On the Humanized weblog, Aza critiques the tab implementation in Firefox 2.0. A comment by “Zephyr” brings up a question I’ve asked before: “How is a row of tabs so spectacularly different from a row of task bar buttons?” I think the simple answer is: it’s not. If anything, the taskbar is more useful, because it can include more than just web pages.
This is just another example of what I’ve been calling “segregating data based on its form”. We are forced to interact with data objects in different ways, just because they come in a specific form. Is a web page really that different from a Word document stored on my hard drive? No. So why do we have two completely different ways of interacting with them?
In the end, it’s really just a problem of modes. By having tabs in the browser, we make web browsing more of a mode. You can use tabs when you are browsing documents on the internet, but not when you are browsing documents on your hard drive. Is it just me, or has anyone else ever caught themselves control-clicking on attachments in Outlook?