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README.md

Tree Style Tab (aka TST)

Build Status

This is a Firefox add-on which provides the ability to operate tabs as "tree".

New tabs opened from the current tab are automatically organized as "children" of the current. Such "branches" are easily folded (collapsed) by clicking on down on the arrow shown in the "parent" tab, so you don't need to suffer from too many visible tabs anymore. If you want, you can restructure the tree via drag and drop.

  • Such a tree of tabs will behave like a visual browsing history for you. For example, if you see a list of search results for a topic, you'll open each search result link in new child tab. For more details you'll also open more descendant tabs from them. You'll easily dig and dig deeply, without losing your browsing trail - if you want to go back to the original search result, you just have to switch to the "root" tab.
  • Moreover, you'll treat a tree of tabs just as "grouped tabs" for similar topics.

Anyway this addon just provide uncolored "tree" feature. Please enjoy as you like!

Supported versions of Firefox

TST has two main version lines: "renewed" (WebExtensions-based) and "legacy" (XUL-based), and one more extra line: "migration".

  • "Renewed", version 2.0 and later: supports Firefox 57 and later. By technical reasons, some features are dropped from the legacy version.
  • "Legacy", version 0.19.x supports only Firefox 52-56. Just maintained for people who are not migrated to Firefox 57 or later yet.

Development builds

There are automated builds from latest source code.

Packages are not signed, and there are two methods to try them in your environment:

  • Go to about:debugging and click "Load Temporary Add-on" button, then choose the downloaded file. The development build will be loaded and active until you restart your Firefox.
  • If you want to try it as a regular addon instead of a temporary addon, you need to use Nightly instead of the stable Firefox or Firefox beta. On Nightly, go to about:config and set xpinstall.signatures.required to false. Then you will be able to install such an unsigned addon.

Also, you can build a custom development build locally. For example, here are the steps to build an XPI on Ubuntu (native, or WSL on Windows 10):

$ sudo apt install git nodejs npm
$ git clone --recursive https://github.com/piroor/treestyletab.git
$ cd treestyletab/webextensions
$ make install_dependency
$ make

Steps to build a specific revision (for example bb467286d58b3da90fd1b2e6ee8a8016e3377b97):

$ cd treestyletab/webextensions
$ git checkout bb467286d58b3da90fd1b2e6ee8a8016e3377b97
$ git submodule update
$ make

Then you will see new .xpi files in the current directory. You can install such a development build via about:debugging. Click the Load Temporary Add-on button and choose treestyletab/manifest.json or a built .xpi file.

Addons that extend TST

TST provides an API for other addons. Some addons provide extended behavior to TST's sidebar panel:

Similar projects

  • Tree Tabs: Cross-browser, more powerful features, and high customizability. (One large difference between TST is: the design strategy. TST is aimed to keep it simple and work together with other addons as possible as it can.)
  • Tab Center Redux, Vertigo Tabs: Vertical tab bar without tree.
  • sidebarTabs: Vertical tab bar with grouped tabs.
  • Tab Sidebar: Vertical tab bar with grouped tabs.

Some Google Chrome extensions also provides similar feature.

If you have any request, proposal, or unexpected trouble from bugs?

All feedbacks are handled as GitHub issues. But please read FAQ below, before you post a new feature request:

FAQ / frequently rejected requests/proposals

Please read some important points of this project at first:

  • TST is basically designed to be used as an alternative permanently-shown tab bar, instead of Firefox's native tab bar.
    • To avoid users' confusion, TST respects Firefox's built-in behavior and features around the tab bar - tab context menu, gestures, and so on.
  • And, of course TST is designed to work with "tree of tabs".
    • TST's tree is designed to work as an extended memory for your brain. To satisfy this concept, TST is designed to guess relation of tabs automatically, from the context.
    • Better usability around ungrouped flat tabs in a vertical tab bar is out of purpose.

Any feature request unrelated to these points may be rejected, even if many people love it. Instead of adding more built-in features, I hope to make TST compatible with other tab related addons. If it is required for more better compatibility I add public APIs for other addons, and actually there are some implementations using this API. If you need any new API, please file API proposals to the issue tracker.

Major FAQ

Here is a list of some major requests which are reported multiple times but I marked them "won't fix". Note that some topics are just about "legacy" versions of TST.

And more:

I don't need automatically organized tree, instead I just want to organize tree by myself

You can deactivate TST's automatic tree organizing behaviors, by some secret preferences:

  1. Go to TST's configuration.
  2. "Development" section.
  3. Turn on the checkbox "Debug mode". Then all internal configurations are listed.
  4. Turn off the checkbox "autoAttach".
  5. Turn off the checkbox "syncParentTabAndOpenerTab".

After that TST never attach new tabs to existing tree automatically.

If you want to drag multiple tabs at once to organize tree, Multiple Tab Handler will help you.

Adding new minor (trivial) options more and more

I won't increase number of configurations inifinitely, instead I hope to reduce them. High customizability for details of features is out of TST's purpose. I want to provide only very required options which are truly un-omitable. Too many optional features would kill this project, because they would cloud the important concept of TST and would bring together people who don't like my core vision about TST. Instead, sorry but please fork this project and modify it for your use case.

