Web Browser Wednesday

It’s not often that I come across a Firefox extension that does so much that it actually warrants its own CyberNotes article, but Tab Kit is one of those extensions. The only thing is that the extension is so new that it’s still in the Mozilla Sandbox, and therefore requires an extra step or two to actually get it installed.

I’ve got instructions below on how you can get it installed, but you might want to first take a look through the review to see if you want to give it a shot. I’ve also tried this extension in Firefox 3, but couldn’t get everything to work properly. The developer has said that there are plans to make it compatible with Firefox 3, but right now it will only work with Firefox 2.

–Installing the Extension–

The Tab Kit extension is located in the Mozilla Sandbox, which is essentially a holding room for extensions until they become popular. To access the Sandbox you need to have a Mozilla account, but if you really don’t feel like creating one here is a generic username and password you can use:

Password: bugmenot

–Tab Bar Orientation–

With this extension you can choose how you want to orient the Tab Bar. It can be placed on the top, bottom, left, or right side of the browser. I prefer to have it along the left side, but that is just a personal preference. Here’s what it looks like both ways:

Tab Bar on Side:
Tab Kit Side Tabs

Tab Bar on Top:
Tab Kit Top Tabs

–Tab Grouping–

One of the most prominent features offered by the Tab Kit extension is its ability to group the tabs. A group is signified by unique colors that is assigned to it. You can set the tabs to automatically or manually be grouped based on one of two conditions:

  • By domain – All articles by the same domain are grouped together. For example, all sites will be grouped.
  • By opener – Tabs are grouped by the site that opened them. A good example of this is if you go to Digg and open a bunch of the external links (a.k.a. the ones outside of that have been posted there. Despite each one being from a different domain all of those links will be grouped together.

Note: Any groups that are created will be fully restored when you restart the browser, given that you have the session restore capabilities enabled in the browser.

The great thing about the groups is that they can be contracted down to just one tab. To show just how useful that is I put together a video demonstration of the expanding/contracting capabilities of Tab Kit, with the Tab Bar located on both the top and on the side. The groupings are done “by opener,” and you’ll probably see why it is nice having the Tab Bar on the side:

–Tab Sorting–

The Tab Kit context menu is extremely powerful, and one of the best features it offers are all of the sorting options. In a single click you can sort all of the tabs by address, last loaded, last viewed, order of creation, origin, or the page title. This is something that any neat freak will love, and it can be a real time saver if you find yourself with dozens of tabs open.

Tab Kit Context Menu 


Tab Kit has a ton of settings that practically guarantee it will do exactly what you want it to. I didn’t want to list everything that you can customize so I took five screenshots of all the configuration screens:

Tab Kit Options 1 Tab Kit Options 2 Tab Kit Options 3 Tab Kit Options 4 Tab Kit Options 5

–And More–

You thought that was it? Did you see how many settings there were? There are actually a bunch of small things that Tab Kit does which I haven’t mentioned. What made me really happy was that it included an option to enable the mouse rocker gesture. That’s when you hold the right mouse button down, and click the left one to go backwards in the browser (or visa versa). This setting is disabled by default so, but it can easily be turned on in the Control section of the settings.

So go tryout the extension, and I’m sure that every person who downloads this will bring it one step closer to being brought out of the Mozilla Sandbox!