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Tab Groups

  • There is a major issue with any modern web browser workflow - too many tabs. Many users (including me) have 50-80 open tabs. It's not easy to work in such situation. Horizontal tabs become too narrow or don't fit the window and require scrolling. It's hard to read titles, it's hard to find the right tab. Vertical tabs go off the window and require scrolling too. In the other words having such inconvenient workflow is a pain. Meanwhile there is no web browser that tries to solve this issue. Google, Mozilla, Microsoft, Apple.. they just don't care.
    I know a perfect solution for this - tab groups. The basic idea is that in every single moment we use the browser to solve a single problem. So ideally, all tabs we have should be related to this problem. This set of tabs relate to a single tab group. I'd like to have an ability to "save and hide" a set of tabs (tab group) and to "restore" any of saved sets when I need it. This way I can "switch" between my activities, I can choose the problem I'm working on. It's hard for me to express my thought using English but I hope you got what I mean. There is a closest analog of what I'm talking about the Firefox extension Panorama View. I'd like to have something like that as a part of the browser. Because extensions can't give you a smooth experience in most of the cases.

  • - Ambassador -

    @phant0m Haven't you discovered Sessions or Tab Stacks yet?

  • @phant0m
    Hi, there are several features Vivaldi can manage this,

    1. First is Tab stagging stacking of marked tabs or tabs of one domain in a Tab Stag Stack.
    2. Second is Sessions as you can save some or all open tabs to a session and open it when you need it.
    3. Third is save all tabs to a folder and use it as a speed dial.

    Cheers, mib
    Argh, Pesala was faster. party

  • @pesala Tab Stacks is a very inconvenient feature for this. I don't like to guess which little square is which tab. I like to see tab titles. Sessions is probably the feature I want, thank you. Although it opens a second window for restored tabs, I'd like to be able to configure it.

  • @mib2berlin can you please point me to the Tab Stagging feature? I can't find what it is.

  • - Ambassador -

    @phant0m Just a typo for Tab Stacking.

    If you enable Popup Thumbnails Tab Stacks are easier to select. The Tab Titles are shown at the bottom of each tab preview. If you disable the thumbnails, the titles are available on hover.

    0_1542016603762_Tab Thumbnails.png

  • @pesala oh, thank you. Well, as I said before, the tab stacks feature doesn't fit my needs. If I put 10-30 tabs there it won't be usable. Is there a way to set a keyboard shortcut for save/open session or make a toolbar button? Right now I have to navigate through menu or use the quick command feature which requires lots of mouse actions or typing.

  • @phant0m said in Tab Groups:

    Is there a way to set a keyboard shortcut for save/open session

    Open settings (Alt-P), type "session" and the settings get filtered. At that point you'll see the keyboard section with "save open tabs as session" and "open saved session", assign your kbd shortcuts.
    Anyway my opinion about tab hoarders isn't unchanged, you simply are abusing of a feature without any motivation. Nobody needs 50-80-200 tabs open at the same time. Save your tabs as bookmarks, creating a folder for each category for grouping them.
    Then close the tabs you're not using now. When you need that category, open again the whole bookmark folder. And when you're done, close them. It takes the same time, and you manage better the memory usage.

  • - Ambassador -

    @phant0m said in Tab Groups:

    If I put 10-30 tabs there it won't be usable.

    5-10 Tabs in a stack is certainly usable. Once you get into the habit of saving sessions you may find it unnecessary to open so many tabs.

    A significant minority of users do open more than 50 tabs, and Vivaldi can handle lot of tabs, but usability suffers.

    @pesala said in How Many Tabs do you Usually Open?:

    About 24% open more than 50, and about 9.5% open more than 100 tabs.

  • @ian-coog I'm a programmer and my use case is following: I work on a problem, search, open many pages that contain useful information for me. Then I can switch to another task, and open pages related to it, etc. Finally I can want to relax and read the sites I like, watch youtube. If I don't use sessions it leads to a nightmare with 30-80 opened tabs. And my tab groups aren't static. I close some tabs, open a few more. It's a dynamic process. If I try to bookmark all of them, I'd have to put too much effort in the bookmarking process itself.

