Split view should not use the side bar. Allow flexible splits (>2, horz, vert, etc.)

(Michael Hofmann) #1

I think the idea that ‘Side View’ uses the side bar to display its content is seriously misguided. As is the mobile first feature; it’s an anti-feature!

A proper (multi) split screen view would be a great thing – in fact I came here through searching for this – but all splits should be at least treated equally. Generalize this model a bit, and you can easily think of three-way splits (or more!), horizontal and vertical splits, or combinations thereof, arranged in any way the user likes.

Do take inspiration from how tmux or vim work. For example, multiple vim windows can co-exist together with, say, NERDtree as a kind of side bar. tmux allows any number of splits, in any arrangement. The main difference is that in Firefox, each split could itself contain multiple tabs.

The side bar itself should always be a separate entity. (And no, having two possible side bars displayed, as mentioned elsewhere, is not a solution – still too restrictive.)


I agree with this. The experiment as implemented does not do enough. Another source of inspiration is Vivaldi. They have implemented great screen splitting and tab stacks.

A key feature missing of the current implementation: say I open a side view and I am comparing two sites. If I switch tabs to something else entirely, I keep the comparison, which at that point is useless. So I close the side view. When I get back to my previous comparison of two sites, I need to reopen the side view.

(Clouserw) #3

The original idea was what you describe (two, essentially independent browser windows inside of a larger browser window). We had a rough implementation, but it wasn’t a web extension and it was raised a lot of questions about UX expectations and security. Like, how does the URL bar work? How do alerts() and the yellow notification bar work? Those are especially tough for horizontal splits.

In the end we built this because we hoped it would provide some feedback into the question “Is anyone interested in split windows?” with a minimal amount of investment from the team.

Thanks for your feedback!

(Michael Hofmann) #4

Thanks for providing an explanation of why this was implemented as-is.
Take my feedback as “Yes, I’m very, very interested in split views”, despite potential UX issues to be figured out. I get that these issues you raised are not easy to resolve.
The current ‘Side view’ plugin is not that useful for me, however, as that heavily violates my own UX expectations of such a feature.