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July 02, 2005

tabbed browsing history

Over the last few weeks, questions about the origins of tabbed browsing have come up several times. I thought it would be worth a short post to put my thoughts on the subject in front of a larger audience for scrutiny (and flames ;-)

Tabbed browsing is neither a Firefox nor Opera invention. Firefox and Opera fans, both, should step back from any claims to this invention.

The first real tabbed browser with any significant presence on the web was Netcaptor, created by the very talented Adam Stiles way back in 1997.

The next major implementation of tabbed browsing was the work of HJ van Rantwijk with MultiZilla, a tabbed browsing extension for Mozilla that copied pretty much everything that Adam had done in Netcaptor. HJ launched this extension for Mozilla back in 2000.

In September of 2001, Dave Hyatt added a tabbed browsing mode to Mozilla. This feature was release in Mozilla 0.9.5 in October of 2001

In December of 2001, Opera Software released version 6 of its Opera browser which was the first version to contain a genuined tabbed browsing mode (along with its SDI and MDI modes).

In September of 2002, Phoenix 0.1 (which would eventually be renamed to Firefox) shipped its first release which contained the most usable tabbed browsing implemenatation to date ;-)

In January of 2003, Apple introduced the Safari web browser which contained a very nice tabs implemenation.

In May of 2005, Microsoft announced that IE 7 (due later in the year) would have a tabbed browsing interface. The MSN team at Microsoft shipped a tabs-capable toolbar for IE 6 in June of 2005.

Am I missing anything in this timeline?

Posted by asa at July 2, 2005 11:07 AM
Comments

Thanks for clearing it up, Asa. I was getting tired of Opera fanboys yelling how they invented tabbed browsing and Mozilla/Firefox just copied it! As your timeline shows, Mozilla in fact had tabbed browsing before Opera. And kudos to Netcaptor for pioneering it. To be fair though, there are a select few Opera aficionados have always set the record straight in terms of the fact that Opera was not the first to have tabbed browsing.

To be sure, this timeline does not establish Firefox as the forerunner in inventive and innovative use. What it does do is contradict the claims of many Opera fanboys that Firefox is getting popular on stealing features from Opera.

Posted by: yfan on July 2, 2005 12:36 PM

One this that's missing is that not long after Hyatt added the tabs to Mozilla, he began work on Chimera (now Camino) which had native Cocoa tabs from the beginning. This was in the m/b days I believe, pre-phoenix.

Posted by: Ben Tucker on July 2, 2005 01:45 PM

yfan, don't get carried away, Asa's being a bit coy about what constitutes a tab. Opera 4.0 (June 2000) had an MDI window bar that's functionally exactly the same as a tab bar, it just looks slightly different. I just took a screenshot at http://img180.imageshack.us/my.php?image=opera4tabs5mw.png (with some of the bars moved around to look more like Firefox, they default to being on the bottom).

I bring this up because as a then-Opera user I watched the development of Mozilla's tab browser with interest, it was one of the things that I absolutely had to have before I would consider switching.

Opera might not have invented the idea but they certainly had it before Mozilla did, and before Phoenix/Firebird/Firefox existed.

Posted by: DopefishJustin on July 2, 2005 05:38 PM

Safari did not have tabs with the first beta actually. Tabs appeared in either the second beta or when 1.0 when it was released later that year.

Posted by: Rura on July 2, 2005 06:36 PM

Thanks for clarifying this, Justin, as I too was very sure I had even used a non-SDI Opera before Mozilla came to exist myself. :-)

And if we're nitpicking, when speaking of *tabs* (Asa definition), Opera sure was before Firefox, but not Mozilla. ;-)

Posted by: Jug on July 2, 2005 06:47 PM

Thanks for enlightenment Asa, some of us really needed it.. :P

Posted by: Jmack on July 2, 2005 09:25 PM

Justin,

I am well aware of Opera's MDI mode in version 4. But Asa is not playing any games here, MDI that Opera implemented then was not tabbed browsing. It was simply many *windows* displayed within a single master window. It's actually far more like the Windows task bar than like what we know tabbed browsing to be. You could, in Opera 4, arrange the three windows displayed in your picture so you could see that each window is self sufficient - each has its own menu, back and forward and other burrons, minimize, maximize, and close buttons, etc. Tabs by design, share the same window, tabs simply opening a page each. By sharing the same window, tabs actually make the browser go easy on resources.

So while MDI as implemented by Opera in Opera 4 is somewhat similar to tabbed browsing functionally, the differences are greater in terms of design. I don't think Mozilla has ever had MDI. We are not talking about MDI here, we're talking about tabs.

Posted by: yfan on July 3, 2005 03:08 AM

For those who say that Opera 6 was the first Opera version to implement tabs:

MDI has been in since Opera 1.0 beta and Opera 4 (Mar. 2000) had Tabs (just download it and you will see it, it works exactly the same as pages in Opera 8,7...) like it or not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabbed_browsing

Once again, Asa has been caught with the pants down...

Posted by: Merle on July 3, 2005 04:07 AM

Galeon, a gnome web browser which embeds mozilla have support for tabbed browsing since 0.8.4, released in January 2001.

Posted by: Johan on July 3, 2005 06:47 AM

Asa strikes again!

"Tabbed browsing" is just a new name for MDI with a "task bar" (called window bar in Opera 4), and usually, flexibility and functionality is removed.

