I hate tabs in web browsers


Ok, i seriously don’t get tabs on Windows.  Hell, i don’t
get tabs on OSX either.  In the latter there’s a great system
called Exposé for that, and in the former the task bar does the job
just great.  Once i start using tabs though things go all to
hell.  On OSX i can’t tell which FireFox/Safari window has the tab
i want (since it’s too small), and similarly in windows i find myself
scanning the taskbar for a site i was looking at, but i can’t find it
because the task bar entry only lists the site that is the currently
active tab.  This makes it so difficult to actually find the site
i want and it ends up being far slower than just having a window
available for each site.

Rumors have it that the next IE will have tabs too, but if they’re
like the current form that we’re seeing in other browsers like FireFox
and Maxthon, i’m curious what’s the point.  Why not have a tab
system that allows you to not open up new windows *but* which is also
easy for the user to for users to find the sites they were looking
for.  How about a system where instead of tabs you have something
like the OSX dock where you would see miniture versions of the web
pages you were out?  Or something where if you hovered over an
item in the taskbar/dock it would overlay that dock-like image above
it.  Then i wouldn’t have to constantly be alt-tabbing or
restoring/minimizing through my browsers to find the right page.

As far as i can tell, tabs just exist to violate the existing window
managment systems i have in the OSs i use.  So all the built-in
ways i know to use my system fly out the window (no pun intended).


New idea: If I Exposé my windows then all safari tabs should fly out and be shown in the Exposéd
view.  Then if i select a web page that i want then safari should
be brought to focus with the appropriate tab selected.  That would
be *awesome*


Comments (114)

  1. For Mozilla Firefox, there are already a few enhancement requests suggesting the ideas you had. There is a request for thumbnails for the tabs [1] and a request for a sidebar listing open tabs grouped by window [2]. I’m sure there are other requests similar to what you want if you look for them. If you’d like, you can vote for the requests if you create an account on the Mozilla Foundation’s Bugzilla installation.

    [1] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=236798

    [2] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=262386

  2. Joey says:

    Well, what are your opinons about the way Fedora/RedHat (and I’m sure other Linux-based systems) use windows and such- where you can have diffrent screens and not just diffrent windows? If you’ve never used Fedora/RedHate go check it out… it’s a bit hard to explain but if you’re doing a ton of things it’s kinda nice.

  3. Mike says:

    Solution to not being able to find the site on your taskbar is simply to set your Firefox preferences to only use one window. That way you only need to look at the tabs list in Firefox rather than scanning your taskbar for the site.

    Tabbrowser Extensions for Firefox if find is a good plugin to tune your settings to what suits you best.

    http://piro.sakura.ne.jp/xul/tabextensions/index.html.en

  4. CyrusN says:

    Joey: "Well, what are your opinons about the way Fedora/RedHat (and I’m sure other Linux-based systems) use windows and such- where you can have diffrent screens and not just diffrent windows? If you’ve never used Fedora/RedHate go check it out… it’s a bit hard to explain but if you’re doing a ton of things it’s kinda nice."

    I dont’ use Redhat since i don’t like RPM package management. Instead i use Ubuntu which i really like. However, the same Windows complaints apply to that system as well.

  5. CyrusN says:

    Mike: "Solution to not being able to find the site on your taskbar is simply to set your Firefox preferences to only use one window. That way you only need to look at the tabs list in Firefox rather than scanning your taskbar for the site. "

    That’s not a solution. I still can’t find the site i want since i need to first scan for the wbe browser, then scan within that browser for the right site. That’s far slower than using the built in OS mechanisms for fidnign the right site.

  6. CyrusN says:

    brantgurga: Opera’s system is better, and would be more helpful on OSX. But it would not help at all in Windows since you still need to find the right browser window first.

    I’m talking about using the existing OS mechanisms (like the taskbar) to help people find the page they’re looking for.

  7. What is your use scenario for tabs/windows? My scenario is that if I’m reading a page with links I’d like to go to, put I’d like to finish reading the page first, I’ll open each of those links in a new tab. (Think sites like blogs.msdn.com for that usage). I’ll open a new window if I intend to look at something but it isn’t related to what I’m looking at immediately.

  8. CyrusN says:

    brantgurga: My usage is the same.

  9. "As far as i can tell, tabs just exist to violate the existing window managment systems i have in the OSs i use. So all the built-in ways i know to use my system fly out the window."

    I’ve said almost the exact same thing about Microsoft Office (2000 and later). There’s this hybrid MDI/SDI thing that doesn’t work well for me at all. On one hand there’s Word and Excel, which really should be 100% SDI (MDI is rarely a good idea these days, with developer tools being a big exception).

    On the other there’s Access (a dev tool) which should remain MDI, but should probably have an interface closer to that of Visual Studio. But by default each child window gets an entry in the taskbar, wasting real-estate (this gets really bad when you have two databases open). At least Access can be configured to be 100% MDI. I can’t get Excel or Word to be 100% SDI.

    As for tabbed browsing, I both agree and disagree with you (but mostly disagree). Many times I’ll be reading a page, and I’ll middle-click a lot of the links intending to read them later. However, since they’re generally related to the same topic, I want them in the same Window. This *used* to be confusing, but the "Tab Mix" extension lets me display "unread" tabs in red, so I can see which items I still need to read. When I’m done with the first tab, I’ll move to the second, open up any links that seem interesting in new tabs, move to the next tab, and so on. I literally crawl all the links that interest me. This is especially handy when browsing forums. I can skim the topics quickly and open any interesting pages without having to read them right away.

    And if I get interrupted and get a new email or the phone rings, all that information is in one place (one Window). I already have two rows on my Taskbar (three takes up too much real estate), and the automatic grouping in XP actually makes it much harder for me to find what I’m looking for, so each page having a button in the taskbar is not a solution for me. But if I start researching another topic, I’ll open a new browser Window so that I can keep it separate from previous ones. I generally have no more than 3 or 4 browser Windows, while back when I used IE I could easily have 20 windows open.

