Firefox:3.0 Tabbed Browsing

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Required Features

  • Opened tab list should respond to configurable mouse button clicks. Eg. middle click on the entries close the tab while still allowing you to continue thereafter(does not close the list just yet). Such a menu is particularly useful when having loads of tabs opened simultaneously as it takes up reasonable amounts of screen space yet allows you to browse many tabs at once.

Another brilliant implementation of the above principle is in opera as depicted in the picture below. The setup allows for a more permanent solution which even includes a search box so as to only focus on the specific tabs only in the viewscreen.

The above would hopefully prevent us from being lost in a 'sea of tabs' not knowing where each tab is and not being able to focus on the tabs you want as so commonly experienced by users of MDI applications.

  • If there are a lot of tabs, a second row of tabs may be useful.
  • When there are a lot of tabs, the title of each tab is suppressed. The width of the active and nearby tabs could be larger. Thus, these tab titles are visible.--Constantine 20:38, 22 June 2006 (PDT)
  • Put the "Open the link in New tab" menu before the "Open the link in New Window" menu and Put "New Tab" menu before the "New Window" menu. Although this seems trivial, it makes it a lot easier for users to utilize tabbed browsing,
  • A new pref that changes various tabbed browsing options and UI elements at once:
    • The user have two options: tabbed browsing mode (the new mode) and legacy browsing mode (used by firefox 1.0.* or below)
    • Tabbed browsing mode will switch prefs to open new windows for popups, bookmarks, history, searches, url, DDE call etc. in the background
    • Tabbed browsing mode will also hide the "New Window" menu and all related menus and toolbar buttons
    • Legacy browsing mode will behave in the same way as a new installation of firefox 1.0.x
    • Tabbed browsing mode should be the default
    • An infobar, similar to the popup infobar will notify the user the first time they have created a new tab
    • Be able to select the default URL for new tabs (as NewTabURL do) --Creak 17 October 2006.
  • Drag and drop reordering
    • Tab moving from one window to another
  • Close buttons on tabs
    • xxxmpc: This is a big pain for Fitts' Law adherence, the smaller target area is made even smaller by the "danger" aspect of the click area. This is allegedly "faster" but we're probably going to force all users to slow down, whether they realize it or not. Maybe enable an Accel-Click modifier to close tabs quickly (in addition to middle-click on non-contentLoadURL platforms). This would be faster/safer in both cases (closing and selecting).
      • bugmenot: Other than the mouse click modifier, a right-click per-tab close button could also work (Maxthon uses this approach). We can also hide and disable the per-tab close button unless the user has pointed their mouse on the tab for a specified amount of time.
      • porl: Another option may be to hide the close button until the tab is clicked, ie. click once to select tab and show close button, then click the close button. It should probably hide itself after a specified time as well. Perhaps it should also appear for a short time on any newly focused tabs (eg when closing one tab the next tab selected already has the close button there)
        • yert: I gots me Firefox 2.0 and aside from fixing my spelling, which is cool, among other features, I found that a handy red x is there to try and trick me into closing my tabs. I use the middle button (wheel mouse). Can there also be an option to turn this evil red x off altogether?
    • pgan: This can be done by just customizing Firefox 2.0 to make the Close buttons display only on the focused tab. Use the browser.tabs.tabClipWidth and browser.tabs.tabMinWidth properties. I agree that this is how it should be by default.
    • Haggen: I believe when the user does click in the tab, firefox question "you are sure about this tab?" YES or No, why?, because tabs can be closed by accident (to me was ocurred), firefox should detect how the tabs are closing, if are closing by close button when question, else if are closing from right menu then only closed the tab.
  • Overflow bucket
  • The history system needs to be made more compatible with tabbed browsing. In particular, we should adopt a branched history system (that branches every time the user opens a new tab/window) where the user can always go back unless he/she has reached the homepage.
    • FunnyMan3595: Simplest way to do this is to just duplicate the old back history in the new tab. See my comments at "Why not use the back button?" section of the talk page.
  • More visible highlight for the current tab. If more than 10-20 tabs are open, they start to look like a uniform mess...
    • Perhaps the current tab should not get smaller when more tabs are opened. --Pile0nades 14:04, 17 Jan 2006 (PST)
    • Perhaps the current tab should not get smaller when more tabs are open. --Pile0nades 14:04, 17 Jan 2006 (PST)
    • Options in the context-menu for tabs like "color tab red/blue/green" would be nice,
    • or maybe "assign icon" to change the icon on the tab
    • Also: Options in the tab-context-menu "move this tab left/right" HaJo
      • Haggen: yes, i was think in it, firefox should have an option to change the color of close buttons in the tab, as opera what show buttons colored in red, gold, blue, green, etc.
  • Solve problem with too many tabs by adding a new context menu option - GiantMonkey: I have an other idea: If you have more than 15 tabs opened, there's no clearness. I would like to make a proposal: In the context menu of the tab there should be one additional option "Configure tabs" or something like that. When you select this option, a new window on the left side is opened (similar to Sage or Bookmark). There are all tabs listed. The listed tabs can be multiple selected. At the top of the page you place some buttons in order to
    • 1. close selected tabs
    • 2. open selected tabs in a new window
    • 3. move the last 10 or 20 tabs in a new window (this option could be also implemented in the context menu of the tab)
    • 4. order web pages / union tabs which have similar urls (e.g. all pages with in sequence and then other urls)
    • 5. other options (--> proposals!!!)
  • What would be useful is an option per bookmark to always open it in a new tab, current tab or new window. For instance if you select your bookmark "Google" it will open in a new tab but if you select something like "CNN" it opens in the current tab.
  • Open link in same tab option. This would be useful for sites that open their links in new windows, but you just want to open it in the current one. --Jaireth 08:55, 15 November 2006 (PST)
  • An option to open bookmarks in a new tab/window by default. If this is already there, I couldn't find anything by googling it. --Jaireth 08:55, 15 November 2006 (PST)
  • Don't close the "Bookmarks" menu after a right click on one of the items. If you accidentally right-click on one of the items the menu will close when you try to make the right selection. Also, usually I edit the properties of the bookmarks or I drag them directly in the menu and the menu annoyingly closes after the first edit/drag.
  • For clearness : it would be great to have tabs separators as we have button separators in the toolbar
  • A new tab button in the tab section would be great! As well as a work offline button when there is no connection :)
  • Having the option to view all tabs in a sidebar would eliminate most of the crowding issues.
  • I second the idea of having a second row of tabs. Simply use the existing minimum tab width item, and when it is exceeded start another row of tabs.
  • Clone current tab button : middle-clic on Start Page button open it in a new tab. Logically, middle-clic on Refresh button should reopen current page in a new tab. This can be useful sometimes
  • Another idea is to allow multiple tabs to be viewed at once, like a side by side view. This would be very useful for people who want to compare two things or people trying to copy something from one site to another.
  • I think it would be beneficial to be able to tear off an existing tab and launch it into a new window. I use a combination of windows and tabs, when I browse, all tabs are related to the subject of one window, each window a different subject.

