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Summary:

Alex King wonders about browser tab usage styles: My browser tabs are almost completely transient to me. I don’t keep pages open to read for longer than an hour or so, or keep a tab open to a webmail client or feed reader. I even quit […]

Alex King wonders about browser tab usage styles:

My browser tabs are almost completely transient to me. I don’t keep pages open to read for longer than an hour or so, or keep a tab open to a webmail client or feed reader. I even quit my browser and close all the windows on a regular basis.

None of the other guys in the conversation followed this usage pattern. They had 20-200+ tabs open at a time, with session saver and sync extensions. Their browser tabs have a lot of valuable information for them.

How do you use browser tabs? Transiently and judiciously? In a strictly controlled order and window configuration? As reminders of things you need to do? Or wildly and madly and without any limits whatsoever?

  1. Transient. I’m a clean freak, so keeping windows/tabs open when I’m not actively using them bothers me. I don’t go so far as quitting the browser though.

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  2. I have a kind of hybrid style, tending towards the second one — except that I don’t use a session saver extension. I rely on Firefox 2′s ability to recover open tabs on crash. In the event I want to exit Firefox but keep my tabs, I just use a “Force Quit” GNOME applet to close Firefox as if it had crashed. ;)

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  3. It depends on the situation, I primarily do it the transient way. I don’t like clutter, and I don’t like seeing nothing but X’s for tabs. I have at the most 6 at any given time I think. Email, netvibes, articles.

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  4. I have 4 permanent tabs in firefox using the permatab extension. The four tabs are google reader, google calendar, remember the milk, and gmail. To make these permanent tabs less intrusive, faviconizeTab extension is used to shrink each tab down to is favicon which is enough to identify each tab apart. Other tabs come and go throughout the day as needed.

    Jason Emerick

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  5. I’m mainly a transient tab type too, though I like to have a few permanent tabs: gmail, google calendar, Zimbra (for another email account), Twitter. I think I’ll try out the permatab and faviconizeTab extensions, those sound really useful.

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  6. I too am a clean-freak. Every tab is like a to-read item for me. As soon as it’s read, and maybe bookmarked, I close it. I don’t like to have my browsing session interupted – I like to be the only one to choose when to leave a page. And I use tabs for that.

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  7. I never made the switch to tabs. I prefer distinct windows, partly due to a reliance on alt+tab (or cmd+tab, cmd+~).

    I’ve typically got at least two (Gmail, Google Reader) open all day, as well as other items I haven’t bookmarked or sent to friends yet.

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  8. I’m like Mikkel. Tabs are like another GTD inbox for me. I open everything in a new tab (set FF to do this) and then process each tab – bookmark, flag to blog about, comment, read, etc. – then close it. My main apps and tools are on my bookmark toolbar so they’re one click away, but not opened all the time.

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  9. I am a little bit of both, with a penchant for cleanliness. I have at the very least a portal page for my work open, one email client, a news feed, a local news feed, industry articles I am reading or scanning, DIGG, del.icio.us, and the rest is fun stuff like ESPN, YouTube, friends pages, unique searches.

    I have a separate browser instance open for work, since I am web designer/developer, I have all my IT resources, CMS entry points, release volumes, SQL help pages, coding page help, Adobe (of course).

    I use Firefox 2.0 and love it. I will never go back to IE for personal use, and I really enjoy the tabbed feature. I can multi-task and use key stroke shortcuts like it is my job. :)

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  10. My first tab is always, always, Google Reader. After that, the next 2-3 tabs are a random configuration of digg, and a few of my regular forums. After that there is no pattern, but I average 8-12 tabs at a time.

    I’ll read through a page, middle-clicking the links I want to explore, then I hit those tabs up and read them. It is also a to-read system for me and I hate having to hit the back button 1 million times trying to find that site that linked to the site that linked to this site that I got stuck on YouTube for 20 minutes then checked my mail before this. Why do that when I could just middle-click to close and I’m back to the random blog that started my whole adventure?

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