With the release of KDE SC 4.4 Beta 1, tabbed windows is now available through its windows manager KWin. This raises the question, is tabbed windows going to be the next big thing after tabbed browsing?
Tabs as a means of cleaning up the UI is by no means a new concept. It dates back to 1997 when NetCaptor, the first browser supporting tabed browsing was released. However, the concept really took off when Mozilla Firefox introduced it.
Here is how tabbed windows works in KDE SC 4.4 Beta 1:
- You can tab any windows you want.
- The windows can be from different applications.
- The tabbing capability is supported by the windows mamnager, KWin in KDE SC. So, even applications which does not support tabs can be tabbed.
Will the concept of a tabbed windows work in a windows manager? Possibly. Here are the reasons:
- If the windows manager takes care of the tabbed interface, the software developers don't have to develop it seperately. This will make the software development time shorter.
- Consider the situation when you are working on a project and have a word processor, the browser and, say, an image editing software open in addition to other open windows. In such a case, it certainly would be useful if you can place those windows for a particular purpose, the project in this case, together as tabs would certainly be very useful.
- Just a few days back, a friend of mine was complaining about an application not having tabs. If the windows mamager supports tabs, it doesn't matter if the application supports tabs or not. You can simply tab together the different windows. This is particularly important as many very useful applications does not support tabs (Open Office comes to mind).
However, one big obstacle in front of the widespread aceptance of tabbed windows is virtual desktops. Most of the Linux DEs supports virtual desktops and people usually use it to organise their open windows based of their purpose. Virtual Desktops are very unlikely to go out of favour. So, if tabbed windows is to be accepted widely, it has to exit side by side with virtual desktop. In the absence of virtual desktops (like in Windows), however, tabbed windows will certainly a killer functionality.
Can you think of any other reason, why it may or may not work? If so, do leave a comment.
Picture via Ben Kevan's Blog