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> The real question is whether you would ever have that many tabs open, and how much memory do you have on your desktop?

I have 60 tabs open now (in FF), and this is after closing most of them, on a 32-bit system with 4GB of RAM. I regularly hit over 200 tabs when browsing.

200 tabs.. how is that possible? Do you ctrl+click on every possible links on every page?! I'm actually really surprised. I, too, can't stand more than 5-6..

I tend to have several windows with sevaral tabs open for different categories: things to send to people next time they are online, personal techie things I intend to read when I get a minute, work related similar, and so on. Yes I could use bookmarks and such for these, but I find this a more immediate reminder. Every now and then I scan round these windows and close off things that have slipped into irrelevance or bookmark ones that I might still read but maybe not any time soon.

On top of those there are "recent research" for any problems I am currently working on, which is usually at least one window each with a search results tab and a few tabs I opened from there (after pruning the ones that were not relevant in the end.

Plus there are the tabs I am "actively" using (which is pretty much always at least five at the moment: two mail clients, two social networking sites, and a page containing the results of various service monitors which updates every minute or so).

I often see FF taking a bit more than 1Gb RAM particularly if I have complex pages that auto-update a lot (Zimbra, facebook, so forth) open, though often closing it and restarting with the "reload last session" option brings that down by at least 60% (I assume the "extra" is stuff cached in RAM and/or memory allocated and not yet released due to fragmentation in FF's internal memory management - both situations being "resolved" by the restart)

I can't imagine triaging 200 tabs on any kind of regular basis. Just thinking about closing that many tabs feels really good. Do it man, get rid of them! Free yourself! Bookmark things or send to Instapaper/Read it later and archive things you haven't read in a week. Don't let it pile up. Don't feel obligated to read or otherwise handle each page.

Maybe you don't feel bogged down but I feel bogged down for you :)

FWIW, I usually have between 10 and 30 tabs opened simultaneously and I'm usually pushing 1G ever since 4.0 rolled out. I may cycle 100-200 over a few hours and then have to restart to reclaim memory (only 4G).

Similar usage with 3.x rarely exceeded 300MB and FF would remain open for weeks.

I'll do similar.

Tree-mode tabs help a lot (I'm still looking for a good Chrome plugin for this), "Tree Style Tabs" for FF5. Since trees group related tabs (I've got a subtree open for HN right now), and collapse, it helps to manage them.

As with grandparent poster, I'll have several windows, across several desktops, task-oriented. News, mail, site monitoring, research, reference(s) for languages / tools, etc.

200 tabs is probably a high count, but well over 100 is very doable.

Personally, I often keep 40 to 80 tabs open - I just keep what I'm reading open. Right now, I'm reading about semantic data, then there's the RDF tools for Python. Now I'm taking a break, so I have GReader, HN and a couple dozen articles/comments pages from that.

It's just a way of keeping the 'flow' of a browsing session in the browser itself, so you don't have to keep all that in (mental) memory.

I do use Firefox, which works fine even in my 2GB laptop and with a bunch of extensions installed.

I also carry around 200+ tabs, and 100+ of these I use periodically. Every now and then I cycle through these, and eliminate chaff, and add new ones, so the total number remains about constant.

I've also switched back from Chrome to Firefox because Chrome doesn't scale (nor does it have all the extensions).

How do you even navigate through 200 tabs?

Let's say you're on 4chan and there's a creative thread with a bunch of images. Threads can reach 150 images before they max out. You could use the Linky extension to "Open All Image Links in Tabs" and you would instantly be up over 100 tabs.

That's just one use case, but there are certainly many others.

150 tabs of images isn't the same as 150 tabs of web pages, though.

That's certainly true, but Chrome ostensibly doesn't know that, and spins a new process per tab (or close to it). Creating 150 new processes, even if just to load an image in each, increases memory consumption and processor overhead.

There is a google chrome extension for 4chan that will let you preload all images or open all images inline. It also auto fetches new replys and loads them inline aswell. I am on my phone right now so I can't find what it is called, but IIRC it was the most popular and highest rated 4chan extension.

I have that Chrome extension and a similar one for Safari.

I just dislike opening images inline or all loaded into one separate tab, because then it turns saving individual images into a mouse-driven task rather than a keyboard-driven task.

As an aside: what do you use to browse Hacker News on your phone?

I just use safari, is there a better option?

There are some apps for browsing HN in the app store, but I haven't bought any of them to try. Right now I browse HN through http://ihackernews.com/ which is a nicer stylesheet for mobile browsing.

Awesome, thanks. I was getting annoyed trying to click on the comment link on my phone.

Instead of 200 pages of images, get on a real site and open only one tab with a video ;-)

There are plenty of image threads that are not porn. Especially if you forego /b/ for the work-safe topical boards.

(Just wanted to point out that this clearly was a joke) I hope you weren't offended by it :)

In fact, with chrome, it's so easy to load a new page that even if I might browse 100+ pages, I just reload them everytime. I.e. g<enter> go on gmail. f<enter> facebook, etc. :p

Chiming in to say that ~60 tabs is not uncommon for me either. The Tree Style tab extension for Firefox is amazing and allows me to organize tabs into groups. Some groups are on the "to read" list that I don't get to for a couple days.

It is also the main reason why I can't/won't switch to Chrome - no Tree Style tabs.

There's TabSense, which can give you a tree visualization, but the main tablist is still horizontal across the top of the screen. Weak.

