Friday, May 22, 2009

Forget tabs?

I am hoping to get tabs for KWin in a view month and the Mozilla Project is discussing what innovative concept will come after tabs.

"Reinventing Tabs in the Browser - How can we create, navigate and manage multiple web sites within the same browser instance?" is the questing of the Design Challenge 2009.

What fascinates me:
  1. Another concept of bringing the Internet to the desktop (compared to KDE's approach of integrating the web into the desktop).
  2. How they are thinking into the future and drive real innovation.
  3. How they designed and started the campaign (nice website, many involved specialists (look at "cooperations with" and "partners" at the bottom of the page), ...).
Keep your eyes open. Always think a step ahead. Perhaps there are some good approaches for KDE, too.
E. g.
  1. To visualize search results from nepomuk not in a list but 2D in the dimensions relevance (top-down) and chronology (time, left-right) (see the last link) or
  2. the idea that content that is opened / used in the same time frame might belong together.
  3. ...



Christoph Bartoschek said...

In my opinion the whole tabs concept is useless. Especially for browsing the normal task bar is good enough. I think firefox started the whole tab stuff only because it is not self confident enough to show favicons in the task bar instead of the firefox icon.

Currently lots of applications have their own task manager. kate and kdevelop for example. The next paradigma should make this obsolete.

It is the task of the desktop environment to organize the current work items.

Given this, the question in the design challenge is the wrong one: "How can we create, navigate and manage multiple web sites within the same browser instance?"

They should replace "browser instance" by "desktop". This is also a challenge for KDE.

Leo S said...

One of the original primary motivators for tabs inside apps was that there would be less wasted memory due to having multiple documents inside one process, instead of one process per document.

Now with Chrome and IE8, that is starting to reverse. Now the argument is that each document should have its own process for reasons of stability, isolation, and scalability.

So really I think tabs have outlived their usefullness. If each tab is going to be in its own process anyway, why the hell do browsers still need tabs? They should open new windows and then the window managers should be just a bit smarter so they can organize multiple windows from one app logically.

Thomas Thym said...

@Christoph Bartoschek: Their concept is to replace the desktop with the browser. If you have your apps in your browser and not on the desktop you need the tabs. But meanwhile they are too many. And they are looking for a new way to handle that.

@Leo S: Sure, resources aren't important point for every software developer.