Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th May 2009 22:42 UTC
Mozilla & Gecko clones Tabbed browsing is pretty much the norm by now, with even someone like me (who disliked it vehemently for a long time) finally giving in and start using tabbed browsing (thanks to Chrome, by the way). Well, apparently, Mozilla thinks its time to move on. They believe tabbed browsing has become obsolete, and are asking users to come up with a better alternative.
Order by: Score:
How many they said ?
by boulabiar on Mon 18th May 2009 23:26 UTC
boulabiar
Member since:
2009-04-18

I have at least 40+ tabs opened /Machine used !

Reply Score: 2

Simple answer
by Zenja on Mon 18th May 2009 23:38 UTC
Zenja
Member since:
2005-07-06

Duh, wait for Opera 11, see what's innovative, cool and uber-useful, and then copy it into Mozilla. Wasn't that Mozilla's feature development strategy for the last 8 years?

Reply Score: 8

RE: Simple answer
by MechR on Tue 19th May 2009 02:56 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
MechR Member since:
2006-01-11

Do I hear a tacit argument in favor of software patents?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Simple answer
by Auxx on Tue 19th May 2009 05:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Simple answer"
Auxx Member since:
2007-04-05

If Opera Software ever patented their innovations then Firefox would still look like IE 5.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Simple answer
by spiderman on Tue 19th May 2009 09:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Simple answer"
spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

If netscape had patented the web browser then there would be neither IE (which would be a good thing) nor Opera. Firefox, being the fork from netscape is the oldest of them all.

Edited 2009-05-19 09:20 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: Simple answer
by Glynser on Tue 19th May 2009 09:31 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Simple answer"
Glynser Member since:
2007-11-29

The only problem is that Netscape couldn't have done this, because there has been another web browser before.

(and besides that, this is not the debate. It's about the useful, additional features, not the idea of a 'web browsing application' itself)

Edited 2009-05-19 09:32 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Simple answer
by Laurence on Tue 19th May 2009 11:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Simple answer"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

If netscape had patented the web browser then there would be neither IE (which would be a good thing) nor Opera. Firefox, being the fork from netscape is the oldest of them all.


The only problem with that argument the 'prior art' clause in patent law because Tim Berners-Lee's browser 'WorldWideWeb', beat Mosaic by a good 2 years.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Simple answer
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 19th May 2009 15:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Simple answer"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Netscape just licensed the technology from the University of Illinois. As did Microsoft, by ways of spyglass.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosaic_%28web_browser%29

Reply Score: 2

RE: Simple answer
by Soulbender on Tue 19th May 2009 08:04 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Opera users are apparently the new Amiga users.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Simple answer
by Brunis on Tue 19th May 2009 09:11 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
Brunis Member since:
2005-11-01

Duh, wait for Opera 11, see what's innovative, cool and uber-useful, and then copy it into Mozilla. Wasn't that Mozilla's feature development strategy for the last 8 years?


Yeah, something along those lines.. but first they should fix the current tab implementation.. i'm sure Opera will have launched something new they can copy (slower, broken version ofc.) after they finish that.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Simple answer
by Soulbender on Tue 19th May 2009 13:41 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Duh, wait for Opera 11, see what's innovative, cool and uber-useful, and then copy it into Mozilla


Oh yeah, I cant wait until the copy "awesome" things like Opera Mail...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Simple answer
by eksasol on Tue 19th May 2009 17:03 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
eksasol Member since:
2009-04-05

Duh, wait for Opera 11, see what's innovative, cool and uber-useful, and then copy it into Mozilla. Wasn't that Mozilla's feature development strategy for the last 8 years?

HAHAHA, that was exactly what I thought when I read the title of this article. Just copy off Opera.

I have about 5 tabs open at once and about 500 bookmarks organized in 25 different catergories. Instead of trying to make more tab open at once, what they should do is design the bookmark so people will utilize it more. Both the Opera and Firefox bookmarking system can be improve to add more interactive handon features. Sort of like an organization system iTunes use to automatically organize the bookmarks the way music is, with thumbnails and such. Shouldn't have to take up screen space, because like the Panel in Opera, have a big button to quickly open and hide it.

Edited 2009-05-19 17:16 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Simple answer
by bremac on Thu 21st May 2009 16:48 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
bremac Member since:
2007-06-27

Only to the same extent as it has been Opera's strategy to wait to on and clone NetCaptor.

Reply Score: 1

Like Omniweb
by Tuishimi on Tue 19th May 2009 00:05 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

Omniweb has a slide out tab drawer that can be visual (page-shot icons) or simple (text description). That way you can have tons of tabs in the drawer at once if you want.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Like Omniweb
by patrix on Tue 19th May 2009 10:44 UTC in reply to "Like Omniweb"
patrix Member since:
2006-05-21

Not to mention workspaces...

http://omnigroup.com/ftp2/pub/software/MacOSX/movies/OmniWeb/Worksp...


So you got 3 levels of organisation with Omniweb:

Workspaces (groups of windows/tabs)
Windows (managed by your OS/Window Manager)
Tabs

Reply Score: 1

Simple idea
by acobar on Tue 19th May 2009 00:14 UTC
acobar
Member since:
2005-11-15

- Upon clicking an uri (link) on a page, if the default action is to open a new tab, group it hierarchically (as a folder inside a folder). A whole tree can be created this way;

- Make tabs grouped be seen with a left "+" to expand it (show the tree). Internal uri's may have a "-" to collapse a sub-tree (the same way we do on file managers);

- The navigation on the grouped tabs should be the same we do on tree panels (with scroll bars if needed and all), except, of course, that the tree will be hidden after we choose an uri. Optionally, a control+click may display the page without closing the tree panel;

- Make the tab title be the title of the last accessed (current viewed) uri. Also, the current item on the table tree should be highlighted and be the first item showed (like in drop down lists - where you get first what is selected and can go up or down to previous or next elements through the scroll bar);

- To insert a tab in another just drag it to the second and wait the tree panel to drop. After that, select the insertion point;

- To delete click the "x" at right (as is usual on firefox).

