Saturday, February 9, 2008

Restoring web pages even after closing and opening Firefox!!

Gone are the days when you used to do a Ctrl+N and Shift+Ctrl+N to open a web page in a new window. I remember running out of space in the task bar and it was a frustrating thing about browsing.

Nowadays, Tabbed Browsing is a taken for granted feature. As far as I know, I had used it in the late 90's and early 2000 with NetCaptor (an IE Shell) and Opera. I always thought it was a cool feature that time. But I could not understand what took Microsoft so long to bring this into Internet Explorer (IE7 has this feature now). Also, Wikipedia agrees with this fact. In fact, one of the primary reasons why i had been using Opera was the tabbed browsing feature.

Then Opera came with another cool feature - Session Restoration (Please correct me if I am wrong about this.. because Opera is where I first saw this). Let me explain what "Session Restoration" means. Now that I have multiple tabs open, I don't have much time to read all the web pages. Nor do I want to bookmark them anywhere so that I could read them later. And I also have to shutdown my PC/Laptop. Now, this is where "Session Restoration" helps. If your browser supports "Session Restoration" then you can just go ahead and close it without worries. The next time you open your browser, it will open all the web pages that were open earlier in different tabs in the same order as before.

Cool isn't it!!.. But I had a problem with my Firefox.

Firefox would restore a session only when I kill Firefox forcibly from the task manager. But it wouldn't let me restore sessions whenever I close and open Firefox in a normal way. I remember.. whenever I wanted a session to be restored, I used to kill Firefox from the task manager. Funny and stupid isn't it. I used to curse Mozilla folks for not including such a nice feature.

But the fact is that Firefox does support session restoration ever since version 2. I got to know this when I was reading the features of Firefox 2. Man.. how dumb and lazy I am.. could have google'ed long time back to know if such a feature exist. At least, I could have read the feature list in

The point that I don't understand is that, why did Mozilla not enable this feature by default like Opera. One of the reasons as I could understand is that if Firefox has session restoration enabled by default, then the next time the user opens firefox, its going to load web pages that were already open. So Firefox will lose the up sell/opportunity to load Google's search page which is the default home page. And this means a lost opportunity to earn revenue out it.

Basically I am assuming here that Google pays Mozilla foundation for traffic which flows from the default home page (I am not sure if my assumption is correct.. but at least I read on the internet about the fact that Mozilla does earn revenue from the traffic that flows from the search box that is placed just next to the address bar).

Thats' fine. I thought I will have Session Restoration enabled in my Firefox browser. But it wasn't easy enabling it. The problem was that, I could not locate a setting/checkbox which would let me enable session restoration. I was searching for it for the past 15 mins and finally I came to a point where I thought I will give it up or start searching for it in the internet.

Then something told me that I should look at the default home page setting.. and Voila.. :) finally. Refer to the screenshot below. This is where you choose an option for restoring your previous session.

Guys at Mozilla.. this is one place where usability was not good.

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