Firefox vs. Chrome, Firefox 3.1 tabs

One paragraph in this article made me say "spot on". Emphasis is mine.

Reinstalling Firefox also reminded me of a feature in the forthcoming Firefox 3.1 that I was happy to leave behind: tab-switching behavior. I'm a big fan of keyboard shortcuts, and use Ctrl-Tab hundreds of times daily to switch between browser tabs. I loathe the new Firefox mechanism, which switches to your most recently used tab rather than cycling one tab to the right, and showing a miniature preview version of the Web page instead of actually switching tabs. I don't know if others' brains work differently, but the new mechanism leaves me completely lost in a sea of tabs, forcing me to use the mouse, which slows me down.

I reverted to the earlier tab-switching feature by adjusting Firefox's behavior thus: First, type "about:config" into the address bar, then move past the warning message, then type "ctrlTab" into the "Filter" box, then double-click first on browser.ctrlTab.mostRecentlyUsed and then on browser.ctrlTab.smoothScroll to set them to "false," then restart the browser.

Last time I said it, the reactions were more like "hey your windows box already does it" or "most people like it". People understand it in Windows because WINDOWS are not TABS. They're not organized in a linear horizontal flow so your brain does not try to record tabs' order. And about most people liking the new behaviour, I still don't buy that one, sorry. Not a single person around me, geeks or non-geeks, likes it.


1. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 14:51 by Jason Orendorff

Yeah, I still haven't met anyone who likes it.

If that's any indication, people who like this feature must be even rarer than people who dislike the awesomebar.

2. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 14:53 by vinzz

The windows tasks analogy would only be valid if one was able to reorder the tasks, which is not possible on a vanilla windows.

Don't like this new behavior neither

3. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 14:57 by arno_b

Don't like this new behaviour neither.
Came back to the old behaviour.

4. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 15:23 by David Naylor

I hate it too. I wish someone sensible at Mozilla would pull the plug on this one. The old behaviour (without miniatures!) is much more efficient.

5. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 15:46 by Tolien

It's already been pulled.

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_b... - remove ctrl-tab preview switching and revert all tabs button to menu (for now!)

6. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 15:48 by Arthur

Hm, strange. I don't have it in my Minefield nightly and about:config doesn't show any changes to any tab related items. Or is this disabled on Linux?

7. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 15:49 by Boris

You do realize that the behavior you're complaining about has been backed out, right?

8. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 15:52 by Richard

I never felt comfortable with how alt-tab in Windows worked in the first place.

9. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 16:03 by DigDug

Backed out or not, the old design showed a lack of thought or research into the behavior people expect or want. Even on the drafts page for what they WANT to implement, tabs are still shown in MRU order, not tabbar order, with MAYBE an option to switch for advanced users.

Its not confusing with windows because most people have, at most, 7 apps open at any time. I haven't seen any numbers from Mozilla, but I have a feeling that the number of tabs far outweighs that, and with each tab retaining its own history of browsing, keeping things in temporal order in a persons mind is nearly impossible. The only use case where it makes sense is that guy with two tabs open copy and pasting data between them.

10. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 16:03 by Arthur

Ah, Tolien's comment explains why I don't see it.

11. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 16:15 by Nick

Just wanted to introduce myself. Not only did I like the new behavior, but the current behavior is my biggest complaint about Firefox.

I hate that there is no way to easily cycle between two tabs--Something I need to do on a regular basis. If you want to cycle through the tabs in order, you can always use alt-pageup and alt-pagedn. Why do we need multiple shortcuts for that?

Both of the other tab-based programs that I use on a regular basis (komodo, notetab) work like the new behavior would have. It makes much more sense to me.

12. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 17:08 by Daniel Glazman

@bz : yes, absolutely.

13. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 17:49 by Ga.K.

2 weeks ago, I did same thing as the auhor said ...

14. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 18:04 by Alex

I loved the feature, sorting it by the tabs I last used made sense, at the moment they're sorted randomly because I don't sort my tabs, they're just in whatever order they end up in from closing and opening them.

15. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 18:09 by David Naylor

"You do realize that the behavior you're complaining about has been backed out, right?"

No, I hadn't. No-one on PMO had blogged it.

16. On Tuesday 25 November 2008, 18:38 by Christophe Thiriot

I am actually used to the Ctrl-Page Up/Page Down shortcut for switching tabs (which works in almost every text editors, browsers etc). So, this Ctrl-Tab shrtcut that switches to the last used tab sounds more like a new feature to me. But I understand your point of view.

17. On Wednesday 26 November 2008, 10:51 by pd

The constant plethora of tab-management extensions and features in Firefox dumbfounds me.

Is it really that hard to remember what tabs you have open, or glance at the favicon and get an idea?

How many tabs are people opening that causes them to lose track of what is where? Surely there is a question of how many tabs is reasonable?

Who can claim that performance can consistently improve whilst endless tabs are encouraged? There has to be a recommended average and maximum before developers simply say "sorry, there's a limit called realistic use".

18. On Thursday 27 November 2008, 02:45 by Sylvain

I liked the feature very much. But I never used the Ctrl+Tab shortcut before in Firefox, so I had nothing to "unlearn".

On the other hand, I didn't like how the "All Tabs" panel replaced the tab list (it went hard to quickly go to the leftmost tab for instance).

By the way, Komodo has the same way of managing Ctrl+Tab (in MRU order).

19. On Thursday 27 November 2008, 11:29 by Felipe

I don't like this feature too. One of the things that refrain me from using Opera for my personal use (for my professional use, I DO need Firebug and extensions :) )