My Lots-o-tabs include:
- Email (sometimes x2), music player, IM/IRC
- if I’m reviewing some doc, then usually other docs for cross referencing, various source code/test result monitors, search and research tabs, various monitoring system pages and web status pages of various servers. … depends what the doc is.
- looking at a bug is similar
- if I’m coding then whatever search and research tabs, tabs with related source code, tabs with test results, and so on.
- if in a meeting, then one of the tabs will be a Hangouts call, one will be a shared doc, depending on the meeting either a couple of open tabs with bugs discussed on the meeting or some other doc or an incident annotation tool or something else.
- if I’m oncall and got paged trying to debug an incident, then usually an incident response/annotation tool + various related pieces of documentation and code + internal server webpages + monitoring consoles + potentially useful graphs of related things usually one per tab usually one per tab - this can spiral out quickly. Sometimes you can be in a middle of dealing with one incident when I get paged for another thing that may or may not be related, doesn’t happen often but it does happen.
The problem occurs when I’m in the middle of a coding session waiting on my tests to compile and run (any second now for minutes at a time), then I start looking at something else in the meantime and I keep the context in tabs around, and then it’s time to go to a meeting, or I get paged and start looking at what’s going on there. At that point I’m swapping my brain between multiple activities and keeping context in open tabs. Note that there’s also a code editor around with multiple windows usually and files in tabs (especially if doing c++ damn you header files and PIMPL), but let’s say those don’t count, and there’s terminal windows all connected to the same tmux session, but those don’t count either.
There’s a chrome extension called quick tabs that I use that makes finding tabs easier, but I don’t have a good way of grouping tabs into activities. I try to keep tabs belonging to different activities in separate windows, but there’s no way to group windows per activity easily. And then there’s your email and IM/IRC that are cross cutting, so something like virtual desktops with windows that permeate all desktops would be good to have.
50-150 … ok swapped out context, maybe I’m forgetting to close something but I’m not seeing it and therefore not going to spend time hunting it down as long as the browser is dealing with it.
200 … I’m anticipating a browser crash, or at least one of the sandboxes, when I notice I’ll clean up and be down to 50.
Basically, I expect a computer/browser that I’m using should be able to deal with this pattern. It’s just a machine it shouldn’t care or not care about tab count, and I expect the limiting factor of my productivity to be my own workflows and habits, not my browser.