At the Denver Tech Meetup a while back, I discovered I was in the extreme minority in my browser usage style.
My browser tabs are almost completely transient to me. I don’t keep pages open to read for longer than an hour or so, or keep a tab open to a webmail client or feed reader. I even quit my browser and close all the windows on a regular basis.
None of the other guys in the conversation followed this usage pattern. They had 20-200+ tabs open at a time, with session saver and sync extensions. Their browser tabs have a lot of valuable information for them.
How do you use your browser tabs?
I’m more like yourself – I tend to keep firefox open all the time, but only a couple of pages – gmail, Button Men – are open constantly, the others come and go.
I’ve got firefox open all the time and I use the PermaTabs extension so that gmail and a couple other sites that I’m always glancing at open (and stay open) at the start. Throughout the day I’m regularly adding open tabs until every couple hours or so I pare it down to 20 or so. But in short firefox is open all day and I’m always using the tabs.
I tend to use Firefox more like you, with only a few tabs open at any time. But, I don’t use Firefox as my main browser.
My main browser is Opera (which saves sessions by default), I tend to keep anything I mean to read, or want to review open till I get around to it. With my schedule it may be a week later before I get around to reading it, so keeping it open there really helps keep track of things.
On average, I have at least 50 tabs open, and on a busy week that tends to jump to 100-125.
I typically keep either my Google Homepage or Gmail open in a tab and everything else is transient. I have adopted the view that having only my email open is my digital equivalent of a “clean desk”. When I really want to focus, I’ll even close my email and keep one tab open for the page I’m working on and one tab open to phpMyAdmin. That’s typically all I ever need.
I would say that the number of open tabs that I average is between 3 and 5.
One other point. I HATE seeing my tab bar attempt to scroll. When I’ve got too many tabs open and I can’t see the page titles, I just get an eerie tingle down my spine. I can’t handle it. Maybe it’s the neat freak in me.
I use Safari, but I frequently close all of my tabs and windows (even quit it sometimes). I use a stand alone RSS reader, stand alone email program, and a stand alone calendar program.
I used to be a heavier tab user but my behavior looks more like yours, Alex. I stopped keeping gmail/google reader open in tabs after I installed the Google Notifier, though now I’m trying really hard to keep the notifier not running and just checking my email between longer stints of actually working.
When I’m reading feeds, I skim in my feed reader and will open links to the original pages in tabs for posts I want to give more attention. I usually pop open a few at a time, leave the feed reader, process my open tabs, and dive back in (or move on to real work)…
When I’m doing research, I often use tabs to open promising search results so it’s easier to quickly evaluate a collection of possibly useful results.
I am more like you actually, i rarely keep too many tabs open. When I want to save something for more than a few minutes, I bookmark it.
I’m like you, Alex, and Scott T. and Adam. I like to keep things fairly simple when I’m on the computer. I can’t imagine having more than 20+ tabs open at a time!
i’m not, as you know, like you. i consider myself my browser fairly “cleaned up” at the moment, and i’ve got 16 tabs open. i keep my mail and reader tabs open all the time, to the far left, and everything else is for something i’m writing, researching, or need to del.icio.us.
my browser is only closed when it crashes, otherwise it’s on continually.
I’m currently on 40 on my MacBook Pro and 54 on my home PC… I tend to keep things open for later perusing, which happen to be everything from webcomics to cool websites to things like Facebook and my blog which I keep open all the time.
I tend to keep two tabs open all the time- GMail and Bloglines. My max tab usage at one time will rarely go above 13. I can’t do so many tabs- not even when I am working (maybe especially when I am working).
I keep tabs open for 3 sites – my stats, my gmail and my netvibes.
I do close it sometimes to free up the RAM leaks and then start it up later on, but rarely.
I never keep more than 5 – 10 tabs open at once for too long.
Well, back before they started blocking external access via unapproved browsers (IE6 being the only approved browser), I would keep 10-15 tabs open. Now I keep 4-5 tabs open to my internal development projects. And an additional 5-10 IE instances. Sigh…
It’s starting to sound suspiciously like the tab overload crowd is a vocal minority.
I have a bifurcated approach. I have two windows open: one with a handful of tabs [Tasks, Facebook, and something else I’m working on], and a second with whatever stuff has come out of a feed reader. I typically try to keep this second window narrowed down, and after a day or so, having more than a handful of tabs open in the second window tends to slag my machine. So that solves itself, as I’ll force myself to clear decks.
If I’m really focused, I’ll only have the one window open, with
Maximum 10 tabs for me. Not being able to see the post title irritates me. I can never understand how people cope with the number of tabs being in 3 digits. How do you even find the tab that you want.
