CyberNotes
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:

Username: bugmenot@mailinator.com
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 YouTube.com 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 Digg.com) 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 

–Settings–

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!

There Are 21 Comments

  1. Is it meant to work alongside or replace tab mix plus?

  2. More of along side Tab Mix Plus. It doesn’t do many of the things that Tab Mix Plus can, but I don’t use Tab Mix Plus myself.

  3. Chroma tabs can already color tabs based on domain OR favicon…so that moots that perk of this.

    Tab Mix (or at least something else) already does the multi row thing- besides, who wants to make the tab bar waste extra browser space?

    Vertigo or a simple chrome hack can give you vertical tabs.

    And the parent tab thing is kinda worthless to me, since it just doesn’t matter to me where tabs came from.

    I’ll pass, sorry.

  4. So did you just come to this site to argue? There is no point to writing almost a paragraph of information if you’re just going to complain.

  5. @DKong: I understand your points, but what about being able to collapse down tabs? That’s one of its features that I love the best. And sure there are other extensions that do the same thing, but why would I install three different extensions when one takes care of them all?

  6. Anonymous wrote:
    So did you just come to this site to argue? There is no point to writing almost a paragraph of information if you’re just going to complain.

    I apologize for saying this. Note to self: there is no point in coming to this website if I’m going to complain about how someone/-thing is complaining. Please forgive me.

  7. It’s no problem…the comments are a place for people to express their opinions, and feel free to jump in at any time on other posts as well.

  8. I predict that sooner or later tabs will be vertical by default. With all the new flat screens, which only grow sideways (my 19″ CRT is taller than a 24″ LCD), it’s the only place to put them.

    The group mode is cool, too. It’s funny to see the tree of a wikipedia session ;-).

    I actually use “Tree Style Tabs” (and “TabMixPlus”), which does similar things. Just got used to it before this extension. But I’m glad to know that there’s a “backup” solution.

    So to everyone, who is spending significant time on the internet and who hasn’t tried vertical tabs, try one of these extensions (there’s also “vertigo” for pure vertical tabs without group functions)

  9. Lupin wrote:
    I predict that sooner or later tabs will be vertical by default. With all the new flat screens, which only grow sideways (my 19? CRT is taller than a 24? LCD), it’s the only place to put them.

    Maybe, but the only way you would benefit from having them along the side would be if you always have a bunch of them open. Otherwise it is really more conservative to have them along the top. And I’m guessing that most people don’t open more than a few tabs at a time.

  10. i cant get the multiple tab row feature working. i check show multiple tab rows with a max of 6 and now i got about 14 tabs open with the majority of them being displayed on the drop down menu. am i missisng something…..why are they not being displayed in multiple rows.

  11. Anonymous wrote:
    So did you just come to this site to argue? There is no point to writing almost a paragraph of information if you’re just going to complain.

    Actually, I found the comments to which you refer quite helpful … I want to know if I need this add-on or there are others that work the same/better/use less resources, etc. There are way too many to just be adding them all.

    Sorry.

  12. I can’t get it to display tabs in multi-rows.

  13. I can’t get it to display tabs in multi-rows either.

  14. DKong wrote:
    Chroma tabs can already color tabs based on domain OR favicon…so that moots that perk of this.

    And the parent tab thing is kinda worthless to me, since it just doesn’t matter to me where tabs came from.

    I like that it can color tabs based on origin/parent. It’s very useful when in research. I guess we all have our preferences :)

    • i love the collapse and colour feature. now if only it had ‘second parent/child’ tabs too. to easily re-identify it with its ‘great grandma’ it could be like more opacity/saturation/etc of assigned colour or something..

      another thing i really like is the highlight when you haven’t yet viewed a tab; real handy! ..just wish sometimes i could change the color but still! almost downloaded it just for this reason =DD

      the ‘group by:’ is something else i love-haven’t used it yet though but since i’m just starting, will probably very very soon…

      one thing i don’t get from this page is what you mean by having to sign to access firefox/mozilla addons? i downloaded all i have without even spotting a login/ register button XD

      thank you for reading^^

  15. sorry typo: “useful in research” :)

  16. Hello,

    i discovered tab kit but feel some lost. Is there any page where i can find a help?

    I would like to know if (and eventually how) i can group arbitrary tabs manually (i’d like to do this for grouping the tabs depending on their content).

    I didn’t understand how the tree tabbing works. Can i make a tab being a child of annother tab, and if the answer is yes, how can i do this? I only have one sort of tabs, no childs.

    Thank you

  17. Hello, i found the answer for the grouping: i first change the order of the tabs i want to group to get them together, then i select the first tab to groupe, then rightclick on the last tab to groupe groupe, and choose “group tabs from here to current”. Woderful! This is so useful! :)

    Now only my question about tree/child is open.

    Sorry if i disturbed.

    • you can get a “child tab” when you open a link from a site in a new tab.it will get the color of the parent/origin tab.
      that also explains (when tree style is set in preferences = tab bar on top) the tree.try to open as many tabs as possible or make the browser window smaller and you’ll see,Steve :)

      best add-on ever and I wont upgrade to FF4 until it is compatible.
      also: it would be nice to have this feature for Seamonkey as well.

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