Opera 4's task bar might worked exactly like tabs. Of course, Firefox takes this task bar, makes it less flexible and useful, and boasts about it as if it invented it.

Yet again Asa is lying, and people like yfan are contibuting to spreading these lies.

Posted by: Rick on July 3, 2005 09:51 AM

yfan, stop spreading misinformation.

"MDI that Opera implemented then was not tabbed browsing. It was simply many *windows* displayed within a single master window."

Wrong.

"You could, in Opera 4, arrange the three windows displayed in your picture so you could see that each window is self sufficient - each has its own menu, back and forward and other burrons, minimize, maximize, and close buttons, etc."

Opera's "tabbed browsing" was indeed more powerful and useful than Firefox's dumbed down version. But that doesn't mean that tabbed browsing is a new concept which is completely different from MDI with a "task bar". It isn't.

"Tabs by design, share the same window, tabs simply opening a page each."

In Opera's MDI, by design, pages share the same window, tabs/pages simply opening a page each. Just because Opera calls it "page" rather than "tab" doesn't mean that they are different concepts.

"By sharing the same window, tabs actually make the browser go easy on resources."

Exactly. Why do you think Opera has always been so light on resources?

This is exactly what's wrong with products that rely on marketing rather than quality: They take well known concepts, give them a new name, and pretend that they are doing something radically new.

Opera has had "tabbed browsing" since version 4. Just because it's called something else and is more powerful and usable doesn't mean that it isn't basically the same thing.

Tabbed browsing is opening pages within the mail window, and showing a tab/button to switch between them. Opera has done this since version 4.

Posted by: Rick on July 3, 2005 09:57 AM

"In December of 2001, Opera Software released version 6 of its Opera browser which was the first version to contain a genuined tabbed browsing mode (along with its SDI and MDI modes)."

Genuined tabbed browsing mode???. LOL

Tabbed browsing is MDI with a task bar to switch between documents.

Opera 4 holded many different documents under one window, you could resize the documents (MDI) and swich between them.The difference between Opera and the rest is that Opera has "true" MDI and a tabbed interface to switch between documents. As an example, thereīs no MDI in FF, you cannot resize the document/page, thus FF has SDI with a tabbed interface.

"Thanks for clearing it up, Asa."

Yeah, thanks for a good laugh (and thanks to you too, yfan).

Posted by: Zoran on July 3, 2005 11:07 AM

Rick,

Posting stuff in bold font does not necessarily make you any more right than you are. So quit yapping.

MDI - by definition - is what I said it was, multiple windows contained within a single master window. It's pretty much the definition of MDI. So you saying that it's wrong does not make it so. And I have given reasons how in Opera it was so. In Opera's MDI, "pages" do NOT share the same window. Each page has its own *window*. These *windows* share one master window.

As for resources, Opera's MDI mode is not as easy on resources as its tab mode. Precisely my point. Since MDI and Tabbed Browsing, by design, are different, having MDI does not qualify a browser has having "tabbed browsing." So yes Opera had MDI, and no, it did NOT have tabbed browsing. They are not the same things. So don't try to say that they are.

So again, instead of trying to say I am wrong and leave it at that, it'll do you some good to try and come up with some rational and factual arguments for a constructive debate instead of a destructive rant.

Posted by: yfan on July 3, 2005 11:29 AM

It's always amusing to see Opera fans coming here attacking Firefox. I mean, I know that some Opera fans are pissed that Firefox - a browser they consider inferrior - got more popular faster while Opera remained without significant market share gains, but come on, this kind of picking fights is just childish. You have your own forum, and your own blogs. Go sing your happy tune there.

Posted by: yfan on July 3, 2005 11:32 AM

Your all wrong a browser in 1995 was the first expiriment for Tabs being implemented in a single window, but later was cut off about 2 years in the making by a very popular and hated company. Asa's right it couldn't be considered "real tabbed browsing" but it was "THE first approach" Maxcaptor improved this feature, Firefox, Mozilla, and Opera enhanced it. stop complaining. look in the history books.

Posted by: Bose Homez on July 3, 2005 01:28 PM

Netcaptor was it, nothing else!!

Posted by: Paule on July 3, 2005 01:52 PM

I want to point out that WikiPedia has a browser called "InternetWorks" as the first to implement tabbed browsing:

Tabbed document interface
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabbed_Document_Interface

"Web browsers are notable for implementing this kind of interface (called tabbed browsing). BookLink Technologies pioneered this interface design in its InternetWorks browser in 1994, an approach followed by NetCaptor, an Internet Explorer shell"

Anyone care to verify this?

Posted by: Kayode Okeyode on July 3, 2005 01:52 PM

So now it seems that yfan wants to divert the discussion into a pointless FF Vs Opera flamefest instead of admitting his own mistake.

You have been proven wrong yfan, period (heck, read the Wiki article). MDI without a task bar is MDI;MDI with a task bar is MDI tabbed browsing. What you are saying is that just because Operaīs tabbed browsing has MDI (you can resize documents,cascade,...), and therefore itīs more useful, itīs not *true* tabbed browsing. That doesnīt make any sense.

Tabs are buttons to switch between documents, if the document can be resized is MDI tabbed browsing, if not is simple tabbed browsing.

But if you want to say that tabbed browsing is just the dumbed down and less useful method used by Mozilla and others, then yes, you are right, you can take the copyright.