Yeah, I was pretty disappointed with that extension too. The built-in vertical tabs in Chrome are irritating too - new tabs open above your current tab, instead of below. Perhaps it is just me, but this feels very unintuitive. And more importantly, there is no way to change the behavior. :(

W.T.F. I can't go over 6 without feeling messy.

How you feel doesn't really matter when you're doing anything other than idle browsing.

This morning I had about 30 tabs open when I came into work, all documentation or reference of some sort that I will use in the next few hours. And thats about the lowest I ever get, if I'm looking up something new to me or complex it will easily shoot over 100.

I'm afraid I disagree. There's no way you could multi-task all 30 open tabs at the same time. Read what you need and close the tab when you're done. Leave only the topmost page of the documentation open so you can find your way back down again if you need to. You should be able to tell whether a page has value to you or not within the first 30 seconds of skimming through it. Do you open every result on google for the first 3 pages of all your searches or something? Baffling.

It's called context / state.

The more state I can leave up on my desktop, the better.

If there were better management within the browser -- non-visible tabs were eventually unloaded, with any page-state (forms data, etc.) saved -- then you wouldn't have the memory bloat problems that occur.

The thing is that it's a very large virtual workspace to spread things out over. So long as it's organized, it's really useful.

Look to movies especially of researchers in the 1970s or 1980s who'd spread clippings and papers over all horizontal surfaces in an office, tape/pin them to a wall, etc. You want to be able to scan quickly through the space at eye-speed, not have to dig into files / organizers / storage / regenerate the information every time you want to look at it.

It's why you'd rather have a large monitor -- you can strew windows over it and see more, rather than have to manage windows and go through them repeatedly.

We don't "multi-task all 30 open tabs at the same time" whatever that means. Just like you can have many apps running but maybe only one or two windows visible at any time, you can have many tabs open and only focus on one or two at a time.

For those of us who write software being able to discretely switch to a certain doc with ctrl-tab or ctrl/cmd-# is much quicker and efficient than navigating N times throughout the day just to reduce the # of tabs.

If I'm working on a Twilio web app I might refer to the Twilio docs, Ruby docs, twilio-ruby source, and some web related docs all throughout the day (HTML/JavaScript/CSS). Oh yeah, don't forget the JavaScript library docs. Why look them up each time you need them? Open them at the beginning, close when you're done work and that's that.

Your tab related OCD shouldn't enter into our workflow ;-)

You're right. My workflow sucks and there is no way it could be the most efficient way for me to work. All those tabs are useless. Re-navigating to a document multiple times a day is easier than leaving it open scrolled to where I need it.

I guess I just suck at my job.

Well I don't treat them as individual tab, I treat them as a set of groups. Thanks to tree style tabs my tabs are organized as groups manner.

On average I have 5 groups hacker news, reddit, slashdot, google reader, google searching and documentation group. When I work I frequently move around google searching and documentation group. In my leisure time I go to other group.

For example during working I need to search about some feature of a library. I open the top tab of the google searching group middle click on the link I am interested which opens in the new tab in the group. If some time later I need to see the page again just go to the google searching group and get the tab. This way I can easily organize my tabs.

"You should be able to tell whether a page has value to you or not within the first 30 seconds of skimming through it."

We don't read the same things apparently.

I operate similarly. I have my FF set to open up the previous session on start (though I don't usually close FF). Tend to have 70-100 tabs open always.

I recommend a vertical tab addon (I use Tree Style Tabs) else you'll wear out your scroll wheel on the tab bar :)

I recommend a vertical tab addon (I use Tree Style Tabs) else you'll wear out your scroll wheel on the tab bar :)

Thats exactly the extension I use! I'm really happy with it, it gave me the ah-ha moment that working with multiple tabs doesn't have to be prohibitivly painful. Thanks to it I decided to change my taskbar to be vertical too and haven't looked back. It makes for more wasted space if you're not busy, but is worth it, as UI wisdom tells us scanning horizontally is a lot harder for the user than vertically (and thats when everything fits on the screen).

I'm in both camps. Typically I'll have a window with about 6-10 tabs. But I'll have maybe 4 of these windows. 2 will be for work, 1 will be personal and the last one is either personal or my personal project I'm working on. That's easily 24-40 tabs.

Lately I've been trying to keep them down because of memory constraints (tab/process model in Chrome).

Let me guess: You use Tab Kit/Tree Style Tabs or some similar to make it possible to have some overview while browsing?

Another question is how badly that leaks memory?

I currently have 203 tabs open, and firefox has been running for 13 days. It's using 2.1gb of memory. I churn through tabs a lot. Firefox used to have memory problems, but it hasn't been a problem for me in at least a year. 10mb per tab is pretty good, IMO.

Interesting, because I have 5 tabs open (running the latest version of FF), and it's using over half a gig of RAM. It's been running since monday.

Perhaps I need to take another look at my addons, but I only have four (firebug, web developer, ad block, and diigo), so I really doubt they are the cause.

I think that the browser footprint is fairly large, but as you open more tabs it uses proportionately less ram per tab (though it must level off at some point). I'm using 15 extensions (the only one of yours I'm not using is diigo), I doubt they make much difference.

For some time during the 2.x and 3.x series, firefox would leak memory from closed tabs -- the memory usage would keep going up and up with tab churn, and I'd have to restart the browser to get the memory footprint back down. I don't see that with v4 or v5, and I usually restart the workstation before I need to restart firefox.

Are you using the tabs as bookmarks or a task list? Browser may withstand it, how can a human brain!

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