I would enjoy something like that. The metaphor is already well known by most of us anyway.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Simple idea
by AnyoneEB on Tue 19th May 2009 01:50 UTC in reply to "Simple idea"
AnyoneEB Member since:
2008-10-26

You appear to be describing https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5890 ("Tree Style Tab") which was linked a few times from the Slashdot discussion on this topic. It looks interesting, but I have not tried it out yet.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Simple idea
by acobar on Tue 19th May 2009 02:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Simple idea"
acobar Member since:
2005-11-15

Well, the idea is pretty much trivial and it is, in some sense, a surprise it is not already on firefox.

Anyway, the extension you pointed use a side bar for tree representation, that is not what I want, I want a drop down tree list for each tab.

Edited 2009-05-19 02:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by dswain
by dswain on Tue 19th May 2009 01:59 UTC
dswain
Member since:
2005-07-03

I'm kind of surprised to hear this. While I can see that the interface style is probably getting old and there are probably better alternatives, I don't think I've ever had more than 10 tabs open at any time. How much information can a person really take in at once and how much info is required to be shared across multiple sites at once (on the user level, at least)? It seems like it's a bit overkill to have this much going on at once.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by dswain
by Auxx on Tue 19th May 2009 05:46 UTC in reply to "Comment by dswain"
Auxx Member since:
2007-04-05

I know a lot of people who has 50+ tabs opened at once. I personally don't think this comfortable, but they are fine with that.

And yes, they use Opera. Firefox will just die in pain with such amount of tabs ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by dswain
by lmartin92 on Tue 19th May 2009 11:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by dswain"
lmartin92 Member since:
2009-05-19

I know a lot of people who has 50+ tabs opened at once. I personally don't think this comfortable, but they are fine with that.

And yes, they use Opera. Firefox will just die in pain with such amount of tabs ;)


Not true ^^. I have 100+ tabs open in Firefox and experience no slowdown whatsoever.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by dswain
by timefortea on Tue 19th May 2009 13:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by dswain"
timefortea Member since:
2006-10-11

I have 200 tabs open at a time... in fact all I see is tabs, there is no room for anything else.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by dswain
by Sabon on Tue 19th May 2009 18:03 UTC in reply to "Comment by dswain"
Sabon Member since:
2005-07-06

I use Safari on a Mac and have Groups where I have multiple websites in each group. I can then click on the group and it automatically opens up a tab for each item in that group. I have about 8 groups.

I have a group for news, and different groups for different variations of technology that fits together for me. And I have a group for car news.

The reason I do this is so that I don't always have to wait for the web pages to open. This way I wait a little longer and all of them open. As I finish reading one I hit Command-W and it closes that tab and the next tab is now the active tab and I read that website and so on.

It works great and is a lot more enjoyable than having one tab open where I have to do multiple clicks to go to the next website.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by dswain
by Fergy on Thu 21st May 2009 07:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by dswain"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

That's exactly how I browse. It works most of the time but breaks down when I want to read it later. Then I have to either bookmark it(and probably forget it) or put it in the read later window.

Reply Score: 1

User or programmer
by lmartin92 on Tue 19th May 2009 02:42 UTC
lmartin92
Member since:
2009-05-19

I'm probably not the average user, but I have like a standard session that I want to open everytime I open my browser (Firefox 3.*). I'm a software developer (programmer) and I have like 100+ tabs open all the time. I have 7 news tabs that I read twice a day (check some project updates, and important news), information for each project, and the docs are usually open (source code too if available), posts, youtube, stuff I watch, about 7-10 blank tabs (one to seperate each group). Now, I believe to manage so many tabs, we need a new system. However, I have not the time to develop and present it. What I'd really like is a active and non-active tab, where you store all your tabs. The ones that are currently being viewed lots is in active, the rest in non-active. An added plus is that like all flash, network access, js, and so on be paused (so they don't use memory and cpu resources) if they are in the non-active tab. Truthfully, I don't need the feature about pause, but I think it would be nice (like if I were using my tabset on a lesser capable computer for instance).

Reply Score: 2

RE: User or programmer
by _xmv on Tue 19th May 2009 15:53 UTC in reply to "User or programmer"
_xmv Member since:
2008-12-09

I have like 100+ tabs open all the time [..] about 7-10 blank tabs [..] active, the rest in non-active. An added plus is that like all flash, network access, js, and so on be paused (so they don't use memory and cpu resources) if they are in the non-active tab. Truthfully, I don't need the feature about pause, but I think it would be nice (like if I were using my tabset on a lesser capable computer for instance).


dude that's called a bookmark. and i'm serious here.

100 tabs most of which are blanks, or pages you're not gonna watch.. i wonder what got into people like you, really.

Reply Score: 2

Widescreen monitorss
by VistaUser on Tue 19th May 2009 02:46 UTC
VistaUser
Member since:
2008-03-08

In the age of wide-screen monitors, going tall is probably the wrong way.

I remember that Mozilla had some sites which would open in a sidebar - but back then monitors were competitively tiny and the use of real estate in such a manner was not the best.

Now that monitors are wide-screen, maybe that needs to be reconsidered? I doubt there are many sites that want pages much wider than 1000px...

Reply Score: 3

RE: Widescreen monitorss
by jrronimo on Tue 19th May 2009 15:28 UTC in reply to "Widescreen monitorss"
jrronimo Member since:
2006-02-28

I guess the counter-argument to that is that anything that takes up some width (the tabs themselves) also take up some height -- let's call it 10 pixels for argument's sake.