Also, what on earth are you trying to say with "As for resources, Opera's MDI mode is not as easy on resources as its tab mode."?.

Opera never had a "Tab mode", as you call it, it has been introduced in Opera 8 (itīs just simple tabbed browsing, i.e., without MDI). The resources are the same on both *modes*. Stop making up things.

Posted by: Raven on July 3, 2005 02:39 PM

The Mozilla/Firefox Tabbedbrowsing may be less featurefull, but than in know why needs to mean it is less usefull to many users. Actually i think its much more intuitive than Operas MDI. Actually all implemention considered "tabbed browsing" in the blogpost above seem to be more like this intuitive soltion.

Posted by: jm_one on July 3, 2005 03:33 PM

Well why then Opera 8 has this tab mode which some say is not so useful compared to MDI? It's easy to see that Opera is the one which steals "the dumbed version" from FF, because people seem to like it.
Also, wikipedia isn't absolute.

Posted by: r21vo on July 3, 2005 05:09 PM

I like to point out something...

The Opera 1.0 beta with MDI they are talking about is called MultiTorg Opera. (Opera 1.0 is NOT publicly released. Opera 2.0 is first one to be publicly released)

Judging from the screenshots of MultiTorg Opera in action... THOSE are not tabbed browsing because those windows inside the main windows are not grouped in taskbar like in Opera 4.0. Its just plain MDI.

In my opinion, tabbed browsing is MDI with the taskbar. To say that MDI without taskbar is tabbed browsing is like saying rectangle is a square.

Square IS rectangle but rectangle IS NOT square. What make square different from rectangle is square just have one extra requirement (all sides must be equal) than rectangle in its definition.

Same thing with Tabbed-browsing... Tabbed-browsing IS MDI but MDI IS NOT Tabbed-browsing. Tabbed-browsing has one extra requirement: TASKBAR. Tabbed-browsing > MDI.

Tabbed Browsing and MDI have very tricky views and are wide open for interpretations. I'm sure someone will flame me, but I just want to point this out to let people to know what we are dealing with.

Posted by: GamingFox on July 3, 2005 05:21 PM

Uh, if MDI isn't tabbed browsing, then Opera 8.0 doesn't have tabbed browsing. I can still right-click on any tab and Restore it, or do an Arrange > Cascade, or a multitude of other things possible in full MDI.

Opera did have a brief flirtation with non-MDI tabbed browsing in version 6.0 -- I found it rather useless and stuck with the normal Opera pagebar -- but that was junked in 7.0 in favour of a subtler MDI.

"Tabbed browsing" in Opera 8.0 is a smoother incarnation of MDI in Opera 4.0, not the aborted non-default tab mode of Opera 6.0.

Posted by: Leons Petrazickis on July 3, 2005 05:37 PM

You missing the point...

if Tabbed = MDI + Taskbar
then MDI = Tabbed - Taskbar
then MDI != MDI + Taskbar
therefore, MDI != Tabbed

If Opera 8 can do MDI with taskbar, then it has tabbed browsing. You don't have to use the taskbar or the MDI at all, but it is still there anyway.

Posted by: GamingFox on July 3, 2005 05:47 PM

Someone got to fix the tabbed document interface article. ;-)

Posted by: minghong on July 3, 2005 06:23 PM

Are any of you fools web developers? did you actaully work on anything? Firefox is better than opera. did you work on any of "those" browsers? do you actaully know what yout talking about if not why waste bandwidth with your nonsence, by the way Firefox was the first browser with tabs, get over it guys. it's just going back and forth, Opera sucks, up and down, side to side, left to right, and around the corner.

Posted by: gf on July 3, 2005 07:58 PM

Hey Zoran:
---
" 'In December of 2001, Opera Software released version 6 of its Opera browser which was the first version to contain a genuined tabbed browsing mode (along with its SDI and MDI modes).'

Genuined tabbed browsing mode???. LOL "
...
"Opera 4 holded many different documents under one window, you co...."
---
holded??? LOL

Sorry, I had to - it was just too ironic.

Posted by: GrammarMan on July 3, 2005 09:14 PM

No one can blame me for being an Opera fanboy, but truth is, they had tabs back in Opera 4.0. There's no point in denying that. Move on.

Prog.

Posted by: Prognathous on July 4, 2005 04:38 AM

I canīt understand why some people try to deny facts. MDI with buttons/tabs to switch between documents (i.e, a task bar) is tabbed browsing. Opera had this back in 2000 when version 4 was released. Versions 1 (Multitorg Opera which was not publicly released), 2 and 3 had plain MDI = no tabbed browsing.

Just because Opera 4 had MDI tabbed browsing, it doesnīt mean that this implementation is not tabbed browsing.

Safariīs and Mozillaīs approach is different because they donīt have MDI, thus they cannot implement tabbed browsing with MDI but, of course they have tabbed browsing.

Seriously, saying that Opera 4 did not have tabbed browsing is as stupid as saying that Opera 1,2 and 3`s MDI was similar to tabbed browsing.

Posted by: Kayser on July 4, 2005 05:22 AM

Dear everyone...

yfan is wrong ;)

Opera's MDI is as light on resrouces as anything else (or moreso).

Greetings from Me.

Posted by: Me on July 4, 2005 07:18 AM

yfan what exactly do you base your comments about how Opera works on?

How do you know that Opera's MDI with tabs uses more resources than Firefox's simplified MDI with tabs? Opera is known to be a lot lighter on resources than Firefox, so how do you explain that?

