New Experimental Tabbed Browsing Builds

Discussion about official Mozilla Firefox builds
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Post Posted November 6th, 2005, 11:46 am

Littlemutt wrote:TabMix Plus is all you need.

That's the point Ben is trying to make. Regular users who don't know a lot about computers don't go and search for extensions that would improve their tabbed browsing experience.

For one, setting new links to open in new tabs by default is one setting that should have been made when Firefox 1.0 was released. These days, a lot of users still have far more firefox windows open than they could have if they only understood tabbed browsing. And pressing ctrl when clicking on a link, or right-clicking to open them in a new tab is a lot of hassle for the average Joe (or Jane).

Also, the fixing of bug 266299 (or bug 313300) deals very neat with popups that should open in a new window. So, the default opening of links in new tabs is a good thing.

I think these changes are very good ones, making a lot of extensions no longer neccesary. That includes "FSLT" or "Focus Last Selected Tab" for me. The addition of close-buttons in each tab is also very nice. In the early days, I used TBE for this, but ever since that one got really buggy I stopped using it. If these close buttons will make it to a default Firefox install, it would be really nice.

It's good that Firefox is doing some research in user interface experience testing! A lot of developers (and a lot of testers in these forums) don't have much idea of what is a good user interface. Such tests will make Firefox a better browser for the biggest part of all users. It might change some things that more advanced users don't like, but they know how to correct that themselves. Now, if only they would fix the dreaded bug 204519 ;)

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Post Posted November 6th, 2005, 11:53 am

rschultz2002 wrote:I think Tab Mix Plus should be the default in Firefox. Anyways I do not use a close button for closing tabs. I use Middle Mouse Click or the Close Tab in the Main Context Menu courtesy of TMP.

I totally agree with you. Without TMP, Firefox's tabbed browsing is very clunky.

I myself also use "Middle Mouse Click or the Close Tab in the Main Context Menu".

These new builds are just that: experimental.

I must admit though, that it IS an improvement upon what Firefox had before.

the corresponding bug:

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Post Posted November 6th, 2005, 1:14 pm

Anybody find any other cool experimental builds?


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Post Posted November 6th, 2005, 1:41 pm

Why does everyone keep going on about Tab Mix, when the data on AMO shows that it isn't as heavily downloaded as personal observation may imply?

I don't dispute that having multiple tabbed browsing extensions merged into a single extension could be useful, especially for the newbies, but why is Tab Mix not reflected thus in AMO downloads?

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Post Posted November 6th, 2005, 1:44 pm

hmm... maybe a lot of people download it from the homepage?

TMP really is a power user's extension.

Back to the experimental build, any more feedback about that?


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Post Posted November 6th, 2005, 1:58 pm

@TheOneKEA, we are raving about TabMix Plus and huge difference between it and "Tab Mix"

Last Update: July 09, 2005 1:52:35pm | Downloads Last 7 Days: 1506 | Total Downloads: 96207
TabMix Plus:
Last Update: October 23, 2005 12:37:18am | Downloads Last 7 Days: 9208 | Total Downloads: 77789

TabMix has not been updated in months, where TabMix Plus is updated very often.

Most of us that are going on about TMP are using the .3 version "test build', with many changes and updates and just have not been released to AMO yet.

I have no idea really why TMP has not hit the top 10, other than some may feel it has 'too many' options, or maybe its a clone of TBE ( we all know what a reputation that has), but ... while it does have many of functions of TBE, TMP is "Stable".. not bloated and does not conflict with Fx by digging into the 'core-code' to function.

I personally like having everything I need in one place and not have to maintain several extensions that at any time could 'conflict' with others when updates come along wrecking a setup that suits my needs. When issues arise with TMP the authors todate have been very prompt in fixing the issues, and I like that.

My 10 cents...

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Post Posted November 6th, 2005, 2:08 pm

I agree, TMP is light, fast, configurable - just wonderful. And new .3 test build has great Session Manager integrated - what else could one want from tabbed browsing extension? Enjoy.


New test build have just been released! (2005-11-06)

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Post Posted November 6th, 2005, 2:30 pm

Understanding that this build isn't targetted at me, so I'm not going to bother downloading one and I'll just give my opinion from watching users struggle with the tab browsing concept instead.

I agree that there should be a close tab button in the tab, but think it should only be on the active tab. Having them on all tabs makes the target area for switching tabs smaller and I've never seen a user want to close a tab there weren't looking at (heck 90% of the time I close a non-active tab it's by mistake).

Personnally I hate the focus last tab selected behaviour, it doesn't suit the way I browse the web at all. Having said that I think you may have a really good solution (at least for me as well as casual users, I can't speak for other power users). I believe the focus last tab behaviour is what is expected when opening a new forground tab, well for my usage of opening serveral tabs in the background the traditional focus model is perfered. Your solution seems to captures both aspects so well done.