On a widescreen monitor, when you take away from height, it's more noticeable than when you take away from width:

If your resolution is 1680x1050 (a horrid yet common resolution), your tab bar means you are browsing at MOST at 1680x1040 -- more scrolling to read long articles, etc. (Of course, this is ignoring a Menubar, not to mention Windows' Window bar (minimize/maximize/close)...

However, in that same scenario, if you take 50 pixels from width to show tabs, then you are at 1630x1050 (ignoring all other bars, of course). There's more content on the display (and thus less scrolling), it's just shifted over a bit.

Here at OSNews, there's ample white space to the left and right of my screen, so I'd rather lose width than height.

...except that if my webpage doesn't scroll edge-to-edge, it annoys me, so I'd rather have tab-stuff at top, as is.

...also except that I hate Tabs and prefer to use the Taskbar for that sort of thing. ;)

Reply Score: 1

massysett
Member since:
2007-12-04

I'm just curious. I never have more than about ten tabs open. When I do have that many, most of them are just old junk that I have hanging around and I can close them.

Probably my biggest use for tabs is when reading stories from RSS, or from a newspaper homepage. I open all the stories I want to read at once, one per tab, and then close each tab as I finish the stories.

I couldn't possibly keep track of more than a dozen tabs. What are people doing with these dozens and dozens of tabs? Is this behavior common or is it limited to a few ultra-geeks?

Reply Score: 3

mojmir Member since:
2009-01-05

hehe, just guessing: 40 computers, 30 physics, 30 math and +-20 misc todo read

internet is full of interesting things so you try to keep them around and process them over time. unfortunately interesting things pop up quickly as you surf through... *sigh*

Reply Score: 2

timefortea Member since:
2006-10-11

I have no idea why you could need so many tabs open at once - if my tab count goes above 10, I just close the ones I have already read. If I can't read it now then I may bookmark it for later, in some cases I'll keep some tabs open if I think I will get around to 'using' them soon. If you have 100 tabs open, you'd surely be better off with 100 bookmarks - they provide a mechanism for sorting, renaming and most importantly persistence.

For most people is it not just a case of good housekeeping/organisation?

Reply Score: 2

Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

If you have 100 tabs open, you'd surely be better off with 100 bookmarks - they provide a mechanism for sorting, renaming and most importantly persistence. For most people is it not just a case of good housekeeping/organisation?


It depends on what you use the web for and how you use your browser; one size does not fit all.

Personally I use bookmarks for the relatively small number of sites that I visit regularly. I want to keep my bookmarks efficiently and consistently organised for quick and easy access. I don't want to clutter them up with hundreds of daily news stories, forum posts, or film/music reviews that I'll delete after reading once.

When necessary tabs can be sorted and organised into different windows, and it's quicker to close open pages as I go along than create/open/delete a bunch of bookmarks.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by jpkotta
by jpkotta on Tue 19th May 2009 04:25 UTC
jpkotta
Member since:
2007-03-24

When you think about it, tabs are basically a taskbar. I don't care for taskbars, so I use something called FvwmProxy (http://www.imonk.com/baboon/FvwmProxy/), for the Fvwm window manager. It creates little proxy windows near the center of your real windows, even if they're obsured by other windows. One thing I like better about the proxies is that they're laid out in 2 dimensions, so they never get very cluttered.

Browser tabs are proxies for browser windows. They would be less cluttered and more organized if we used 2 dimensions to display them. They could be arranged as a graph sort of like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mason-ontology.png. There are several ways to draw links. Probably the easiest is making a tree of clicked links, i.e. a window opened by clicking a link is a child of the window with the clicked link. Links could also be drawn according to guesses at the topics of the webpages, or the URLs. The nodes can be represented by screenshots, text, icons, etc.

The disadvantage is that there's no way to keep the graph up all the time. It would just get in the way. You would need a fast, easy way to display it, like a simple mouse gesture or a single keybinding.

Reply Score: 3

UI innovation from Mozilla users?
by Auxx on Tue 19th May 2009 05:54 UTC
Auxx
Member since:
2007-04-05

Well, they really should wait for Opera 10! I don't remember any great UI innovation coming from Firefox camp...

Reply Score: 0

Opera Opera Opera
by dvhh on Tue 19th May 2009 06:18 UTC
dvhh
Member since:
2006-03-20

if it wasn't for the lack of support fron webdesigner who don't care to test for it, and lack of extensions,

Opera would be awesome. the little bugger is pretty stable by itself ( flash change everything ).
Tab management is still the best one yet ( tab bar placement pretty much anywhere ), not that hungry with +50 tabs open ( less than firefox ).
Searchable tab list in the sidebar (helps with more than +100 tabs ).

On another point of view I would say tab are one of the proof that application centric window management was the right approach ( after all it is as implemented an extension of mdi ) and tab bar have been pretty much accepted by any os application handling multiple document or view.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Opera Opera Opera
by Soulbender on Tue 19th May 2009 08:07 UTC in reply to "Opera Opera Opera"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I could have sworn the topic here is new features of Firefox, not how awesome Opera, supposedly, is.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Opera Opera Opera
by Glynser on Tue 19th May 2009 08:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Opera Opera Opera"
Glynser Member since:
2007-11-29

Wrong, the topic is 'INSPIRATIONS for new (not yet existing) Firefox features'... (which can be seen a synonym for 'Opera')

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Opera Opera Opera
by Soulbender on Tue 19th May 2009 10:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Opera Opera Opera"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

It still sure isn't about how awesome Opera is. Hey, I like Opera but I don't feel some strange urge to whine about every time some other browser is mentioned.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Opera Opera Opera
by Glynser on Tue 19th May 2009 10:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Opera Opera Opera"
Glynser Member since:
2007-11-29

Nobody whines here, but it's about useful features that Firefox has not yet (copied). The tabbed browsing experience in Opera is - in my opinion - far better than in Firefox, so why shouldn't that be mentioned?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Opera Opera Opera
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 19th May 2009 15:12 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Opera Opera Opera"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Because they're looking for something better than tabs.

