From: Mark Fowler Date: 10:47 on 13 Aug 2003 Subject: Browser Histroy This is my rant. There are many like it, but this one is mine. Browser histories don't work. They come from the day where someone would open _one_ window and browse with that _one_ window. Thus they all store the time the person loaded the page as this translates to the order that the user was viewing the page. So when someone wants to reopen that page that they were at ten pages ago they can do - they just look back though their history and it's the $history[-10] entry. Fast forward to a few years later where most browsers have multiple tabs (and even the crippled ones have multiple windows) and suddenly this is no longer true; The order in which pages are loaded no longer represents the order in which pages are viewed. To illustrate this, imagine a site like http://www.ntk.net/. It's a site with links on it to many other sites. Typically, I view such a site by opening each link on it in a new tab, and then exploring the other site. When I'm done I close the tab and look at NTK again. Now what's the last thing I looked at? The site that was linked off of NTK? Nope. It's NTK itself. But I loaded that _ages_ ago, so it's way back when in my history file, buried under the other hundred or so pages of the linked sites. If I close this window and I can't remember NTK's url, what's the chance of me being able to find the site that I looked at again? Another situation - one that I come across quite often - is that while I'm working I'll google for some documentation that ends up sitting on the virtual desktop next to my text editor for many many days. However, during this time period I'm highly likely to open up another browser window when I'm due a break and check the news, check out things people have been posting to irc, read some cartoons - anything to clear my head for a minute. Despite all this browsing at some point I'll complete the work and close the editor and the documentation I searched for. The problem comes when I come back from my tea break and someone tells me that there was a bug in my code; Suddenly I need to get back at that documentation that I thought I was done with (so I didn't bookmark it.) No-one's touched the computer since I closed the window - it was the last page I was looking at, but I'll be damned if I can find it in my history. It's buried under the hundred or so sites I've looked at in the two days since I opened it. So what can we do about this? Well, it seems to me it would be nice to record when someone was _done_ with a page rather (or as well as) when they started looking at the page. The sensible way to do this would to be to simply record when a page was closed as well as when it was opened. It's not that hard (assuming you have proper session recovery when your browser unexpectedly exits like Galeon et al do.) So why don't browsers do it? This is my rant. One of these days I'll STFU and patch a browser (or someone will tell me there's a browser that does this.) Till then, I'll continue to spread the word.
From: 1 Date: 12:48 on 16 Aug 2003 Subject: Re: Browser Histroy > So what can we do about this? Well, it seems to me it would be nice to > record when someone was _done_ with a page rather (or as well as) when > they started looking at the page. The sensible way to do this would to be > to simply record when a page was closed as well as when it was opened. > It's not that hard (assuming you have proper session recovery when your > browser unexpectedly exits like Galeon et al do.) So why don't browsers > do it? > > This is my rant. One of these days I'll STFU and patch a browser (or > someone will tell me there's a browser that does this.) Till then, I'll > continue to spread the word. http://www.mozilla.org/products/firebird/ I am fairly sure Mozilla Firebird had a global history instead of a per-tab/per-window history.
From: Mark Fowler Date: 11:15 on 10 Sep 2003 Subject: Re: Browser Histroy On Sat, 16 Aug 2003, 1 wrote: > I am fairly sure Mozilla Firebird had a global history instead of a > per-tab/per-window history. You're misunderstanding my hate. The problem is not that you get a per tab history. The problem is that by opening other tabs and windows you polute the history with what you were looking at with them. Often you close these tabs/windows and continue to read the original page that was open before these tabs/windows were opened. Now when you close this page with a normal browser this page won't be recorded in the history as the last page you were looking at (even though it blatently was) but instead the other pages you've opened and closed earlier will be listed, even though you closed those ages ago as they were the most recently *opened* pages. This is wrong. You should be recording the most recently *closed* pages. Mark.
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