Generic tabbed windows

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Doctor Q, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I love the Leopard features for combining and splitting tabs and windows in Safari, and the use of tabs in iChat.

    That got me to thinking: Could the operating system provide features like these without each individual application having to be recoded?

    Suppose Mac OS X provided a way to indicate that two windows of a single application were to be merged into one window. Could tabs become part of the window frame, without the application having to be aware of it?

    (Perhaps even windows from separate applications could be merged, without them knowing the difference, but I'm not so confident of that.)

    I've mocked up a crude example -- before and after as two TextEdit windows are tab-combined. A real implementation would of course have the usual Apple elegance.

    My questions:
    1. Would this be a feature worth Apple's effort and our money? <--- a matter of opinion
    2. Could Apple do this with changes only to Mac OS X? <--- a technical issue
    3. If so, would Apple really do it? <--- speculation

    Attached Files:

  2. Me1000 macrumors 68000


    Jul 15, 2006
    I dont think there is any way that Apple could implement it system wide, but I am not a developer so I cant say for sure.

    However I think tabbed applications are amazing!

    And apple defiantly needs to add tabs to the Finder!
  3. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    I think tabs are useful, in specific cases. For instance in Safari, I use them to group similar items. But, I still open separate windows so I can have them side by side with the top tabbed window.

    I'm not too convinced they would be useful for other types of documents. When you're working on multiple documents, you generally want to be viewing more than one at a time (it would be hard to copy/paste if you had to keep hiding/showing). Another problem is using up real estate when they're not being used. Most of the time, tabs just sit there. It's an extension of why Windows is so wasteful with real-estate - menus on every window. I'd rather have the vertical space used for the working documents.

    I don't know for sure, not having a lot of specific experience with the Mac OS API's, but I would imagine if tabs are available in Safari and iChat, that there is an existing API for them. If an application is well suited for tabs, they'll be able to use them through existing interfaces.
  4. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

    Feb 23, 2006
    Good luck trying to convince the HI group, as well as the usual suspects like Gruber and Siracusa to give up their comfort zones. They're still freaking out about the whole rounded edges and what-not.

    The one thing I'll say about tabs. They're great if you have a set of unrelated files or tasks. The screen-cap you made reminds me of KDE's Kate editor.

    It all just starts to break down a bit more when you have related tasks and items, because the tabs prevent you from being able to just quickly glance from document to document.

    But hey, if you can quickly merge tabs and pull tabs off into their own window like Safari 3, then we're talking about something very cool.
  5. Quillz macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Until this happens you can always use Path Finder.

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