Its like trying to sell buggy whips to Henry Ford. Or candles to Thomas Edison. Or a typewriter to Steve Jobs. They're looking for something insanely great.

Reply Score: 2

Opera side tabs
by Glynser on Tue 19th May 2009 06:55 UTC
Glynser
Member since:
2007-11-29

I also use Opera and have my tabs on the side. Sometimes there are even two columns and it's hard to keep track of them. If there was such a thing as tab grouping (basically like inside the bookmarks menu), this would be absolutely awesome!

Reply Score: 1

google+20
by frantisheq on Tue 19th May 2009 07:27 UTC
frantisheq
Member since:
2008-07-25

opening 20+ tabs from one google search is a everyday problem for me and i don't like firefox but this time i have to agree with mozilla

Reply Score: 2

recently closed tabs
by cyberdoyle on Tue 19th May 2009 07:30 UTC
cyberdoyle
Member since:
2009-05-18

I can end up with many tabs and many windows in a day, so any innovative ideas most welcome. I wouldn't swap firefox for any other browser, I love it to bits. More in 'recently closed' might help me cos my bookmark list is horrendous too. Keep rockin firefox, you are doing great.

Reply Score: 1

Opera's Windows Panel
by Dave_K on Tue 19th May 2009 09:51 UTC
Dave_K
Member since:
2005-11-16

Opera users who place their tab bar on the side, or developers looking to improve tabbed browsing, should try turning on Opera's Sidebar and bringing up the Windows Panel.

This has quite a few advantages over the conventional tab bar. For example:

-It displays all the open tabs in all Opera windows, grouping tabs by the window they are in, and allowing you to show or hide the tab list for each window.

-You can use it to drag and drop tabs between browser windows, without having to place the two windows side by side on screen.

-It allows you to select multiple tabs by shift/ctrl clicking, just like selecting multiple bookmarks, these can then be dragged or closed as a group.

-There's a search field that allows you to filter the tab display. This is great if you have a lot of pages open, both for quickly finding specific pages, and for efficient window management. Want to close a bunch of ebay listings you no longer need? Type ebay into the field, select them all, then hit delete (or right click and select close) and they're all gone.

-As the Windows Panel is in the sidebar it features the sidebar's placement options and ability to quickly be shown/hidden. You can even have the Windows Panel as a separate floating window if you wish.

Add to that the many advantages of Opera's MDI interface features, like the ability to place tabs side by side, or contain correctly sized pop-up windows within the main window, and it has a massive advantage over most other browsers when it comes to managing a large number of pages.

See this article for a screenshot of this Opera feature:

http://cybernetnews.com/2007/05/25/opera-tip-moving-tabs-around-wit...

Reply Score: 4

RE: Opera's Windows Panel
by cb_osn on Tue 19th May 2009 21:19 UTC in reply to "Opera's Windows Panel"
cb_osn Member since:
2006-02-26

See this article for a screenshot of this Opera feature:

http://cybernetnews.com/2007/05/25/opera-tip-moving-tabs-around-wit...

That's exactly what I want my web browser to not look like. If Firefox starts heading in that direction, Chrome will become my default browser.

We don't need better tab management. We need something that fits between tabs and bookmarks. I imagine that most of the people that have dozens or hundreds of tabs open do so because they've come across content that they want to read later-- but they only want to read it once. It doesn't make sense to store a "permanent" bookmark that you'll have to categorize and then go back and delete at some time in the future.

I don't know what the answer is, but anything that involves more widgets and panels and less screen real estate for content is a failure. And if it has the bonus of including a hierarchical tree view, it's a double failure.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Opera's Windows Panel
by Dave_K on Tue 19th May 2009 22:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Opera's Windows Panel"
Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

That's exactly what I want my web browser to not look like. If Firefox starts heading in that direction, Chrome will become my default browser.


Opera's user interface is highly configurable. If you don't like the layout and aesthetics in that screenshot then it can be completely different for you.

We don't need better tab management. We need something that fits between tabs and bookmarks.


Why? I'm open to new ideas, but I don't think it's necessary to add a completely new feature when the combination of bookmarks and tabs can work perfectly well.

Bookmarks for sites I'll want to visit again in the future, organised so that I can find them quickly. Tabs for the temporary pages I'm reading through in the short term, like the day's news stories and forum posts.

With the ability to easily sort tabs between windows, a way of quickly searching/filtering open tabs, and an efficient way of listing them, tabs work just fine even when 100+ are open.

Personally I can't think of anything that would fit between the two without adding needless complexity.

I don't know what the answer is, but anything that involves more widgets and panels and less screen real estate for content is a failure. And if it has the bonus of including a hierarchical tree view, it's a double failure.


In that screenshot the tab bar is misleadingly included along with the Windows Panel. In reality the Windows Panel is a complete replacement for the tab bar, saving that valuable screen real estate. In addition, Opera's sidebar can quickly be hidden and only shown when necessary, allowing for a very minimalist browser.

As for it using a "hierarchical tree view", all it does is sort the tabs by the window that contains them. There are only two levels of "hierarchy", allowing you to hide the tab listings for specific windows to save space in the panel. I'm curious how you would improve on this?

I'd suggest that you actually try this feature for a while, rather than judging it based on your first impressions from a screenshot.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Opera's Windows Panel
by cb_osn on Wed 20th May 2009 03:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Opera's Windows Panel"
cb_osn Member since:
2006-02-26

Hi Dave. First of all, thank you for the thoughtful response. Looking back, my post came off a bit more aggressive than I intended.

Opera's user interface is highly configurable. If you don't like the layout and aesthetics in that screenshot then it can be completely different for you.

