Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th Feb 2009 14:07 UTC
Editorial Late last week we ran a story on how the Google Chrome team had decided to use Gtk+ as the graphical toolkit for the Linux version of the Chrome web browser. It was a story that caused some serious debate on a variety of aspects, but in this short editorial, I want to focus on one aspect that came forward: the longing for consistency. Several people in the thread stated they were happy with Google's choice for purely selfish reasons: they use only Gtk+ applications on their GNOME desktops. Several people chimed in to say that Qt integrates nicely in a Gtk+ environment. While that may be true from a graphical point of view, that really isn't my problem with mixing toolkits. The issue goes a lot deeper than that.
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First of all, it makes sense to have the tabbar on the bottom because the bottom is usually where you're looking in a terminal. It's more or less arbitrary in a browser, but the menus and such are at the top so the tabs might as well be there too (I'm sure there are a few more reasons to put them at the top). The menus argument is moot for terminals because you only look at the menus when you're using your mouse to select them, which pretty much guarantees you're not using the command prompt.

More importantly, the point of consistency is to make the apps easier to use (or if you prefer, usability is a better goal). If there is a compelling reason to make the app more usable at the cost of making it inconsistent in some way, usability should always win.

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