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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Atleast I find it consistent and easy if all apps have their tabs in the same place. What does it matter what the content of the tabs is when their functionality is still the same?

I have 3 windows opened right now, Konsole, Opera, and VMware Server Console.

For Konsole, the tab bar is at the bottom (the default setting). Hopefully Torsten's explanation has made you aware of why this is regarded by us as a better design, although "99% of the time" is definitely an understatement ;)

For Opera, I place the tab "bar" at the left. This is because:

- I usually have 10-20 tabs opened. A horizontal tab bar doesn't scale and will make it very difficult for me to identify one tab from another.

- I have a wide screen monitor (1280x800). Even if I only have 1 tab opened, I can afford the screen real estate needed by a vertical tab bar (about 160x700).

- I haven't encountered any website that was designed specifically for wide screen anyway.

- Having it at the left gives me infinite depth to hit the scrollbar with a mouse click, compared to having it at the right.

Finally, for VMware Server Console, the tab bar is at the top (the default setting) when it is needed. Most of the time, I just hide it because I usually run one VM at a time.

So there, 3 different apps, 3 different usage patterns, and 3 different tab bar locations.

Edited 2009-02-17 15:49 UTC

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