    I think the real problem for me is the Taskbar. Like you said, Mac has an interesting solution to the problem, and I’m not completely sure that I’d like tabbed browsing on a Mac.

    Now, if I could put a separate taskbar on each monitor, then maybe I’d be much happier.

  10. Mike says:

    The reason i find tabs so useful is that the windows taskbar cannot handle many web pages being open without being an absolute mess with an icon an a few letters to help you find what you are looking for. Allowing a single application to manage all it’s windows as tabs to keep the taskbar clean suits me better. You dont seem to mention taskbar clutter so i’m guessing you have a huge monitor with many lines on your taskbar or something else that makes the taskbar more useable, yes? If not i dont see how you could say scanning the taskbar could be any quicker than loading the window and scanning the tabs

  11. John says:

    I personally think tabs are great, but the way Firefox implements them is crap. Look at MIRC for an example of how to use tabs well – it just basically has an MDI-style interface with tabs to represent the child windows. Unlike Firefox, you can view multiple windows at once that way, unlike Firefox, where the tabs are useless for tiny popups and other overlapping windows.

    It’s great to be able to multitask within the child windows of a program using ctrl-tab and tab navigation. It’s just a second level of organization over the taskbar which you switch around with alt-tab. It’s just stupid when you start mixing tabs with additional parent windows because things get confusing as hell. Uniformity is the key, but when you have it, tabs add a second level of organization and multitasking within a program that can be pretty handy.

  12. CyrusN says:

    TheMuuj: "On one hand there’s Word and Excel, which really should be 100% SDI "

    They aren’t SDI? Every time i create a new document i get a new window. How do you create a new document that isn’t isn’t in a new window?

  13. geoff.appleby says:

    Finally! Someone that agrees with me! Tabs sux0rs.

  14. Josh says:

    CyrusN: "They [Office] aren’t SDI?"

    Well, I don’t know what you’d call it, but I wouldn’t call it consistent.

    Open 2 documents in Word. Now open 2 documents in Excel. Both applications show 2 taskbar icons (seems SDI). Each app Windows menu lists the 2 open documents (seems MDI-ish).

    Now, click the top right X (close button) on a Word document. The current document closes.

    Now, click the top right X (close button) on an Excel document. BOTH Excel documents close.

    I get tripped up by that (the Excel behavior) more often than I’d like.

    Sorry for being completely off-topic.

  15. Uwe Keim says:

    For me, tabs solely exists to stop websites from polluting my desktop when they force me to open links in new windows.

  16. Sam says:

    Well, I think when you use tabbed browsing you should only open one browser window and open all the tabs in this single window.

    Then when you want to go to a website you switch to the browser and then switch to the website, both easy tasks.

    when you open more then one window you are screwed, yes.

  17. chullybun says:

    Tabs are great if used in the right context; such as visual studio. And sure where we have long filenames maybe an improved solution is required to aid in identification. I would like to see tabs used in other applications http://chullybun.blogspot.com/2005/03/tabbed-browsing-tabbed-applications.html

  18. Jeff Atwood says:

    > Now, if I could put a separate taskbar on each monitor, then maybe I’d be much happier.

    YOU CAN! Run, do not walk, to the address bar of your browser and type in http://www.ultramon.com/ — as far as I’m concerned it’s a must-have utility for anyone doing multimon for this very reason.

    Also, Cyrus, if you hate tabs so much why do we tolerate them in the VS.NET IDE? I’ve wanted to move some of those tabs out of the parent container more than a few times..

  19. Jeff Atwood says:

    > Well, I don’t know what you’d call it, but I wouldn’t call it consistent.

    Oh yeah. Office apps are pathological in this regard [MDI-SDI-weirdnesses], and the most pathological– by *far*– is PowerPoint.

    Don’t believe me? Just try opening two powerpoint docs from within PPT. Then click the big "close app" X button in the upper right corner. Then wonder why..

    > [crazy window management feature x] just exists to violate the existing window managment systems i have in the OSs i use.

    .. shouldn’t apply a hundred times over to microsoft’s own frickin’ office suite.

  20. CyrusN says:

    Sam: "Well, I think when you use tabbed browsing you should only open one browser window and open all the tabs in this single window.

    Then when you want to go to a website you switch to the browser and then switch to the website, both easy tasks.

    when you open more then one window you are screwed, yes."

    As you’ve seen, many people don’t use that model for web browsing. I want to have disparate tasks in my task list since i dont’ group all web browsing into a single task.

  21. CyrusN says:

    Jeff: "Also, Cyrus, if you hate tabs so much why do we tolerate them in the VS.NET IDE? I’ve wanted to move some of those tabs out of the parent container more than a few times.."

    Jeff, that’s a non-sequitor.

    Who said i did tolerate them? Or that i haven’t suggested being able to moved to a non-tabbed interface for VS? I have multiple monitors and i absolutely want to be able to tear out tabs to look at on different monitors.

    Just because it’s bad in VS doesn’t make my complaints about web browsers invalid.

  22. CyrusN says:

    Jeff: ".. shouldn’t apply a hundred times over to microsoft’s own frickin’ office suite."

    Another non sequitor.

    If it’s bad in office doesn’t mean we should continue to do bad stuff with web browsers.

  23. I love tabbed browsing. The way I browse is I’ll open my web browser and get to my homepage. Anything interesting on there (it’s a bulletin board) gets middle clicked and opened as links in the background.

    I then close my initial window with a middle click on the tab header, then the one under that appears. I middle click any links of interest in that page and then close that window. If there’s only one link of interest, I’ll open it directly, read it and then close.

    It works for me.

