Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tree Style Tab

Steve Gibson has been promoting some of his favorite software and utilities on his podcast and he's just uncovered a really nice one. Tree Style Tab is a new Firefox extension which allows you to change the position of the tab bar and customize it in various ways. It also makes you tabs hierarchical, when you open a links from one page in new tabs, their tabs are displayed under the original page's tab in a little tree-like structure (hence the name Tree Style Tab). This is great for organizing your open web pages. It also adds some nice features to your right-click menu like the ability to highlight several and open them all at the same time which is good for viewing image galleries or for those annoying websites break up their article pages into six or more parts to serve up more ads make them more "readable."

Another nice feature of Tree Style Tab is that it allows you take advantage of the recent trend of "wide screen" displays on laptop screens and desktop monitors. By moving the tab bar to the sides, this extension reclaims vertical space on your screen and replaces it with horizontal space which is more plentiful on most people's screens these days. This is especially true with netbooks which usually have 1024x600 screens. Finally, Tree Style Tab can be set to automatically shrink or even hide the tab bar which reclaims even more space on your screen.

Overall, Tree Style Tab is one of the best Firefox add-ons I've seen.

Update: After a couple days using Tree Style Tab, I've found that while it's a bit rough around the edges, it fits very nicely into my browsing style and really complements the way I use Firefox. For example, I use Google Reader to read blogs and it has a rather convenient "Popout" feature which allows me to open embedded videos in their own window. While this is a nice feature, Tree Style Tab can also force this new window to open as a tab which expands to the size of my existing browser window. This is good as it allows almost full screen video for older computers with flaky video drivers which sometimes gag on full-screen video. (I have an older laptop which resembles that remark. Tree Style Tab can also this for almost any kind of pop up window and I tend to find pop up tabs preferable to pop up windows.

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