Manage tabs in different browsers

More and more programs support the tabbed interface: browsers, instant messengers, text editors. In general, the behavior of the tabs is implemented the same way, but there are differences. This creates difficulties for users, because the same operations are performed differently in different applications.

The author did not find a document describing the standards for implementing the tab interface. Therefore, it was decided to compare existing implementations and highlight the methods for managing tabs that have become the de facto standard, as well as to identify methods for which agreement has not yet been reached.

Unable to compare all existing programs, the author limited himself to analyzing the implementation of 1) browsers 2) for Windows 3) the following operations:
- creating a tab;
- closing the tab;
- Cancel closing the tab;
- navigation through tabs;
- opening an address / link in a tab.

comparison table


Legend:
IE7 - Internet Explorer 7.0.5730.13
Fx3 - Mozilla Firefox 3.05
Op9 - Opera 9.63
Saf3 - Safari 3.2
Cr - Google Chrome 1.0.154.36
+ - implemented
- - not implemented
± - requires setup or Tab Mix Plus plugin for Fx3

IE7 Fx3 Op9 Saf3 Cr
Tab creation
- click on the tab blank + ± + +
- double click on the panel + + + +
- middle click on the panel ± +
- a combination of Ctrl + T + + + + +
Close tab
- click on the cross on the tab + + + + +
- middle click on the tab + + + +
- a combination of Ctrl + W + + + + +
- combination Ctrl + F4 + + + + +
Cancel tab closing
- a combination of Ctrl + Shift + T + + +
When you close a tab, it is highlighted
- tab to the right of the closed + ± + +
- last active tab + ± +
Navigation in order
- shortcuts Ctrl (+ Shift) + Tab + + ± + +
- combinations Ctrl + PageUp / PageDown + ± +
- combinations Ctrl (+ Shift) + F6 +
— сочетаниями Ctrl + Shift + [§] ± +
Use navigation
- shortcuts Ctrl (+ Shift) + Tab ± ± +
- scrolling with the right button pressed +
Tab Number Navigation
- combinations Ctrl + 1-8, Ctrl + 9 + + +
Opening an address in a new tab
- a combination of Alt + Enter + + +
- a combination of Shift + Enter +
Open link in background tab
- middle click + + + + +
- combination Ctrl + click + + + +
- combination Ctrl + Shift + click + ±
Opening a link in a new tab
- combination Ctrl + Shift + click + + + +
- a combination of Shift + click +

Comparative analysis


Creating and closing tabs is generally implemented equally. Chrome has to learn how to create a tab by double-clicking, and Safari - close by the average.

Undo closing a tab is a very useful feature. The Explorer and Safari support should include a combination of the Ctrl + the Shift + T . /nobr@1> . Opera can also restore closed tabs using the more universal Ctrl + Z combination . /nobr@1> .

Author saddened by the fact that the combination of
Ctrl (+ Shift) + Tab becomes the de facto standard for navigating through the tabs in the right location . This goes against the behavior of a similar combination Alt (+ Shift) + Tab switching applications in order of use . According to the author, it’s more convenient to use the combination Ctrl + PageUp / PageDown for navigation in the order of arrangement , and leave Ctrl + Tab to go to the previous active tab.

The above applies to the selection of the active tab after closing the previous one. On Windows, when you close the program, the focus receives the last active application. It would seem that tabs should behave similarly. This behavior is implemented in the Explorer and Opera. Other browsers highlight the tab to the right of the closed one. This method is useful when opening child tabs and viewing them sequentially. Both approaches have their supporters, there is no single standard yet.

In three browsers, the combinations Ctrl + 1-8 select the corresponding tab in the panel, and Ctrl + 9 the rightmost tab. Opera and Safari use these combinations to open the corresponding bookmarks.

A similar alignment is observed with respect to Alt + Enter . /nobr@1> . Safari opens the dialed address in the background tab (why?). In Opera, instead of Alt, you need to clamp Shift.

Finally, almost all browsers unanimously open links in the background tab if you hold down Ctrl, or in a new one if you hold down
Ctrl + Shift . /nobr@1> . The author believes that Opera should “pay tribute to fashion” and implement Ctrl + click on the link. It’s also obvious that middle click has become the de facto standard for opening links in the background tab.

The author will be grateful to the readers for additions and comments.