side panel minimum width

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Jackie Han

Jan 11, 2024, 12:51:34 AMJan 11
to Chromium Extensions
Some users have complained that the side panel is too wide, i.e. the minimum width is too large. A few users even wrote a 3-star review, simply because of this.

This is mainly because the laptop screen is smaller and not as wide as the external display. Many developers have reported this feedback six months ago, but there seems to be no progress.

Today, I upgraded Chrome to 120.0.6099.199 (then upgraded to 120.0.6099.216). Instead of getting smaller, the minimum width has become larger than before.

Screenshot 2024-01-11 at 13.35.49.pngScreenshot 2024-01-11 at 13.37.12.png
Above screenshots, they are the same information in the side panel. In the past, it could not display the complete information, but now it displays the complete information, which shows that the minimum width has indeed been increased.

There are some related source code change, I am not very familiar with:
Can anyone(Oliver or Patrick) talk to the Chrome UI engineers about the current status and plans about side panel minimum width?

Jackie Han

Jackie Han

Jan 11, 2024, 1:20:25 AMJan 11
to Chromium Extensions
It looks like the minimum (inner) width of the side panel has changed from 320 to 360. This change is the exact opposite of what developers were expecting.

Oliver Dunk

Jan 11, 2024, 7:56:24 AMJan 11
to Jackie Han, Chromium Extensions
Hi Jackie,

Let us sync with the team to make sure we have the latest update here and then happy to pass it on.

Definitely still aware of the feedback as well, and continuing to chat to the team about if we can give extensions more control.
Oliver Dunk | DevRel, Chrome Extensions | | London, GB

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Oliver Dunk

Jan 11, 2024, 1:52:09 PMJan 11
to Jackie Han, Chromium Extensions
Hi again,

I spoke to the team today and confirmed that we cherry-picked this change back to Chrome 120 and it is rolled out for 100% of users.

I definitely apologise for the lack of a heads up on this one - we didn't catch that it had been released.

In general, we have to work closely with other teams on this feature (since it is used by many Chrome features too) but we're continuing to discuss if we can give extension developers any more flexibility. I know it may not look like anything has happened but I promise we are discussing internally - just trying to prioritise alongside everything else, for example some of the feedback on the chrome.userScripts API.

Oliver Dunk | DevRel, Chrome Extensions | | London, GB

Jackie Han

Jan 12, 2024, 12:01:18 AMJan 12
to Oliver Dunk, Chromium Extensions
Thanks for confirmation.

Side panel is a major new functional feature released in 2023. There are probably thousands of extensions using the side panel now. Chrome UI team and extension teams should communicate closely. It affects a lot of developers and users.

For example, "Chrome Refresh 2023" (chrome://flags/#chrome-refresh-2023) changed the border corners of the side panel. Therefore, it affects the design of the side panel inner part.

For the minimum width, many desktop version web pages are designed for width of >=1000px. Therefore, on narrow-width screens (laptop), if the side panel is too wide, it will affect the normal display of the web page. If you use a wide-width screen, there is no such problem.

There are more unresolved issues regarding the side panel. For example:
  • Focus issue: Unlike the popup page, when activating the side panel, the focus doesn't move to the side panel, it still stays on the web page. So it is impossible to implement a feature that focuses input when the side panel opens.
  • There is no shortcut to quick switch focus between web page and side panel.
  • There are more losing focus issues when switching tabs.
  • custom minimum width by extensions if the side panel is not open.
  • keep the already opened global side panel when opening a new window.

Jackie Han

Feb 22, 2024, 2:56:33 PMFeb 22
to Oliver Dunk, Chromium Extensions
Any updates? Using a fixed width is a crude solution that won't satisfy all users.

Leah Prince

Apr 26, 2024, 5:16:48 AMApr 26
to Chromium Extensions, Jackie Han, Chromium Extensions, Oliver Dunk
We're not talking rocket science here. I've seen so many threads about removing the sidePanel min-width constraint that I too, had to join the conversation. The sidebar takes up 1/4 of my screen realestate!

> but we're continuing to discuss 

See you in 2029, I guess 🤷‍♀️

Patrick Kettner

Apr 26, 2024, 7:40:21 AMApr 26
to Leah Prince, Chromium Extensions, Jackie Han, Oliver Dunk
Hi Leah!
I totally sympathize with the frustration. But we aren't discussing how to implement, thats the simple bit. Extensions are one of many teams that use the side panel, and not everyone agrees with having a width lower than whats currently possible. We have to work with other teams to come to a consensus on what is acceptable to all parties. I really do apologize that it hasn't been able to go faster, and hope it is able to get determined sooner rather than later. 

Vardhman Singh

Jun 22, 2024, 12:15:13 PMJun 22
to Chromium Extensions, Patrick Kettner, Chromium Extensions, Jackie Han, Oliver Dunk, Leah Prince
Hi all, just curious if there's any update on the focus behaviour or if it's under consideration?

Oliver Dunk

Jun 26, 2024, 6:42:14 AMJun 26
to Vardhman Singh, Chromium Extensions, Patrick Kettner, Jackie Han, Leah Prince
Hi Vardhman,

There aren't any specific updates unfortunately, but it is on our list of feature requests we're keeping in mind.

Speaking of, there is currently some ongoing work to give users more control over the sizing of the side panel. I can't promise that will lead to providing some of the sizing features requested in this thread, but it at least lays some of the groundwork :)


Oliver Dunk | DevRel, Chrome Extensions | | London, GB

Vardhman Singh

Jun 26, 2024, 7:02:43 AMJun 26
to Oliver Dunk, Chromium Extensions, Patrick Kettner, Jackie Han, Leah Prince
Gotcha, thanks for the update!


Jul 5, 2024, 10:04:50 AMJul 5
to Chromium Extensions, Vardhman Singh, Chromium Extensions, Patrick Kettner, Jackie Han, Leah Prince, Oliver Dunk
I am using a Google Chrome extension called Bookmark Sidebar. I have the Bookmark Sidebar on the left side of my screen, and the right edge of it can be clicked and dragged to change the width of the sidebar. However, the Bookmark Sidebar is way too wide even on its narrowest setting. This is because Google Chrome is enforcing too large of a min-width for the Sidebar Panel. The min-width needs to be 60%-70% of what it currently is (preferably 60% because I can always increase the size when needed).

I have just never been able to make the switch from Firefox to Chrome because for 10-15 years, I keep checking the state of the default Chrome bookmarks sidebar and it's just terrible and never improves. It still does not have sort by user defined order. No ability to drag and drop bookmarks or folders around. No vertical folder expansion. And none of the bookmark sidebar extensions were any good either.

But this one Bookmark Sidebar extension that I am trying to use went to the extremes to try and make a decent bookmarks sidebar that is almost as good as the Firefox built-in native one. But the problem is that it is too clunky and takes up too much space. And this is due to the Chrome min-width for the sidebar panel. Because of my desired browser window size (1100x870 on a 1600x900 resolution or 1760x1392 with 160% display scaling on a 2560x1440 resolution), the sidebar panel is taking up 35-40% of the window. On Firefox, I can make it take only 1/6 to 1/7 of the window and then make it wider when needed. Just click and drag to make it whatever size I need at any given moment. The Bookmark Sidebar extension does have an alternative method to display the sidebar as a popup, and it actually looks much nicer because it doesn't have all that extra padding around the actual bookmarks. However there are problems with the popup method. One, it won't stay open if I click outside the popup. Two, the styling is a bit inconsistent where the bookmark and folder names are larger or smaller on some pages than others. And three, I can't open up the sidebar popup on certain pages like my file:/// offline website page
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