I do appreciate that Opera offers many opportunities for customization, but ironically, it always seems like the software that provides the most configurable interfaces is the least usable in its default form. It's as if designers decide that they can completely disregard the idea of sane defaults because they've given users the option to reconfigure it however they like.

Personally, I prefer a single, simple, well designed interface to one that is infinitely customizable.


Why? I'm open to new ideas, but I don't think it's necessary to add a completely new feature when the combination of bookmarks and tabs can work perfectly well.

Bookmarks for sites I'll want to visit again in the future, organised so that I can find them quickly. Tabs for the temporary pages I'm reading through in the short term, like the day's news stories and forum posts.

With the ability to easily sort tabs between windows, a way of quickly searching/filtering open tabs, and an efficient way of listing them, tabs work just fine even when 100+ are open.

Personally I can't think of anything that would fit between the two without adding needless complexity.

I quoted up to the part about "needless complexity" because I think that is my reason for jumping into this topic: I don't want to see needless complexity added to the tab system.

I think tabs are a nice, simple way to manage web pages that are in our current periphery. For those of us that usually keep 5-10 tabs open per browser window, they work perfectly. The suggestions I've seen so far seem to want to add needless complexity to the tab system to better serve the niche group (this includes me too, sometimes) that has 100+ tabs open.

But as I mentioned, these 100+ tabs usually do not represent content that is actively being viewed, but content that is being kept open for later viewing. Since the vast majority of web pages are stateless, these tabs are really just some sort of transient bookmark.

So I agree that adding another feature between tabs and bookmarks may be unnecessary, but following my line of thought about the usage of 100+ tabs, perhaps we should be looking at updating the bookmark system instead. I realized that I don't even use it anymore. Sure, I've put some stuff in there, but it has long since grown large, messy, and unmanageable.

We should take some cues from actual bookmarking-- it's relatively simple and painless to stick a piece of paper at a specific location in a book, or even, as most of us probably do nowadays, dog-ear a page so that we can find it later. It's also very easy to undo those actions. Conversely, bookmarking in a web browser takes more effort and feels more permanent.

Again, I'm unsure of how to solve this. Personally, I'd prefer something that allowed me to drag a tab into some sort of persistent "scratch area." The tab would be saved there and removed from the browser. To reopen the tab, you would drag it out of the scratch area and back into the browser. This would reload the tab, preferably with the original scroll offset and zoom level, and simultaneously remove it from the scratch area. Alternatively, you could double click the tab instead of dragging it to open it up without removing it from the scratch area. Ideally, the scratch area itself would be a translucent overlay covering the client area of the browser window. It could be accessed by a button on the toolbar, by dragging a tab, or by a hot key. Bonus points if the scratch area acts like a zoomable canvas (no scroll bars, just drag and zoom) and can maintain the spatial location where you dragged the tab, since human memory tends to be more spatial and associative than hierarchical or linear.

I'm sure there are some usability problems with this that I haven't considered, but it's just a suggestion for something that would suit my personal browsing style.


In that screenshot the tab bar is misleadingly included along with the Windows Panel. In reality the Windows Panel is a complete replacement for the tab bar, saving that valuable screen real estate. In addition, Opera's sidebar can quickly be hidden and only shown when necessary, allowing for a very minimalist browser.

Yet it still doesn't compare to Chrome, which, in its default configuration, takes up just enough space in the client area to fit the address bar, and still lets me see the names of all the tabs that are open in the current window.


As for it using a "hierarchical tree view", all it does is sort the tabs by the window that contains them. There are only two levels of "hierarchy", allowing you to hide the tab listings for specific windows to save space in the panel.

I apologize for this. You are, of course, correct that it really doesn't represent a deep hierarchy. My snipe at the tree view was really intended for those who suggested the tab tree plugin, and didn't belong in my response to your post.


I'm curious how you would improve on this?

I don't think that I could. It seems like it would work well for an overall multi-window tab manager, and I wouldn't mind having something like that in every browser that I use. Still, I don't see it replacing actual tabs for my usage.


I'd suggest that you actually try this feature for a while, rather than judging it based on your first impressions from a screenshot.

It was possibly unfair of me to judge that one specific feature based on a single screenshot, but honestly, that screenshot is truly representative of the criticism that Opera receives for it's interface: poor color choices, mismatched icons, thick borders around the tabs, nested panels, and widgets that don't match the operating system. The noise coming from the interface completely smothers the content.

Nevertheless, I will download the latest version of Opera, at your request, and play with the window panel feature for the next few days.

Edited 2009-05-20 03:44 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Opera's Windows Panel
by Dave_K on Wed 20th May 2009 11:50 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Opera's Windows Panel"
Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

I do appreciate that Opera offers many opportunities for customization, but ironically, it always seems like the software that provides the most configurable interfaces is the least usable in its default form. It's as if designers decide that they can completely disregard the idea of sane defaults because they've given users the option to reconfigure it however they like. Personally, I prefer a single, simple, well designed interface to one that is infinitely customizable.


To me Opera's default user interface is perfectly fine. I don't see how its defaults are any less sane or usable than those provided by Firefox and Chrome, they aren't even that different in my opinion. Can you explain why you dislike it and how you would change it?

I quoted up to the part about "needless complexity" because I think that is my reason for jumping into this topic: I don't want to see needless complexity added to the tab system. I think tabs are a nice, simple way to manage web pages that are in our current periphery. For those of us that usually keep 5-10 tabs open per browser window, they work perfectly. The suggestions I've seen so far seem to want to add needless complexity to the tab system to better serve the niche group (this includes me too, sometimes) that has 100+ tabs open.


Users who don't need the extra features don't even need to encounter them. In Opera you can keep the tab bar and maximised tabs (its default settings), giving you simple tabbed browsing like other browsers. MDI and features like the Windows Panel and Session Management are there for people who find standard tabbed browsing overly limited; for them any extra complexity in those features isn't needless.