  24. Adam Young says:

    I agree – tabbed browsing sucks. Unfortunately, "tabbed browsing", or the lack of it, has become symbolic of IE’s stagnation – since IE6, there have been very few changes to IE (apart from security patches).

    Meanwhile, Firefox came along and has been evolving and changing based on user feedback. Tabbed browsing is available on all the other browsers but IE.

    So, when people talk about tabbed browsing, and why IE really, really sucks because it doesn’t have it, they’re actually talking about how they don’t like IE because it hasn’t changed much in the last couple of years.

    "Tabbed browsing" isn’t about a feature; all the complaints are just a symptom of peoples’ general dissatisfaciton with IE.

  25. CyrusN says:

    Adam: It’s so weird though. IE has tabs. It’s called Maxthon.

    I don’t see why IE proper needs to add this functionality when it’s so clear that add-ins and third parties can supply it just as well.

    If IE does this then it just puts pressure on the ISVs out there that are providing great additional services.

    And yet, IE is lambasted. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t I guess.

  26. Graham Kelly says:

    For me the tabs are not the important point. The point is; 1. just the fact of having all the open browser pages grouped somewhere, and 2. not needing to open a whole other process.

    If there was a way to open ‘lite’ versions of IE (as in it doesn’t take 5 or more seconds to open IE, as opposed to loading the page, on my PC) and have another hot key (say Ctrl-Alt-Tab) cycle through a list of the open pages, that would be just as handy.

    Actually, point 2 would be similar to the Word implementation of several docs open in Word 2000 onwards, which is fairly fast to load up even on my underpowered PC at home.

  27. Sean says:

    Hate is a strong word. For all those who find tab management to difficult to comprehend… Don’t use them. Its set up as a default but not required in most cases. VS, VMWare, Most popular text editors, Dreamweaver, most browsers etc offer tabs as a default means for document management. It seems you may be missing something here. Most of the tools offer a simple internal tab management such as ctrl-tab (MAXTHON) or w/e to quickly navigate open tabs that are related only to the current context you are in. Optionally display multiple tab rows etc… If this does not work well for you as it does for others who appreciate the feature you are not required to use it =).

  28. AndrewSeven says:

    I don’t really want tabs in IE. Tabs in applications seem to come back to the same thing: to many things open.

    The tabs in VS seem to work better in 2002 than in 2005 and lets not talk about Office’s various SD/M/I tabbed mixperience 😉

  29. Chris Nahr says:

    "So all the built-in ways i know to use my system fly out the window (no pun intended)."

    That’s only true if the tab implementation is a poor one. Windows defines standard shortcuts for MDI windows and tab controls: Ctrl+Tab forward, Shift+Ctrl+Tab backwards, Ctrl+F4 close current tab (MDI only).

    Of course any decent tabbed browser supports these shortcuts, and also uses the standard shortcut Ctrl+N to open a new tab.

    The problem with not being able to read the full URL or title is a real one, but NetCapter (a tabbed browsing add-on for IE) provides a simple solution: a main menu item "Tabs" lists the full titles of all tabs that are currently open, and lets you quickly switch between them. Alternatively, one might implement a sidebar window with all current tabs.

    This is actually better than switching between windows using the taskbar since you don’t get a complete list of full titles in this case…

  30. It’s simple really, so long as you can remember it was a web page you were looking at. You just have to get over the idea that a single horizontal list of icons/text is adequate for organizing everything you have open.

    So the taskbar is the "root node" of everthing open. Ah, it was a web page I was looking at. Restore the browser. Click the tab.

    Makes much more sense when you have lots of stuff open like I usually do. There just isn’t enough real estate in the taskbar to show everything needed to organize.

  31. Jeff Parker says:

    Cyrus I also hate tabs. However you mentioned something like seeing miniature versions of the web pages?

    Microsoft has that the Power Toys for XP

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

    Check out the Alt Tab Replacement. And this working without Tabs. I have found this a valuable Power Toy in XP.

  32. Steve R says:

    I’m with you on the tabbed browsing. I think its pretty much a solution for people to dumb to select the "Group similar taskbar buttons" option in the taskbar properties. I hope that there is an option in the next IE to turn off tabbed browsing.

  33. Matt says:

    Isn’t (part of) the point of tabs to only have *one* browser window open, so there’s never any debate about which window holds a particular site/page?

  34. Sean says:

    Hahaha, exactly my point. Do you realize while attempting to demoralize others with differing opinions you said "to dumb". There must be a reason for this “tab” trend being released in many popular products. Some people must find productivity in using it. If the feature is *too* new and/or advanced for your liking (or you hate it and think it sucks)… don’t use it…

  35. CyrusN says:

    Sam: "Well, I think when you use tabbed browsing you should only open one browser window and open all the tabs in this single window.

    Then when you want to go to a website you switch to the browser and then switch to the website, both easy tasks."

    But that’s silly. "Web Browsing" isn’t a task. Instead browsing the web fits into the other tasks i’m doing. I will invariably have multiple web browsers open on any platform.

    "when you open more then one window you are screwed, yes."

    Then tabs are flawed and should be fixed to address this situation.

  36. CyrusN says:

    Sean: "Hate is a strong word."

    And yet it so accurately describes how i feel 🙂

    Most of the tools offer a simple internal tab management such as ctrl-tab (MAXTHON) or w/e to quickly navigate open tabs that are related only to the current context you are in. Optionally display multiple tab rows etc… If this does not work well for you as it does for others who appreciate the feature you are not required to use it =)."

    I realize that. However it’s not tab maangement that’s the problem. It’s that management doesn’t fit into the ways that the current task model works on any platform. It’s side stepping it all. Badly 🙂

  37. CyrusN says:

    Philip: "So the taskbar is the "root node" of everthing open. Ah, it was a web page I was looking at. Restore the browser. Click the tab."

