Re: Tabs and windows theory/idea

On Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 08:32:40PM +0100, David Mulder wrote:
> Since the alt+tab discussion I have been thinking about the differences and
> evolution of windows and tabs and I have come to the conclusion that tabs
> should be something handled by the OS (window manager) rather than
> individual applications. Take a look at IE (despite everybody hating it,
> please leave your prejudices for now), they didn't want to integrate tabs,
> because the taskbar should have been responsible for switching between
> 'windows'; The Problem, the taskbar took an extra click as it was nested and
> uncategorised as you couldn't drag/drop and it's order was by creation.
> Below there is a list of arguments, advantages and brainstorming and at the
> end I wrote a system how this could be technically achieved.


> You might have already realised that I am only referencing browsers, as I am
> a webdeveloper and I think browsers are forced to evolved most to keep up
> with the rapid progress of the internet and thus are an important example to
> look at. Aside of that I typed this up in a bit of a rush, so some of my
> arguments may not make perfect sense and my english may be messed up (I am
> not a native speaker, so that might contribute as well). Feel free to ask
> and please criticise the idea as much as you can, as criticism is the best
> way to improve an idea.

I like the general idea. It will also be easier to learn for users than
current mixed interfaces: first, all they care about is separate windows; but
after becoming familiar with them they can start using tabs to manage their

But. For this idea to become successfull, we need
 — very good tabbed WM implementation (doable)
 — every tab-equipped application to "unlearn" custom tabs, and use windows

IMO the second point is more or less undoable (unless MS or Apple will make
tabbed WMs and start marketing them). And without app support, this looks more
or less useless.

Right now, tabs are extensively used in:
 — browsers
 — terminals
 — text editors
 — IMs
 — IDEs
 — ...

You see, as soon as app has some kind of "documents", "sessions" etc., it is
more or less doomed to become tabbed. And this is a natural consequence of
braindead app-centric model of interfaces, that we have right now.

*Interfaces must be content-centric, and not app-centric*

Oh, this starts to be too philosophical...


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