Hi folks-

I've been working to redesign the file tabs for Orcas (the version of VS after Whidbey) and would love to get your feedback.  Based on feedback we've heard from Whidbey users, we're primarily seeking to solve the issues of:
1) grouping related views for
visual feedback and easy switching
2)
make the document's source control state more visually apparent. 

There are two main alternatives we're currently considering (but feel free to throw around other ideas).  They are "icon tabs" and "multi-row tabs".  See below for more details.  If you're familiar with Whidbey, you know that currently new tabs always appear on the far left, and the far right one is always dropped to free up room.  The dropdown of open files is on the right.  I'm considering changing all three aspects.  In the new model, new tabs come in on the right, the least recently used tab is dropped to free up space, and the dropdown menu of open files is on the far left.  We haven't found a better alternative to appending "*" to indicate dirty state, so that is currently unchanged.

Icon Tabs
Icon tabs involves grouping views on the same document together on a common tab.  So, the most common example of this is grouping the design and code views in WinForms and allowing the user to switch between them by clicking the icon on the tab.  Notice the source control state is represented as an icon on the left side of the tab.  The close button on the right closes the current view, not the whole tab (unless it was the last view on the tab).




EDIT-- One slight variation (let's call it Icon Tabs B), if keeping the look clean and simple is more important than being able to directly access a different view on an inactive tab, is to remove all icons from inactive tabs, regardless of whether or not they are being moused-over:



Multi-row Tabs
An alternative is to use a separate command bar to display the related views (this model would make it easier to support grouping with the related code behind files e.g. .aspx + .aspx.cs/.vb or .xaml + .xaml.cs/.vb).  For the code editor, we would try to integrate the navigation bar into the same row (see screenshot below), so there's no net loss of vertical space.  The state icon is again on the left of the tab.  We've also considered putting the close button on the active tab to make it more accessible, through that would also mean needing to reserve space on each tab so the tab sizes don't jump around all the time.




EDIT-- Due to implementation costs, it may not be feasible for the navigation bar to share space with our row of related views/files. Hypothetically, if we couldn't combine those bars, how does that affect your reaction? Note that we would consider providing a mechanism for you to switch back to Whidbey's tab model and if we did that, some profiles (e.g. C++) could decide to have our model off by default. Here's what that design might look like (let's call it Multi-row Tabs B):


So, what we would love to hear from you about which design you prefer (Icon tabs vs. Multi-row tabs) and why. 
Please rate each design on a scale of 1 to 10
(least to greatest) for the following metrics:
a)
how well it would suit your needs (where does it come up short?)
b) perceived ease of use
c) aesthetic appeal
It would be helpful to hear what you like and dislike most about each design. 

We'd also love feedback on the other issues mentioned above: location of the dropdown list and close button, where new tabs should appear, which tab should get dropped, and how to better represent dirty state.

Thanks a lot!
-Jon