Reducing tab size

John Bailey rekkanoryo at
Thu Aug 2 19:40:20 EDT 2007

Hash: SHA1

Sean Egan wrote:
> Because I enjoy being shot down and flamed, I've decided to post some
> potential ideas.

You get flamed?  Surely you jest! (That was sarcasm, of course.)

> - Remove the status icon. It does nothing absolutely to organize
> conversations, and occupies a relatively large amount of space. To
> everyone who argues that the infopane's icon is redundant to the tab,
> I argue that the tab's icon is redundant to the infopane.
> - Remove the close button. With middle-click-to-close, you don't gain
> actually gain anything from the close button, although I wouldn't
> expect anyone to actually find middle-click-to-close on their own. We
> may also want to show a close button only on the active tab, which is
> what Firefox does when it has too many tabs to display. This is
> already optional, which is probably enough. Perhaps make the default
> no-close-buttons.

Stepping into the (unusual for me) role of compromiser, I'm going to suggest
something that combines elements of both ideas and will likely attract some
flames my way from both sides of the debate.  My suggestion is that we remove
both the status icon and the close button by making them optional.  I'm not
suggesting the traditional "checkbox in Preferences" style of optional here, but
instead the "make it a plugin" type of optional.  My GTK+ knowledge and
experience are almost zero, so forgive my naivety if it's not practical or
possible to do GtkNotebook manipulation in this manner.

I see two major benefits here if we can do it--one, we satisfy those like Sean
who feel the icon wastes space.  Previously I disliked the lack of icons, but
now I'm finding myself more neutral to the idea, particularly if we can take
advantage of the other benefit.  This is deflecting the inevitable complaints by
saying "Try it for a while and if you still hate it, go load ${whatever_plugin}."

To make this idea more palatable, I would even suggest going so far as to make
this a feature of either the Extended Preferences plugin, should Kevin be
willing to accept it, or a new plugin in the Purple Plugin Pack assuming none of
my fellow developers there disagree.

I would also suggest a plugin in the Purple Plugin Pack for the protocol icons
just to silence complaints, but I'm not sure my fellow developers are willing to
be so accommodating.  I suspect I'll be hunted by two lynch mobs for this
comment. ;)

> - Truncate tab labels to the nearest space or '@' I don't think this
> will actually have much an effect on tab width, unless you're using an
> ancient, non-ellipsizing version of GTK+, but I think I'd rather see
> "devel" than "devel at co..."

I like this idea pretty much as-is, however, I use aliases extensively and have
spaces in all but one alias on my buddy list, so I'm probably strongly biased here.

> - Write a new GtkNotebook widget that does everything just the way we
> want it. What would we want from such a thing?

I realize this wouldn't be the first time we've subclassed or just completely
replaced a GTK+ widget to suit our needs, but do we *really* want to go down
this road?  It seems to me that this would expend a LOT of effort for minuscule,
if any, gain.

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