Posted by: Rick on July 4, 2005 10:07 AM

MDI is not the same as tabbed browsing. Tabbed browsing is a very specific interface in which every document takes up the entire viewing area of the window, and a toobar is used to switch between them. You can use an MDI interface in a similar way to tabbed browsing, but it is not the same thing.

For instance, if you click on the active "tab" (really, a button on the MDI toolbar) in Opera 7 or earlier, that will hide the current document -- in accordance with MDI, but not what you would expect from a tabbed interface. Opera 8 changes this behavior.

Another key aspect is that traditional MDI means one master document for the application, with every document appearing as a subwindow. Tabbed browsing is a hybrid mode which, at least in all the implementations I've seen, allows you to have multiple windows and multiple tabs.

I wrote a post on this a while back, on a certain advocacy site which can get a bit extreme from time to time (although you should see the posts complaining about how Opera constantly attacks Firefox -- it might provide a sense of perspective, which some people here need desperately), and I've reposted it on my own blog. If anyone's interested.

Posted by: Kelson on July 4, 2005 11:53 AM

Kelson,

"MDI is not the same as tabbed browsing. Tabbed browsing is a very specific interface in which every document takes up the entire viewing area of the window, and a toobar is used to switch between them. You can use an MDI interface in a similar way to tabbed browsing, but it is not the same thing."

Of course that it is not the same thing, with MDI based tabbed browsing you can resize the documents; the implementations are different but both concepts want to achieve the same result: using tabs or buttons to switch between documents.

Operaīs zoom is different from FFīs zoom, would you say that FF hasnīt got zoom?. I donīt think so, you would say that both browsers have zoom (different implementation, same concept).

I wouldnīt say that Opera 4 didnīt have tabbed browsing just because its implementation was based on MDI, but this is just my opinion. ;)

"For instance, if you click on the active "tab" (really, a button on the MDI toolbar) in Opera 7 or earlier, that will hide the current document -- in accordance with MDI, but not what you would expect from a tabbed interface. Opera 8 changes this behavior."

Iīm sure you know this but just in case...Opera 8 is not using MDI based tabbed browsing by default but you can enable it if you want.

"Another key aspect is that traditional MDI means one master document for the application, with every document appearing as a subwindow. Tabbed browsing is a hybrid mode which, at least in all the implementations I've seen, allows you to have multiple windows and multiple tabs."

MDI based tabbed browsing allows this too, you only have to tell the browser *where* do you want to open the document.

Posted by: Milar on July 4, 2005 01:00 PM

Milar, are you sure you see the word "zoom" in Firefox. I didn't. I only see "Text Size". P.S. Firefox never claimed it supports page zooming. ;-)

Posted by: minghong on July 4, 2005 05:01 PM

@Millar: What I'm trying to get at is the idea that tabs and MDI are different paradigms.

Tabs come from the design of tabbed dialog boxes (like in the Windows Control Panel) and tabbed web page layouts (like Amazon). Each document, page, whatever you want to call it takes up the viewing area, and a toolbar allows you to switch between them.

MDI is an extension of the desktop interface, moved inside the application. You can resize, move, maximize and minimize windows. Whether the subwindows are accessed by a menu, toolbar, or icons isn't important. Opera 3.5 and 4.0 both had MDI, though 4.0 introduced a toolbar which resembled and acted like the Windows Taskbar.

Perhaps a good example to clarify the difference between tabs and MDI would be Excel 95. This was back when Microsoft still used MDI in Office. You could have multiple Excel documents open in an MDI-based Excel window. You could also use a tabbed interface to switch between different sheets in a single workbook. Switching from Sheet 1 to Sheet 2 would completely replace your view of Sheet 1.

You can get MDI to act very similar to a tabbed interface if you use a toolbar to switch and if every window is always maximized. This does not mean that the interface really is tab-based. If you really want, you can make Windows look like it has a tabbed desktop (by keeping everything maximized all the time), but the first time you accidentally restore or minimize a window, the fact that it's MDI leaks through.

Seriously, would anyone honestly say that Windows has a tabbed desktop?

I'm not saying Opera doesn't have tabbed browsing now. In fact, I agree that Opera's current implementation is more powerful than Firefox's. Detaching a tab from a window and rearranging tabs are two features I miss from Galeon, which was my primary browser on Linux for several years until months of using what was then Firebird on Windows convinced me to switch. But I am saying that tabbed browsing and MDI are two different design paradigms.

On the subject of opening separate windows, I have to apologize for not finishing my thought in the original post. I don't remember how far back Opera added this; I only have 8.01 at home and I don't feel like downloading all the old versions right now. But I don't remember being able to open separate windows back when I was using Opera 4 as my main browser (I later switched to Mozilla). It could just be faulty memory, of course. ;-)

@People in general:

What is it with the "we had it first, nyah nyah" mentality, anyway? I don't care who introduced a feature, I care who has it now, who is adding it soon, and who has been dragging their feet about it. Especially with products like Firefox and Opera, where most users actually keep up to date (so far, anyway), unlike IE, which still has a substantial holdout population that refuses to upgrade from 5.5 or try something else. Why should I recommend Firefox based on the feature set from Phoenix 0.1? Why recommend Opera based on 4.0?

And why put either side down over old, dead, buried versions, either?

