My first complaint about Longhorn

by Preston Gralla

In WindowsDevCenter, we take our first in-depth look at Longhorn this week, and even though it's not yet even beta software, the biggest disappointment for me so far is Internet Explorer. The problem isn't what Microsoft did to Internet Explorer – it's what Microsoft didn't do to Internet Explorer.

It didn't give the browser tabs.

If you've only used Internet Explorer to do your browsing, you might not even know that browsers even had tabs. They make it easy to browse multiple sites simultaneously, and switch among them with a mouse click. Netscape has them. Opera has them. Mozilla has them. But Internet Explorer doesn't, and if the Longhorn preview holds, it won't have them several years from now, either.

I know this isn't earth-shaking. But I find tabbed browsing immeasurably easier than browsing without tabs. It would be a simple bit of code to add in. The world wouldn't end. People wouldn't go running in fear away from their computers. It would bring Internet Explorer into the modern world.

For whatever reason, for now tabs don't seem to be in Internet Explorer's future. That doesn't mean you can't take advantage of them, though. Check out this article to find IE shells that offer tabs and more.

What do you think of Longhorn or tabbed browsers? Let me know.


2004-05-18 19:03:09
Why would you use an IE shell to get tabs when you could use Firefox? Honestly, if you're going to download something else, you might as well download a better browser altogether.
2004-05-18 23:26:54
There's probably as many people out there who hate tabbed browsers as there are people who love them.
Myself, I never use tabs when I have a choice...

Are you sure your main complaint about Longhorn is not that it's a Microsoft product and not open source endorsed by ESR?

2004-05-19 03:23:54
Not meaning to promote a flame war but the key thing in my opinion is the word 'choice'...

Whether I be using IE on Longhorn, Firefox, Safari or any of the others, I'd like the choice to use tabs. I actually miss them a lot when using IE on machines where I have no 'choice' because of IT rules but I'd never mandate them and I don't think that was what Preston was necessarily getting at.

I'd be happy with the choice to turn on tabs or not natively within the tool and it's a shame if Microsoft has ignored this useful feature but this is more of a 'feature request' than a serious criticism of Longhorn.

2004-05-19 03:49:02
the modern world
"It would bring Internet Explorer into the modern world."

A good support of web standards like CSS2 would bring him into the modern world.

Let's face it. IE is about 1 1/2 years behind all the other browsers and Microsoft don't seem to have any interest in doing anything about him.

2004-05-19 11:38:11
I wholeheartedly agree. Adding tabs isn't a distraction for users that don't use them, but it is a gaping hole for those that do.

Whenever I have to switch over to my windows partition, I always hate the clutter that happens as I research stuff online. I usually use Google with search results in one tab (when I have tabbed browsing), and then load various found result vectors in background tabs as I go along down Google's result list. When I have picked through what I think are the most likely choices, I then switch tabs and start scanning for pertinent content. This is so easy, and unobtrusive with tabbed browsing and some clunky and encumbered without.

With IE, I may have fifteen windows running. It is hard to navigate beween them. If "lucky" they are grouped on the taskbar. Whenever I open a link in a new window, it has context and is in my face, I have to address it before moving on.

VERY VERY Slow. The only reason I use IE is for stupid sites and applications that use Active X controls and other such nonsense. Otherwise I use Mozilla, Firebird/fox/whatever, or Opera.

For me, tabbed browsing is essential (updated CSS capabilities are also nice). I understand that some don't use them, but I would like the choice to use them... with IE, I don't have that choice.

"Here is your interface... eat it."