  • @phant0m said in Tab Groups:

    @ian-coog I'm a programmer

    I am too 🙂

    and my use case is following: I work on a problem, search, open many pages that contain useful information for me.

    of course, that's why it's useful to open multiple tabs/windows.

    Then I can switch to another task

    and here is where I close previous tabs. I've changed task, I don't need the old tabs anymore. If I'll ever need them later, the history is there to reopen specific urls I had opened before. If I need an entire tab stack saved for next time, just bookmark all tabstack, a folder in bookmarks is automatically created, and can be reopened and group stacked by host with few mouse clicks.

    Finally I can want to relax and read the sites I like, watch youtube.

    and of course here I've already closed the other task urls for the same reason: I'm not using them anymore, if I'm watching a YT video there is no reason to keep any other tab active for me.

    If I don't use sessions it leads to a nightmare with 30-80 opened tabs

    I know, right? You have just confirmed what I already think about opening too many tabs that you are not even using 🙂

  • @ian-coog Yes, I agree, that I don't use more than maybe 10-15 tabs simultaneously. But I use the same browser for work and for entertainment. Sometimes I need to switch my work activities (different tasks). I don't wan't to mix work and entertainment tabs, but I still wan't to be able to return to these tab stacks later. So the sessions feature fits my needs in the best possible way.

  • I support @phant0m in the statement that there is no efficient solution to work on multiple things at the same time.
    My usual workflow with a browser and with computer and other things in general - switching between multiple projects, trying to keep switching time low. This means keeping the state of any project at ready between times I'm working on it.

    The best combination of tools Vivaldi can offer so far - Tab Stacks and Window Panel.
    It has few drawbacks:

    • lack of management tools. Being able to save individual stacks (to bookmarks folders, to sessions, whatever) and restoring back would help a lot. That's what phant0m asking about, in my understanding.
    • Vivaldi stands in the way, preventing me from working within a stack, trying to open tabs out of stack in some cases.
    • lack of focus - everything in sight even when I want to focus on something in particular. The issues above greatly amplify this.
    • all the tabs are kept in opened or hibernated state. This negatively affects performance. Even though browser does a pretty good job with hibernated tabs, memory still adds up and some operations still enumerate all the tabs and become slow.
      In relatively old version of Opera browser (46 from mid-2017) I was able to have 2000+ opened tabs (don't ask!) with acceptable performance (assuming you don't care much about 1.2GB RAM and don't restart browser often). Vivaldi can restart fast now, but it feels like usability boundary is lower between restarts - I don't think it will be usable beyond 500 tabs.

    Sessions are just useless for anything other than backup of current browser state. Too much manual labor and potential for errors when trying to organize any meaningful workflow with sessions.

    Bookmarks - cold storage far on the side from any active workflow, useless. Opera were trying to get rid of them for a good reason. Too bad their replacement didn't fulfill all my needs either. Speed Dial folders, even though offer a bulk save/restore, aren't live (lacking auto-save), so it's the same bookmarks in the end.

    History - seriously? It's too noisy (maybe store the closing time and time span of how long it have been opened to help recovering useful stuff from history). It requires to memorize and recall site urls or titles while I just rely on spatial memory to find "where I left that post covering this issue".

    The idea I had in mind: "live sessions"
    What I would like to see is something like projects in IDE's. In browser context it will be like Sessions with auto-save (thus "live") and attached to browser windows. You select a session - new browser window is opened with the live session attached and in the state it was closed last time. Then anything you do within this window will automatically be stored in the live session, no need to memorize to save it before close (human memory is prone to fail, you know). This system will achieve:

    • better focus (only relevant tabs in sight)
    • better management (projects-like), in case there is still a way to drag tabs between live sessions, even closed
    • no performance penalty - only tabs relevant to the project (or two...) I'm working on right now are opened. Tabs are opened in cached, hibernated state (unlike Opera Speed Dial folders for example).