Here's Asa, posting "OK, neither of us had it first, it was NetCaptor" -- something you could read as a peace offering -- and people crawl out of the woodwork to turn it into yet another battleground in an unending, ridiculous flame war. And looking back at the comments, it wasn't the Firefox fans who did that.

Posted by: Kelson on July 4, 2005 05:55 PM

Asa is trying to point out that Mozilla had it first, then Opera (between Mozilla and Opera). No, Opera had it before Mozilla.

Posted by: name on July 4, 2005 06:09 PM

I honestly don't care who had it first. All I care about is that it actually exists and that has taken my world another step farther from IE. I think that some people end up getting spoiled and selfish with thier "me first" and thier "not uh it was me" attitudes. Be grateful for tabbed browsing. Be grateful that there's an alternative to IE. And be grateful that you actually have a computer when more than half of the people in the world don't. Then maybe you'll get above the petty bickering. However, living in the world that we live in today, I won't hold my breath.

Posted by: nonofyourbeeswax on July 4, 2005 11:15 PM

Kelson

You can't just redefine concepts to fit your Firefox fanboyism. Tabbed browsing is when you can put several pages within the main window, and you switch between them with an internal "task bar". Just because Opera 4 had a skin which made them look like buttons instead of tabs doesn't mean that it isn't the same concept.

"Here's Asa, posting "OK, neither of us had it first, it was NetCaptor" -- something you could read as a peace offering"

Wrong, he was trying to rewrite history and pretend that Opera didn't have "tabbed browsing" before Mozilla. Yet another lie from Asa. An attack against Opera.

Posted by: FIREFOX FANBOY on July 5, 2005 12:15 AM

Actually, Windows 95+Internet Explorer was the first -- by maximizing Internet Explorer and using the taskbar as a tab bar, you could have the full tabbed browsing experience.

Posted by: cybergi on July 5, 2005 01:10 AM

Opera 4.0 Beta 1 released March 20, 2000.
MultiZilla project started at April 1, 2001.

Posted by: Károly György Tamás on July 5, 2005 03:41 AM

Itīs obvious that MDI based tabbed browsing is not the same as *simple* tabbed browsing. The point is that when Opera released Opera 4, they redefined their former MDI concept and introduced tabs/buttons to switch between documents; this is the key, you could switch between documents in Opera 4 in the same way you could switch between documents in *simple* tabbed browsing. Yes, you could resize documents too like in plain MDI but this was a plus. Keep in mind that Opera had MDI since the MultiTorg betas, itīs logical to implement a new feature based on your present architecture if you think that the result will be more useful and advanced.

I donīt really think that Opera 4īs MDI based tabbed browsing is/was the same as the windows task bar: switching between documents *inside* an aplication via tabs/buttons is not the really the same as switching between applications (and Opera 4 did not work that way, when you clicked on the active tab/button the documents were cascaded) ...

Opera 4 had MDI based tabbed browsing; yes, it was different (and more useful, btw) from *simple* tabbed browsing but there is no point in deny that Opera 4 had tabs to switch between documents and that this concept couldnīt be defined as MDI, it was much more than MDI.

As a side note, this is the tabbed browsing definition in Mozilla.org and I think itīs correct:

"Tabbed browsing makes surfing the web faster and more convenient. Web pages are loaded in "tabs" within the same browser window, making it easy to switch back and forth among multiple web pages."

Thatīs it, Web pages within the same browser window.

Minghong,

Would you say that the results from resizing text are different from zooming that same text?.

If you donīt like this example, I will use another one: Firefox and IE have a Fullscreen mode which is not FULLscreen, itīs just the screen without the windows task bar (if itīs enabled) but one browser toolbar is enabled. Operaīs fullscreen mode just displays the webpage in fullscreen (you will only see the page, no toolbars), would you say that just because FF and IE have a toolbar to control the browser you are not surfing in fullscreen mode?.

Posted by: Milar on July 5, 2005 04:03 AM

ASA IS LYING AGAIN

The first version of Opera with tabs was Opera 4, NOT Opera 6.

It was the second implementation of tabs in browsers, after Netcaptor. And becaus some prefer to call Netcaptors, Maxthons etc a browser "shell", not "browser" itself, Opera may be named the first *browser* with tabs.

Posted by: Poop on July 5, 2005 05:32 AM

LOL....

Posted by: Orion on July 5, 2005 07:41 AM

For those of you accusing me of redefining terms to suit my "Firefox fanboyism," let me just say that Opera 4 was my primary browser on Windows at the time it was current. When I started using Galeon on Linux (there was no Opera on Linux at the time), I thought this tab idea was pretty cool -- and new to me. Later, when they started adding tabs to Mozilla, I thought it was a great idea. There was a lot of controversy at the time, if you may remember (those of you who were following Mozilla, anyway), over whether tabs properly belonged in an application or in the window manager. The fact that neither Windows, Mac, nor any of the major Linux window managers did tabs on their own (there are some, they just aren't widely used) eventually helped tip the balance, and it became one of Mozilla's stand-out features convincing an (admittedly small) number of people to switch from IE.

Posted by: Kelson on July 5, 2005 08:02 AM

"let me just say that Opera 4 was my primary browser on Windows at the time it was current. When I started using Galeon on Linux (there was no Opera on Linux at the time), I thought this tab idea was pretty cool -- and new to me"

New to you even though you had used it in Opera already?

Wow.