Personally, I'd prefer something that allowed me to drag a tab into some sort of persistent "scratch area." The tab would be saved there and removed from the browser. To reopen the tab, you would drag it out of the scratch area and back into the browser. This would reload the tab, preferably with the original scroll offset and zoom level, and simultaneously remove it from the scratch area.


It's an interesting idea that might work well if it was implemented in an elegant way.

I use multiple windows and occasionally saved sessions to fulfil a similar function. If I want to put some pages to one side, without having to bookmark them, then I can open a new browser window and drag all those tabs into it. Opera's ability to filter the list of tabs and drag groups of tabs together speeds this up.

If I'm not going to be looking at them for a while then sometimes I'll save that window as a session and close it to free up resources. With sessions all the tabs in the window are restored with their previous state, although management of saved sessions could be greatly improved.

Yet it still doesn't compare to Chrome, which, in its default configuration, takes up just enough space in the client area to fit the address bar, and still lets me see the names of all the tabs that are open in the current window.


Opera's default UI doesn't take up that much more space than Chrome's. Opera's standard windows titlebar and toolbars are slightly thicker, and unlike Chrome it displays a menubar, but apart from that Opera just has a tab bar and address bar.

Maybe Opera could replace the full menubar with a couple of menu buttons on the address bar to make the default UI as minimalist as Chrome (an available option if you're happy to tweak Opera), but then that brings some usability issues when implemented by default. Hide too many features, too deeply in the UI, and new users might miss out on some of the best things about Opera.

As for Chrome letting you see the names of all the tabs in the window, that's only true if you open a very limited number of tabs. Browsing on my laptop's 11" screen, or without the browser window maximised on my desktop (I don't like pages stretched across a 24" screen), and even with a dozen pages open page titles get cut to a few letters. That's when multiple rows of tabs start to become necessary if you don't want to spread your tabs between a bunch of browser windows.

With a widescreen display, a sidebar seems like a better use of space to me, especially as it's also useful for managing file transfers and bookmarks, and in Opera provides a notepad (great if you're using the web for research) and other useful features.

Even on my laptop's small screen I prefer a sidebar; vertical space is particularly precious, and the sidebar can quickly be hidden and shown when needed. The Opera installation on my laptop generally just has the address bar visible, no menubar, tab bar, or anything else taking up space.

For quickly switching between tabs there's right-mouse-button+scroll-wheel (or ctrl+tab) to cycle through the tabs within the active window, with the Windows Panel available for tab management, the tab bar at the top becomes an obsolete feature to me.

It was possibly unfair of me to judge that one specific feature based on a single screenshot, but honestly, that screenshot is truly representative of the criticism that Opera receives for it's interface: poor color choices, mismatched icons, thick borders around the tabs, nested panels, and widgets that don't match the operating system. The noise coming from the interface completely smothers the content.


That screenshot doesn't show a default Opera installation, both because this has changed since Opera 8, and because that showed a customised installation. Current versions of Opera do not have thick borders around tabs, the tabs fill the tab bar, and compared with a lot of other applications, Chrome for example, it fits in very well with the operating system's look and feel. To me things like skins and colour schemes just aren't a big issue when they can be changed in seconds with a few mouse clicks.

Of course issues of aesthetics are highly subjective, but I really hated the look of Chrome when I tried it. I like all my applications to have a fairly consistent look and feel; one of the first things I do when I install Opera is change it's skin to Windows Native, so that it fits in nicely with the rest of the UI. Part of the reason why I play video in VLC and play music with Foobar2000 is that they don't have non-standard skins that add annoying "noise" to the UI. In contrast the bright blue Chrome skin, with it's non-standard titlebar and controls, sticks out like a sore thumb on my desktop, and unlike Opera it doesn't work with my favourite Windows UI tweaks.

Reply Score: 2

Uhm
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 19th May 2009 09:51 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

Oh my gods, there are actually *Opera* advocates? You mean that browser which doesn't even have an update feature, but requires a complete re-install at EVERY frakking security update?

And people are advocating that nonsense?

Edited 2009-05-19 09:59 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Uhm
by Glynser on Tue 19th May 2009 10:33 UTC in reply to "Uhm"
Glynser Member since:
2007-11-29

At least better than Firefox, that browser who forces update on restart ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Uhm
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 19th May 2009 10:39 UTC in reply to "RE: Uhm"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

At least better than Firefox, that browser who forces update on restart


It's demonstrably NOT better.

http://www.osnews.com/story/21445/Chrome_Users_Most_Up_to_Date_Fire...

This means that Opera users are generally less secure - browser-wise - than users of Firefox and Chrome. Opera's lack of an updating mechanism is simply BRAINDEAD and INEXCUSABLE.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Uhm
by invent00r on Tue 19th May 2009 12:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Uhm"
invent00r Member since:
2009-04-27

I don't get it.

You either don't really know that Opera 10 will have auto-updates or you forcibly don't want to acknowledge this.

The thread you linked to has some users alerting to the fact that Opera lack of self-updating is soon to be fixed. As some users in here also have pointed that out.

True it hasn't been doing so this far, but this ought to be changed very soon.

Also on top of the self-updating feature I think all browsers should have a limited timeframe on which they could browse the web - for example, two years. After that it can only access offline\intranet webpages forcibly causing users\admins to update to the new version.

My uni still has Firefox 2 on most computers - others have version 3 beta 5, and it doesn't look like they will update soon.

Reply Score: 1

So Opera's late to the game on one feature...
by jrronimo on Tue 19th May 2009 15:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Uhm"
jrronimo Member since:
2006-02-28

http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/2009/05/13/auto-updated-alread... -- Opera's working on an auto-update.

