Revert to just text on left

I loved the simplicity of the text tabs on the left - and also the careful use of vertical space, so that I could quickly find the tab I needed.

Not sure why this happened, but now there are big, not helpful images on the tabs on the left. For anyone who has multiple pages open on a site (e.g. Google apps), the images provide no/little information.

And, this new layout makes it harder to see more tabs without scrolling.


I just noticed this when I restarted my browser today. Unfortunately, it defeats the point of having vertical tabs for me, I want vertical tabs so I can see more of them without scrolling.

I have the same complaint. I switched from Tree Style Tabs for a more native experience. The new design defeats the purpose of vertical tabs entirely. The tabs are too tall, and they are harder to differentiate with all of the busy screenshots.

I’m also a fan of the previous style, having thumbnails is just too much.
Can we get at least an option to revert it back to simple thumbnails?

I wish the tabs were more streamlined.

A lot of the previews have big empty white space (some pages are like that and some don’t display anything for some reason) which makes it seems like placeholder art and a waste of screen real estate.

To be honest, though, even if the previews worked flawlessly I would probably still prefer text-only display, maybe even without the links which seem superfluous because I find URLs are hardly ever important when working with tabs. Discerning the various tabs by link seems impossible anyway because the long adresses don’t fit.

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Hey all,

Thanks for the feature suggestion! I’m one of the engineers on the Test Pilot team, and it seems like it should be pretty easy to add an option to disable the images.

I’ve filed a bug on the Tab Center project:

I’ll update this thread if/when work starts on making preview images optional.



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Hi everyone,

I’m the person responsible for Tab Center, and wanted to address some of the things you’ve brought up.

We’ve made some changes to the upcoming version of Tab Center that will make the thumbnails more representative of the content of the page, which should help them be less useless. (The thumbnail code we used was far worse than I was hoping, which is why we’ve switched to something better.)

As well, if you have enough tabs that they would cause scrolling, they will automatically collapse to the smaller view, so it’s not actually any harder to see the same number of tabs. (And for fewer tabs, it should be easier, since we won’t have as much wasted space at the bottom!)

Furthermore, we added a search bar at the top, to let you quickly filter the tabs to only the ones you want to find, which should make it much faster to find the tab you need!

Finally, while Jared is correct that it would be easy to add an option to disable the image, that’s not something we’re interested in testing in this experiment, and so it’s very unlikely that we’ll add such a thing until after Tab Center graduates out of Test Pilot. Indeed, the small view was released just because I didn’t have time to implement the thumbnails before the launch date. (You can see the original design over here.)

Having said all that, I’m very interested any other problems you’re having with the larger thumbnails, so that we can try to figure out solutions that will work for you. (For the record, most of the changes I listed above came from feedback people had about the thumbnails, so your input is very valuable! :slightly_smiling_face:)

Thanks for your comments,

The problem for me is that unless I pin the sidebar all I see in are the thumbnails (and only parts of those at that). That provides very little information in case:

  • I have open pages I don’t visit regularly (because I can’t associate thumbnails with websites / domains)
  • I have open multiple parts of the same website. For example see what happens when I open multiple parts of the Django documentation. The previews don’t help me at all, while having the text or at least part of it would tell me that one tab is model fields reference, another request object reference etc.

I could pin the sidebar. But even then much space is wasted on the thumbnails which again carry very little information. On top of that the pinned sidebar wastes a lot of screen estate on its own unless if I have only a few tabs open.

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After testing the extension a bit after the thumbnail improvements went it I admit it’s much better and looks good, even.

Despite having a large monitor, though, I still prefer the smaller tabs (via setting the hidden option “largetabs” to false), I guess it’s just a personal preference of mine but I think it looks more neat. Besides, I always have the tab bar set to auto-hide so I feel like the thumbnails are of marginal usefulness to me.

Switching between large and small tabs according to available space is definitely a good feature but again, I prefer if they stay the same size no matter what.

Hopefully this feedback will be useful to you in some way, I realize it has to be a major pain to deal with such idiosyncratic POV :yum:


First, thank you for your work on tab center.

I was about to post a message asking “how to remove the thumbnail and turn off animations” and stumbled upon this thread.