    I hope developers will not make o_O at us, heavy tab (ab)users, and will try to understand what current tab systems are missing that drives us into this state.

    Update: I later posted about the "Persons" feature. While it is useful on it's own, it is anything but a tab management tool. Now we can have multiple profiles to suffer with tab management in either one of them.

  • My own work process sounds similar to @Killy-MXI and @phant0m

    Also per another commenter in this thread (sorry can't remember the name), wanted to respond that "tab hoarder" is an inaccurate user persona which would guide tabs tech development in the wrong direction.

    As @Killy-MXI described in detail, a significant number of users have many projects running in parallel and task switch frequently. And this requires "keep switching time low" and "keeping the state of any project at ready."

    Vivaldi core is closer to natively supporting this workflow than any browser I've tried, with it's current side tabs implementation; but still has a long way to go to address the needs discussed in this thread.

    In particular, tabs need to be draggable and nestable into collapsible sections/groups. There need to be buttons and keystrokes to expand, collapse, hibernate and reload. Actions on the parent tab of a collapsed group should affect all children, for quick management of topic groups. Any tab should be able to have a label, so we can quickly understand topic groups we created some time ago.

    What I was thinking of, when reading this thread, is that the traditionally separated taxonomies of History, Bookmarks and Tabs impede the workflows we're discussing here. And combining them into one process which does a bit of all of them, by expanding the capabilities of the side tab mode, could support traditional users and power users at the same time.

    I believe that there is not one way to organise or implement, and arguing that people shouldn't try and use a browser like this is not going to move the technology forward.

    I wasn't able to imagine the "live sessions" concept. But one current tool that I think successfully incorporates a useful amount of the concepts we're discussing is a chrome extension called Tabs Outliner.

    The extension supports nesting, collapsing, grouping into sections within a window, creating multiple windows. The whole hierarchy is still visible and searchable within the one window. Groups, windows and tabs can all be labeled to create complex org/session systems. Fast hibernation of one, a group or a window full of tabs. Hibernation state is maintained on browser relaunch. All these things together seem to me to stand in well for history, bookmarks, tabs, sessions, tab groups, tab stacking.

    Using this tab system I can have tab sets for each of my business quickly to hand; expand and collapse the business tab sets as I switch; hibernate and selectively reload as needed; apply labels to organise; and use the tab hierarchy as a history, a bookmark system and a working tab set, all in the same place.

    I typically have ten thousand or so tabs (or bookmarks, or history, whatever they are in Tabs Outliner use mode) in my hierarchy, as effortlessly as having only a handful.

    Two systems are not needed to support both use patterns (but users not wanting to worry about any hierarchy can simply use top tabs). The deal breaker with this extension is that it runs in a window of its own, because Chrome doesn't support a side panel.

    Vivaldi's side tab panel system is a really great start, and just needs a bunch of flexibility and power built into it. Tabs Outliner should be one of the models we use to expand Vivaldi tab management capabilities.

    alt text

  • I also agree with @phant0m and @Killy-MXI - tab management in Vivaldi is a pain!

    Year ago, before Firefox Quantum, there was ideal solution: Tab Groups plugin for Firefox. (When Quantum was released it was impossible to re-implement such functionality, so this plugin died. Maybe something was changed in last year and there is new similar plugin for Quantum exists.) That plugin works like this: tab groups

    There is a plugin's "button" at tab bar, which shows name of current tab group. Clicking that button shows list of existing groups, clicking some group name in that list result in replacing all tabs in current browser window with tabs from given group. That's it - just 2 clicks to switch between different activities! Sometimes you need to create or delete group, but this happens once in a month or so, like when some new project begins or you start learning some new and large topic.

    Tab Stacks isn't convenient because I don't see titles for all these 10-20 tabs in current stack (my current activity), but instead my tab bar is full of tabs and stacks related to non-current activities - nothing than distraction. Also, it's very inconvenient to re-order tabs inside stack, sometimes links opened in new tabs leaks from stack, and choosing tab inside stack with more than 3-5 tabs is a pain, even when drop-down with page thumbnails is enabled (but I don't like to enable it because all other time when I don't need to select tab within stack it just annoys me while moving mouse over tab bar).

