Re: RFP: File chooser user interface

On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 17:17:51 +0100
Thomas Leonard <tal00r ecs soton ac uk> wrote:

> On Tue, Sep 16, 2003 at 04:39:26PM +0200, Magnus Bergman wrote:
> > On Tue, 16 Sep 2003 10:16:10 +0100
> > Thomas Leonard <tal00r ecs soton ac uk> wrote:
> [...]
> > > The system is already implemented. Screenshots:
> > > 
> > >
> > >
> > 
> > This must be he most interesting proposal so far. I personally like
> > idea very much, but I don't think the world is ready for it yet.
> > 
> > Just one question: How do you save a file without using the mouse?
> If it has already got a path, press Return.
> Otherwise, apart from entering the path manually, there should be some
> keyboard-driven system for DnD.

I agree with that. I think DnD can be used to simplify thing a great
deal and reduce things that the users has to learn and care about (as
you so clearly showed). Has there been any work been done on
keyboard-driven DnD? But I think the general opinion is that DnD must
only as an alternative way to do things.

> I guess we need this anyway (not just for saving), since all features
> should be available through the keyboard. Perhaps a key for 'start
> drag', and then focus the target, 'end drag'? This could perhaps be
> done with cut-and-paste instead.

I like the idea of start drag/end drag. Maybe lift/drop as in OS/2 can
be used. I also think this should replace cut-and-paste in situations
there no cutting and no pasting occur, like in file management. Cut
means *remove the selected data and place it in the clipboard* and paste
means *insert the data currently in the clipboard*. Say I cut an image
file in my favorite file manager, then switch to my favorite paint
program and paste it. I expect the file to go away (since I cut it)
and image to appear where I pasted it. But this doesn't happen, because
it's not cutting and pasting. On the other hand what I *could* expect
from a similar operation is the same as I could expect from DnD.
Therefore I believe these to functions could be grouped together, and
leave cut and paste out of it. Sure DnD can adequately be used as an
alternative way to do what cutting and pasting does, but that doesn't
mean they are the same thing.

> One effective system, which I implemented a few years ago on another
> OS(though it wasn't my idea originally), is to save to whatever filer
> window happens to be open. I used the highest one in the window stack,
> but you could present a menu instead.

OS/2 has a similar system; all open directory windows are considered
root directories, and lets the user go from there. The desktop is also a
directory which is, of course, always open. But this isn't really
related GTK since it can not depend on an external file manager (or any
other application). I would gladly discuss this further, but I guess we
should move the discussion off the list since these matters are off

> That way, you open your Work folder when you log in and load something
> from it, and whenever you go to save something for the first time
> (from any application), it goes there by default.
> This still gets the nice benefit that the user sees the file appear in
> the filer window as soon as the save completes, and they can Alt-Tab
> to it to do anything more complicated (delete, rename, change
> directory).
> Of course, this assumes a method of working where the user tends to
> keep a few filer windows open all the time, which is probably a bit
> ROX-ish for most people.
> -- 
> Thomas Leonard
> tal00r at	tal197 at
> GPG: 9242 9807 C985 3C07 44A6  8B9A AE07 8280 59A5 3CC1
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> gtk-devel-list gnome org

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