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[Wish] Resizable tab widths   [OT]

By: Martijn Coppoolse   Homepage   Voorburg, NL  
Date: Feb 26,2019 at 16:42
In Response to: [Wish] Resizable tab widths (Slobodan Vujnovic)

> Yes, I'm aware that right-clicking a tab (Firefox) and sending it to
> a New Window exists, and sometimes do it for YouTube, but it seems an
> overkill launching new browser instances, rather than the browser resizing
> its children (tabs).

I'm uncertain what you mean by "instance". If you mean a separate process: moving a tab to a new window doesn't create a new process. Firefox nowadays creates a new process for every tab, regardless of which window it's displayed in, plus one process to manage communications between the different processes, and an extra one for extensions. (Chrome even launches an extra process for each extension).

Firefox actually responds a lot faster since they implemented that change, BTW.

So no, opening a new window doesn't noticeably affect the performance (be it memory or speed) of Firefox — or Chrome, for that matter.

> Note that this sending option (Firefox) is actually "Move to New
> Window", so you better Duplicate it before doing the move, as there is no way
> for this tab to join back its original browser instance.

That is... not true. The tab can be dragged back to the original window, and reinserted at any location in the tab bar. Though the UI is not ideal: the target window has to be visible in order to do that, and Firefox doesn't move the tab-to-be-dragged out of the way; also, the little arrow showing where the tab will be inserted isn't very visible, and very easy to miss.

But dragging out tabs to their own window — and back — has been possible for several years now. The only recent addition is that multiple tabs can now be selected (by Shift-clicking), and Mozilla added the context menu item "Move to New Window", so as to be able to move all selected tabs at once, to the same new window.
I quite like that functionality; I routinely open multiple new tabs when looking up something, and it's nice to be able to move those topically related tabs to a new window together, and close the entire window once I'm done with that topic.

> Chrome uses a drag operation to detach a tab into a new instance, and it also does
> not allow bringing it back home.

This is also not true, at least not the last part. I can drag any tab to any Chrome window, and re-insert it wherever I want in the tab bar. Chrome has supported this for quite a few years now. The last time I actively tested it, back in 2015, it worked fine in Linux, MacOS and Windows.

> I'm surprised tab resizing does not exist yet, given the huge screens
> we have and so many sites that just don't need all that wasted space. All MDI
> interfaces I can think of always allowed child geometry resizing.
> Why are browsers so special, or so dumb?

All I've heard is that MDI is "outdated", and not sexy, so designers don't want to go "back" to that design paradigm. Also, most designers I know love empty space.

> Launching two instances (with all the extra menus and decorations) to
> put two narrow sites next to each other looks stupid, compared to just
> having two adjacent tabs' width adjusted...

For one, this is something so fundamental to the application that it would have to be supported by the browsers' core teams, who probably have other priorities. I doubt this could be done by an extension.

Another problem I see is that for many sites, 50% isn't going to be wide enough. How do you manage which site will go side-by-side with which other site? I think it would introduce quite a bit of additional complexity for little (perceived) gain. But I've never asked.

I did try the Side View extension, but that is rather limited, in my experience. Vivaldi does a better job with its side bar, but it's still not the same as "multiple pages side-by-side in the same window", like you seem to propose.


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