A tab, a window


Firefox was long missing a feature that Safari had: dragging a tab off to spawn a new window. Magical. An easy way to view the content of two tabs side by side. Firefox has since added it though in a frustrating fashion. It does almost exactly as you’d expect (which, really, doesn’t leave much room for interpretation) except that when that new window is created the page content is reloaded.

Imagine these use cases. I start watching some TV episode in one tab and decide to start reading something in the other tabs I have open while the video plays in the background. I want to drag the video tab off to play on the side of the other tabs so I can read through them while watching. Upon doing so, the page reloads and I lose my place in the video. Or audio. Or whatever other interactive awesomeness.

Doing web development and troublshooting, often times I’m manipulating a page through Firebug or some other extension. If I drag this tab off to compare side by side with another, when the page reloads those live changes are gone. Bummer.

I don’t know anything about the internals of why that happens or if there is a good reason for it. It seems odd though in that it is frustrating and dragging tabs to reorder them doesn’t cause the reload. Maybe there’s a preference hidden somewhere I can toggle.

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