inessential by Brent Simmons

Big-time tabs control wanted

In my head I always call it the “big-time tabs control.” (I doubt the name would stick—NSBigTimeTabView? Nah.)

Here’s what I’m talking about...

You’re well-acquainted with tabs like this:

standard tabs screenshot

It’s a completely standard part of Cocoa, easy to do, works the same in each app, nice and consistent, all that.

But what we don’t have is a tab control for when there are lots of tabs and they don’t always all fit. Every developer does it their own way.

Safari tabs screenshot

NetNewsWire tabs screenshot

VoodooPad tabs screenshot

Transmit tabs screenshot

Developers do a good job—I haven’t seen a case where I didn’t recognize the tabs as tabs. So, functionally, we’re fine.

But still, it seems like an area where a new type of standard built-in tabs control would be cool, so that each developer doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel, so that there’s a standard look and behavior.

It’s another thing I’d love to see at WWDC, at any rate. Likelihood is low, I’d say, but still, here’s me, dreaming.

PS The first one in the set of four is actually Safari, but I’ve modified my Safari to use the unified look instead of brushed metal, so the tabs end up looking different. (I’m so looking forward to a non-brushed-metal Safari. I think it’s a cinch to happen. I doubt it would be unified—more likely it will use the successor to brushed metal look that other iApps are using. Heck, the browser controls might even get moved to the bottom.)