I’m all in with @patrick.k. I do not care about thumbnails, neither do I care about yet another dedicated search field (I can already search tabs from the address/awesome/whatever-it-is-called bar) or animations.

What I want is vertical tabs that I can nest, group, sort. I want it to be fast, super fast. I want it to have virtually no impact on CPU/RAM. That should be the bare minimum. Then, think “progressive enhancement” for other features : you want to provide a thumbnail feature ? make it an option ; you want to add animations ? make it an option ; you want to ?.. you got the idea.

Tab Center is pointless if you are to coerce users into shiny - yet slow, overfeatured - yet uncustomizable - UX/I. Tab Center should be the opportunity to fix the tabs mess.

Tabs have been one of the things in the browser UI/X that haven’t changed for years. Yet, in the meantime, our screen (desktop) became wider and wider offering new perspectives on how to deal with the mess that tabs are.

Back in the days, prior tabs we integrated into web browsers. We had to deal with countless windows - poorly - managed by the operating system. Than “task/menu bar” items behavior was built right into the browser : rather than having multiple windows, you had one and multiple tabs/items into it. Nothing new was invented, it was just about transposing an existing paradigm to the browser.

As a matter of fact, there are a series of extensions dedicated to making vertical tabs (with over 134K users in total) :

  • Tree Style Tabs : 108 630 users ;
  • Tab Tree : 8474 users ;
  • Tab Groups Helper : 5950 users ;
  • Tab Kit 2nd Edition : 2804 users ;
  • Side Tabs : 2368 users ;
  • Vertical Tabs : 2267 users ;
  • Unified Sidebar : 1230 users ;
  • Vertical Tabs Reloaded : 957 users ;
  • Tab Kit : 932 users ;
  • Vertical Tabs (Simplified) : 707 users ;

Not to mention these related to improving/changing tabs behavior as a whole (over 1.2M users in total) :

  • Tab Mix Plus : 794 069 users ;
  • ColorfulTabs : 231 541 users ;
  • Tab Scope : 123 160 users ;
  • Tab Groups : 105 324 users ;
  • Multiple Tab Handler : 17 553 users ;

These numbers are indicative. For instance, I migrated from “Tree Style Tab”, to no addon (for tabs) for performance reasons, to “Vertical Tabs (Simplified)” because I really need vertical tabs. The lack/number of users should not be considered as an absolute marker of user interest : some user don’t know about these addons, some user have renounced using these addons altogether for performance reasons.

Long message, high hopes. Please don’t fail that opportunity.

Edit: Removed some foul language.
Edit: Fixed typos

That’s a totally valid thing to want, but it’s not what this add-on is trying to do. Fortunately, as you mentioned, there are a bunch of other add-ons that fulfill your requests. If it helps, think about it this way: instead of having one add-on with a bunch of different options, we have a bunch of different add-ons. :slight_smile: You can also take heart in that the people responsible for implementing WebExtensions have been talking to me about what APIs I would need to implement something like this as a WebExtension, so it should get even easier for people to write an add-on that puts tabs on the side!

Finally, while I enjoy having my tabs in an alternate location, I’m not sure that it’s popular enough to be made an officially-supported option in Firefox. It seems more like the kind of thing that would be good for an add-on or two. :wink:

Thanks for your post, though. It’s definitely given me some things to think about.

Thank you for your answer.

You missed the most important part of that paragraph:

It’s not about being able (or not) to pile up a series of addons to reach the desired behavior. It’s about building Tab Center with personalization and performance in mind. That’s the real challenge here.

Addons have been able, since years, to provide the functionalities Tab Center is trying to reach. Four years ago, Opera (RIP) even had these functionalities built-in : (WebM, 30s, 4.1Mo) screencast of Opera 12.12 in a Windows 7 VM showcasing tabs personalization.

Note that these functionalities might be older than 12.12, I can’t recall exactly but that’s the version of Opera that I still had in that VM.

Every time you ask a vertical tab addon developper why the performances are so bad (Tree Style Tab) or the funcitonnalities limited (Vertical Tab Simplified), the answer is always the same: we do not have the right tools and/or it would be faster if it was built-in.

My addon development knowledge is far too limited to be able to assess whether these statements are true or not. My feeling is that it might require specific optimizations to improve performances.

