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Expected Behavior (FF)

There was a time when we did not have tabbed browsing. Each link we followed called the linked content into the same browser window and we lost the previously displayed content. I’m glad we have browser tabs; I like them. What I do not like or understand is that Firefox starts the first (and therefore single) window in a tab. The purpose of tabbing is to organize the content when more than one window is open. A click on any one of the tabs opens the appropriate content window. If I have only one window, there is no need for a tab. Yet, for Firefox to automatically assign the first window to a tab is “expected behavior,” as the gurus of Mozilla tell us.

Maybe my expectations are not mainstream. I have to confess that I do have, for example, difficulties with the concept that the element that starts an array is the element number zero. For me, the first one is number one. Maybe it is the same lack of conceptual capacity that makes me think that in case of a single window it is superfluous, not to say wrong, to put it into a tab of its own.

I was irritated enough by this “expected behavior” to try an change it. There are lots of ways to customize Firefox, just type about:config into the URL field. Up pops a dire warning:

This might void your warranty! Changing these advanced settings can be harmful to the stability, security, and performance of this application. You should only continue if you are sure of what you are doing.

To get rid of this warning and to proceed to the configuration file, you have to click on the button I’ll be careful, I promise! Yeah, right!

But, it seems that the single-window tab cannot be deactivated. That is an unexpected lack of customization options for Firefox! Luckily, there is an add-on. It seems that others were bothered by the “expected behavior” as well. Chris is offering the add-on Hide Tab Bar with One Tab. Crisis averted.

If you know of a different way to eliminate the single-window tab in Firefox, or if you have other add-ons that address shortcomings, please let me know.

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One Response to “Expected Behavior (FF)”

  1. Raphaël Toussaint says:

    Well, the way I use Firefox (24.0) there is actually no real tab bar anymore since I display the tabs above the address bar, next to the Firefox logo. This allows me to optimize my screen real estate.

    I use the excellent Tab Mix Plus (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tab-mix-plus/) to customize the behavior of the tab bar, the look of the tabs etc. This add-on also allows defining when to show or hide teh tab bar.

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