TabGroups Manager displays all Firefox tab groups on frontend

I reviewed the Tab Groups Helper extension yesterday. It improves the handling of tab groups in the Firefox web browser by moving the interface to interact with those groups and the web pages they contain to the front of the browser.

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Ghacks reader Xiao mentioned another extension for that purpose in the comments: TabGroups Manager brings the groups to the front as well, but in a different way than the add-on that I reviewed yesterday.

It adds a new toolbar to the browser that displays all tab groups that are available, so that you can switch between them and interact with them easily and without having to open the Tab Groups page in the browser instead.

The new toolbar is automatically added to Firefox's interface. Depending on whether tabs are displayed on top or bottom, it may be at the top of the browser window, or at the bottom of it.

tabgroups manager

You can configure the extension to hide and display the new bar automatically, so that it is not displayed all the time and does not take up screen space.

New tabs can be created with a click on the plus icon, or by right-clicking on the new tab and selecting to create a new focused group.

Tabs can be opened directly in the active group, and dragged to other groups if the need arises.

Whenever you click on a group, all of its open web pages are displayed to you, while the tabs of the previous group are removed from view.

The transition is fluent and fast, and I did not experience any issues here except one time when two tabs overlapped each other in the new tab group. That was fixed easily though with a simple drag and drop operation.

A right-click on a tab group displays interesting options. Here you find options to bookmark all tabs of a tab group, reload the group, put it to sleep or hibernation, rename it, or export it.

Note: Both sleep and hibernate do not seem to work at the time of writing. The last update of the extension dates back to 2011, and it is likely that changes to Firefox's core have made them incompatible with newer versions of the browser. It is highly advised not to use those options, as you may lose access to tabs of hibernated groups.

The settings are quite extensive and allow you to customize how the extension works in detail.

tabgroups-preferences

Here is a short list of useful preferences:

  • You can define click actions for groups, the group bar and other items such as the buttons displayed on the bar.
  • Hide or show the GroupBar automatically, set its position in the browser. and the minimum and maximum width of each group on the bar.
  • Configure styles for regular, selected, unread and suspended groups.
  • Set keyboard shortcuts for nearly every operation supported by the Firefox add-on.
  • Hide or show context menu items.
  • Various compatibility and experimental features that you can enable.

Verdict

I like the idea of displaying all groups directly in the Firefox interface. It is convenient and makes more sense than displaying them on a separate page that you have to switch to regularly.

The main issue of the extension is that it appears to have been abandoned by its author, as it has not been updated since 2011. While most features work fine in the latest version of Firefox, some, like group hibernation, do not and can even lead to a loss of tabs.

Summary
Author Rating
3
Software Name
TabGroups Manager
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Responses to TabGroups Manager displays all Firefox tab groups on frontend

  1. the_watcher March 21, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    Hi Martin, this is my first post here, even though i've been following ghacks for quite some time. You have a great site here, congrats! :)
    Based on your last articles about tab groups, which is a feature i'm missing sometimes (palemoon author removed it from the browser a while ago), i've taken a look in the repository for alternatives..
    check also Tab Group Bar (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tab-group-bar/) which is similar to TabGroups Manager but is newer, and also TabGroups Menu (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tabgroups-menu/) looks similar to Tab Groups Helper extension, without the need to restart the browser

    • Martin Brinkmann March 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

      Hi there and congratulations: your first comment, a big step ;) Thanks for posting those links, I will take a look asap. Comments like yours are invaluable.

      • Threshold April 2, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

        Hi Martin,

        TGM was abandoned by Axel for many reasons including the big earthquake that hit Japan, his country, few years back.

        TGM has been an invaluable extension for many Firefox users for years so the project has been adopted and the beta works fine with the current main Firefox release:
        https://code.google.com/p/tabgroupsmanager/

        P.s. This is not my first post

    • mma173 March 22, 2014 at 3:46 am #

      Thanks for letting us know about Tab Group Bar. I have been looking for alternatives to TGM for a long time.

  2. Guest March 30, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    TabGroupsManager by Axel Shootingstar was last updated in 2011 and as far as I know, doesn't work properly in Firefox verisons over FF20. Use at your own risk, and that risk is data loss, because losing tabs is the very definition of data loss.

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