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Thumbing Through Firefox Tabs
Pages: 1, 2

Getting My News Fix

Now let's look at a tabbed browsing example to see some of the features described in this article spring to life.

I love to read news online, and now and then I like to look at news covering foreign countries to get an interesting look at events. I usually start at BBSNews and use the Open Links in Tabs gesture by drawing a line through a handful of countries as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6
Figure 6. Open Links in Tabs is a particularly useful gesture for browsing online news

I then take a quick look at each country page and open an article or two I find interesting. Eventually I end up with a good mix of articles in tabs, and I navigate through them using the Previous or Next tab gestures as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7
Figure 7. It's easy to navigate through a tabbed series of articles using the Previous Tab and Next Tab gestures

A couple of other gestures that come in handy are Close Current Tab and Undo Close Tab. Undo Close Tab works really well in instances where you close a tab by mistake.

The Hitchhiker Adventure Game

I was taking a break from writing this article the other night, and I found myself reading the movie section from The New York Times' web site. One thing led to another, and after a series of tabs I found the Hitchhiker Adventure Game. The route I took to get there illustrates the power of tabbed browsing; let me detail the scenario:

  1. As mentioned, I was looking at the movie section of the Times' site and I noticed the "Episode VII: Revenge of the Writers" article. I opened that in a new tab window.

  2. I looked back to the movie section and noticed that The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was No. 1 at the box office; I opened that review in another tab.

  3. I then moved to the Star Wars tab and read about the Martian Chronicles and Blade Runner references.

  4. I then opened two new blank tabs and Googled both movies.

  5. After thinking about whether to check Netflix for those movies, I searched the Times and found the 1981 Hitchhiker's movie.

  6. That reminded me of how I played the Hitchhiker game on my Apple IIc for hundreds of hours back in high school, so I did a search for the game. I found it on the site, where it can actually be played. Knowing that I have to try that out (hopefully after I finish this article), I moved that tab to the front of the list (see Figure 8) and saved all of the tabs as a bookmark.

Figure 8
Figure 8. You can sort tabs by priority for later viewing

Without tabbed browsing and finding and playing the Hitchhiker Adventure Game, I probably would have met my article deadline--but then again, without the tabs, I would have needed a different topic to cover.


If you are using Firefox but aren't taking advantage of its tabbed browsing capabilities, I hope this article has at least persuaded you to take a look at tabbed browsing and the many extensions available for Firefox. The options for customizing the extensions to your preferred way of working are nearly endless. The examples in this article are designed to give you a glimpse into what is possible. I know that tabbed browsing and the various Firefox extensions have greatly changed the way I use the browser and interact with online information.


Download Firefox (1.0.3 was used in this article; all four extensions are 1.0.3 compatible)

Tabbrowser Preferences

All-in-One Gestures

miniT (drag+indicator)



Firefox Hacks

Troy Mott is the president of Backstop Media, providing services for customized technical content delivery. He is a coauthor of O'Reilly's "Windows XP in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition."

Firefox Hacks

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