According to the new Firefox 2 defaults, I am guilty of opening too many tabs. At an average window width of 1024px (though I’m usually browsing at around 1200px) you can only open 10 tabs with the newly enforced tabMinWidth of 100px.
I don’t know about you, but I use tabs as visible history. New thoughts, new searches, new links all get opened up in new tabs. That way they’re always easily accessible for future browsing or reference later. Heavy emphasis on easily.
With Bloglines alone I might skim 60 new posts and open 15-20 at a time to read or comment on further. I’m sure I can’t be alone on this one. Hiding the new tabs makes my active browsing history (and future reading) invisible and less accessible—let alone eliminating the feedback of a successful Ctrl+click.
I don’t believe that people navigate tabs by the first 8-12 characters visible from the page’s title. We navigate primarily based on the favicon and the tab’s location on the tab bar. Tabs on the left are more recent, more frequently used (Gmail, Bloglines, my blog, etc), more important, and tabs on the right are newer, less important, set aside for future browsing. The tab bar represents a browsing timeline.
Solving the problem of too many tabs by conveniently hiding them out of view is no solution at all—especially considering that tabs are traditionally the territory of power users. Hiding them neuters their power. Here’s the thing that gets me: the problem of too many tabs already had a solution: closing tabs!
Once there are too many tabs to keep track of, Ctrl+w is the excessive tabber’s best friend. You’d think that adding a close button to each tab would suffice for the average user.
How to fix this? Type
about:config in your Location bar, search for
tabMinWidth. Double click on the
browser.tabs.tabMinWidth entry and change the value from 100 to 15. At a window width of 1024 you’ll be able to comfortably fit 25 tabs (with only favicons visible), which pretty closely resembles the pre-FF2 behavior.