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"Everything Is A Tab" Seems Seductive!

About a year ago, in my FOSDEM 2009 talk, I presented our future vision for SeaMonkey, containing the "Everything Is A Tab" plan that should bring browser, mail, web editing, and probably even preferences into tabs that can live in the same window.

Now I read in jboriss' blog post on add-on manager that the Firefox team is thinking about putting the add-on manager in atab, and possibly also - who would have thought that - preferences!

Sounds like different people come to the same ideas, and I really hope we can move that way - esp. as this, when it is done correctly, should still allow anyone to open those things as "the only tab in a window" which should make it act and feel just like a normal standalone window and so still gets the same user experience to those people who don't want to have all those things in tabs.

(That said, I still think tabs are mostly an excuse for having a bad window manager and bad window managment widgets in the desktop environment, but having gone through some strange bugs in my on-the-edge development desktop versions, I needed to resort to tabs as well and found the grouping of related tabs in windows an actually quite interesting and seductive feature myself...)

I just wonder who will manage to get the "Everything Is A Tab" story actually implemented first - Firefox may have the advantage of a larger development team and fewer different things to host in tabs...

Entry written by KaiRo and posted on January 31st, 2010 00:16 | Tags: Mozilla, plans, SeaMonkey | 5 comments | TrackBack



Tony Mechelynck

from Brussels, Belgium

If "everything is a tab", then tabs should work really well:
  • I can open the Add-ons Manager in a tab by giving its chrome URL, but when looking for upgrades I get "An error occurred while looking for upgrades to extension <name>" if the AM isn't in its own window; in other respects that "AM in a tab" works OK AFAICT
  • Feed items subscribed in the Mailer lose their styles when opened in a tab (Bug 514489)
  • Mailer tabs cannot be moved about by drag&drop (but only by Ctrl+T followed by closing the "old" tab, and this only when moving to the far right)
  • When hiding then reopening a ChatZilla tab, it always reopens at far right, not where it used to be. Similarly, when opening a new tab by /join or /query, it always opens at far right, there is no grouping by server.
If I come around to it, some day I'll file bugs where I haven't already... <sigh>
2010-01-31 08:10


it's truly a great idea!
2010-01-31 08:58

Stephen Kelly

Everything is already a tab in KDE Plasma Desktop

I think this is already in KDE SC 4.4 betas.
2010-01-31 09:25


It's a great idea !
But, Robert, please take a little care of identity(compatibility with FF API) with the API in SeaMonkey!

For example - most navigation extensions(even FF modified) doesn't work because of TabBrowser API in SM not equal to FF tabBrowser API ...I mean only API calls (not UI). And this is imho the main goal of compatibility with most extensions - the same API calls !
But at the same time you wrote about compatibility SM Mail tabs API with ThunderBirds API.... And therefore I think Navigator must have the same tabs API with FF too !!!

Thank you in advance.
2010-01-31 13:39



Sure, we are not there yet in any way, this is a plan, but not a reality yet. As jboriss tells, the add-ons manager will be completely redesigned, and that version will be able to run as a tab.
Also, we know that the tab support for mail and browser isn't even in uniform state right now, we encourage everyone who can hack on it to help us there!
2010-01-31 13:41

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