    But the question is… "which browser was i using?"

    And, the problem that’s created here is that you’ve now taken a list and made a tree out of it. Ack! Tree searching sucks compared to list sortign 🙂

  38. CyrusN says:

    Jeff: I love that powertoy. It’s amazing and i have no idea why OSX doesn’t do it for alt-tab!

  39. Sean says:

    …Ok I am working up a generic estimate for FoobieX. They approached me yesterday with an opportunity to develop a tool to manage sales of their Foobie custom t-shirt line and track all related processes from order to printing to folding to delivery etc. My first action (though your first action might differ) would be to brainstorm a number of differing options. Initially I may pull up Maxthon/Firefox/Whatever and google FoobieX as I want to know as much as I can about the customer. I may open 7 or 8 tabs from the Google search and only read the ones I feel most relevant. Now I may pull up a second instance of said browser and Google on a few messaging design methodologies etc related to a development choice I may decide to take. I may open many other tabs related to this same context (messaging design methodologies) from this browser instance. This will happen for new items I may be researching as well as I can easily float back and forth putting pieces together. When my focus is on one of these items I do not want to sift through every other open browser window. I only want to see what’s related in that context. Some of you linear thinking individuals may say close all those darned windows then. We mustn’t all limit ourselves to thinking that way.

  40. Sean says:

    “…management doesn’t fit into the ways that the current task model works on any platform. It’s side stepping it all…”

    So you would want a separate task window for every aspx/cs/etc file in a Visual Studio project? You also would like for every worksheet in a single excel document to be in a separate task window. PowerPoint should have all slides as separate windows?

    I see them as objects/documents related to the project/context I am working on. Some of the VSS project documents could be autonomous but the .config and resource files etc are definitely related. Browsers are often used in this same manner. This is why many allow you to save the state of multiple tabs to restore as a “project”. A browser is a tool for viewing html content. (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=web%20browser) I prefer to use the tool that makes me most productive.

    Another point of view… Browser windows under the omnipotent “Group similar taskbar buttons” on Terminal Services or XP under separate users will not be grouped together ;-).

    Oh and Linux (other platforms) had many kewl tabbed apps well before MS…

    Tabbed software rocks, all others suck! Get some!

    /Just Joking—Not really =)

  41. CyrusN says:

    "Oh and Linux (other platforms) had many kewl tabbed apps well before MS… "

    I have no idea why people keep on bringing up Linux vs. Windows.

    Did you think that this was some sort of slam on Linux from me? If so, could you point out how?

  42. CyrusN says:

    "So you would want a separate task window for every aspx/cs/etc file in a Visual Studio project? "

    At times, yes. Other IDEs allowed me to do this and i found it enormously powerful.

  43. Sean says:

    "enormously powerful"

    Cyrus, you rock! Tell me how I/others can use alt-tab in an “enormously powerful” way where ctrl-tab falls short of this same glory. I personally would like some of this power as I have been blind for quite some time now it seems.

  44. CyrusN says:

    Sean: ""enormously powerful"

    Cyrus, you rock! Tell me how I/others can use alt-tab in an “enormously powerful” way where ctrl-tab falls short of this same glory. I personally would like some of this power as I have been blind for quite some time now it seems. "

    As i mentioned before, expose falls flat in the presense of tabs as you cannot find the window that contains your tabbed we page.

    Similarly in windows you now need to alt-tab to the right window, and then ctrl-tab to the right tab (presuming you’ve found the right browser).

    Without tabs, but with this extension i get more power than the standard model.

  45. Orion Adrian says:

    The current task system stinks in every OS I’ve ever used. Period.

    The problem is that they were originally designed when there was only enough memory for a half dozen or so applications and now it’s conceivable to have dozens or more windows open.

    MDI came about because it was less resource intensive to do it that way and someone thought it was a good idea.

    The solution is the ability to group windows (of any application) and to give each group their own taskbar. You should also have the ability to rip off a window and attach it to another group. Groups should be namable and all groups should have their own entry on the system taskbar. Window management needs serious work.

    Orion Adrian

  46. Isaac says:

    "As far as i can tell, tabs just exist to violate the existing window managment systems i have in the OSs i use".

    How is this any different from MDI? Can’t you just think of tabs as a different visual UI onto an MDI app? Ctrl-Tab and Shift-Ctrl-Tab move you between tabs just like they move you between docs in an MDI app.

    "On OSX i can’t tell which FireFox/Safari window has the tab i want (since it’s too small), and similarly in windows i find myself scanning the taskbar for a site i was looking at"

    I guess I tend to have just a single Firefox window open so don’t find myself searching through them like that. I haven’t yet wanted multiple windows open.

    I appreciate that there may be reasons why this wouldn’t/can’t work for you, though.

  47. Sean Lynch says:

    I definitly agree with Cyrus on this one, for the same reasons he stated. I hate closing down applications, so I have like 15 open (plus 9 IEs). I frequently need to do things with 2 web pages, often needing both at once, along with VS and 2 or 3 other applications. Tabbing just doesnt work for how I use things.

  48. CyrusN says:

    iZack (isaac): "

    How is this any different from MDI? Can’t you just think of tabs as a different visual UI onto an MDI app? Ctrl-Tab and Shift-Ctrl-Tab move you between tabs just like they move you between docs in an MDI app."

    I don’t think it is that different from MDI (except MDI had that awful ability to minimize *within* the app in question). Personally, i don’t think MDI is a particularly good thing. And i’m not happy because this tabs craze seems to be pushing it back in everyone’s faces 🙁

    I can’t wait until all my OSX apps are tabified and expose becomes totally useless.

    "I guess I tend to have just a single Firefox window open so don’t find myself searching through them like that. I haven’t yet wanted multiple windows open.

