Tabs: Convert To The Middle-Click

The first bit of feedback I sent about the IE7 Beta release was that I wanted the tabs to be double-click closable. This is a habit I’ve picked up from Maxthon and other IE-based browsers, where a double-click on a tab closes it. I can’t remember whether Firefox does it, but I suspect it’s an option.

Having had a while to get used to the idea that double-click doesn’t always close a tab simply because double-click didn’t in IE7 Beta 1, I now find middle-clicking is a more elegant solution.

Why? In short, my double clicks sometimes happen accidentally, whether it’s because the browser’s slow to respond, or because I’m clumsy, or because the tab resized under me… so many reasons I’ve accidentally closed a tab (and that’s where Maxthon’s really cool Undo button comes in handy), because it’s all that same overloaded left mouse button (none of this “primary mouse button” bumf – I’m a righteous righty, not a lefty witch).

I’m converted to middle clicking because removes all the ambiguity of the left mouse button. The application doesn’t have to wait around on a single-click to see if I’m going to click again, oh no – it just spots the middle click, and pow! Tab’s gone. I like fast response. I like disappearing tabs. I like having a “close” button on the mouse, directly. It’s good.

Initially, I was frustrated with Visual Studio 2003’s tabs (not all had a close option when right clicked, and double-clicking didn’t get rid of the little blighters), but tonight I discovered that at least in VS2005, middle-click also closes tabs in the VS UI. (If VS2003’s tabs close on middle click, I’ll be faintly annoyed, because I didn’t discover it until now. (Seeing a common thread in this week’s posts? Erk!)).

So, I call upon the double-click-tab-closers of the world to make a concession to one new, initially annoying but generally useful convention: the middle-click-to-close convention. While they could yet implement a double-click close as an option in IE (you never know), middle click appears to be the way of the future. And I don’t want double-click back any more.


Comments (6)

  1. Anonymous says:

    If elected I solemnly promise no further technical content until FY07.

  2. Raymond Chen says:

    Most laptops don’t have a middle mouse button.

  3. Darryn says:

    I am also a big fan of the middle click, and I have to admit surprise that you only recently discovered it. I use it so much that I get pisse doff with any tabbed applciation that doesn’t support it. Ultraedit, VS.Net and Dreamweaver, I’m talking to you.

    The usage of "lefty witch" made me, literally, LOL. I clicked on witch and was amused to discover that one of their examples of left-handedness is that many planets orbit and rotate counterclockwise. I guess the author didn’t factor in the possibility of "up" being the other way.

  4. Tristan K says:

    Laptops aren’t real computers.

    (and I use the Notebook Mouse with any given laptop, which does). Laptop users can use the handy Ctrl-F4 shortcut, I’m sure*.

    (I’m not sure, I just made that shortcut up).

  5. Tristan K says:

    VS 2005 Help says Ctrl-F6 (!?) closes "the active document". But Ctrl-F4 works. Ctrl-F6 looks like a tab switch.

    So close, and yet so randomly unpredictable.

  6. Jeff Atwood says:

    > Laptops aren’t real computers.


    >And I don’t want double-click back any more.

    You’re damn right we don’t:

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