back to article Mozilla tames Firefox tab monster with Candy

Mozilla is testing a new Firefox interface designed to tame that seemingly endless string of tabs stretching across the top of your browser – and beyond. Known as Tab Candy, this alpha prototype provides a separate window where you can lay out your tabs like playing cards and sort them into groups. You can move tabs from group …


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  1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
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    Reinventing the wheel?

    IE, for all its flaws, has had a tile view of open tabs for *years*. Opera has tabs + thumbnails + speed dial + easy access to recently closed tabs.

    Most incisive criticism is that this is confusing tabs with bookmarks.

  2. JDX Gold badge
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    I won't use it

    The time it would take me to organise my pages in this tool, I could just have closed them. If I want a page again I'll go back to it - bookmarks or whatever. I can't keep track of _reading_ 10 pages at once, more than that means I just need to close the ones I don't want.

  3. Anonymous Coward
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    tabs becoming bookmarks in a folder kind of way

    I like the idea. I currently group tabs in a window and save the window as a named session in Opera. When you open a session, all the tabs in that session open. I have sessions like 'bills' , 'financial', etc. Unfortunately it doesn't work as smooth as I just described.

    I remember when Mozilla asked publicly for ideas about organizing tabs and I flippantly said wait to see what Opera does. Now I hope Opera is watching Mozilla. (btw, this is somehow reminds me of the workplace shell in OS/2)

  4. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    Poor GUI design.

    It's replicating existing functionality for no readily apparent reason.

    The desperation to justify this new interface in the video is shocking: it deliberately throws up a 'straw-man' argument: inventing a 'problem' for which trivial solutions already exist without requiring that the user learn yet another pointless new GUI feature. The 'problem' posed is that new tabs only ever appear at the far end of the tab list, often a long way from the tab that spawned them.

    This is simply not true in most browsers, and is trivial to resolve without creating yet more duplication of existing functionality: Work out which tab a new tab is being spawned from and simply group the new tab with that source tab. Job done.

    As others have pointed out: if you're regularly playing with umpteen tabs, the obvious solution is to display these tabs *vertically*, in a hierarchical tree structure. Indeed, you could use the exact same UI to combine both tabs and bookmarks into one simple solution. Again, job done.

    There is no need for this additional bloat. End users have only so much desire and capacity for learning how to *master* a tool. Browsers should be simple, not complex.

  5. Steven Raith
    Thumb Up

    Actually, it's not bad.

    Using it just now - yes, that's right, I'm passing comment on it *based on experience* unlike, I suspect, 90% of the posters above.

    Tabs are real time representations (so I got notification of a facebook chat thingy in the TabCandy preview), I have my social/work/research/for a laugh stuff grouped up, and it's not bad.

    Going to fiddle with it over the next few days and see how it goes. I don't think it's revolutionary, but it beats trying to scroll back and forth between forty tabs, or four windows with between five and fifteen tabs apiece, so that's an improvement already.

    Performance is no worse than before that I can tell, although being on Atom and lacking a chunky GPU for the animations, it can look a *little* scratchy, but no worse than anything else graphically pretty on this machine.

    This is on an Samsung N130 (atom) with 1gb of RAM running Ubuntu 10.04

    Steven R

  6. sauerkraut
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    i really don't want this in my browser

    just another piece of resource-hungry eye-candy nobody needs. tree style tab can do the same job a lot easier and eating up a lot less resources. make it an extension for those who want it (well, they probably have got a mac so who cares anyway) and don't bug everybody else!

    1. Gaz Jay


      If you like it, and would use it, good for you. Install it as an extension.

      I will not use it, and do not want it as I only ever have a few tabs open at once.

  7. pan2008
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    like IE 8

    This is like current IE 8 summary window. Making groups is an improvement but do I really want so many windows anyway to really need to group them together and spend my time doing it? I don't think I ever needed more than 5-6 websites open at the same time, i fact I don't know more than 12 websites worth visiting daily!!

  8. Allan Rutland
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    Needs work really

    My big issue with this is it's going outside it's initial plan to sort out tabs, and into actually replacing the bookmarks list and bookmarks bar now with a new interface. All well and good, but as he mentions, this actually all consumes memory and that's not good!

    But, the grouping of tabs into stacks is a good enough idea, they just need on the main browser window to add a way to switch between stacks and it would be perfectly fine. The rest of the stuff can be binned as it's total over load of features looking for a purpose and in the consuming resources for little use.

    Personally, only use I can see for now is to have a group saved with the bookmark bar's fave sites in it...oh no, I have that already in FF with urmm, the bookmark bar! Now with better navigation of groups maybe more use. But currently no thanks, not interested.