    I appreciate that there may be reasons why this wouldn’t/can’t work for you, though. "

    Yup. If i were to limit to that model i could see how this works. But… well… ick 😉

  49. J.Marsch says:

    Maybe the way to approach this is to see how we use tabs and then see if there is a better way to enable the same thing.

    I use tabs when I am doing research. I’ll do a google search, and then I will open interesting results in separate tabs.

    That yeilds kind of a folder-and-file approach. The Firefox item on the Taskbar corresponds to all of my searches/finds for a particular subject, and each tab within that browser is a document within that subject.

    If I am browsing unrelated items, I open multiple browser instances.

    This just gives me an extra layer of organization, as my taskbar tends to become a bit crowded.

    I’m not familiar with Mac/safari, but I don’t think that a thumbnail would be as useful to me. As I open google links in multiple tabs, I’m just looking for documents that might be interesting, that I want to revisit – I don’t know what they look like, I just remember the caption returned by google, so a small thumbnail picture would not help me to correlate the document back to the subject in this case.

    Maybe there is a better way to facilitate this by-subject grouping of pages?

  50. CodeCavalier says:

    I HATE tabbed browsing.

    I’ve been using Windows for 15 years and GUI’s for 20. I like having SEVERAL windows open and being able to SEE THEM ALL AT ONCE.

    I don’t use tab-bars, I just click in the window I want and away I go. When I want to switch apps, I just click in the other window–simple.

    I use dual monitors and I can SEE ALL MY WORK AT THE SAME TIME. No need for STUPID TABS.

    Please excuse the CAPS, but, I really feel passionate about this. I just finished installing Netscape 8, and if I can’t figure out how to turn off these stupid tabs, I swear I’m going to break sumthin’!

  51. Lee Gray says:

    I don’t understand the fuss. Like most features of poweful applications, some like it, some don’t – just don’t use it if you don’t like it.

    Besides, all tabbed browsing is is an easier way to tell what "documents" are open in the current instance of the program. No more, no less. As for your issues with what shows up (or doesn’t) on the Taskbar, you have the same problem with an MDI app that has multiple documents open.

    The first tabbed interface I used was in a the text editor called NoteTab. I found that the tabs simply offer a quicker way to access what’s under the "Window" menu. What’s wrong with that?

    I could understand if folks were complaining because suddenly a rash of applications *forced* you to use tabs instead of multiple windows, or instead of an MDI Window menu, but in the case of web browsers, or at least Firefox, you can completely ignore it.

  52. CodeFuture says:

    You are fucked up in the head if you *hate* tabs. If you don’t like it then just don’t use it. Don’t try to be against the best ever feature they are going to add to IE7.

  53. Rui Craveiro says:

    Don’t use tabs if you don’t like them… one thing I didn’t get was… if you have tabs why do you want several browser windows, so you end up having to search in each of them the tab you’re looking for? Why don’t you simply have one browser window with all the tabs inside?

    You can configure Firefox to open external links in a new tab instead of openning a new window. That makes a lot of sense.

    But nevertheless, it is your right to hate tabs and you ought to always be able not to use them.

  54. Bret says:

    I think you’re missing the point. Tabs are there so you only have to have one window, so your task bar isn’t cluttered with a bunch of buttons for the same probram.

    You just have to adjust you’re search from looking down to the task bar to looking up to the tab bar in one copy of your browser.

    Granted some people do use tabs and multiple windows together, but that doesn’t seem to fit your usage style :-/

  55. CyrusN says:

    Bret: "I think you’re missing the point. Tabs are there so you only have to have one window, so your task bar isn’t cluttered with a bunch of buttons for the same probram."

    And i think you’re missing my point. 🙂

    That style of window maangement flies directly in the face of built in OS tools like exposé. The purpose of expos is to fly out the windows so you can visually find the the one that you want and bring it to focus. However, with tabs when you exposé your windows you end up in a situation where you cannot find the window you are lookign for because it does not show up.

    What’s worse is that there is a specific exposé command to say "show me all the windows from this specific app". But, again, Safari and FF don’t listen to that and when i hit that trigger nothing happens and i cannot easily find the web page that i was looking for.

    *if* tabs listened to these events and behaved in an appropriate manner, then they would be a heck of a lot better.

  56. npj says:

    the hell is wrong with y’all? if you like tabs, use them. if you don’t, don’t. Trick is: just ’cause you don’t like something, it doesn’t mean there aren’t 1 million people who do!

    options == freedom.

    this blog == idiocy.

  57. a says:

    You sound really stupid for one if you don’t like tabs dont fu**ing use them! Also you forgot to cap you all of you I.

  58. chris says:

    shut up you prick. tabs are awesome.

    a tab bar is really just another task bar, but exclusively for your open web pages.

    expose is a nice feature, but i’m happy with alt+tab.

  59. CyrusN says:

    NPJ/A: "the hell is wrong with y’all? if you like tabs, use them. if you don’t, don’t. Trick is: just ’cause you don’t like something, it doesn’t mean there aren’t 1 million people who do! "

    I don’t understand what you’re saying. I don’t use tabs. And i have no problem with the people who do. Where on earth did you get any other idea?

    "options == freedom.

    this blog == idiocy."

    Then don’t read my blog. You have the freedom to not listen to me, just as i have the freedom to talk about the things i don’t like.

    "You sound really stupid for one if you don’t like tabs dont fu**ing use them!"

    I don’t use them. For the exact reasons i outlined above. I’m surprised that you and NPJ seem unable to comprehend that.

    "Also you forgot to cap you all of you I."

    I’m sorry, i cannot understand your grammar here.

  60. CyrusN says:

    Chris: "shut up you prick. tabs are awesome.

    a tab bar is really just another task bar, but exclusively for your open web pages.

    expose is a nice feature, but i’m happy with alt+tab. "

    Then feel free to continue using them. I have no problem with that.