In everyday usage I’ll have between 3 and 6 tabs open. 1 to bloglines, 1 to our wiki, and the other ones dedicated to whatever I’m working on and reference material for it.
When I’m in “reading mode” though, I’ll scan my feeds and open everything I want to read in a tab in the background. After I’ve got 10 or 30 tabs loaded up I’ll start reading all the content.
I just keep one tab open to twitter and (when I have to double check calendars) RedMonk’s Zimbra instance. Other than that, I don’t keep tabs open too long. I generally follow the rule of thumb that if I don’t read or do something with a web page immediately I need to move on to the next to do item or make a to do item to come back to it. But, I don’t leave it there taunting my in a tab.
I typically have 4 – 6 tabs open at any given time; gmail, feed reader, a couple projects I’m working on… I, too, get the heebie jeebies if my tab bar starts to scroll. I just can’t fathom how somebody could really keep track of 50+ tabs open at once.
I’m quite scared by the comments here. Like Alex, I only have 1-2 tabs open at a time, and am still in the habit of shutting down Firefox altogether very often, only to relaunch it minutes later.
Maybe the keep it open/loads of tabs approach is a better way to work, but I’m not sure I can overcome my current behaviour, it is too ingrained.
Like Scott T. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I don’t feel guilty about not having my personal gmail open in one tab, my business’s gmail powered email open in another tab, and my calendar open in a third tab. I’ve definitely experienced a large surge in productivity since not having that 3-tabbed browser open on my secondary monitor.
Mike H., you’re funny, brother! I get that same spine tingle, but for a different reason and the number of tabs open was not the main reason for shutting down those tabs and browser instance.
Like Ali, I noticed some challenges with the usage of the Gig of ram in my laptop (which right now is my only machine :'( ), and I thought I’d give the customized Google home page a shot. The widgety things there really suck your ram dry, and never let go till you reboot your machine in safe mode, error check your disc, re-partition your drive, and finally install fresh ram sticks.
Okay, not that bad, but when discovering why the machine was so sluggish, I discovered that with the browser windows open: three tabs in one (2xemail, 1calendar) and then my main working window with from 1 to 7 tabs, averaging about 3 most of the time, the amount of ram for just 5 tabs is plus or minus, 250,000 K! Yes that’s correct, 250MB’s.
The reality seems to be that each tab, which is almost a complete instance of the entire browser window uses a range of 20 to 25MB of ram. Serious challenges can occur with some of these site addons (not to mention some of the more poorly coded FF extensions…) that are a total suck on your systems resources. Geof M. understands!
I’m with Geof – only I take more of a “trifurcated” approach. I usually have one window open with 3 tabs for my various email accounts. Another window is open with for browsing reddit, digg, del.icio.us, and has at the very least 50 tabs open. A third window grabs everything I open in my feed reader – usually 80+ tabs.
I totally agree with James D. Kirk – major ram suckage occurs, and the only browser extension I use is TabMix Plus. When Firefox starts sucking, I end up saving all my open tabs in folders appropriately named to_read->$today’s_date.
I don’t try to save tabs over sessions or extended periods of time. And when my tab bar starts overflowing to require scrolling, I want to cut back again. Like right now, I just went through my RSS reader and opened a bunch of links, so I’ve got about 15 tabs open. It’s more typical for me to have about 5 or 6 open tabs if I’m actively working on some projects.
My typical flow is to open links in new tabs, then go through the tabs one by one. Most stuff I can close as soon as I’m done reading it. Some tabs I’ll keep open longer because I don’t have time to read in full immediately, or because I want to go back to it to bookmark in del.iciou.us or blog about it.
I use my browser tabs transiently, but the typical configuration includes AdSense report manager, google analytics, my blog pages, research items, my portfolio and market data.
My Opera tab usage varies based on what I’m doing at the time. I do frequently keep a site open for a week or so instead of bookmark it. Of the constantly open pages, there are Google (or a results page), personal email, personal website (sometimes on various tabs) and some number of sites like this one that I keep meaning to get back to. About once a week I go through and close everything.
I normally try to have a maximum of 4/5 tabs open ~ any more and it feels cluttered which I hate. I keep all my bookmarks in the firefox button bookmark row (..type thing) so they’re easily accessible if I need them. I find that if things like my desktop (virtual) and desktop (physical) are cluttered, I can’t work as well. So I try to keep the rule of keeping things clean for my browser tabs as well and not have too many open at any one time.
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have to say I fit most definitly in the latter category. Although I regularly restart Firefox to reduce memory usage I generally have between 5-30+ tabs open. I tend to leave tabs open when researching something, and only close them when the task is over or needing to contextswitch to a different task.
So yeah, lots of tabs!!!
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