Monday, July 14, 2008

The problem with tabbed browsing ...

I'm used to applications containing related windows.

So at work Word has documents, Excel has spreadsheets, Outlook has email, Explorer has files, etc.

So I tab between apps, then navigate tabs within apps.

This breaks down in the world of tabbed browsers. Do I tab between browser windows, or click within a window between tabs? How do I mix browser tabs with applications outside the browser? How do I organize windows into OS X Space?

It doesn't help that even FF 3 hasn't learned from the OmniWeb example of hierarchical views of windows and tabs, allowing reorganization at least within a browser space.

I need a better conceptual model for organizing like this -- views of documents, views of spreadsheets, etc. The tabbed browser approach was a good start, but it's only a start.

There's nothing new here of course, but it really is time to think differently. I'm inclined now to think that we need to get rid of tabs and certainly, absolutely, get rid of the "application owns the window" model.

Just give me windows. Then let me use OS X spaces, and the ability to navigate and reorganize the windows within spaces. In any app I need to be able to see all windows owned by the app, to expedite finding and organizing what I'm interested in.

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