    But i’m curious why you think i’m a prick for suggesting that tabs integrate better with current window management systems.

    Is there a problem with suggesting that features actually become better?

  61. Matt says:

    well you’re an idiot then.

  62. CyrusN says:

    Matt: " well you’re an idiot then."

    I’m an idiot for wanting tabs to work better with Exposé???

    Wow…

  63. Recently, Cyrus (a microsofty) posted on his blog his opinions on tabbed web browsers. As soon as I saw…

  64. Nope, this comes down to a very old argument that first started when the MS Word developers decided to ditch having all documents occupy one window, and put them on the taskbar instead.

    To me, this violates a fundamental design principle – the taskbar should list APPLICATIONS, but not all the INSTANCES of that application. Of course, that’s just my preference.. I guess it is called the task-bar, not the app-bar.. buit regardless, I believe only apps should show up there. Then within that app, you can drill down to the specific document you want.

    With all the configurability around these days, why not just give users the choice? I don’t see what the problem is.. don’t like tabs? Turn em off.. if it’s good enough for Winword, why not IE/Firefox as well??

  65. Zhasper says:

    Guess what?

    Using a browser capable of using tabs doesn’t force you to use tabs – you can still choose not to if you prefer.

    Using a browser *not* capable of doing tabs does force you not to use tabs – or at least, not without third-party addons.

    Sure, tabs don’t work well for you. You’re not alone – a large percentage of the other people who’ve commented on your blog agree with you.

    So don’t use them. Simple!

  66. OmniWeb has thumbnails in its tab drawer. give that a try.

  67. Jesper says:

    The problem about always using the task bar is that a lot of people keep 40+ tabs open at all times with their browser. This would flood the task bar, or even worse collapse it into one of those compound items which brings up a menu.

  68. CyrusN says:

    Zhasper: " Guess what?

    Using a browser capable of using tabs doesn’t force you to use tabs – you can still choose not to if you prefer.

    Using a browser *not* capable of doing tabs does force you not to use tabs – or at least, not without third-party addons.

    Sure, tabs don’t work well for you. You’re not alone – a large percentage of the other people who’ve commented on your blog agree with you.

    So don’t use them. Simple!"

    Zhasper. I’m confused. did you miss the 10 times that i’ve already mentioned that i don’t use tabs and that i have no problem with those who do?

    Is there a problem with pointing out a problem with a current model and proposing a solution to it?

  69. CyrusN says:

    Jesper: "The problem about always using the task bar is that a lot of people keep 40+ tabs open at all times with their browser. This would flood the task bar, or even worse collapse it into one of those compound items which brings up a menu."

    And espose would have no problem with that. SO it behooves tabs to fit in properly to that model.

  70. Great Wizard says:

    Well if you have a huge monitor, or several of them and can have long lists of windows in the teaskbar, because otherwise the taskbar gets cluttered much more quickly than the tab-bar of the firefox, cause it also has the quicklaunchbar (which I use extensively, having found Start quite useless for the time it takes it to load I would able to type the command in the console at least twice) and the clock+runing programs part I don’t remeber it’s name.

    In addition to that tabs start much much more quickly than new windows, and navigation between them is much better since they load the content on background and not take the focus.

  71. geoff.appleby says:

    "…and the clock+runing programs part I don’t remeber it’s name…"

    That’s the systray. (Just trying to be helpful 🙂

  72. werewolf says:

    I surf the web for 10 years or more every day and firefox and its "tab system" make my surf better and faster, it’s really cool using its tab feature for view the search results on google or other. I hate ie because it hasn’t the tab feature, and open links on a new window bloats my taskbar… I really have more than a webbrowser running when I use my computer…

  73. Jesper says:

    "And espose would have no problem with that. SO it behooves tabs to fit in properly to that model."

    True – but just the comment before that, you wrote: "Is there a problem with pointing out a problem with a current model and proposing a solution to it?" Your solution shipwrecks those who do not have the problem (those who use tabs) and use Windows, that’s what. And since those who do not use tabs can turn tabs off, I really don’t see the problem.

    As for a possible solution, the OS X web browsers Shiira and OmniWeb both solve this in their own ways; Shiira has a "Tab Exposé" feature which does exactly what you’d expect, and OmniWeb has a thumbnail of the web site attached to each tab.

  74. obvious says:

    It’s not like you no longer have the option to open a new window, right? You use tabbed browsing when it’s convenient,. otherwise you open new windows. What’s so hard about that?

  75. syllogist says:

    Firefox offers tab extensibility with freely available extensions, you can group tabs, with different groups being differentiated by disparate colours; you can get extensions such as SessionSaver which allow you to save all instances of tabs (even when distributed over multiple windows) with the exact scrollbar position. Surely, given this variability in customization you cannot purport to support the view that non-tabbed browsing is in any way more convenient or efficient than tabbed web browsing.

  76. CyrusN says:

    Syllogist: "Surely, given this variability in customization you cannot purport to support the view that non-tabbed browsing is in any way more convenient or efficient than tabbed web browsing. "

    Does it solve the Expose problem? If not, then i absolutely can support the view that non-tabbed browsing is more convenient and effeicnt than tabbed browsing.

  77. Jack says:

    You’re simply retarded. That’s all about. Hating tabs, oh man!

  78. CyrusN says:

    Jack: I’m retarded for wanting tabs to be better, and finding them unoptimal on the computers i’m using? Geez. I guess programs are perfect and there’s no need to criticize them and work on improving them =-o

  79. Xplozive says:

    I don’t hate tabs, but sometimes when im browsing I will get side-tracked and I will forget to read the content of what I had orginally opened.

  80. Great Wizard says:

    geoff.appleby – thanks for your help with windows terminology. It’s quite shameful for me not to remember that.