    Sessions isn't convenient because they're not dynamic by nature and require too many manual operations to save/load them. I use them only to backup tab groups related to old/paused activities I don't use on daily basis.

    Bookmarks/History isn't convenient because it means I need to manually save, then close and then later reopen tabs.

    My usual activity require 15-20 tabs in average. It is very convenient when I see only these tabs on tab bar, and nothing else (well, except pinned tabs, which are often pinned just because they are not related to concrete activity but must be available with every activity - like email and messenger). I use 4-6 activities on daily basis (a couple of different projects at work, general/entertainment, shopping, gaming, docs about current large research or new tech I'm learning) plus I'd like to have "on hold" about 10 more activities related to other projects and researches. This result in about 100 tabs just for daily activities, without "on hold" ones. And no, I can't all of time manually save/close/restore 20 tabs when I need to switch activity, because I often need to switch between 2-3 activities every couple of minutes.

    Right now I use mix of Sessions (for "on hold" activities), 4-6 always open Windows (one daily activity per window), and few Tab Stacks (just trying to find some use for it, without success so far). Switching between Windows is fast enough, but less convenient than selecting tab group name with 2 clicks in old Firefox. With 4 Windows it's more or less okay, but with 6 it becomes a pain. Another issue with Windows - urls clicked outside of Vivaldi (like in terminal or messenger) often results in opening these urls in wrong (non-current) Window.

    BTW, even for "on hold" activities Sessions isn't convenient enough - when I'm saving session I always have to manually check option "only tabs of current window" (and God help me if I forget!), plus I need to delete previous save of same activity because there is no way to just overwrite old save.

    My main hope with Vivaldi was related to "Window" tab management in side bar added few versions ago - in case it'll show tabs from all open Windows it may be possible to use it for visually selecting and switching between Windows - like with Tab Groups in Firefox… but so far it contains only tabs from current Window and thus can't solve this issue.

    In general, for convenient browsing I need only two "must have" features: mouse gestures working every time and everywhere (including "special" pages and before page loaded), and tab groups. Without any of them managing my 100+ tabs is a pain. Everyday pain.

  • There's some interesting issues canvassed above. I offer these titbits.

    1. Many years ago, long before i abandoned Windoze for Linux, i used Sleipnir 4 for several months. It had Tab Groups baked natively into it, & IMO was/is a fab concept. I think it addresses the Use Case of the heavy tab users very effectively & efficiently. I never grasped why this design concept failed to sweep the browser world. My Android browser-of-choice btw is Sleipnir Mobile, explicitly due to its ongoing Tab Groups [& Screen Gestures] innovations.
    2. Relatively recently i changed from Vivaldi to Firefox Quantum 61+ Dev for two months. I greatly enjoyed its reborn Panorama Add-On, & especially its productive Tabs Containers Add-On. These also IMO should be of interest to heavy tab users.

  • @killy-mxi I don't use many tabs at once, usually less than 15, but what you suggest here sounds great - especially the autosave part - so when I update an "activity", I don't have to remember to manually change its definition for the next time I use it.

    I used "activity", because this is starting to sound like the Activities feature of KDE, but realized within the browser environment.

    Please make this a feature request and I'll vote for it.

    Sessions and tab stacks are valuable steps in the right direction, but this seems to put it all together into an intuitive whole.

  • @powerman You may want to try waterfox. They didn't do Quantum. I've only played with it a little bit so far, so I'm not sure how good it is.

    You mention clicking on an external link causing a new tab to be opened in the "wrong" window. This should be written up as a bug report. I have had it happen as well and it's annoying and confusing.

  • - Ambassador -

    @josephj11 It is a very old bug (VB-10933). No fix 4 months ago

  • @powerman said in Tab Groups:
    tab groups

    This remembered me an old suggestion in the same idea that can allow to work easily and simultaneous with tab groups :
    And this is may be managed quickly with this.

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