  9. Number6

    Lateral Thinking

    Having though about it, with modern displays, there's plenty of width and not much height (especially on netbooks), so having tabs in a panel to the left (or right) of the main window, with a scroll bar, would probably be good enough. You could get a significant number of them there without impacting much, and then rearrange them into groups if you so desire.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. raving angry loony


    That looks... exceedingly clumsy. I'd spend more time organizing the tabs than I'd save.

    Whatever happened to keyboard shortcuts?

    Guess I'll stick to making each "group" a separate window, opening tabs in that window, and only touching the mouse when I need to convert a tab to a new window/group.

  12. Apocalypse Later

    What we really need... random changes in the interface every time we get settled in to a way of working. I've just noticed that "open link in new tab" has changed behaviour in the latest release. Did anyone actually ask for this?

  13. Nigel 11


    Isn't this the sort of thing that ought to be done with a browser plug-in, not by modifying the core?

    And it has been: download the Tabkit plug-in. I wouldn't be without it.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    This is the most stupid idea I have seen on El Reg in 5 years...

    ...and thats saying something.

    Bookmarks people, bookmarks. Always been there folks. And, for your most viewed sites try Speeddial, standard in Opera and addons for in FF And Chrom(e/ium). Or, one of the 600 other addon solutions already mentioned.

    There is nothing clever nor useful about having 35 tabs open on a browser session.

  15. Paul 135
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    Mozilla do indeed seem to be intending to integrate this into Firefox - if they do I think they are making a foolish mistake - leave it as an add-on.

    It's adding extra levels of hierarchy that aren't necessary, and trying to re-write the windowing model of all major OSs. A better idea would be to let users label windows. It's also muddling up tabs and bookmarks. It also keeps referring to open pages as "tabs" - the purpose of a web-browser isn't to view "tabs", it's to view WEB PAGES.

    A good solution to this problem is done in IE8 - simple and automatic colouring of tab groups - this could be extended by say allowing different colour saturations for deeper levels of hierarchy of each group; another good move would be to allow the user to move tabs to any side of the screen so such hierarchies can be viewed better.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Mozilla in innovation shocker...

    Makes a change from just copying what Opera does...

  17. Jeff 11

    Re: 30px tabs

    Great, until you need the same site open in more than one tab?

  18. KayKay

    TabKit is better

    Nigel 11 finally mentioned TabKit, the greatest add-on ever, if you use a browser for managing accounts, not just email and news reading.

    To expand a little - Tabkit automatically groups (and colour codes) tabs by your choice of domain or parent/child relationship, with choices to open to left or right, closest or far end of tab etc. Two clicks make custom groupings within this scheme. Groups can be saved, opened, closed, moved, minimised together., or torn off into a new window.

    No need to click, they can be scrolled through, but a corner click also shows a list of the full titles. You can have as many as 10 rows of them, with their own little scrollbar if you don't want all rows showing.

    Bookmarks don't do this job...if your work requires referring back and forth across many pages you want them open all the time. The parent/child setup is excellent when drilling down into individual pages...which you can't have bookmarked if it's the first time you're opening them.

    I run 27 tabs, which can grow to over 100 while following drill-down paths -- groups let me close them, when done, with 3 clicks. But it's groups I don't have to manage. They build themselves.

    I hope the new Candy is either optional, or TabKit will over-ride it. Or I stay with the current version of FF forever.

  19. Majid

    People never learn from history.

    Remember when they invented MDI? (Multiple document interface). Soon everybody started doing everything in MDI. so if you had multiple word documents open, they all opened in the same application.

    They found out it lead to chaos in stead of order, people lost track of the documents they where editing, because they opened so much documents in the same application they spend more time navigating between them then actually working on them.

    So they canned it a few versions down the line, to move everything back to SDI (single document interface).

    Roll a few years forward. Some goons come up with the idea of tabs in browsers (which basically is an MDI interface). All browsers suddenly need to have tabs.

    And lo and behold, the same problem occurs that also occurred 20 years ago.. people lose track of all their tabs.

    Ever accidentally opened 2 browsers and had 10 tabs in about each? (or am I the only chaotic one here?). Mayhem awaits...

    The taskbar is quite capable of differentiating between different instances of the same program while still grouping them. So tabs are an unneccesairy reinvention of the wheel.

    As for the proposed solution: if you are chaotic enough to open 20 tabs, how big is the chance that you can turn that chaotic mode off become the most organized person in the world for a moment and starting to rearrange tabs into neat little groups? Yeah right that chance is about zero.

    Save yourself some time and frustration, and do what I do every few hours or so, I just close all browsers and start afresh.

    1. Paul 135

      agree that tabs are indeed redundant

      I agree - Windows 7 makes tabs redundant. Rather than simplifying things <ozilla are now proposing to add yet another layer of complication!


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