: £5.36/month Annual: £39.07/yr Lifetime: £152.43

by marban12 days ago

Also included in Setapp.

by molszanski12 days ago

Also amazing

by mouzogu12 days ago

I like this, but why the heck do I need to pay a monthly subscription. That alone has put me off the trying it out.

I would rather just pay a one off fee, maybe for a 2-3 year license.

by sergiomattei12 days ago

As a counterpoint to most comments here, I've been using Polypane for a couple years now and it's been an invaluable tool in my arsenal.

I don't mind that it's not open source, it's made by an indie dev that's super responsive and really cares about helping people making better websites.

Keep it up, Kilian!

by joshmanders12 days ago

Co-sign this! Kilian is the man!

by rado12 days ago

Keep in mind that mobile Safari behaves differently and a resized Chrome is not enough.

by wildrhythms12 days ago

Yes, my issue with these types of 'services' always is that it only 'emulates' the screen resolution. They might as well just be iframes locked to specific resolutions; the result is that it's still my own browser doing the rendering. What I want is some kind of reverse-polyfill that accurately reflects the rendering capabilities.

by epolanski11 days ago

And they always miss the most important feature: a webkit browser emulation (which is obviously nearly impossible).

by sleepycatgirl12 days ago

Ehhh.. seems it is closed source, and if so, I am not exactly happy to try it at all...

Browser, handling so much important stuff, being closed source is a bit of... just no.

by jve12 days ago

Is it you that audit the code or just having a piece of mind with the thought: "Someone MUST HAVE looked at that code and if I haven't stumbled upon any bad press, probably this is good to go!"? Maybe you are running some automated tools that identifies whether particular software accesses data it doesn't have to or makes network connections etc?

Something being open source doesn't automatically mean it is secure. On the other hand, any software running on your pc requires you to put trust in the developers. I think it would be easier to just setup monitoring (like preventing outgoing traffic or identifying DNS lookups etc) and limiting permissions on what particular software can do, be it black or white box. White box of course allows running some analyzers, but... do any non-contributors actually do it?

I remember seeing some tool here, don't remember - was it Microsoft made or what? That scanned the code and tried to identify what accesses software makes.

by marginalia_nu12 days ago

If it is your intent, it's also disturbingly easy to hide behavior from code reviewers. The Underhanded C Coding Contest has a lot of examples of this type of stuff:

I can already hear some of you starting to type a rant about how this actually is a C problem and not something that would happen in a modern language like ${YOUR_FAVORITE_LANGUAGE:-rust}; and to an extent it is true that C is especially vulnerable to this particular vector of attack, but like it or not a lot of open source software if it isn't written in C, depends on libraries that are. This includes the Linux kernel, OpenSSL, cURL. WebKit is written in C++ which might as well be C for the sake of this discussion. Other languages have other attack vectors, like the fractal-like dependency tree of NPM for example, something that has been demonstrated time and time again to be more than a hypothetical security risk.

by cedricr12 days ago

The rendering engine is Chromium so… that's the most important thing as far as I'm concerned. At least for this usage: it's a browser for web development, not for everyday use.

by beyondcompute12 days ago

Should consumers start pushing back against subscription-based pricing models more actively at this point?

by cedricr12 days ago

It's an economic model that is certainly not for everybody, nor for everything, but for dev tools that help me earn money, I can't see the problem. And if I stop paying for it tomorrow, and don't have access to it anymore, you know what? My site will still be online.

by tentacleuno12 days ago

> It's an economic model that is certainly not for everybody,

Not calling you out directly OP (in fact, I quite like your project), but the subscription model is pretty badly thought out most of the time IMO. Especially in a commercial setting. You really should not have to pay a company a monthly fee to operate cameras you bought, on your property. These trojan horse subscriptions are then normally paired with other anti-people abuses, e.g. not allowing the user to use basic functionalities without the subscription.

> My site will still be online.

Just curious: what would happen if your website went offline? If your application is phoning home to verify a license, and the website comes back with an unexpected / no response (maybe you let the hosting run out), would the software still be usable? I think there should be more provisions against this sort of thing in subscription-payed applications.

by cedricr12 days ago

I'm not affiliated with the project; just discovered it by chance this morning and found it deserved to be better known. So, when I said 'My site will still be online", I meant as a web developper using Polypane, when and if I decide to stop paying the subscription, this will have no impact on the web site I've developped with it. Subscriptions might be a problem when you risk loosing access to your data (looking at you Adobe), but in this particular case I couldn't see the problem.

by tentacleuno11 days ago

Ahh, my apologies for assuming you were the developer.

by nishs12 days ago

Are there particular Adobe product that do this? I use Adobe XD which is subscription-based but it allows saving my work locally.

by t0astbread12 days ago

Maybe a weird but honest question: How is/was software even able to finance itself without subscriptions? People expect updates and support which are continuous expenses.

One alternative, I guess, are full-price major revisions at semi-regular intervals. But won't that result in many people never getting an upgrade because they feel it's not worth it?

by tentacleuno12 days ago

As a whole, subscription-based models are pretty bad for society. Companies have figured out subscriptions are so much better because A) they're not paid all at once, making the device attractive, and B) you can constantly drip dry money out of the customer's bank account. It's a great business model for businesses, though.

by eejjjj8212 days ago

Sure. Don't buy it

by a212812 days ago

"No credit card needed" on a browser download was really weird to see

by dotancohen12 days ago

I paid for Opera. $20 20 years ago was not a trivial amount of money, especially for a student.

by yvoschaap12 days ago

Happy to see this here on HN. I usually get the sense Chrome Inspector new features seem to be inspired with what Polypane usually already offers.

by seeekr12 days ago

Trying it out on Intel macos, getting 100% CPU usage in a project (Vite, SvelteKit) while not interacting with the page at all.

by speedgoose12 days ago

It's too expensive for me.

by lobstrosity42012 days ago

I don't mind paying a subscription for a quality product but 60USD a month is very excessive.

by nnf12 days ago

Where are you seeing $60/mo? The pricing page shows $11/mo for an individual (or $9/mo for annual) or $47/mo for a team of up to 10 (or $39/mo for annual).

by quda12 days ago

In 2021 they ask for money for a humble browser. Burn!