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Bug 40248 - [40cat] one x button for closing tabs
Summary: [40cat] one x button for closing tabs
Status: NEW
Alias: None
Product: platform
Classification: Unclassified
Component: Window System (show other bugs)
Version: 3.x
Hardware: All All
: P2 blocker (vote)
Assignee: issues@platform
Keywords: UI
: 42510 (view as bug list)
Depends on:
Blocks: 50354 134670 42510 55845
  Show dependency tree
Reported: 2004-02-18 19:18 UTC by vanob
Modified: 2010-08-11 13:28 UTC (History)
14 users (show)

See Also:
Exception Reporter:


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Description vanob 2004-02-18 19:18:59 UTC
I think it would be good to have an option
that either
puts x buttons on each tab in the editor
puts one (a little bit bigger) x button next to
tab navigation buttons
that closes the active tab. (like in Firefox)

I work in linux and it's hard for me to
"shoot" the x button on the tab whenever I intend to 
close it. The big x button would ease my life a bit.
Comment 1 dmladek 2004-02-19 14:20:50 UTC
It would make my life easier too
Comment 2 Jesse Glick 2004-02-19 18:11:34 UTC
Also would improve horizontal screen usage for small displays a little.
Comment 3 dynamite 2004-08-25 14:06:46 UTC
I agree with this. I find the file close icon far too small. Why make
it smaller than the project close icon? Files are after all closed
much more often than projects...
Comment 4 David Simonek 2005-05-06 21:34:25 UTC
Agreed, we should do this. I have another use case - when closing multiple
documents, but not all, it's much easier to just click on one place repeadetly
then to "hunt" small x buttons on each tab, which are moving. Uppering the priority.
Comment 5 Marian Mirilovic 2005-12-22 12:48:10 UTC
This is te right way, I think. It works for Firefox, so I think it can for us as
Comment 6 vanob 2006-01-17 13:47:24 UTC
Is there any plan to implement this for 5.1?
Comment 7 David Simonek 2006-01-17 14:34:32 UTC
Yes, we are thinking about this for next release. However it still depends on
prioritization and resources, so we're not sure yet.
Comment 8 Andrei Badea 2006-03-26 21:26:56 UTC
I think this is not as non-controversial as it looks. Google has done an
usability test of the tabbed browsing in Firefox, part of which was studying the
usability of the close tab buttons:

There are some nice pros and cons at

See also the Firefox 2 PRD:

There is a "improve discoverability and usability of close tab button" P1 item.
Not clear what it exactly means, but if they put a close button on each tab in
Firefox 2 and we remove the close tab buttons in 6.0 saying "it works for
Firefox, it must work for us too", we will look funny.
Comment 9 Sherold Dev 2006-03-27 09:47:58 UTC
This is probably a matter of taste. I like having the close button on every tab
and I do miss it in Firefox. When I think about it, I do not use the one big
close button in Firefox at all, I either use a key shortcut or the tab pop-up menu.

I hope that if this enhancement will be implemented it will be optional and I
will be still able to use the old good button per tab style.
Comment 10 mikeskells 2006-03-27 10:02:54 UTC
I personally think that there shoul dbe support for both types of close . I 
dont see why it shoul dbe considered as a choice.

If there are options for this then individual, single or both

Just my 2c
Comment 11 Jesse Glick 2006-03-27 17:40:26 UTC
Please note that the Firefox extension "Tab Mix Plus" has an option to put close
buttons on individual tabs (which I use, FWIW). In fact that extension has about
every imaginable option, so if you really want to experiment with the effects of
different policies, just install that extension and play.
Comment 12 Petr Pisl 2006-03-29 08:42:19 UTC
Sometimes, when I used the FireFox I close a tab which I don't want to close.
This is reason why I used the extension, which Jesse mentioned. On the other
hand I think that both approach can be in NetBeans just like if you have FireFox
with the  Tab Mix Plus extension.
Comment 13 Josef Pavlicek 2006-04-24 15:24:57 UTC
Close  ALL tabs button

Dear colleagues
I studied the problem of the close all tabs button and unfortunately - I have to
 refuse this issue. I'm actually feeling that to have just one  close button for
all tabs has  smaller priority like to have close button for each tab. I believe
that you see some examples, when the close all button is useful. Therefore -  if
you are  studying this problem you are able to find a lot of UseCases which are
able to tell you that to have only one close button is "flow" problem (for
example, if the user wants to close tab I, tab III, tab V, tab VII etc. shortly
if he needs to read the source and after that close the tab). We have to
prioritize just one UseCase - main UseCase. And this main UseCase is " the user
wants to read source and after that he wants to close source (he/she needs to
press on tabs if he/
she wants to select other source file. If he/she wants to select other source
file and wants to close particular file, he/she wants to move the mouse cursor
minimaly. And the all close button is not able to provide it). We can this issue
realize on the "Options level". 
Because this issue is on the "options level" we should focus our force for
studying other "more important things" than this. 

Thanks for your help,energy and enthusiasm for NetBenas IDE. Stay in the touche
Josef Pavlicek 
Human interface designer
Comment 14 David Simonek 2006-05-18 09:30:15 UTC
asd abadea said, (and saubrecht pointed me to
new version of firefox will use close buttons on every tab, with automatic
hiding of close tabs for not active tabs when there is not enough space. I think
we should follow their idea, so my suggestion is:

1) Make the close button for editor tabs bigger (so that it's easier to hit it
with mouse)
2) Hide the close button for all non-active ("background") tabs when there is
not enough space = when tabs start to scroll.

josefpavlicek and others, how does this sound?
Comment 15 Josef Pavlicek 2006-05-18 11:50:06 UTC
Hi Dsimonek,it's make sense. To follow the Firefox idea makes sense for me.  

