Re: MC Tabs

Hi Cosmin,

This is a very interesting idea.  Please let me give feedback after 5
minutes of using it :) Please note that I'm not an official mc
developer, just an occasional contributor.

I always wondered why mc has hardcodedly only 2 panels, not allowing
more.  E.g. the screen could be divided in 2x2 parts and copy/move
operations could have a direction (horizontal, vertical or diagonal).
Your new feature approaches a similar goal.

To accomplish the above mentioed goal, i.e. to be able to have 3
panels and quickly copy between *any* two, your patch desperately
lacks the "move this tab to the other panel" (or something similar)
option with menu entries and convenient shortcuts, or maybe ^U could
just swap two tabs but not two whole panels.  Or, tabs should not be
per-panel but common to the two, in each panel you could easily jump
to any of the tabs.

Basic tab operations (next/prev/new/close) should also be something
that has convenient short hotkeys by default, and those hotkeys are
mentioned in the F9 dropdown.

The current UI trend (apart from a couple of legacy apps that had tab
support before it became widely used) is to place tabs on the top,
rather than the bottom.

The "create tab" and such menu options operate on the currently active
panel, rather than on the Left/Right panel according to whose menu
entry is selected.  (E.g. Left panel is active, invoke Right->Create,
a new tab should be created on the right panel.)

Tabs should be selectable by a single mouse click (also scrolling
should be doable by mouse if too many tabs are open to fit).

Having non-ascii characters (don't forget about CJK either) cause
artifacts with highlighing the active tab (the end of the tab bar gets
the highlighed background too).

Sure there are a couple of more issues, but I kind of like your idea
and would welcome such a feature.  Nice work for a start!

One more thing: please use unified diffs, they are much more reable
and more portable to newer mc versions.


On Mon, Oct 14, 2013 at 8:20 PM, Cosmin Popescu
<cosminpopescu members fsf org> wrote:
Dear mc developers,

Please find attached my contribution to mc: tabs like Total Commander has.

I am a regular midnight commander user. I use it for all my file exploring
needs on several systems. I use it under Arch Linux and Ubuntu at home,
under Red Hat on various servers that I administer and under Cygwin on
Windows 7 at work.

One of the things that was missing were the tabs and I hated all the time,
when I needed to copy some files from a location to several locations to
have to change the folder so many times.

You will find an archive containing several patches that will add tabs to MC
and a keymap file to map some shortcuts for the tabs. Another message will
follow with some screen shots.

Inside the archive there is an executable file called apply-patch that will
apply all the pathes on the required files. To install the patch, just
un-archive the patch.tar.gz inside the root folder of mc-4.8.10 archive, cd
to patch and run ./apply-patch.

I've implemented the following:

* Create tab (creates a new tab)
* Close tab (closes an existing tab, if the tab is not the only one)
* Rename tab (changes the title of the current tab)
* Next tab (changes the current tab)
* Previous tab (changes the current tab)
* Go to tab (displays a list of tabs from which the user can select one to
switch to)
* Tabs options (some tabs options)
* Tabs sessions (the current opened tabs can be saved into sessions that can
be later restored).

In the tabs options there is an option to restore the last tabs session.
Please note that if this is checked, the current opened folder in the
current panel will not be the folder from which mc is launched, but the
folder that was last current when mc was closed.

From a technical point of view, the tabs are a simple list of structures
containing a name (which can be NULL in which case the name of the current
tab is the name of the current folder) and a path (a vfs_path_t structure)
containing the current path of the tab. Whenever a tab is created, a new tab
structure is added in the list. When a tab is changing the mc will do a
simple cd by calling the do_cd function. I think that the implementation is
pretty much straight forward.

The only thing a little bit complex might be the display_info function. That
function will determine if all the tabs can be displayed, if not will
calculate which can be displayed starting from the current tab to the left
and then to the right if there is still space.

All my code is added between #ifdef WITH_TABS and #endif directives. The
WITH_TABS can be set at configure time. By default the tabs will be compiled
in, but can be deactivated by configure with "--disable-tabs" option.

I also added a small implementation for "string_file_ext" function. I needed
it for my day to day work. It is added between the #ifdef WITH_EXT and
#endif directives. The WITH_EXT is defined in the src/filemanager/panel.c
file. If you don't want to use it, you can undefine the WITH_EXT.

Also, please note that in the src/filemanager/filegui.c you have a small bug
at the line 288. The closing bracket of the function is inside the #ifdef
directive, while the opening one is outside. The program will of course fail
to compile under cygwin, so I've corrected it.

In the src/filemanager/mountlist.c, on the line 245 you are using the
_GL_UNUSED macro. This will also fail to compile on my version of cygwin.
Although I know that probably I have to add a dev package to have the macro
defined, I don't think that it should be the case to do that just to avoid a
warning (to add a dependency). I would do that with something like #ifdef
_CYGWIN_ directive, but since this might be because of my installation of
cygwin, I didn't modify it in the patch that I've sent you.

The patch is applied against the mc-4.8.10 downloaded from here:

I've compiled the mc-4.8.10 with tabs on the following platforms:

* Arch Linux
* Red Hat 5
* Ubuntu
* Cygwin (win 7)

Please let me know if you would like to include the tabs in your main source
repository. If not, do you have something against me posting the patch on
sourceforce and github?

Thank you very much for maintaining MC.

Cosmin Popescu.

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