In the area of graphical user interfaces (GUI), a tabbed document interface (TDI) or a Tab is one that allows multiple documents to be contained within a single window, using tabs as a navigational widget for switching between sets of documents. It is an interface style most commonly associated with web browsers, web applications, text editors, and preference panes. GUI tabs are modeled after traditional card tabs inserted in paper files or card indexes (in keeping with the desktop metaphor). The name TDI implies similarity to the Microsoft Windows standards for multiple document interfaces (MDI) and single document interfaces (SDI), but TDI does not form part of the Microsoft Windows User Interface Guidelines.
The NeWS version of UniPress's Gosling Emacs text editor was the first commercially available product to pioneer the use of multiple tabbed windows in 1988. It was used to develop an authoring tool for the Ben Shneiderman's HyperTIES browser (the NeWS workstation version of The Interactive Encyclopedia System), in 1988. HyperTIES also supported pie menus for managing windows and browsing hypermedia documents with PostScript applets. Don Hopkins developed and released several versions of tabbed window frames for the NeWS window system as free software, which the window manager applied to all NeWS applications, and enabled users to drag the tabs around to any edge of the window. HyperTIES was a "hypermedia" browser, a term first used by Ted Nelson in 1965. The first "web" browser came out later in 1990,and the term "World Wide Web" was not invented until 1990. Four years later, in 1994, BookLink Technologies featured tabbed windows in its InternetWorks browser. That same year, a text editor called UltraEdit also appeared with a modern multi-row tabbed interface. The tabbed interface approach was then followed by the Internet Explorer shell NetCaptor in 1997. These were followed by a number of others like IBrowse in 1999, and Opera in 2000 (with the release of version 4 - although a MDI interface was supported before then), MultiViews October 2000, which changed its name into MultiZilla on 1 April 2001 (an extension for the Mozilla Application Suite), Galeon in early 2001, Mozilla 0.9.5 in October 2001, Phoenix 0.3 (now Mozilla Firefox) in October 2002, Konqueror 3.1 in January 2003, and Safari in 2003. With the release ofInternet Explorer 7 in 2006, all major web browsers featured a tabbed interface. Users have quickly adopted the use of tabs in web browsing and web search. A study of tabbed browsing behavior in June 2009 found that users switched tabs in 57% of tab sessions, and 36% of users used new tabs to open search engine results at least once during that period. Numerous special functions in association with browser tabs have emerged since then. One example is visual tabbed browsing in OmniWeb version 5, which displays preview images of pages in a drawer to the left or right of the main browser window. Another feature is the ability to re-order tabs and to bookmark all of the webpages opened in tab panes in a given window in a group or bookmark folder (as well as the ability to reopen all of them at the same time). Links can most often be opened in several modes, using different user interface options and commands: * in a new main window
* in the same main window and tab panel
* in the same main window and a new tab panel, which is instantly activated * in the same main window and a new tab panel, which remains in the background until the user switches to it. There are minor usability issues such as whether a new tab opens in the end of the tab list or next to its "parent". For example Internet Explorer marks tab families with different colours.
Compliance to Microsoft User Interface Guidance
There is some debate about how the TDI fits in with the Microsoft Windows User Interface Guidelines. In many ways the Workbook window management model most...