Now I see only one problem. 

If the close button is visible only by the active tab (it is good idea), how I 
can close second - not active tab? Now, if you have installed the tabs plug-in 
in the FireFox, you can close each not active tabs. If you move the pointer of 
mouse over the tab, the close button changes his color from gray to  red and 
it is active.  

The question is how it works if the close button is not visible. Can you close 
the not active tab if you move your mouse pointer over the tab ? The not 
visible close button will be visible and will be working? If yes, it is good 
idea, it makes sense and I think, it will be good to implement it into 
NetBeans IDE.

Josef P 
Comment 16 vanob 2006-05-18 12:06:11 UTC
Oracle SQL Developer hides close buttons unless you mouseover on the tab.
I think it's a good idea if it's going to be implemented in this way.
I still prefer the one big button and don't think it's a good idea to take
patterns from Firefox directly.
Comment 17 Josef Pavlicek 2006-05-18 12:20:23 UTC
Hi, I'm very enjoy to listen your opinion. I believe that for you is better to 
have only one big close button on the right side of NetBenas IDE.  As I wrote 
a few notes up, we have a lot of reasons why we will not  implement this 

The idea of “Firefox” - show big close button only on the active tab and if I 
move the pointer of mouse over the not active tab, the system shows close 
button in the not active tab – I see very useful for our users now.

Thanks for your help
Josef P
Comment 18 David Simonek 2006-05-18 12:32:19 UTC
josefp: No, you can't close the tab with mouse when close button is not visible.
Just the keyboard shortcut.

The idea of having close button visible only on active tab is because it saves
the space and UI is less cluttered. 

Visible close button on mouseover is good idea, I supported it long time ago,
however then space saving is lost....but perhaps no, here is new complete

1) Make the close button for editor tabs bigger (so that it's easier to hit it
with mouse)
2) Hide the close button for all non-active ("background") tabs by default.
3) Show close button for non-active tab only on mouse-over. Space is *not*
reserved for close button in this situation, so close button will cover end part
of the text displayed in the tab.

That way we have nearly all - bigger x, ability to close every tab with the
mouse, less visual clutter and also horizontal space saved.

vanob: Both Firefox usability study and our HIEs prefer close buttons directly
on tabs, so we're probably not going to implement one close button on the side,
I'm sorry.
Comment 19 dynamite 2006-05-18 12:54:18 UTC
Since my first comment on this some while back I've had time to think about the
real reason why I wanted this.

My typical usage is as follows:

I have a number of projects open. A range of files for these projects get opened
over a period of time. As each file seems useful to go back to for a variety of
reasons I often leave them open (e.g. someone is checking if I have fixed a
problem and may come back soon, or it may be a file that I keep going back to
now and again). Over time I end up with a large number of files that are open
and realise that having a smaller number of files open that relate directly to
what I am currently doing would be more productive so now I want to tidy up
unwanted files....

I tentatively propose having a right-click on the cross opening a menu for
closing files (or some other gesture). The menu could then offer the following

* Close this file
* Close other files
* Close files from this project
* Close files from other projects
* Close files from this package
* Close files from other packages

This could possibly be supplemented by adding the capability of hiding files so
that they disappear from the editor file bar but still appear when the file
drop-down icon on the far right is clicked. Or maybe there could be a virtual
favourites folder for each project as a means of avoiding any lengthy project
Comment 20 Josef Pavlicek 2006-05-18 13:01:07 UTC
Hi Dsimonek,
I have to support the functionality which doesn't brake the user “flow” 
(please, think work flow). So, if the user wants to close non-active tab, he 
wants to move his/her pointer of mouse over the tab. Now  he/she wants to 
close the tab. He/she wants to close this tab just for ONE click. One click is 
more important than place in the tab. 

Now I am downloading the Oracle SQL Developer like vanob suggests. I will test 
how it looks if the close button is not visible by default and it is turning 
up by mouse-over.  

I think that your ideas (point 1,2,3) sounds very clever.
So, give me a few days for thinking about that subject please.

Thanks for your help
Comment 21 _ theanuradha 2008-05-08 13:30:14 UTC
Comment 22 _ theanuradha 2008-05-08 13:32:45 UTC
>>1) Make the close button for editor tabs bigger (so that it's easier to hit it
>>with mouse)
>>2) Hide the close button for all non-active ("background") tabs by default.
>>3) Show close button for non-active tab only on mouse-over. Space is *not*
>>reserved for close button in this situation, so close button will cover end part
>>of the text displayed in the tab.

this preferred and hope will available in 6.5
Comment 23 David Simonek 2008-10-17 12:57:53 UTC
*** Issue 42510 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 24 ngbrito 2008-10-22 21:17:10 UTC
I have a suggestion that I think would serve all: use tabs always with the same width.
That way, when you close a tab the next one will appear exactly where the closed one was, and the close button will also
be in exactly the same place and all close buttons will be in predictable places avoiding the annoying "hunt". This way,
to close a succession of tabs you just point to the first and click several times in the same place.
Comment 25 Jesse Glick 2008-10-22 23:31:10 UTC
ngbrito's suggestion would unfortunately waste horizontal real estate in case some files with very short names were
opened simultaneously with some files with very long names, which is common enough.
Comment 26 ngbrito 2008-10-28 22:42:57 UTC
You could limit the width of the tabs to a reasonable size and truncate the long filenames (e.g. "AVeryLongFilen...").
If you really need to see the entire name then the tooltip showing the path should be enough.
Or it could be configurable: user who value more the horizontal real estate could use variable size tabs (these people
might also be interested in limiting the tab width and truncating long names) and those who don't like to hunt small
targets can use the predictable constant width tabs.