Work Estimate

3 Weeks

Other Notes

In either the core or an extension, I'd like to see a concept of a sticky bookmarks tab, and a fixed number of non-sticky tabs. As you open new pages in tabs, the non-sticky tabs would get reused in oldest-first order, and would get moved to the end of the list. A tab could be made sticky by right-clicking on the tab and selecting stick or unstick (or some kind of alt-click on the tab or something). Sticky tabs would always show up before non-sticky ones.

This would let you freeze things like gmail, bugzilla, etc. in some N tabs at the beginning of your tab list, and then let you have 5 or something tabs after that that you'd reuse as you browse.

Undo for Tabs

Sometimes in haste I click Close all other Tabs because it is right next to Close Tab, and end up having the only tab I wanted closed, open. The tabbed browser extension has this, but I don't want to install that just for the one feature I use. I think we need to have a way to "Undo" the closing of tabs. I believe the current Opera 8 beta has something like this (a bucket).

  • guspaz - Firefox crashes on occasion. It would be nice if it kept track of what tabs were open when it was closed. Then, when the user relaunched the browser, they could select an option somewhere (Edit menu? View menu?) to re-open previous tabs. Alternatively you could keep a bookmark folder up to date with all the current tabs. If a user re-launched the browser and wanted those tabs back, they could just open the bookmark folder and select "Open In Tabs".
    • porl: This seems to fit in with the "Save Session" topic below. Maybe when firefox detects that it hasn't exited cleanly there is a dialog on next open asking to restore the session (obviously should be able to be disabled in options)
      • yert: Probably a pipe dream, but why not isolate the tabs a little further? Whenever a individual tab comes crashing down, why not prevent it from putting Firefox up in flames too? If a single tab crashes, it should close, but nothing else. Its a different approach, and probably a problem to code, but it would be nice to see this for when a web site had its script typed by drunken monkeys.