One of the things that attracted me personally to Opera was the pages inside the main window (MDI with tabs/tabbed browsing).

"it became one of Mozilla's stand-out features"

And as always, Opera had it first. Even though Asa and his lying fanboy zombies try to rewrite history.

Posted by: Rick on July 5, 2005 11:08 AM

What a bunch of annoying pricks - Rick, Poop, and all those other yelling kids. Defaming others as liars in their typical hysteric way like a mob of hooligans. You are totally embarrassing, absolutely pathetic. And all of this why? To convince us Opera got tabbed browsing first? Wow! Then I don't want to know how you sound if it's about something that actually matters. Hard to top this disgusting and insulting yelling and bitching. Idiots.

Posted by: tveidt on July 5, 2005 11:45 AM

tveidt:

You are only writing that because you agree with Asa, and/or you desperately want him to be right.

If Opera had been making misleading statements about Mozilla the way Mozilla lies about Opera all the time you would have been all over them.

Hypocrite.

Posted by: Rick on July 5, 2005 02:38 PM

New to you even though you had used it in Opera already?

No, I hadn't used it in Opera already. One of the things that frustrated me about Opera at the time (version 4) was that everything was in one window. Everything. You could not open a new window outside the current one.

I basically had to keep Opera maximized all the time if I wanted to have more than one web page visible at once. But it was worth it, because Netscape 4 had aged badly, Mozilla was still in beta, and I refused to use IE except when/where necessary because it was my opinion that it had won the browser wars dishonestly.

What I liked about Galeon, which was later picked up by Mozilla, Firefox, Safari, and yes, Opera (not in that order), was that I could choose, every time, whether I wanted to open something in a new master window or a new tab.

I often have several browser windows open, each of which has several tabs that are related. Five years ago, I couldn't do that on Opera. Five years ago, I couldn't use Opera on Linux, either. Now I can do both.

To verify that my memory is correct, I just installed Opera 4 on my Windows box. It does indeed act exactly like an MDI app -- one and only one master window, arbitrary number of subwindows. And the toolbar at the bottom looks exactly like the pre-Windows XP taskbar. (To correct an earlier posting, clicking on the active document does minimize it, showing the remaining subwindows cascaded in the background.)

Since I still had the installers sitting around (I'm a digital packrat), I installed Opera 5 and Opera 6 as well. Opera 5 continues to be in the MDI mode with one master window from which you can never escape. Opera 6 gives you the choice between that mode and the full-up hybrid mode that, in my opinion, can properly be called tabbed browsing.

Posted by: Kelson on July 5, 2005 08:40 PM

[b]yfan[/b]:
By your definition, Opera 8 does not have tabs. Why? Because Opera 8 is STILL MDI. The ONLY 2 differences between it and 8 as far as the implementation goess (there's more, but the 2 major ones) are
(1) The look of the buttons/tabs
(2) The ability in newer versions of opera to hide the minimize/restore/close buttons for the child window.
Do not be mistaken. Opera8 STILL uses MDI. Using MDI with child windows isn't that different from how Firefox implements tabs. There is a container window for the browser object which is made visible when a tab is active.

[i] Opera's MDI mode is not as easy on resources as its tab mode.[/i]
The only different between the "MDI" mode and "tab" mode is the hiding of a few buttons. Seriously. I'm not kidding. You are spreading misinformation and I expect an apology from you to those whose opinion you may have influenced with this bad information.

So, are you willing to go on record and say that Opera8 does not have tabbed browsing? By your own definition and arguments, it does not.

[b]gf[/b]:
[i]Are any of you fools web developers? did you actaully work on anything? Firefox is better than opera. did you work on any of "those" browsers? do you actaully know what yout talking about if not why waste bandwidth with your nonsence, by the way Firefox was the first browser with tabs, get over it guys. it's just going back and forth, Opera sucks, up and down, side to side, left to right, and around the corner.[/i]
I am a web developer (yes, for money) and I use Opera. I find that I have to dumb down what kind of CSS I use to make sure it works in IE and sometimes Firefox. I can't use display: inline-table/inline, outline and a few other things I can't recall. I'm not blaming Firefox and saying it's bad because of it, but don't pretend like Opera is behind in the web developement world.

[b]Kelson:[/b]
Would you also be willing to go on record saying Opera8 does not have tabbed browsing?

Posted by: vcv on July 6, 2005 01:36 AM

Please ignore the previous comment, I always forget what forums/blogs/etc use html and which use bbcode.

yfan:
By your definition, Opera 8 does not have tabs. Why? Because Opera 8 is STILL MDI. The ONLY 2 differences between it and 8 as far as the implementation goess (there's more, but the 2 major ones) are
(1) The look of the buttons/tabs
(2) The ability in newer versions of opera to hide the minimize/restore/close buttons for the child window.
Do not be mistaken. Opera8 STILL uses MDI. Using MDI with child windows isn't that different from how Firefox implements tabs. There is a container window for the browser object which is made visible when a tab is active.

Opera's MDI mode is not as easy on resources as its tab mode.
The only different between the "MDI" mode and "tab" mode is the hiding of a few buttons. Seriously. I'm not kidding. You are spreading misinformation and I expect an apology from you to those whose opinion you may have influenced with this bad information.