The only thing I have to add is a possible partial solution to your missing back history problem. When your focus last selected heuristic is active the back button should close the current tab. This may seem wierd, but I've seen users go for the back button and I think it may work. Most new users probably won't even be aware that a new foreground tab was created and given focus (users are blind and don't notice the tab bar appearing), as such to get to the previous page they try and use the back button. If we copied the back history over to the new tab the user would find the page they're looking for, however later if for whatever reason they close the current tab and see the page which spawned it I think this could lead to confusion (possible even the repeat of the previous action). By closing the current tab the user remains blissfully unaware of the wonder that is tab browsing (we could even take it one step furthur and after closing a tab with the back button make the forward button "undo close tab").

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Post Posted November 6th, 2005, 4:41 pm

Duke D wrote:
While we're here, consolidate the preferences for links sent from external applications vs. targeted links internally into a single pref: "Open links that would open new windows in tabs" instead, since web applications are becoming more advanced to the point where it seems odd that clicking on a link in Thunderbird should open a link one way, but clicking on a link in GMail should open it a different way.

If they are including this shouldn't they make firefox recognize between new windows and the small little login things some websites have?? for example gamespots screenshots always opened in new tabs instead of the new " window " which would cause odd behavior, which is where having 2 seperate options comes in handy, does anyone else find that strange???

Thought this would get a little more focus here... :P


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Post Posted November 6th, 2005, 4:59 pm

The close tab thing is definitely a problem. I can remember when I first started using Phoenix, I found it to be exceedingly annoying to have to select a tab and then move my mouse all the way over to the edge of the browser window to hit the tab close button.

Of course, it didn't take me long to learn about how middle-click can be used to open links in tabs (most useful thing I ever learned about Phoenix/FB/FF) and how it can be used to close tabs (the second most useful thing I ever learned about Phoenix/FB/FF), and that is what changed my entire browsing experience (heck, I've gotten into the habit of middle-clicking tabs in other apps like MSVC even if it's not supported).

But the problem is that I had to discover this through the tips page (back in the days when it was at texturizer). If I had never gotten bored enough to start clicking in the pre-installed bookmark list, I wonder how long it would've taken me to discover it.

So my suggestions are:

1/ Pop up a Firefox tips window when FF launches. You know, those windows with the lightbulb and the "do not show me this ever again" checkbox.

2/ Add a "(middle-click)" blurb next to Close Tab in the tab context menu so that when someone discovers the context menu, they're only a quick step away from discovering the use of middle-click to close the tab.


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Post Posted November 6th, 2005, 5:07 pm

what happens to the close buttons when you have lots of tabs? ie 30+? how does the experimental build deal with this?

can anyone revert back to the orginal one-close button setup, without extensions?


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Post Posted November 6th, 2005, 5:40 pm

I personally think that the tab browsing system is good enough as it is without all these tab extensions - I use none of them because I have no need for their features. Just to make it clear - I'm a HEAVY tab user.

As for closing a tab, I'm surprised no one on this thread has mentioned the easiest way to close a tab, and that's Ctrl+W. If you're worried that Ctrl+W closes FF when one tab is shown, there's a separate thread for that discussion...

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Post Posted November 6th, 2005, 10:01 pm

Ben's blog is giving me errors so posted here instead.

1) Opening tabs next to where you clicked good idea - I open lots

2) Which, if any extension, lists all open tabs - like Manage Bookmarks ? Yes I have enough open that searching would useful and yes it is work.

My handy dandy lovely IBM scroll mouse lets me has sideways movement on the scroll bar and when I click on a tab I can scroll sideways through them - unfortunately I cannot get the arrow keys to do this for me. I have All-In-One Gestures but ctrl-up/down is just as convenient but neither is good.

Being able to arrow though the list as per 2) would be handy, and then

using tab drag and drop functionality (?) - reorder tabs - into different windows even - in the tab manager window. Maybe with Jesse R's How I Got Here extn functionality blended in.


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Post Posted November 6th, 2005, 10:42 pm

I am glad that somebody was looking at how users actually use our browser. Most excellent.

Until recently I was using TBP and 3 other browsers. Now it's just TMP (tabMixPlus). What TBP and TMP did for me is to allow me to click on links in Outlook and have them open tabs in Firefox without stealing focus from outlook. When I am done looking at my mail I then turn to what I have selected. To me, this would be great as a default behavior.

In general, I am in favor of what Ben has outlined so far. I hope when the devs are done with the changes they will try them out on a similar group of users.
Firefox: Sic transit gloria mundi.


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Post Posted November 7th, 2005, 12:17 am

code65536 wrote:1/ Pop up a Firefox tips window when FF launches. You know, those windows with the lightbulb and the "do not show me this ever again" checkbox.

2/ Add a "(middle-click)" blurb next to Close Tab in the tab context menu so that when someone discovers the context menu, they're only a quick step away from discovering the use of middle-click to close the tab.

That's what I first thought when I read the blog's entry. Middle-click is better than having a close button on each tab, it's not surprising if people do not use it when they first use firefox as they don't know it. Firefox just has to tell them!

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