Unifying The Tab Experience

Using tabs in web browsers has pretty much been a standard way of browsing since 2006. Several gnome applications such as nautilus, gnome-terminal and gimp also makes use of tabs. Fortunately the web browsers and gnome applications which feature tabs also share keyboard shortcuts to control the tabs such as ctrl+w to close a tab and ctrl+t to open a tab (if possible). However, there are several other shortcuts used to control tabs which gnome applications lack or which only is partly implemented. I propose that we unify the tab experience and ensure users can expect the same options for fast tab navigation across all gnome software and web browsers.

If agreed upon, this proposal could be added to: GnomeOS/Design/Whiteboards/KeyboardShortcuts

Affected Software

The list below covers gnome software affected. Please add any applications to the list in case I missed any.

Tab Shortcut Navigation Overview

The list below lists shortcuts which are common among web browsers and in which gnome-software they have been implemented already, if at all.

{i} Some tab-related shortcuts does not make sense in specific cases. For example middle-clicking to close a tab in an application where closing a tab is not possible at all (for example gnome-system-monitor).

Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab

  • Purpose: Two shortcuts used to switch between tabs (right and left).

    Used by: Firefox and Chromium. No implementation of this in any gnome software AFAIK.

Middle-click a Tab

  • Purpose: Close the hovered tab.

    Used by: Firefox, Chromium and nautilus.

Scrolling in the Tab area

- Behavior 1

  • Purpose: Change tab by hovering over the tabs area and scroll.

    Used by: Chromium and gimp.

    {i} This was a previous feature of GTK but has since then been removed/disabled. See Bug 630226 and Bug 145244. If anyone know the reason to the removal of this feature, please enlighten me here as the bug reports did not clarify it very well.

- Behavior 2

  • Purpose: Scroll the tab bar horizontally to possibly reveal hidden tabs caused by lack of space without changing tab.

    Used by: Firefox and Blender.


* This won't happen for the simple reason that tab behavior is under toolkit/application control - we can provide design patterns / guidance and implement the desired behavior in GTK+, but applications that use e.g. Qt or a custom toolkit (Firefox, Blender) are free to follow or ignore that as they wish. (On a side note, Firefox does support Ctrl+PgUp/PgDown for tab switching as well, which is the standard GTK+ shortcut) -- FlorianMuellner

Design/Playground/UnifyTabExperience (last edited 2014-01-10 01:04:03 by SvitozarCherepii)