I STILL don't see what the big deal is about 'tabbed browsing'

I fail to see how following a link to a new tab is better than opening it in an entirely new window. The tab is restricted to the original window. The new window isn’t.

Yeah, but it’s a lot easier to navigate between tabs than between windows. For people like me who often have a lot of them up at one time (and who like full-screen windows), it’s a pain in the ass to try to navigate loads of individual windows.

I’m a fan of tabbed browsers since Netscape. I like having everything in one window.

I don’t see how it’s difficult to navigate between windows.

The windows are named along the start bar and I just click on the one I want with the mouse.

On a typical day I might have outlook, sdmb, news.bbc.co.uk, google, a random article. It’s no problem to just click on the one I want… or alt-tab between them.

I’m not used to it, either. I’m used to closing each one I have open reflexively - now I close every durn thing I’ve got open, when I do that. Gah!

If you only have a couple browser windows open, it’s probably not a big difference. I now have 22 tabs on my browser. That would make a taskbar unmanageble.

I also hide my toolbar. Yeah, the programs are still there, but I’m a dork. If tabbed browsing stopped tomorrow, I’d deal.

But doesn’t it just transfer the unmanagability to the ‘tab bar’?

I usually have several different programs running at once. Using a tabbed browser allows me to use the “start” bar to select between applications and the tab interface to select between application-specific stuff. For example, I often have Firefox, a source-code editor and a terminal program open at the same time, and I average between 2-4 terminal tabs, 5-10 source-code tabs and 4-8 Firefox tabs at once. Putting them all in the “start bar” would make it way too cluttered.

It’s probably a difference between the way we each tend to use the internet. I prefer to, say, go onto this message board and open each individual thread I want to see in it’s own tab so that I can read in whatever order I want to and refer back to the ‘main’ window that acts as something of an index if I want to.

Same with web searches, especially image searches. I prefer to have one window be the index window, so to speak, so I don’t have to keep going backwards and forwards between the search and a site I wanted to look at. And then I can weed through the sites/images at my leisure.

Without tabbed browsing, if I wanted to weed through many windows, I’d have to minimize them all and cascade them, which is not ideal because it greatly diminishes the window size and makes it easy to mistake one window or set of cascades for another. Also, if I’m choosing between several images (for, say, an art project), having to go through individual windows rather than tabs is a slow, pain-in-the-ass process. For me, anyway. I prefer that things be efficient.

Also, if I’m in the middle of a search/weed-through and need to go do something else, it’s very convenient to be able to “bookmark all” rather than one at a time (it’s not unusual for me to have dozens and dozens of pages up).

When I go to a site that has multiple links that I am interested in, I will open them all before reading them. I like to browse one page at a time, clicking on links as I do so.

If the link opens in a new window I have to go back to the old window and continue browsing. It is annoying to me.

With a tabbed browser, I click, it opens int he background in a new tab, I don’t lose my focus and I continue to read where I left off.

For me it is just more convenient.

A friend was here and he would click on a link, read it and then hit the back button. For him a tabbed browser made no difference in how he browsed.

It is just a matter of style.

Just FYI, Ctrl-Tab changes tabs in an active browser window.


I open 20 tabs easily at one time in each instance of a browser. I just click on the tab I want. Every new browser window you open is placed off set from the one before, and covers most of the other open ones. Finding the one you want requires you to click on the browser until the one you want is displayed. I can look at tab descriptions and pick the one I want quickly. I will open a new browser window for different materials. The Straight Dope gets a browser with multi tabs open, while my search for a subject is in a different browser with multi tabs. I can have 50 open pages at a time when I research. Personally I don’t care if somebody else uses it or not. I bought a program years ago because it allowed multi tabs with a modified Internet Explorer. I used it for years before Firefox and it’s multi tabs were available. Having a slow modem connection for years I learned to open multiple sites so they downloaded in the background for reading later when I got to them.

Kind of but I use the computer for more than web browsing. When I need to IM a friend, play an MP3, explore for files, etc, I can Alt+Tab among only a couple of windows instead of 25. There’s 22 tabs in my browser but at least I can quickly minimize it to Get Stuff Done.

Another way tabs are handy is to have a few different browser windows open, with similar stuff in the tabs inside each. I might have a Dope window going with several tabs open, a blog window open with a bunch of tabs to different blogs, a third window with various things going on - searches, maps, whatever. Makes it a lot easier than otherwise to go back and forth between different things.

At any given time, I have Firefox, iTunes, Windows Explorer, and probably a few more programs all running. When I browse the SDMB, I’ll go down the forum page (like MPSIMS) and open all the interesting sounding threads in their own tab. When I open them, focus doesn’t move to them. If I opened them as a new window, I’d have to swap focus back to the original window. Since I will have done that, when I close a window, it will by default go back to the original window (MPSIMS top page), so I’ll have to select another open browser window. Just as often as not, I’ll have had a Wikipedia page or My Yahoo open as well, so which open window it is that is the first browser window with a MPSIMS thread in it is unclear since with 20 of them the titles have all shrunk out of existence. So I guess that they start 3 in from the left–but nope that’s My Yahoo…try #4, MPSIMS top again…#5, there it is. I read through the thread, close it and am returned to MPSIMS top. Forget which window it was where the threads start, accidently bring up My Yahoo again…etc. etc.

With tabbed browsing, when I open twenty tabs all at the same time, when I close one, it goes right to the next one. I don’t need to remember which tab/window it is, and I’m never sent back to the top page. And since the tab list isn’t sharing space with four or five other programs, a Start Button, Quicklaunch bar, and toolbar, the likelihood of the titles meaning something correct is higher. And even if they don’t the website’s icon (like the Google ‘G’) is on the left-hand side of the tab, so that gives a good indication of what it is.

I like tabs. After a little while of using them I found that for whatever reason it made things easier for me. Many of the reasons cited upthread play a role in why I like them.

There does seem to be a difference in terms of manageability for me. Maybe it’s just because I never learned to manage separate windows effectively, but I think it’s a bit more than that. A couple of things that really helped me was getting accustomed to holding down the ctrl key when I clicked a link so as to open a new tab (and shift if I thought it needed a new window). I also have grown accustomed to the add on that colors the tabs according to the domain name so that you can easily see which tabs go together.

That’s why I like it. I have one window open for chemistry reading (gmail account plus tabs of articles that seem interesting as I look through the emailed ASAPs), one for SDMB (forum of the moment plus threads I’ve opened up and might want to check back on), one for news (cnn, WSJ, boingboing, /., etc.), and often a few more for random stuff.

It is better because it uses less resources on your machine. Each separate window is running a separate copy of the program, taking up memory space & resources. So, unless you have the newest and fastest machine around, tabs should make every window on your machine run a bit faster.

A quick test shows that current Firefox 2.0 with 2 tabs open uses about 10% less memory than 2 separate Firefox windows open to those same 2 sites. Older versions (like IE 6) were much worse than this.

I do used tabbed windows occasionally, but they’re pretty useless for many functions, browsing the SDMB being a good example. Once you’ve open 15 or 20 links in background tabs they are all named “Straight…” and focus isnt as obvious as it is when you open in a new background window. (I do a New Posts, rightclick and open interesting threads in bkgrd window to read later, go to next page, etc, until I’ve made it to the end of my search results pages; to stop and actually read the threads means the search expires).

I’m on a Mac so there is no “full scren windows” problem. (for an OS that calls itself Windows, Windows sure doesn’t do windows very good)

We don’t have that problem either. (Is this really true for Windows users?)

My browser opens links in a new background window.