Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Firefox vs. Opera - Tab Management

I used Opera first on my Windows XP PC a long time back before I came on to Linux. It was Opera 6 at that time and was ad-sponsered but still it was my primary browser for a long time, till 2004. I changed to Firefox in 2004 as it was new and exciting and offered a new way to discover web. After installing Fedora I never had to look away form the default browser Firefox.
Though I missed a lot of features of Opera which it brought on in-built but Firefox was much more comfortable. The variety of extensions brought the features to a level better as compared to Opera. The latest version of Opera, Opera 11.60, intrigued me enough to try again. I wished to try the innovator's newest beast.

Firefox 8.0 vs. Opera 11.60
Firefox, evolving a lot faster than in those days, has reached its 8th version while Opera is in its 11th version. Opera is a feature ladden but suprisingly is a light-footed browser. While Firefox is a easy to use browser, fast evolving, extensible as compared to Opera. It has, but a heavy over-head as compared to Opera and take a bit longer to load. Opera has more in-built features than Firefox but a lot of sites are not well supported (this has reduced a lot).
Let us compare tab management in both of them.

Tab stacking vs. Panorama
Tab management is a big issue, with over 20 - 30 tabs per session it is very difficult to manage. These two are the only browsers which tackle this problem head-on with an in-built mechanism.

Firefox panorama
Firefox was the first browser to tackle this problem with Panorama in version 4 in 2008. It evolved from Tab Candy which gave a similar way to manage tabs in version 3.6. It is a brilliant way to organize your tabs. Each group gives you a new browser window which can be organized according to the work you are doing. Groups show a preview of all the tabs in that group and an option to close the group, tab in the group. It's like having multiple browser windows open at the same time. Lets you hide your tabs from prying eyes if need be.

Opera's Tabs Stacking
Tabs stacking is the latest addition to the overflowing list of features that Opera has to offer. It was introduced in version 11 itself in 2010. It is vastly different to Firefox's approach. As oppose to having hidden groups all the tabs stack are visible on the tab bar. Stack shows the last open/viewed tab. Tab view shows all the tabs in the stack and the tab we wish to view can be chosen from it. This though solves the problem of excessive tabs but only to an extent. Still there is a limit to total number of tabs that can be opened. It crashes on trying to drag the tab to form a new window.

Personally I prefer Firefox's method of tab managment. It gives a cleaner display in which less important tabs can be hidden away from view so you can concentrate on the work in hand. Opera's way of management is open and everything on display. But tabs can get a bit mixed if too many stacks and free tabs are opened together. A lot of tabs or stacks and it too can become a bit cluttered.

1 comment:

  1. Just give "tree style tabs" extension a look, I find it very useful. :-)