So, are you willing to go on record and say that Opera8 does not have tabbed browsing? By your own definition and arguments, it does not.

gf:
Are any of you fools web developers? did you actaully work on anything? Firefox is better than opera. did you work on any of "those" browsers? do you actaully know what yout talking about if not why waste bandwidth with your nonsence, by the way Firefox was the first browser with tabs, get over it guys. it's just going back and forth, Opera sucks, up and down, side to side, left to right, and around the corner.
I am a web developer (yes, for money) and I use Opera. I find that I have to dumb down what kind of CSS I use to make sure it works in IE and sometimes Firefox. I can't use display: inline-table/inline, outline and a few other things I can't recall. I'm not blaming Firefox and saying it's bad because of it, but don't pretend like Opera is behind in the web developement world.

Kelson:
Would you also be willing to go on record saying Opera8 does not have tabbed browsing?

Posted by: vcv on July 6, 2005 01:41 AM

Asa and his acolytes spreading misinformation again, trying to rewrite history and making themself look ridiculous (yes, even more)...

So kelson and yfan think that Opera 8 doesnīt have tabbed browsing...hmm, let me think...ROTFL!!!

yfan went one step further and claimed that "Opera's MDI mode is not as easy on resources as its tab mode." Can yfan back up his statement?...it doesnīt matter, thatīs what FUD is about, you donīt need to back up your comments!!; isnīt it great???.

You can always count on this blog for a good laugh, especially when some peopleīs fanboyism is out of control.

Posted by: FUD on July 6, 2005 03:27 AM

Time to lock this discussion.

Posted by: AnotherGuest. on July 6, 2005 08:52 AM

So kelson and yfan think that Opera 8 doesnīt have tabbed browsing...hmm, let me think...ROTFL!!!

I don't know about yfan, but I never said that. In fact, I said that beginning with Opera 6 it *did* have tabbed browsing.

Of course, these threads are always about putting words in other people's mouths.

You are right about the out-of-control fanboyism. I just see more of it on the Opera side than the Firefox side. I see a few Opera fans posting, and some very vocal Opera fanboys. I also see both Firefox fans and Firefox fanboys. Which commenters are which, I'll leave up to the reader. But you can probably tell by looking at the way each person comments -- there's a big difference between "I believe Opera had this feature first" and "You %#$@ liar, Opera had it first!"

Posted by: Kelson on July 6, 2005 09:59 AM

Opera 4 had tabbed browsing. It had pages inside the main window, it had tabs. Tabbed browsing.

End of discussion.

Posted by: Rick on July 6, 2005 11:48 AM

Kelson, it's nice how you convenient ignored my post. If you say Opera4 did not have tabbed browsing, then neither does Opera8.

The only differences between the 2 implementations are visual, that is GUARANTEED. They both still use MDI with child windows.

Posted by: vcv on July 6, 2005 12:17 PM

vcv: Speaking of ignoring people's posts... you did read the one where I installed old copies of Opera 4, 5, and 6 and described the differences in how they worked, right?

Is it just my imagination, or did half the people arguing for Opera 4 not even use the program back then?

Posted by: Kelson on July 6, 2005 01:53 PM

I've used Opera since 3.6 :)

You claim they work differently, but they in fact DO NOT. I have studied both versions by watching API calls and using other tools, and they both work the same behind the scenes. BOTH 4 and 8 use MDI with child windows for pages. The different, again, is visually and nothing more.

This is fact. You can not dispute this, and if you do, you will be proven wrong.

Given this, you can not say Opera4 had no tabbed browsing without saying Opera8 has no tabbed browsing.

Simple enough, right?

Posted by: vcv on July 6, 2005 03:41 PM

Stop playing fool Kelson. We both know Opera had tabs since version 4.0 and MDI interface since version 1.0. And we both know ASA has lied about that; but it's nothing new, really. No need to defend him blindlessly.

Poop.

Posted by: Poop on July 6, 2005 03:42 PM

Look at the Opera 4.0 interface:

http://img180.imageshack.us/img180/4525/opera4tabs5mw.png

and what do you see... is it a bird? Is it a plane? - no, it's a tabbed browser! - Opera 4.

Posted by: Poop on July 6, 2005 03:48 PM

vcv: Actually, Opera 4 and Opera 8 do act differently. Unless I missed something (and I checked the entire File and Window menus), Opera 4 has one, and only one master window. You can't open any others. Everything -- pages, bookmarks, history, etc -- is in that one window. Opera 6 and later allow you to open multiple windows, each with multiple tabs.

That's a shift away from classical MDI -- one master window -- to something else, whether you want to call it tabbed browsing, MDI with multiple windows, whatever. It's different, and the shift just happens to land in exactly the same spot Asa drew the line. I don't know what his criteria are for "genuine" tabbed browsing, but I know I can't use Opera 4 or 5 the way I use modern tabbed browsers -- including Opera, Firefox, or Safari.

Posted by: Kelson on July 6, 2005 04:34 PM

Kelson:
Opera8 is still predominately MDI. Almost all windows are hosted either in a side panel or a new window like pages are. Yes, you can drag the windows away from the main Opera window to make them their own. But that's done on windows with a simple API call (SetParent). Opera is just creating another instance of the main host. It was perfectly possible with Opera4 to do, they just never bothered to implement it.

But regardless, this has little to do with actual tabbed browsing. Tabbed browsing is simply having pages contained in one master window and being able to switch between them with some sort of buttons or "tabs".

