Tabbed-browsing enhancements for Firefox in latest build

In: Mozilla

24 Jan 2006

Bug 308396 – UE fixes for tabbed browsing landed in the 2005-01-21 (Trunk) build of Firefox, bringing with it “tabbed browsing usability enhancements” (and I quote Ben Goodger from the bug page).

One fix that I really like is the one related to moving focus after a tab is closed. Right now, if a link opens in a new tab and gains focus, and you close that new tab, you are taken to the right-most tab you have opened. The fix makes it much friendlier by taking you back to the “parent” tab that opened that link. Hurray!

Another change is the addition of big “X”s (crosses) on the right of each tab which you can click to close tabs. Something like this:

Close buttons on tabs in Firefox

Well, rather nice for people with only 2-button mice or using specific OS ports of Firefox (I’m thinking some flavors Linux desktop environments, but I’m not sure), since they can now close tabs in a single-click (instead of right-click -> Close Tab). Personally, I prefer to middle-click tabs to close them or hit Ctrl-W, and the additional close widgets are just unnecessary clutter (so it’s a good thing this can be turned off via about:config at the moment). Anyway, if you’re using a 3-button mouse and are closing tabs with right-click tab -> Close Tab, stop doing that! Middle-click the tab. Middle-clicking is (or should be) the new “close me” in any environment that involves tabs – think IntelliJ IDEA and editors like PSPad. If we could just get other applications to follow this “new convention” (think Eclipse IDE, EditPlus).

4 Responses to Tabbed-browsing enhancements for Firefox in latest build


Rory Parle

January 24th, 2006 at 10pm

Default Firefox installs on Linux don’t close a tab on middle-click. Something about middle-click meaning ‘paste’ on Linux. You have to change a setting in about:config to change it to close tab. I can never remember what the setting is, but I can always find it by looking for settings with ‘paste’ or ‘middle’ in their names.

As for hiding the close tab buttons; even if there weren’t a setting for it in about:config you could do it with userChrome.css. I’ll disable them on my Linux and Windows installs, but they might be handy on the Powerbook, which has only one mouse button. Then again I tend to use the keyboard a lot on that machine because trackpads are so much harder to use than mice.


Jeremiah Zabal

February 4th, 2006 at 5am

Yeah, i’m a middle-clicker too. And after playing with Flock a little, i find that close buttons on each tab not only waste space, but also get in the way, causing accidental closures when trying to select or drag tabs. One of Flock’s solutions for reclaiming some tab real estate is hiding the icons on all but the selected tab, but i’m not crazy about either.

The tab snap-back feature sounds useful, though.



February 18th, 2006 at 12pm

WOW! Thanks, I love tabbed browsing (how did I ever get by with IE?) but they can be annoying for the reasons you mentioned. I am going to try this. Thanks, great blog!


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September 20th, 2007 at 12pm

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