I am working on several large, complicated research projects with a lot of moving parts and many technical aspects that I barely understand. When I raise a q… (read more)
I am working on several large, complicated research projects with a lot of moving parts and many technical aspects that I barely understand. When I raise a question, I normally open a bunch of tabs to papers, stackexchange sites, etc. I usually don’t end up with an unambiguous answer in a single session. I close the tabs that appear not to be useful, and leave the others open. So open tabs represent unfinished tasks to which I expect to return. Every time I try to close a bunch of tabs, I find unfinished tasks that still require research. I pretty much always end up creating more tabs than I close. And at some point it becomes easier to just search again than to find the open tabs I remember. I have tried to use open windows as sort of like thematic groups, with a little success. I work with three big monitors, and it is normal for me to have four or five Firefox windows open, each with its own tab set (all this under MS-Windows 10).
I just accidentally hit close and was asked if I was sure I wanted to close 4643 tabs. Yikes!
This isn’t getting out of hand, it's already out of hand. However, my tabs represent a summary and history of about six years of research. I want to keep them. But I don’t want to keep them like this.
I see that there are tab management capabilities built into Firefox that I have not been using. I also see that there are multiple extensions that offer additional capabilities. However I am more afraid than probably makes sense of adopting a solution that I do not fully understand, and either losing my tabs through inadvertence, or spending weeks organizing them under a new system only to discover that it lacks some crucial capability that I didn’t think to check for.
So I throw myself on the mercy of you, the wonderful Firefox help team, both volunteer and professional. I have tried to imagine a system that would let me organize my 4000+tabs with a sane amount of time and effort. I have produced a list of features that I think would let me do that. I would like to know if I can do all these things, either with native Firefox, or with Firefox and at most one additional add-on extension. Please forgive me if I am not using the proper terminology. I’ll try to be as clear as I can about the capabilities I am looking for.
1. Select multiple tabs at once and assign them to a new or existing tab group.
2. Name a group, have the name be visible in the tab bar, and assign a distinctive appearance to all the tabs in that group (maybe by color).
3. Collapse a group to one tab and reopen the tab to the group quickly and easily.
4. Save and close a tab group, and reopen it from some menu of saved tab groups. Save and close should eliminate the resource demand of the closed tab group. Collapse need not.
I could live with (4) without (3), provided the menu of saved groups has good visual design to remind me of what is there.
5. Convert an open window to a single tab group (if it is not already subdivided into groups).
6A. Name and save a window containing multiple tab groups. Close a single window. Open a closed named window, recreating the tab groups it contained.
6B. Alternatively, allow grouping tab groups into supergroups, name and save the supergroup, close and open supergroups, and convert a window containing tab groups into a supergroup.
7. Open any saved group in any open window.
8. All the instances of saving previously described should survive computer crashes, closure of an individual window, and closure of Firefox. Maybe sync to some cloud location? It is OK if closure of Firefox or a Firefox window throws away the tabs provided you get a warning and an opportunity to save, or provided that tab groups are periodically autosaved by default.
I really want something like all the capabilities described above, though I would accept equivalent functionality arranged in different categories than I have used. Here are three more that I regard as nice-to-have rather than must-have:
9. Sync my tabs with my back-up computer, another MS-Windows box with a lot of RAM.
10. Sync my tabs with my Android phone and tablet.
11. Multiple supergroup grouping layers.
I know I’m asking for a lot, but I really do think this is roughly the feature set required to maintain a large collection of tabs and tab groups across multiple Firefox windows. So I hope and believe that time invested in answering this question would be helpful to others similarly (if less extremely) situated, and perhaps to tab management extension designers as well.
Thanks! I look forward to hearing from you.