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My Thoughts About Tabs On Top

I've just watched Alex Faaborg's video about Tabs On Top for Firefox 4, and as I have been thinking about that topic for years now, I think it's time I put down my thoughts as a "SeaMonkey guy".

Now, some people would assume, that being a "SeaMonkey guy" must mean I'm totally opposed to this as we're widely considered to be the completely conservative kind of folks.

But then, my thoughts base on the fact that we've been talking about running browser, mail, HTML editor, chat, preferences, and whatever else all as tabs that can live in a single window (see our long-term vision) - and I actually can't imagine getting that right without placing tabs on top ultimately (think of toolbars needing to change between different kinds of tabs, for example).

So, I think that for an application suite that allows mixing tabs, it's ultimately a must to do that, and that makes me think in favor of this idea in general. Even now, having SeaMonkey's Site Navigation bar to be only displayed when needed makes my tabs bar jump around, which is nasty. Also, adding find bar on top of the web content should still place it under the tab bar and not make it jump, as it will do in our first implementation.

What I'm still unsure about, though, is how to deal with things like the bookmarks bar or the menu bar, if one has shown them, and unfortunately, Alex also left those out. Also, things like additional app toolbars added by add-ons are something we still need to figure out completely.

I know some users will be upset, and it must be a preference in the beginning, but for SeaMonkey purposes, I don't see how we should ever get mail tabs and browser tabs into a single window if we don't move tabs to the top.

Still, I'd love some ideas about the problems I pointed to. Any thoughts?

(Oh, and, of course, we still need someone to implement/port the actual code to even enable this in SeaMonkey - help would be appreciated!)

Entry written by KaiRo and posted on June 25th, 2010 16:11 | Tags: Firefox, future, Mozilla, SeaMonkey, tabs, Vision | 14 comments


  • OesterBlog: Wieso ab Firefox 4 die Tabs oberhalb der Adressleiste stehen werden (TrackBack)
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    See these mockups for the current implementation plan for bookmarks bar/additional app toolbars in Firefox with tabs on top.

    Bookmarks bar: https://wiki.mozilla.org/images/e/e4/Firefox-4-Mockup-i06-%28Win7%29-%28Aero%29-%28TabsTop%29-%28BookmarksBar%29.png
    Additional app toolbars: https://wiki.mozilla.org/images/a/aa/Firefox-4-Mockup-i06-%28Win7%29-%28Aero%29-%28TabsTop%29-%28ExtraToolbars%29.png

    This is a mockup with the menu bar still shown, which is the plan for Win XP:
    2010-06-25 16:46



    Those mockups don't solve the problem that now items live inside the tab that are actually application-wide controls - though one could argue that a bookmark at least *loads* in this tab unless I select it to open in a new tab or window instead.

    Last edited by KaiRo at 2010-06-25 16:56

    2010-06-25 16:56

    Pavel Cvr?ek (JasnaPaka)

    from Pilsen, Czech Republic

    Maybe we should think if moving mail, editor etc. to tabs is right thing. Don't be confused I think idea "everything is a tab" is good but do you want to mix browser tabs with mail, editor etc.?

    For example:
    - browser tab, browser tab, editor, mail, browser tab

    Do you think this will be clear? I don't think. We should find some different way how to switch to another part of suite in one window.

    Tabs on top is right thing and I think SeaMonkey should implement it too. If not by default then as a option.
    2010-06-25 18:34


    In SeaMonkey I think tabs on top makes perfect sense.. as you said.. you could have a browser tab open and a Mail tab with different toolbars, etc. If SeaMonkey had this GUI it might make me switch from Firefox because I've long thought a robust addon like Simple Mail(https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5593/) would be a useful feature for Firefox.
    2010-06-25 18:45


    IMO, TOT (tab(s) on top) does make sense for the "Window" menu items, the ctl-1/ctl-2/etc. There exists a clear conceptional/contextual switch between those components. I'd also add that if you already had the browser component open, hitting ctl-1 would take you to that existing TOT browser component.

    IMO, TOT where toolbars (or any component) are "duplicated" in each "tot" like in chrome, and i guess will be firefox 4, adds to "conceptual clutterness", because when you hit a TOT that doesn't, like the bookmark manager, that is the clutterness I talk of. That could be a subjective/developer thing, but I tend to see the duplication of data and think, things could be simplified/clarified here. (ob bias, i really don't like TOT, or at least, the way it's implemented, in chrome)
    2010-06-25 22:33

    Bill Gianopoulos

    Re: tabs on taop and Bookmarks toolbar
    You seem to be echoing my issues here. I think that using this and the bookmarks toolbar, which i normally display, makes more sense if the bookmarks toolbar displayed on top of the tabs and could be optionally hidden along with the menu and only displayed if you press ALT. I tried testing something similar to this by moving the Bookmark Toolbar Items to the Menu toolbar, but that just resulted in clicking on items in the Bookmark items not working because of bug 541844.
    2010-06-25 23:31

    Tony Mechelynck

    from Brussels, Belgium

    _My_ thoughts about "Tabs on Top"
    My thoughts about "Tabs on Top" are very simple: It's a pref; the absence of the menubar (as seen in the video) is another pref. If we implement this, every user will have his (or her) own choice of tabs above or below the rest of the chrome, of menubar or no menubar, and so on. So, why not? Isn't “preserving choice and promoting innovation on the Internet” what Mozilla is all about?
    2010-06-26 00:07

    Kelly Clowers

    from Seattle, WA, USA

    tabs on top
    >and I actually can't imagine getting that right without placing tabs on top ultimately

    Please, please tell me this will be configurable. I really hate this "feature" and I was disappointed to see FF doing it, but it wasn't *that* bad, since it isn't my main browser. But Mozilla, er, SeaMonkey is my main browser and has been since the 0.9 days.

    Tabs on top is very unnatural to me, and even worse it tabs in the title bar - that belongs to the Window Manager, not the app. And in fact, I use Awesome WM with title bars turned off altogether, which could create quite a problem if tabs can't be kept out of the title bar.

    People say it is natural to group control that affect the current tab "within" the tab, but I don't see that it is any more natural than grouping the controls in one place and content in another.
    2010-06-26 00:47


    from Ru

    Browser on top
    As I see the best user of the browser for FF devs is the user who doesn't use the browser at all.

    He doesn't save pages at all (nobody works on most important bugs 126309, 115107, 120809).
    He doesn't use bookmarks (No bookmarks panel in this video - so where are they - at what position? I have 22 folders and 5 bookmarks in bookmarks panel and need this panel always open and at the same position.)
    He doesn't use tabs (3 tabs in this video - is nothing).
    He has small monitor (1024x768 pixels in this video).
    He doesn't use title panel (no title panel in this video).

    OK, SeaMonkey 1.1.19 is a good browser. :)
    2010-06-28 15:09


    A candidate build of Firefox 4 beta 1 is now available:

    I do find it strange for "tabs on top" in Firefox 4.

    And the gecko version number for FF 4.0b1 is rv:2.0b1, not rv:1.9.3b1 as I've checked myself.

    So, KaiRo, will Seamonkey 2.1 still keep the gecko 1.9.3.x version number or switch to gecko 2.0.x version number?
    2010-06-29 17:34

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