As a side note: on my core i5 3.4 Ghz, 8 Go RAM, GTX 550, Tab Center running in Firefox Dev Edition feels laggy and drains more resources every time my cursor hovers it.

Again, it might sound like some random rant. I might be misunderstanding Tab Center goals. But that is just the feedback of someone that’s passionate about Firefox and the perspective of having better tabs handling, better and innovative functionalities built-in.

Back in the days, Firefox attracted me with the tabs and got me staying for the built-in pop-up blocker and the addons. Today, the only reason why I’m sticking with Firefox are political (I want Firefox user-base to be bigger in order to improve the web browsers and web standards ecosystem, see [1]).

1: (FR) Glazman - The third browser war is over and it’s a bloodshed.

So Tab Center isn’t about personalization or performance. It’s about experimenting with different ways of managing tabs to see which of them work for how many people, and how we can make it better for as many people as possible. It’s much more of an experiment than a production-ready add-on. It’s also using the exact same tools as Tree Style Tab or Vertical Tab Simplified, so it’s not surprising that it’s performance is as bad, and its functionality as limited. I don’t have access to any special optimizations or anything like that.

We may, depending on how people react to this experiment, put this functionality in Firefox (unlikely), or add extra hooks into Firefox to make this kind of add-on faster and easier to write (more likely), or maybe just drop the idea because it’s not useful enough to enough people (not entirely unlikely). But even if we decide to completely kill this experiment, we’re still going to work on different ways to make tabs better.

Thanks again for your comment!

Agreed. I installed Tab Center on two PCs, and on one there are favicons in the tab bar; on the other there are large thumbnails. (Don’t know why the two PCs display differently.) The favicons save more vertical space, but there is still so much wasted vertical space. I realize there needs to be a balance between having more tabs visible, and having too little padding which may make tabs harder to find. But now, there is way too much cellpadding in the tabs.

(We display thumbnails if there is enough space. If not it automatically switches down to favicons. :slight_smile:)

This experiment is such a great idea in the age of widescreen monitors. It just makes perfect sense to put tabs on the side - freeing up precious vertical space. Now, a couple of suggestions: In addition to the space wasted due to the extreme amount of cellpadding in the tabs (even the ones with favicons), one other annoying problem is that the active tab is positioned at the bottom of the tab pane, and any tabs opened after the active tab are offscreen! So when I click to open a new tab, I have no idea if it has really opened or not until I go over to the tab pane and scroll down. Then, instead of the scroll position staying where I put it, as soon as the cursor is moved, the active tab again jumps to the bottom, making all of the newer tabs disappear offscreen again. Then I have to waste time scrolling down again - very irritating. The newest tabs are the most important ones and should be onscreen, and the older tabs should be pushed up - the same way the regular tab bar pushes the older tabs off the left side of the screen. And the scroll position set by the user should stay put - just like the standard tab bar. If just these things could be remedied, TabCenter would be ready for prime time.

I agree with your comments. It took a little while to get used to side tabs and the jumping of the active tab is annoying.

I had a list of various issues and observations after using Tab Center that I intended on including in a feedback report. I have been a part of a few beta and preliminary analysis programs the past couple years (iolo, Yahoo, Auto-Cad, etc…). To keep an open and unclouded perspective I try to stay away from outside influences or opinions until I have used the product and form my own analysis.
Selecting this test subject late in the 3rd phase it’s not surprising to find every item on my list already reported and discussed fully. I will submit a feedback report for the record but with regards to your level of involvement I thought it would advisable to give you yet one more opinion lol.
After using “Tab Center” to the extent I would normally use it, I am able to give an analysis of my observations. As I mentioned everything I found has been covered and discussed already leaving only my summary to report. It is my opinion that the feature “Tab Center” would not be an asset to Firefox without wholesale changes in ascetics, navigation, functionality, and abilities {all of which has been covered in this forum}. There are so many other applications/add-ons available in this area that have worked the bugs out and have more to offer the users. I believe the amount of work to bring this subject to a competitive state out weigh any benefit it can bring. To be better and likely to be chosen over the others it needs everything the others offer plus one more which it does not. While the concept of side tabs is appealing it alone is not enough to give up a time tested and trusted tab management app already installed in use.

Best Regards