I tested it for this build of Opera 10 and it worked in about the same way that Firefox's works: It downloaded the update, then installed it. Sure Opera's looked more like it was installing the program again, but I suspect Firefox's works in a similar fashion, but the install processes are wrapped to a nicer (and more automated) GUI.

Yeah, Opera's late on one feature, but I forgive them for all of the other stuff they've pioneered. ;)

I've been an Opera user forever, but I still treat it like my dirty secret: I tell people "Yeah, but I use a web browser that most people don't. You've got Firefox on your machine, right?" even though I pretty much hate Firefox.

I do advocate Chrome, though. Whole-heartedly.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Uhm
by ephracis on Tue 19th May 2009 10:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Uhm"
ephracis Member since:
2007-09-23

When the results of badly updated software around the Internet is more spam in my inbox I am all for forcing users to upgrade their software.

Just let people who have a clue turn the feature off, and leave it on as standard of Average Joe who doesn't even know why he should care about updates.

Forced automatic updates by default is a must!

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Uhm
by Glynser on Tue 19th May 2009 11:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Uhm"
Glynser Member since:
2007-11-29

The problem is that you can only skip it once, and with the next restart, it gets downloaded and installed without a question. Yeah, I can see that it's important to be up to date (btw, I always install new Opera updates as soon as I can), but it's just annoying when you have to look up something very quickly and you're short on time, but then the forced update occurs and you have to wait and wait and wait.

And yes, this has happened to me more than just once in a lifetime.

I'd be glad if Opera had a more convenient update mechanism as well, but I wouldn't want it unskippable. I don't want the machines to take control ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Uhm
by ichi on Tue 19th May 2009 11:53 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Uhm"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

then the forced update occurs and you have to wait and wait and wait.


Gotta love updates getting installed in the background while the app is running.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Uhm
by ephracis on Tue 19th May 2009 12:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Uhm"
ephracis Member since:
2007-09-23

So maybe this should work for most people:

1) Download updates in background and install without prompting (default)
2) Notify user of available downloads
3) Manual upgrades

Solution 2 and 3 would never force anything, and solution two would be discrete and non-intrusive. Solution number 3 would just be a button that says "Check for updates".

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Uhm
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 19th May 2009 14:42 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Uhm"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

No. Browser updates should always be forced.

People who regard themselves as expert > people who really are experts. In other words, Google does it right: forced, silent upgrades for everyone using an open source tool.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Uhm
by Glynser on Tue 19th May 2009 14:43 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Uhm"
Glynser Member since:
2007-11-29

Silently forced is ok.
Which Firefox isn't using ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Uhm
by ephracis on Tue 19th May 2009 17:05 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Uhm"
ephracis Member since:
2007-09-23

Well, in the army for example they want total control over what goes in and what comes out. So much that they even pay hugh amount of money to Microsoft just to _read_ the source code to Windows.

In case they use the browser inside the intranet it may be nice to be able to remove as much junk on the cables as possible. Of course, since it's open source you could easily do this with a few modifications to the code.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Uhm
by asmoore82 on Tue 19th May 2009 20:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Uhm"
asmoore82 Member since:
2009-03-11

At least better than Firefox, that browser who forces update on restart ;)


A bit of a belly ache crying wolf there:

If on Windows, go to "Tools->Options->Advanced->Update"
If on Linux, you have Proper package management: don't worry, be happy
If on Mac, what are you waiting for? switch to Linux already and get a real Unix Desktop.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Uhm
by Dave_K on Tue 19th May 2009 11:21 UTC in reply to "Uhm"
Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

The lack of automatic updates is definitely a flaw in Opera 9, that's why this feature has been added to Opera 10. But while this is a problem for people who don't understand the importance of updates, I don't see why occasional manual updates should be a deal breaker for more experienced users.

It's something that takes a few minutes, once every few months, which hardly compares with issues of efficient day to day browsing. I'm not going to suffer a slower, less stable browser with a vastly inferior interface (IMO obviously) just because of the minor inconvenience when an update is released.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ichi
by ichi on Tue 19th May 2009 12:12 UTC
ichi
Member since:
2007-03-06

My issue with tabs is the same issue I have with taskbars: the moment you have enough instances to need such thing, it's become cluttered enough to defeat it's purpose as a fast method for switching apps/pages.

I use virtual desktops to group apps, and maybe "expose" if things get really dirty, so my first idea would be trying to adapt both of those things to the browser.

Also I wouldn't mind being able to "split" the browser to show any number of web pages at the same time, with the ability to organize them in frames, overlap them or scale any of them independently of the others.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by ichi
by Dave_K on Tue 19th May 2009 13:23 UTC in reply to "Comment by ichi"
Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

Also I wouldn't mind being able to "split" the browser to show any number of web pages at the same time, with the ability to organize them in frames, overlap them or scale any of them independently of the others.


In other words an MDI interface. See Opera on Windows/Linux for an example.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by ichi
by ichi on Tue 19th May 2009 14:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ichi"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

Kinda, but it still lacks a proper way to handle a huge amount of tabs, MDI or not.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by ichi
by Dave_K on Tue 19th May 2009 14:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ichi"
Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

Kinda, but it still lacks a proper way to handle a huge amount of tabs, MDI or not.


Can you explain what you mean by "a proper way"?

There are ways Opera could be improved, but its handling of large numbers of tabs is far better than any other browser I've seen.

It certainly doesn't have any trouble comfortably dealing with 50-100 open tabs, more than that if you sort them into different windows. Conventional tabbed browsers become a mess with a fraction of that.

When you have such a large number of tabs, the advantages of Opera's Windows Panel over a tab bar become very significant; especially the ability to filter the listed tabs and manipulate them as a group.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by ichi
by ichi on Tue 19th May 2009 14:39 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ichi"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

Can you explain what you mean by "a proper way"?


Ok, when I said "proper way" I meant "my way", as I explained in the parent post.