    About your open letter that can be reached when clicking on your name (this is for those who want to read, as I’m sure you’d know what I’m talking about). You have to wonder if Flamewar is not what CyrusN was trying to achieve here, since those are the posts he replies to.

  81. geoff.appleby says:

    Great Wizard:

    I’m always happy to be of help when I can – it’s certainly not often I can give any when cyrus’ blog is concerned (C#? Not me 🙂

    I really don’t think that he is (I may be wrong of course – don’t you love talking about people as if they’re not there when they can see everything you say? 🙂

    You see, the ones that he doesn’t reply are generally people stating their opinion back – and to me, that’s what this is all about. The people that fall down to ‘you’re stupid and you should die’ etc are the ones that leave me so mystified.

    One of the points of blogs is good honest open discussion. Sure, he stated things in a way which were bound to goad some people, but really, where’s the discussion in ‘I think tabs are ok, but i prefer not to use them because they just don’t suit the way I use windows, nor the way i believe windows should be used’??

    Those that were polite enough not to call him stupid don’t warrant an answer in a lot of cases, quite often simply because they stated they’re opinion, and left it at that.

    Eh, i don’t know, I’m getting very tired of this thread now. It was interesting to watch, but like all the religious arguments in the developer world, there’s no winner, no loser, and no right or wrong answer.

    Except mine. *grin* (Can’t resist).

    About your open letter that can be reached when clicking on your name (this is for those who want to read, as I’m sure you’d know what I’m talking about). You have to wonder if Flamewar is not what CyrusN was trying to achieve here, since those are the posts he replies to.

  82. geoff.appleby says:

    Whoops, i forgot to cut out the last para (copied from the previous comment so i didn’t forget what was said.

  83. Cringle says:

    Personally I open a new window only when I see something that’s off-topic from what I’m currently focused on, and I want to revisit it before shutting down. Anything that’s interelated to the current task at hand, stays within the same window, but on a different tab.

    The most windows I’ve had open (to my recollection), has been 24-25. And of course multiple tabs within each window.

    That of course doesn’t count e-mail, Notepad++, DevStudio, Quicken, or any other tool/software I may be using at the time.

  84. Blather Indeed says:

    A usability expert you are not. You’re also being intellectual dishonest if you don’t get that people use computers different ways and that your way is just another narrow band in a fat pipe.

    I don’t hate your for being less efficient at processing large amounts of information rapidly, but don’t hate me for using the web differently and for different things than you do.

    If you want to fix the OS’ shortcomings, go nuts–then come back and talk about how tabs are a superfluous metaphor. Until then, I’m over here flipping through a session of about 30 pages and working faster and more efficiently than I ever was in your single window universe.

    For my money, I hate untabbed browsers. It’d be like if Word had a true sdi interface. Fun. With Maxthon for things that aren’t standards compliant, and Firefox for the rest, why would anyone even be using plain IE in 2005? (Oh yeah: because that’s all that MSFT has seen fit to dole out…)

    Go write a console app. Save the world another bad ux.

  85. CyrusN says:

    Blather: "A usability expert you are not. "

    I have never claimed otherwise.

    "You’re also being intellectual dishonest if you don’t get that people use computers different ways and that your way is just another narrow band in a fat pipe."

    I have never claimed otherwise. I said that *I* don’t like tabs. I listed good reasons for why i don’t like them, and i listed solutions to help make them better for *me*. I don’t see how that’s dishonest, since i’m not discussing other people.

    "I don’t hate your for being less efficient at processing large amounts of information rapidly, but don’t hate me for using the web differently and for different things than you do."

    I don’t hate you. If you’d read this conversation i stated on many times that i had no problem with you using whatever program you wanted.

    "If you want to fix the OS’ shortcomings, go nuts–then come back and talk about how tabs are a superfluous metaphor. Until then, I’m over here flipping through a session of about 30 pages and working faster and more efficiently than I ever was in your single window universe."

    I don’t see this as an OS shortcoming. I very much like OSX’s window management metaphor and i find tabs to be something that doesn’t play nice with tehm. Sorry if you don’t like that i don’t like that fact.

    "For my money, I hate untabbed browsers."

    Which is totally fine with me.

    "It’d be like if Word had a true sdi interface."

    Non sequitor. I specifically was talking about tabs and web browsers. I never once talked about my issues with tabs and other document management programs.

    "Fun. With Maxthon for things that aren’t standards compliant, and Firefox for the rest, why would anyone even be using plain IE in 2005? (Oh yeah: because that’s all that MSFT has seen fit to dole out…)"

    I use safari and firefox. I have no idea why you think otherwise.

    "Go write a console app. Save the world another bad ux."

    Yeah. that’s the right philosphy. Don’t try to fix problems, just give up on them. Don’t try to address weaknesses, just assume that it’s perfect and never complain.

    Wow.

  86. schnuerbel says:

    Your comment "As far as i can tell, tabs just exist to violate the existing window managment systems i have in the OSs i use." made me laugh. There used to be a window management approach called MDI (multiple document interface) which early windows versions (and office versions) managed.

    Even for multiple documents, only one instance of the application Word was open and the user could switch (tab) within that application from one document to another.

    Why Microsoft has abandoned their own MDI standards for the benefit of a cluttered Taskbar will always remain a mystery to me.

  87. Chris says:

    I completely disagree. I love tabs – I find them much easier to manage than 25 flippin’ IE windows.

    Just my $0.2 worth!!

    Chris

  88. Rob says:

    same as last post, i think your all fussy ****ers tbh

  89. CyrusN says:

    Chris/Rob: Good for you 🙂

    Pigpen, thanks!

  90. ed says:

    Firefox needs tabbed browsing like this program:

    http://www.irider.com/irider/index.htm

  91. John says:

    Or try this browser that creates images of pages on another "wall" in place of tabs http://www.browse3d.com. Also has a nice 4-live feature.