Session Saving

Session saving is a feature that many users like, but that's often redundant, or even confusing to the user (the approach in rue's Session Saver or Opera) if incorporated by default into Firefox. Instead, it can be placed in the now IMHO useless Go menu. Go > Last session would fill most people's requirements, and it can be coupled with a "Save session now" feature. Go > Save session. This, too, could be tightly integrated with the new Places by placing saved sessions in the places folders.

  • I would love it if i could save sessions as i save bookmark groups, so saved sessions would be in fact accesible as groups of bookmark groups (folders within bookmarks containing other folders, each of the subfolders being a separate window). The cool thing about it is, it would be possible to add/delete bookmarks to/from a 'session'. On the con side, it could be a bit confusing for some users. perhaps using another button (i.e. Sessions button next to Bookmarks) and/or an extension for it could fix it. --Nublet 07:55, 24 August 2006 (PDT)
  • It would be really nice if the browser picked out the keywords from the page content and used these to form a sensible default title for the session. - BenS
  • Firefox could have the option of automatically saving the session when Firefox closes and restoring it when Firefox opens. Also, do not save blank tabs. -Harrison
    • I wouldn't get rid of blank tabs unless the user turns that on in their preferences. Once we've got drag-n-drop tabs, I can easily see a user using blank tabs to separate groups of tabs. -FunnyMan3595
  • Part of what I think confuses a user is the terminology. Sure, "Save session" makes sense to a techie, but a new user isn't going to know what that means. Further, "Go" just doesn't seem like the right menu to put this under. A better menu would be bookmarks, since session saving is essentially a many-tailed bookmark. Maybe Bookmarks-Take snapshot, which creates a saved session, then you load it just like any other bookmark, by selecting it. When you open a snapshot, you get a Y/N/C dialog asking if you want to take a snapshot of the old state, with a "More information..." link. -FunnyMan3595
    • I like that idea, but maybe user should be prompted first time he restores a snapshot asking if user would like to save snapshot and replace currently open pages or if user would like to add the snapshot to the currently open pages. Have a remember this decision type of checkbox that sets a pref for this behavior. Also, still allow alternative behavior through a modifier key (ctrl-click on the snapshot to restore to add, alt-click to replace).
  • When restoring a session, there should be a way to select the tabs that have to be opened : a list of the pages title with a checkbox (as does Maxthon).
  • A possible addition/alternative to this is for the user to have more than one home page. Each home page would open in it's own tab. It gets quite redundant to open up the same 4-5 web pages every time I get on the internet.

Cookie Policies per Tab

It would be good for the user to be able to set a cookie policy individually for a tab. E.g. only 'that' tab should accept cookies from that site. Furthermore, sites opening in other tabs shouldn't be able to read the cookie from the first tab (even if it is the same site that set it). This would be useful when, for example, one wants to login to a site with two different credentials at the same time. Or one wants to access two gmail accounts at the same time. The whole idea is for each tab to be able to be sandboxed from all others like being another browser.

  • Despite this separation is not implemented internally in FF 1.5.* or FF 2.0.* it's achieved partially by CookiePie extension.--Swain 22:05, 24 May 2007 (PDT)

Tab Strip

It would be good if the user can see all the favorites of one folder in a strip with a previsualization. This previsualization is updated each time that you visit the page. This previsualization strip will be used with a shift bar to move a small tabselect-window all over these favorites (over the strip). This window will select or highlight only the links/webs that we want to have opened in firefox. That it is to say, when you move the window over the favorite strip one position to the left, one new favorite will be openened and the favorite that is most to the right will be close. The maximum size or width of this window must be configurable, for example 7 tabs. This will save a lot of memory usage in firefox and will let you see all your favorite webs (for example 40) without problem because you will have only 7 web pages opened simultaneously. If this width is reduced from 7 to only 1 what we have is a powerpoint slice "WEB" presentation!!!