Adding new options to control where new tabs are opened from links or bookmarks

In most cases - subjectively 99%, new tabs from links may be related to the source tab, and tabs from bookmarks may not be related to the current tab. For other rare cases - if you want to open the link in new sibling tab, or you want to open a bookmark as a child tab of the current, then you can do it by dragging a link or bookmark and drop it onto a tab or between tabs. Natural operations for GUI objects shoud be optimized for most major usecases.

Too high customizability for such rare usecases would make just you happy, but others including me won't - they are just confused that "why are there so many choices to make?"

Auto hide of the sidebar

Due to limitations of WebExtensions APIs, it is impossible. (But there is a workaround based on userChrome.css.)

WebExtensions only allows to toggle visibility of the sidebar for limited keyboard shortcuts or the toolbar button. Other arbitrary timing are disallowed, including mouseover and long-press of a key.

High-power management of tree, like sorting child tabs, auto-modification of tree, renaming of tabs, and so on

I believe that generally "tree of tabs should be a visualized history of web browsing", because they are built on relations where you came from. Possibly such a tree is facially chaotic, but it just mirrors your actual footmarks, so you'll easily find out where is the target tab based on a map in your mind. Moreover, those relations themselves may let you recall forgotten idea you thought while you were browsing those tabs.

On the other hand, sorted tabs based on URLs or something will be beautiful - but that's all. Such sorted tabs won't help me - I'm very forgetful. In other words, I just need something which memorizes my chaotic mind as-is.

By the way, my another addon Multiple Tab Handler will help you if you frequently modify tree by drag and drop. It provides ability to select multiple tabs by Ctrl-Click or Shift-Click and you can drag selected tabs at once.

Configuration UI to change appearance of tabs in the vertical tab bar, for example, color, height, visibility of the scrollbar, transparency of tabs, and so on

There is a plan to implement an input field to write custom CSS rules, so it will work like as userChrome.css. See the code snippets and details of inspection for the sidebar contents.

I cannot drop tabs to the bookmarks toolbar to create bookmarks.

In short: shift-dragging of tabs will allow you to drop tabs to the bookmarks toolbar.

From a change introduced at the bug 1453153 (affects on Firefox 63 and later), now Firefox doesn't allow addons to provide ability to do "creating bookmarks (or links) by drag and drop of tabs" and "detach a tab to a new window by dropping it outside of the window" in same time - those functionailities are quite exclusive. (For more technical details, see my comment at the issue #2033.)

Thus, now TST provides two different effects to gestures:

  • Dragging tabs to out of the tab bar: detach dropped tabs to a new window. You cannot drop tabs to the bookmark toolbar.
  • Shift-dragging tabs to out of the tab bar: create links to the desktop from dropped tabs. You can drop tabs to the bookmark toolbar to create bookmarks.

You can switch these behaviors. Please go to the "Drag and Drop" section of TST's options page.

For more preference, you can activate a small drag handles: they will appear when the cursor is hovering on left edge (or right edge for inverted appearance) of a tab for a while. You can start dragging of the tab from one of handles, with specified effect for each without any modifier key.

I don't want to see the next tab is focused before the previous tab is focused, when I close a last child tab.

In short: you need to wait for Firefox 64.

There are two cases when the current tab is going to be closed.

  1. The tab is closed by TST itself, by clicking the closebox of a tab in the sidebar, or choosing "close tab" command from the fake context menu in the sidebar.
  2. The tab is closed by Firefox itself or other addons, in other methods (Ctrl-W, clicking the closebox of a tab in the horizontal tab bar, etc.)

TST can focus to the previous tab directly before the current tab is closed, only for the 1st case. On the other hand, for the 2nd case, TST cannot inject any operation before the tab is closed, instead just a "tabs.onRemoved" event is notified after the focus was actually moved by Firefox. So logically TST cannot prevent the "the next tab is unexpectedly focused" behavior for the 2nd case.

Moreover, if TST always control focusing of tabs for the 1st case, it will conflict to Firefox's browser.tabs.selectOwnerOnClose=true behavior or other addon's behaviors. My development policy about TST is: being compatible to Firefox's native features and other addons, thus I won't introduce such a behavior breaking compatibility with others.

However Firefox 64 will have some new WebExtensions APIs about this point. After those APIs land, TST will be updated to use them and you'll never see the "next tab is unexpectedly focused" behavior anymore.

Donation

Thanks, but sorry, I have no plan about any donation from some reasons. The biggest reason is: because I want to keep me as the prime user of this project. I want to keep having a privilege to say "no" about requests that do not match my vision. My hands are already full to maintain this addon for my use case. (Of course I know that donation is not payment, but I'm afraid that I would think about voices from people who did donation more seriously and it would unconsciously conflict with my policies.)

And, I'm afraid of social undermining also.

Any other contribution to this project is welcome - translation, debugging, triaging of issues, and more. If you have fixed a bug you met, please send a pull request - I'll merge it. If you have different plans about TST, please fork this project freely for your purpose, if needed.

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