  92. MixingMaster3000 says:

    You would rather have all your windows along your taskbar? W/e, tabs are amazing!

  93. Craig says:

    How in the world do you get rid of tabs in Netscape 8?!?!? I just installed this as an "upgrade" on my parents’ computer and it is garbage. There doesn’t even seem to be a way in "Options" to configure it to open new windows. I hate tabbed browsing. From what I can tell, the Netscape folks just wrote some kind of tabbed panel controller and allow you to open as many Firefox and Internet Explorer windows as you want within tabs. What a piece of junk.

  94. pete says:

    right now I have 10 tabs open in firefox, and 9 windows in my taskbar. If all my tabs were seperate windows, it would take me twice as long to find the page I wanted. Now, if you let random browser windows open and have multiple tabs in each without order, yes it would be confusing, but you can easily avoid that behaviour with the right configuration and maybe an extension to firefox.

    Also, remember that the ‘default’ behaviour of windows is to do that list thing where it groups all the windows of the same type into one taskbar entry – takes just as long to find the site you want but less intuitive in my experience – especially because it doesn’t list the website’s icon.

  95. me says:

    Are you completly retarded?

  96. Tab User says:

    Tabs are very handy; I’m sorry that you aren’t savvy enough to figure them out.

  97. SvP says:

    "As far as i can tell, tabs just exist to violate the existing window managment systems i have in the OSs i use."

    hmm.. i dont consider browsing the web a part of an os.. i consider it a part of my browser..

    internet explorer makes me start the program for every single page i want to view simultaneously

    firefox lets me browse different pages in one program

    makes me say this:

    firefox is better suited than internet explorer

    If you say it should be left to the os; you say microsoft is doing the right thing integrating it into the os as deep as it can shove it..

    i think its a matter of perception..

    i would rather have the possibility to use tabs and be able to disable them, than i would be forced to use the built in systems.

  98. CyrusN says:

    SvP: "If you say it should be left to the os; you say microsoft is doing the right thing integrating it into the os as deep as it can shove it.. "

    No. I never said any such thing. I said that individual applications should not be responsible for the core task of window management. That’s what i have the window manager for.

    If you’ll notice, my post was about *OSX*, and how browsers like Safari and FireFox break *Expose*.

  99. Zhasper says:

    <cite>Is there a problem with pointing out a problem with a current model and proposing a solution to it?</cite>

    Not at all. There *is* no problem with the current model though – it lets you do what you want to do (ie, use a new window for everything); it lets me do what I want to do (use just one or two windows with lots of tabs..)

    As far as I can tell, the only time anyone has any problems is when you do something you’re not familiar with and try to use tabs.. so don’t do that!

    You’re trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist..

  100. CyrusN says:

    Zhasper: "Not at all. There *is* no problem with the current model though "

    Yes there is. And tehre are ways to fix it as well. See what opera is doing with Tabs as an example of how they’re addressing a problem instead of ignoring it.

  101. Drucom says:

    God damn you’re an idiot. Why would you even have multiple windows with web browsers, ayways? That’s what tabs are for, you dunce. And it’s not like you’ll be visiting 999 pages at the same time. At most, 5 or 6, and it would take you less than 5 seconds to scroll through all of them, looking for the correct site.

    Are you American, by the way? And, if so, are all Americans as lazy as you, you chump?

  102. geoff.appleby says:

    Hey Drucom,

    Are you so lazy that you couldn’t spend the 30 seconds needed to read Cyrus’ blog and find out if he is american or not?

  103. CyrusN says:

    Drucom: "God damn you’re an idiot."

    If so, then you shoudl be able to point out logical flaws with my position.

    "Why would you even have multiple windows with web browsers, ayways?"

    Because that’s how i work. I’m often working on multiple tasks simultaneously, many of which need access to the web. For example, i might be browsing specifications on our intraweb. I might be reading documentation on the internet. And i might just be reading news elsewhere around the net. These are threww different tasks that i do *not* want one app holding onto.

    "That’s what tabs are for, you dunce."

    Then expose perfectly solved that problem, and i don’t need tabs. Which is exactly the argument i’ve been making all along. Why do i need an alternative window management system that does a poorer job of managing the windows than OSX itself?

    "And it’s not like you’ll be visiting 999 pages at the same time. At most, 5 or 6,"

    Hardly. You should read some of my other posts here. I commonly browse tens of sites at a time. I don’t feel the need to close down pages *just because a technology is too limiting to scale well*. Expose works fine in these cases, tabs do not. Remind me why i should use tabs then?

    "and it would take you less than 5 seconds to scroll through all of them, looking for the correct site."

    Yes. Previously it took 1/10 of a second. Now it takes 5. That’s a 50fold decrease in speed and productivity (especially if i’m flipping back and forth between web pages). Congrats for proving my point. Why would i want such a slow and unweildy feature?

    "Are you American, by the way? And, if so, are all Americans as lazy as you, you chump? "

    Are all "insert your nationality here" as intolerant and bigoted as you?

  104. Drucom says:

    Intolerant towards people like you. You are exagerating the situation. It’s not like having ten or twenty tabs open will decrease the performance of your CPU by much. I can assure you that IT WONT MAKE A DIFFERENCE LARGE ENOUGH FOR YOU TO NOTICE IT.

    So it tooke you 1/10 of a second? Right.

    You make less than 50,000 a year. You’re a fucking loser.

  105. Rick from Winnipeg says:

    I use tabs in Firefox at work. I have them in the bookmarks toolbar. I have certain sets of tabs that I open as a group. So each window in sequence represents some tabs. And I use them the same every day.

  106. Programming says:

    Cyrus Najmabadi* hates tabs in web browsers : Ok, I seriously don&#39;t get tabs on Windows. Hell, I

  107. Web Navigation – Yet Another Tree