Stuff about Vivaldi; tab management, alternatives and potential issues


#1

###Introduction
Firefox, for as well a browser as it is to begin with pales in comparison to the awe-worthy things you can do with Vivaldi, a Chromium build which is host to some amazing tricks for people who come from a One tab, one page dichotomy.

As I go along, I will also explain some things I’ve used in legacy (pre-Quantum) Firefox which had some semblance of features presented here, and potential alternatives for modern Firefox.

###Tiled tabs
If you ever wanted to view two pages side-by-side, you would need to bust out a new window, put them side-by-side (which until Windows Vista users of the most dominant OS on the planet couldn’t even do without third-party software) and click between them if whatever window manager you’re using can’t allow you to click on hover to make active as you’re scrolling back and forth.

Worst yet, if you’re using a browser full of extensions and with extra-full toolbars then you wouldn’t be able to comfortably use the browser when it’s half the width of how you’d typically use it; An added layer of difficulty to an already complicated task.

The solution in legacy Firefox
Install an extension known as Tile Tabs. After rebooting the browser, you can double-click on adjacent tabs to tile them, and while on an active tab choose to tile another from its context menu. You can also scale each tab to fit, which means you can prioritize what tab you want to look at, and have eight different pre-defined colours for various arrangements.

The solution in modern Firefox
Install Tile tabs WE (for WebExtensions). When you tile a tab, it will automatically resize the active window to accomodate, and it will keep on resizing windows as necessary to fit in as many “Tiles” as necessary.

The solution in Vivaldi
Hold [Ctrl], click on the tabs you want to tile, then in the status bar click on the large empty square; it will prompt a menu with several different orientations for vertical, horizontal or grid arrangement. If there is an odd number of tabs, it will vertically arrange which will not fit in a grid without leaving empty space.

Caveats of each

  • Legacy Firefox
    Tab tile scaling isn’t the best; you’ll most likely notice Tile Tabs’ scaling of pages when formed into a new tab group isn’t the best, and integrating tabs in a present tile arrangement may ruin or require extensive rearrangement to make it look how you like, which Tile Tabs isn’t known best for.
  • Modern Firefox
    Like managing multiple windows in your taskbar? Good for you, that’s what you get with Tile Tabs WE. At least modern operating system interfaces can group windows right?
  • Vivaldi
    As of present stable, you cannot resize tiled tabs which means if you want to prioritize content over other content by size alone you cannot do that. This works now. But, you cannot grid-tile three pages, whereas with Tile Tabs you can so that’s the only trick Tile Tabs has left over Vivaldi. Once this behaviour is restored in Vivaldi it will be on-par with legacy Firefox’s Tile Tabs.

###Stacked tabs
Imagine a deck of cards. Now imagine each card represents a tab. Whereas in most other browsers each card represents one page within a tab, some browsers have the option to stack cards and save horizontal real estate of the tab bar for more content to fit comfortably.

The solution in legacy Firefox
For a simple, no-nonsense solution Tree Style Tabs has to be it. It manipulates the default tab bar, styling it and making it function similar to tab stacks. However it is stupidly cumbersome to use, and to my knowledge there is no way to make it so a single tab represents itself spatially without bulky embellishments. If you know of a way, I’ll happily append this.

As an alternative to Tree Style Tabs, you can use Tab Groups. The TabCandy functionality Mozilla previously had, then implemented as Tab Groups themselves had its support discontinued and its functionality removed, but someone was dedicated enough to work on it a little more and release as an extension. This, combined with Tab Groups Helper to provide a “Groups bar” was a good way to manage different groups of tabs, which would function similarly to tab stacking.

The solution in modern Firefox
To my knowledge, there is nothing like it. Not even Tree Style Tabs for WebExtensions (later versions) has anything like this, as all the WE equivalent does is make a separate tab bar which doesn’t affect the actual tab bar appearance, rather it represents an arrangement of presently-opened tabs. However, you can close from the tree and it will also close in the tab bar so I guess it works. If you know of a better solution, please reply!

The solution in Vivaldi
Just drag onto an existing tab to make a stack. It’s really that simple. Future new tabs can also open within the stack, so if you are doing a lot of browsing but not wanting to clutter up your tab bar too heavily you can interact within the stack as if it were a miniature tab bar, using the miniature tabs within each tab stack.

Caveats of each

  • Legacy Firefox
    User interface solutions for stacking / grouping can be cumbersome, requiring extra steps, and even a bit of hand-polish on your end to make it look good.
  • Modern Firefox
    Nothing to say, except oh well. Wish I could say more, but unless a better way is presented I can’t provide any good information for this section.
  • Vivaldi
    There is no way to break out a stack of tabs into its own bar, which I guess if legacy Tree Style Tabs groups absolutely dominated the tab bar when it’s cluttered beyond belief wouldn’t be such a problem, but Vivaldi doesn’t exhibit such behaviour; instead you have to hover over the stack in order to see all tabs within it.

From groups to tiles

There isn’t an easy way to do this in Firefox, so unless there is some power user secret this long-time Firefox user doesn’t know about then there’s no real fair comparison, which is why I won’t go into the song-and-dance of the above sections. Vivaldi does still have some problems with tab stacks and tiling which even the 2.0 release doesn’t resolve;

  • As mentioned earlier, you cannot grid-view three tiles (yet).
  • You cannot modify grid view to have pages take multiple tile columns (a very niche use case).
  • Sometimes tiled stacks may not accurately represent the amount of pages inside the stack.
  • Appending onto a tiled stack will reset tile preferences.
  • Tile configuration is finicky, requiring a lot of clicking, dragging and hoping for the best.
  • There is no easy way to close all but one tab in a stack.
  • The interactive popup disappears for every tab you close, which wastes a bunch of time closing from it. This makes removing select pages form a stack, closing the whole stack then re-grouping them into a new stack faster.

Other Vivaldi complaints

  • Reader view does not bypass normally-unpassable anti-adblock dialogs.
  • CSS filters are not well explained, and seem half-baked.
  • Sync, while good between computers can’t be used on mobile… as it isn’t available for mobile.
  • There are no keyboard shortcuts for tiling and stacking, which may be frustrating for board-heavy users.
  • Images applied to the window / tab bar might not render correctly and show artifacts where there should be none because of automatic resize.
  • Tab bar expansion isn’t clearly explained, which may be invoked by double-left click or middle click on tab bar resize gripper.
  • Due to lack of differentiation for the web panel and navigation bar, despite it looking elegant you may be tempted into pressing the back button to close the panel when you should click on the active panel instead.
  • Hiding of the web panel bar isn’t well explained, requiring a press of the [F4] key to hide.
  • Its Chrome roots show with use of chrome:// addresses for invocations beginning with vivaldi://.
  • Present stable doesn’t let you hide extensions in a menu, potentially requiring some JavaScript invocation.
  • But it should be coming for next stable.
  • Same for quit dialog; if you want that there’s a JavaScript file you have to incorporate for that as well.
  • lack of Chrome Sync requires use of third-party tools for data management between desktop and mobile (for now).

If you can overcome all of those issues, then Vivaldi might be a good fit for you and your browsing habits. If you keep a hundred different tabs opened on a daily basis, I definitely recommend it to keep your bad tab habit in check.

Lastly, I recommend you say something to enhance this thread. As I don’t have (or want) the time to commit making other browsers on par with what I believe is the best browser for me, give it a shot, then have a play with incorporating features you like from it in other browsers. If I try it and it works, I’ll incorporate solutions into this thread!