No matter what OS you run Opera on, the windows inside the MDI behave as if it was Windows.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by ichi
by Dave_K on Tue 19th May 2009 15:24 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by ichi"
Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

Ok, when I said "proper way" I meant "my way", as I explained in the parent post.


It seemed to me that what you described in your first post was pretty much exactly what MDI offers. You haven't explained how "your way" actually differs from the Opera way. I'm curious to see how you'd improve it.

No matter what OS you run Opera on, the windows inside the MDI behave as if it was Windows.


I haven't used Opera for Mac OS X, but I was under the impression that it lacked MDI and just worked like other tabbed browsers?

Of course Opera for Linux keeps the Windows style MDI (more or less), it's not like there are standard Linux UI guidelines to comply with.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by ichi
by ichi on Tue 19th May 2009 22:17 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by ichi"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

It seemed to me that what you described in your first post was pretty much exactly what MDI offers. You haven't explained how "your way" actually differs from the Opera way. I'm curious to see how you'd improve it.


Well, I talked about virtual desktops to arrange sets of web pages (wouldn't fit a browser but something like that, if you use virtual desktops you know what I mean) and an expose-like method to keep stuff easily at hand.

I haven't used Opera for Mac OS X, but I was under the impression that it lacked MDI and just worked like other tabbed browsers?


Neither have I, no idea about that.

Of course Opera for Linux keeps the Windows style MDI (more or less), it's not like there are standard Linux UI guidelines to comply with.


Not being able to roll up windows, drag and resize them from anywhere besides the title bar (thus not allowing to remove the window decoration and get some extra space), work with an active window without automatically getting it raised it to the top... basically everything that makes the Windows UI utterly clunky and awkward (IMO).

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by ichi
by Dave_K on Tue 19th May 2009 23:10 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by ichi"
Dave_K Member since:
2005-11-16

Well, I talked about virtual desktops to arrange sets of web pages (wouldn't fit a browser but something like that, if you use virtual desktops you know what I mean) and an expose-like method to keep stuff easily at hand.


I can see your point about an expose like feature. Although to me being able to search open tabs seems like a more efficient way of finding a specific page. Page thumbnails often look alike when they're primarily text, or are multiple similar pages from one site. Hard to see how any graphical representation like Expose would work too well when dealing with a large number of tabs.

As for a virtual desktop like way of arranging windows, isn't that what MDI offers to a certain extent?

You have multiple individual web page windows contained within separate browser windows. Is that so different from having individual SDI application windows within separate virtual desktops?

Not being able to roll up windows, drag and resize them from anywhere besides the title bar (thus not allowing to remove the window decoration and get some extra space), work with an active window without automatically getting it raised it to the top... basically everything that makes the Windows UI utterly clunky and awkward (IMO).


Windows window management does suck pretty badly, and it's a shame that Opera's lumbered with its limitations, but it's still far better than not having MDI versatility at all. To me conventional tabbed browsers are crippled in comparison.

Reply Score: 2

Closing Tabs
by Glynser on Tue 19th May 2009 14:37 UTC
Glynser
Member since:
2007-11-29

One thing that always bugs me: when you close a tab, the tab left to that tab will be activated. A better approach in my opinion is to activate the last used tab.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Closing Tabs
by invent00r on Tue 19th May 2009 18:50 UTC in reply to "Closing Tabs"
invent00r Member since:
2009-04-27

Yeah just like in Opera.

Reply Score: 2

Firefox Haters?
by asmoore82 on Tue 19th May 2009 20:27 UTC
asmoore82
Member since:
2009-03-11

Cold as Ice...

I guess that's the price of rampant success.

Opera didn't invent all of these things either:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NetCaptor

Seriously though, I really like Opera,
I even bought it back when it was ad-supported;
and it was the first place _I_ ever saw
tabbed browsing or mouse gestures.

But can't we give Firefox some credit for the Awesome Bar?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Firefox Haters?
by jrronimo on Wed 20th May 2009 16:37 UTC in reply to "Firefox Haters?"
jrronimo Member since:
2006-02-28

...which was in beta in Opera when Firefox announced it, iirc. ;)

Reply Score: 1

Bloat?
by strcpy on Wed 20th May 2009 16:27 UTC
strcpy
Member since:
2009-05-20

I would rather see them do something about the feature creep.

Despite of the perhaps provocative title, this is a honest opinion: the performance of Firefox starts to be unacceptable on all my computers, which are admittedly somewhat old but are capable of handling all my other computing tasks. How can it be that a web browser takes more resources than a whole operating system running a decent window manager and all? Makes you sad, really.

I see that there is an increasing demand for a true lightweight browser. Sadly, none of the promising alternative browsers are yet capable of handling the ever-increasing complexity of the modern WWW. Midori, Netsurf, Dillo, Links, ... -- all good options to contribute nevertheless.

Reply Score: 1

cycoj
Member since:
2007-11-04

I'm a bit worried, IMO Mozilla tries to take over more and more of the responsibilities of window managers. I think this is mainly due to the fact that Mozilla development is geared more and more towards Windows users, and Windows users only have one virtual desktop and use all applications full screen. So that's why they open all their tabs in one window even if it's many. You don't want your taskbar cluttered with Mozilla windows, if you have other applications open at the same time. For someone who uses virtual desktops that's much less of a problem. You group you tabs with windows, i.e. you only open ~10 related tabs in one window and if you have unrelated tabs open another window. I use one virtual desktop for browsing because I do it that way.

What I find a lot more annoying is how deficient bookmark organization is. I want to be able to organize my bookmarks in a tag-like fashion. Also why the folders I put on the location bar be links? It's a bloody pain to keep the folder on the bar synchronised to the folder in the bookmark menu. That's what needs some serious work IMO instead of tabbed browsing

J

Reply Score: 1