[quote]Originally posted by Eugene:
I'm still wondering why people think mousing to the static "Window" menu and selecting one item is harder than mousing to a dynamic location on the screen to select a tab.
I'm still wondering why people enjoy scanning a one-dimensional list of tabs. As Brad illustrated, it quickly becomes confusing even with <10 tabs. I always list items in a column because the list becomes two dimensional. A single bulleted item is read left to right, while separate items are in their own row.
But I've already listed all my reasons, and tab-proponents are just rehashing lies about how difficult it is to use the built-in features of the OS instead. "To use the Window menu you have to chop off your pinkie, close one eye, mouse to the top of the screen, then make a wish, blah blah..." not.</strong><hr></blockquote>
Alrighty, then, let's just cut the BS and get down to the bare basics, and examine each quite thorougly, without bias. I've never really used tabs, always been an IE/OmniWeb person myself, and am now using Safari.
Mousing to the Window menu, which really isn't all that static as it changes position from app to app, isn't hard at all. Neither is mousing to a dynamic location, if it's location varys only horizontally. It is well highlighted and quite obvious; therefore organisms with at least the mental capabilities of a chimpanzee probably wont have a problem with it. But difficulty isn't the question; rather, time and efficiency are.
Think of it this way: unless my muscle memory is trained to perfection, to absolute perfection, mind you, and I know exactly where the pointer is to begin with, and can somehow calculate the dynamic tracking of the mouse in (using a too complex-for-mental-math formula depending on speed and distance), I'm still going to have to look at where I'm going with the pointer in order to get it to where ever I'm going. Therefore, the fact that one widget is static and one widget is not has little weight. My brain can quickly determine where the desired object is, even easier if the variation is on a horizontal plain. And it can determine this before my hand has started to move, in all likelihood. I can easily determine the location of the tab bar, its under the big thing at the top of the window. The lag lies between my brain and my hand.
Now with the location out of the way, how about what must actually be done? Well, with the tab bar, the information is already there, one click does the task I want. With the Window menu, I must first click the menu to activate it (extra steps = wasted time) and then when the menu pops up and the information appears below the cursor, I've got to search again to find what I want. More mouse movements. Damn! There goes a few more precious microseconds.
Tabs can be more efficient, regardless of how limited they have the potential of being. It is easier for us to read through a list of items rather than a row of items, but that is negated by the fact that we must perform extra actions to obtain said list. For a few pages, tabs are an excellent way of switching between them, when the number climbs, you can always revert easily to windows.
Those of you who bitch on and on about MDI interfaces and about how Apple is making an disputed example of an MDI interface in Safari, you're all quite narrow minded.
Think of the way nearly all browsers function (and the definition of browser in an OS sense): they are all, essentially, MDI interfaces. When you want to go to a new page, say you click a link, bookmark or enter a new URL, you are not thrown into a new window specific to that document/page. Instead, the previous page is now accessible by the back button, and in the same document window, you are now at a new document. Voodoo! Blasphemy! The back and forward buttons are really just cached tabs, only they are less easily accessed and not properly labeled. Browsers (keep in mind the definition of browser) by their very nature shred guidelines (also keep in mind the definition of guideline, it hasn't been etched in diamond, gilded, and set in stone inside of an impregnable safe residing in Fort Knox) in every move.
If you people really want to have a non-MDI browser, then it you can make one that functions as such: New web pages, or documents, are opened/loaded by selecting Open Location in the File menu. Each page/document has its own window, and clicking a link on a page will open a new window no matter what. There is no forward/back history switching, that is thrown out due to how heathenish and "MDI" it is. Pages/documents in the history are more to the like of recent documents, you can select them but it will open a new window. Document windows display the URL, but you cannot modify it and use the document to go somewhere else.
The web just doesn't work this way, people. It was never meant to. Web pages cannot so easily be called simple documents, they are more and less at the same time. Guidelines are not set in stone, and there are always exceptions to the rule.
Tabbed browsers need the ability to consolidate windows to tabs, to change an existing tab to a new window, and to explode a window full of tabs into a bunch of single windows. They also need the ability to have the default behavior be user-configured to either be tabs or windows.
I was once told by a sometimes-insightful, sometimes-overreactive someone that critiquing someone's work in progress is bad form, specifically one not released to the public. From the outside looking in, we probably appear to be a bunch of jackasses, sitting here and going on and on about how much what Apple is working on -- and is not nearly finished with -- sucks. It's quite childish.