Re: The future direction of the Nautilus UI

Hi Alex,

First, thank you for bringing this discussion up. I feel it is very important 
step in determining the future of not only nautilus, but gnome in general. I 
think having this discussion will allow all involved in nautilus to have a 
better understanding of the goal we are trying to accomplish. 

Also I know I posted this link before, but for those who are interested in 
conversation I recommend that you read (or at least glance at) the CUA 
guidelines on Object Oriented design.

Alexander Larsson <alexl redhat com> said:
>People have argued (and I'm inclined to agree) that the object
>oriented methaphor (hereafter called oo), is easier to understand for
>new users. 

I think this statement needs to be broadened. I argue that the object 
oriented model will be easier for anyone who doesn't want to be concerned 
with operating system internals. A good example is my dad who has been using 
computers since the apple IIC but who still finds the whole directory concept 
very confusing.

> We do however have some preferences that allow you to change
> the behaviour of Nautilus to somewhat better match the way you work in
> an oo model. These preferences include open files in new window and
> disable location bar/side bar.

Nautilus also saves window position per directory which is a central feature 
of oo design.

> If we're considering changing Nautilus to a pure oo model quite a few
> changes are required. Here are some of them: 

Just to chime this in here, I don't propose making an instantaneous switch to 
an OO design model. This change would be too drastic and involve too many 
changes to other apps. Also we might not get it right the first time so there 
is little reason to break the current ui until we have better developed the 
new model. If we switch to an OO model we will really be breaking new ground 
and being almost revolutionary. To my knowledge only the OS2 workplace shell 
has ever tried to implement this model (though i've never used os2).

> Both history and bookmarks are typical navigation concepts, so they
> need to be removed.

These are 2 really interesting topics. I've often wondered what the benefit 
of history was in nautilus. In a web browser users typically use history to 
look back at previous locations they have visited but can't seem to remember 
the address of, but this is because web addresses are completely unique. 

bookmarks have always seem sort of out of place to me as well. Some people 
have mentioned that you can use them to mark ftp locations etc. But even from 
a browser perspective, I'd rather be able to use ftp directories etc. more 
transparently. Windows does this by letting users add them to the virtual 
file hierarchy, you can even access them through the file selector.

> The tree and history sidebars doesn't fit the model, so they have to
> be removed. 

See above comments on history in general. As for the tree view yes as a 
sidebar, it would have to be removed (in a strictly oo design), however as a 
directory view, im not sure this is true. A tree view of the current folder 
would probably be consistent here as you would be viewing the contents of the 
current folder object, and the contents of the objects contained within the 
current folder as well. Ie. the current folder inherits the properties of its 

> The status bar makes the window feel a bit like an application, so it
> should probably at least be disabled by default.

Im not sure I agree with this, since the status bar could be used to display 
information on the current folder object.

> Another victim in the object oriented world is embedding viewers for
> files in the nautilus window. Different directory views such as listview
> and iconview make sense, but since opening a file have to open a new
> window it makes much more sense to open the actual application
> editing or viewing that type of file. 

Actually in a true OO design there really aren't applications, there are 
viewers which let you view and change the properties of files. The file 
manager becomes the file selector (ie. no need for an open file dialog).

> Getting a user model that is easier to understand is a pretty big step
> forward, but there are also various uncertainties and drawbacks:
> * This is a large change, and it will irritate and confuse some of our
>   current users.

All the concerns you have raised are definately relevant and important. We 
need to take baby steps here, see how stuff passes on our user base. We 
should definately not start this by tearing apart the current code base and 
just throwing code away. If we pursue this model, our goal should be aimed 
towards the future (gnome3 perhaps). That said the patches i supplied are the 
kind of baby steps we can do now, without breaking nautilus in gnome2.2.


[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]