For people like me who always only have 1 opera window open, things work exactly the same as Opera4. So why way Opera4 isn't a tabbed browser based on a technicality that has little to do with what tabbed browsing actually is? If anything, you should argue that Opera4 is MORE a tabbed browser than Firefox since you can't open a new host window in Opera4. Everything is contained within the master window.

Posted by: vcv on July 6, 2005 04:47 PM

vcv: And for people like me, who usually have multiple windows open, they're different -- and different enough to matter. In old versions of Opera, I felt trapped in that single window. That was one of the reasons (along with the Gecko layout engine, a lingering interest in what was left of Netscape, and the excitement of at least following along with its development) that I moved to Mozilla on Windows once the betas became stable enough.

It seems clear we're arguing at cross-purposes here. We each have different definitions of what tabbed browsing means. By your definition, Opera had it with version 4. By mine, Opera had it with version 6. And it looks like neither of us is going to change the other's mind.

Anyway, I'd like to thank you, Milar and a few others for at least attempting to keep this discussion rational, as opposed to others -- on both sides -- who prefer name-calling and accusations. I'm bowing out for now.

Posted by: Kelson on July 6, 2005 05:32 PM

That's fine Kelson, but you're veering way off from the point. It was restricted in one aspect (new windows), but it was still tabbed browsing by the most agreed upon defintion, and that has little to do with the ability to create a new host window or not.

By Wiki's definition, Opera4 is a tabbed browser.

Ask just about anyone, and I doubt they will say that being able to open a new host window or not determines whether or not a browser has tabbed browsing. They will explain it as having your pages in a single window with buttons to switch between them.

Don't get me wrong. I think Opera4's implementation was pretty bad, but it was tabbed browsing nonetheless.

Posted by: vcv on July 6, 2005 05:55 PM

This is becoming laughable silly. An ability to open separate application windows has nothing common with tabs.

Tabs are about opening many pages in _one window_ and representing them as clickable buttons on the tab bar. That's what Opera 4 do.

ASA rewrites history and you rewrite tabbed browsing definition... you may shake hand with the liar.

Posted by: Poop on July 6, 2005 08:05 PM

It's funny how Opera's misunderstanding is not lying, and simply a mistake. But, if Asa misunderstands something (i.e. MDI = TDI) it must be a deliberate lie.

Apparently Asa must have known that tabbed browsing and MDI are the same thing just as Opera Software ASA must have known they weren't "best browser" and deliberately lied.

Or, did Asa simply not realize the difference, just as Opera Software ASA didn't realize they made the best browser?

Posted by: Somebody on July 6, 2005 10:41 PM

Whoops! Instead of:

Or, did Asa simply not realize the difference, just as Opera Software ASA didn't realize they made the best browser?

Let's try

Or, did Asa simply not realize the difference, just as Opera Software ASA didn't realize they weren't found to be the best browser by PC World.
Posted by: Somemody on July 6, 2005 10:44 PM

Well if this was a genuine and honest mistake on Asa's part let him stand up and correct the article and say so just like Opera did.

How about it Asa.

Posted by: Andrew D on July 7, 2005 12:02 AM

ASA did not misunderstand MDI with TDI. MDI _is not_ TDI and Asa surely knows the difference.

Opera had MDI since the very first version (1994)
Opera had TDI (tabbed interface) since version 4.0 (2000) and was the second browser with tabs after Netcaptor.

Why Asa said Opera implemented tabs in version 6.0, 2 versions later? To make it look like Mozilla was earlier (while it wasn't)? Considering his wide knowlegde about browsers and his hate to Opera... the answer seems to be quite obvious.

Posted by: Poop on July 7, 2005 12:12 AM

Why does Asa neither reply to these comments or edit his original post. Opera 6 doesn't do anything regarding tabbed browsing noticeably different from Opera 4 or 5, so either stating "Opera 6 was the first" is an error on his part or needs some serious clarification.

Posted by: Jere on July 8, 2005 06:26 AM

Why ask if you're missing something in the timeline and then not respond to the simple fact that yes you are, Asa?

I'm sure you're just not accessing a PC just now (hah!) so unable to see this and realise there is a ready update waiting for your error.

I look forward to the correction with interest.

Posted by: Andrew D on July 8, 2005 06:36 AM

To be fair - Opera had tabs before version 6, before Phoenix/Mozilla/Firefox. Just because someone states something in a blog doesn't make it true. The fact still is - Opera had tabbed browsing before Firefox. Opera may not have invented it, but it implemented it before Firefox.

Posted by: Matthew on July 8, 2005 09:37 AM

"Jere: Why does Asa neither reply to these comments or edit his original post. Opera 6 doesn't do anything regarding tabbed browsing noticeably different from Opera 4 or 5, so either stating "Opera 6 was the first" is an error on his part or needs some serious clarification."

Donīt expect anything *serious* from Asa (especially if the main purpose of the blog entry is to spread misinformation deliberately)...his lack of professionalism is well known.

Posted by: FUD on July 8, 2005 10:59 AM

Hello everyone
I only wanted to say, you are gay.

Best regards,
Me

Posted by: lalala on July 8, 2005 01:54 PM

Hey guys, I was using Opera since version 5, and I was using tabs. I didn't have Opera 4, but what's this talk about version 6? It didn't change the way you used tabs in Opera.

I have both Firefox and Opera, they're both fine browsers and Asa is a liar. Thank you.

Posted by: iopq on July 8, 2005 10:51 PM

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