Endorsing Tabinta

Sunday, 27 Nov 2005

I came across this delightful little Firefox extension in one of Phil Ringnalda’s linkdumps. It does just one thing: it lets you enter Tabs in textareas on web pages.

That in itself is useful, but it robbed me of any way to cycle focus with the keyboard – I had to reach for the mouse to switch away from the textarea. That wouldn’t do. You can toggle whether Tabinta will hijack the Tab key or not in the context menu of a textarea, but that too requires using the mouse and is just generally clunky.

However, you can configure which key is hijacked by the extension for inserting tabs in textareas. I chose Ctrl-I, which is the customary alternative way to enter a tab character on the console. It brings up the Page Info dialog in Firefox; I don’t consider not being able to invoke that from a textarea a great loss. Unfortunately, there’s no user-friendly interface to choose a key combination: you have to set the tabinta.key preference to a magic value. So I inquired on the project’s comments page about it. The answer: ctrlKey: true, charCode:105

Now I can happily enter tabs when I need them.

Via Phil Ringnalda.