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Get More Out of Your Tabbed Browser

  • Posted April 8, 2006
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  • in category HTML

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Being someone that spends most of the day on the internet, I
have often looked for ways to simplify and speed up my daily
tasks on the web.

A few years back, I luckily stumbled onto the Mozilla browser.
Needless to say, I am now totally hooked on the tabbed browsing
features.

Background:

For those who are unsure about what tab browsing is, a tabbed
browser allows you to open a new web page without having to open
a new browser window. So, multiple web pages can be loaded in
the same window making it easy to switch between different sites
you find on the internet. When you’re done surfing the web, you
only have to close one browser window even though you are
viewing multiple web sites.

Requirements:

This article will be most useful for those using the Mozilla
Firefox browser. You can also benefit from it using Internet
Explorer, but since I.E. doesn’t support tabbed browsing yet,
you will end up with multiple windows open on your desktop. If
you have not yet tried Firefox, I highly recommend it regardless
of whether or not you plan on reading this article. It’s free
and can be downloaded at http://www.mozilla.org

Let’s Get Started:

In this article, I will explain how you can unlock additional
tabbed browsing features built in the Firefox browser. Then, we
will learn how to open multiple web sites with one click through
the use of JavaScript. Finally, we will create your own
personalized home page that provides quick access to your
favorite sites.

STEP 1: Unlocking additional Tabbed browser features in
Firefox

One difference I noticed between the current Firefox version and
previous Mozilla releases is that by default, Firefox does not
provide an option to make all external links on a web page open
in a new tab versus a new window. After reading more at the
Mozilla site, I found out that this option is available, but
just needs to be unlocked. There are a couple of ways to unlock
this feature. But, I find the quickest way is to do the
following.

- With the Firefox browser window open, type (about:config)
without the parenthesis in the address line where you would
normally type a URL. This will list the main configuration
parameters for the Firefox browser with their current values.
Cool huh..?

- Scroll down the Preference Name list until you see
browser.link.open_newwindow. Double click on this line.
Change the Value listed in the text box from 2 to 3.

Now, whenever a link on a web page attempts to open a new
window, the site will load in a new tab instead. Now it’s time
to take advantage of this feature. In the next step, you will
learn how to open all of your frequently visited sites in one
browser window with one click.

Note: You can also unlock this feature by creating a user.js file that will store additional
configuration parameters.

More information on how to do this and additional tricks is
available at http
://www.mozilla.org/support/firefox/tips#beh_reuse

STEP TWO: Load Multiple Sites in Tabs Using
JavaScript

Now that the browser settings are set to load all external links
in tabs, we will begin creating a personal home page that will
take advantage of this feature. To do this, we’ll create a basic
web page in html that will call on the use of a simple
JavaScript. To start, create a new .txt file in Notepad.

If you are new to html programming for the web, don’t worry. You
can copy and paste the code examples below if you like. The page
won’t look fancy, but you can improve on it in your spare time.
I’ve also created a code generator form to help with this
article at http://www.4allgo
od.com/?mod=26 It will create all the necessary html code
for you to view, customize, and use.

One neat feature JavaScript provides is the ability to open
windows on the computer. Using JavaScript, we can open multiple
sites with a single click. In this example, I will load some web
sites that I frequent. On your page, just replace the links with
your favorite sites, or use the code generator
form to make your own links.

HTML/JAVASCRIPT CODE EXAMPLE:

<html>

<head>

<title>Personal Home Page for Firefox </title>

<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html;
charset=iso-8859-1″>

<script>

var Engines = new Array (

“http://www.google.com”,

“http://www.yahoo.com”,

“http://www.ask.com”

);

var Classifieds = new Array (

“http://www.4allgood.com/adlandpro.php”,

“http://www.4allgood.com/classifieds”,

“http://www.4allgood.com/freeadposting.php”

);

var Finance= new Array (

“http://finance.yahoo.com”,

“http://www.forbes.com”,

“http://www.sharebuilder.com”

); function openPage (favorites)

{

for (i = 0; i < favorites.length; ++i)

open (favorites[i]);

}

</script>

</head>

<body>

<h1>A Sample Home Page for FireFox</h1>

<p><a href="#" onClick="openPage(Engines); return
false;">Search Engines</a></p>

<p><a href="#" onClick="openPage(Finance); return
false;">Financial News</a></p>

<p><a href="#" onClick="openPage(Classifieds); return
false;">Online Classifieds</a></p> </body>

</html>

CODE EXPLAINED:

Using javascript, the links to each of your favorite sites can
be listed in an array. Then, using the openPage function, we can
open all sites in the array whenever a link is clicked. This is
done by running the function as the onClick event occurs. The
variable names can be anything you like. (ex. var Whatever = new
Array) In the sample, I gave the variables a name according to
the type of sites listed in the array.

The openPage function will find and load all of your favorite
sites listed in the arrays. To call on the function, just enter
the function name followed by the variable name. Ex.)
openPage(Classifieds);

Once you have copied and pasted the above code, or the code
issued by the generator form into NotePad, save the file as
favorites.html.

STEP 3: Putting it all together into One Time Saving
Feature

If you have followed steps one and two, you should now have a
page that will allow you to open multiple sites in tabs with one
click. You can easily add additional arrays, or edit the links
contained in the arrays to include all of your most frequently
visited spots on the web.

To get the best use out of your new favorites.html page, you can
set it to be your home page. This way every time you open the
browser, all of your favorite sites can be loaded quickly.

Here’s how to set the home page in Firefox.

- With the favorites.html page open in your browser, click on
Tools -> Options.

- Now, click the “General Options” icon located in the upper
left corner of the Window

- In the Home Page Option section, click on the “Use Current
Pages” button.

You now have your own home page with your favorite sites just
one click away. I hope you found this to be as fun as I did to
create. If you have any questions, or add-ons for this article,
please feel free to contact me at my web site.

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  • Posted On April 8, 2006
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