Answering to myself on that one, but I neglected to add that other apps running on your machine are competing with the open browser tabs as well, even on an OS that can balance resources nicely between what is on the front-end and what works in the background.
It should be evident that running Chrome + Outlook + Teams + Excel + Photoshop + AfterEffects will run any decent machine to the ground, let alone less powerful ones.
But there are other culprits which I found myself moving away from, and going back to use their “web version in the browser”: Slack, Jira, Hyper, Simplenote, Visual Studio Code. All responsible for a large portion of my day, and all of them are built with Electron.
If you’re not familiar with Electron, it’s a framework that allows developers to create desktop apps using web technologies. “If you can build a website, you can build a desktop app” was their literal tagline. In fact, many Electron applications feel almost exactly like websites, and it is attractive to many developers because it makes cross-compatible apps for various OS with little to no effort.
So, every time you run an Electron app, you are kind of loading another instance of a full Chrome browser …
My strategy so far has been to revert to using web-based versions of these tools instead, and rely on some third-party extension to “pause” those that need top when not in use.
This is really easy with G-Suite and Office (and even cheaper with Microsoft, as you can use the lower or free tier instead):
Outlook.com instead of running Outlook app
Office.com apps instead of running local installs
- Gmail/G apps
- Slack in a tab instead of the app
- reverting to web-based Jira and Confluence
I am looking at transferring from VS Code (which I really like, do not get me wrong) to a web based IDE, such as Cloud9 which works with my AWS stacks.
I am still investigating whether this will pay off in the long run, as having less apps but more tabs will have its own drawbacks too. So, as always, do not take my words as bible and research it for yourself