Re: The Future of Nautilus: View Controls, Actions Toolbar, Previews

Hi all,

OK, final thread (phew)! :) View controls, actions toolbar and previews.

> * Select view type
> I don't see how you switch between e.g. list view and icon view in your
> UI.

The original idea was that this would go into the actions toolbar. It'll probably be best for it to go into the main toolbar, however.

One idea that has been brought up (thanks Lapo!) is a combined view and
zoom control. Something like:

| [*]  | |
|      | |
| [*]  o |
|      | |  
| [*]  | |

We're still exploring this so any comments/ideas would be welcome.

> I'm not sure I like the new context menu replacement. The way its shown
> horizontally means that there is very little space for items, if you
> don't want to require a large window size. Basically it means that you
> have to hand-design the context menu such that the longest translated
> strings in any language fits in some smallest window width we decide
> on. 
> But that is not how context menu items work. They vary greatly with
> different types of files (this is the context sensitive part) and they
> are extended by things like plugins and script to make them even longer.
> This extensibility would essentially be impossible with a limited screen
> space for the context menu like in the proposal, removing the
> possibility to extend nautilus for user specific things like version
> control handling, custom scripts etc.

The actions toolbar is one of the best things about the design, IMO. It
makes contextual items discoverable and easy to access. That is a *huge*
win in usability terms (and probably a11y too, since context menus can
be fiddly). It's also great if a user has a single button pointing

Alex: the issues you've brought up seem to primarily relate to which
items are displayed in the toolbar. This can be resolved. The toolbar
can overflow just like any other, plus the number of contextual actions
can be significantly reduced without any loss in functionality. (Eg:
Sharing options can be combined into a single dialog,
copy/cut/paste/paste into directory/move to/copy to can be

> One thing I've long had on my todo list for nautilus but so far have not
> had time to implement is a preview pane. This wold be something you can
> enable and would show a larger preview of the current file, including
> metadata for it and a button to e.g. play a movie or a music file
> inline. Somewhat like this:
> It would be nice if the new design had a place for something like this.
> (This would also replace the hover-over play of mp3 files which can be
> something of a pain if you accidentally trigger).

I agree that it would be nice to have some kind of previewing
functionality. I don't think a preview pane is the best way to do it,

* It would be difficult to accommodate a reasonable size image or movie
preview in a pane like that.
* A preview pane would use a lot of vertical screen space and wouldn't
use screen space efficiently on wide screen displays (particularly if
the sidebar is not enabled).
* Previewing isn't something that users want whenever a file is
selected. Most of the time, people aren't interested in previewing -
they want to open the file, move or copy it, etc. It's only in
situations where the identity of a file is uncertain or the contents of
the file want to be quickly inspected that previewing is required. As a
result, we should allow users to preview files when they want to, but
not do previews all the time.

A quick pop-up preview facility like Quick Look [1] or Gloobus [2] would
be a great way to do previews. If we wanted to keep it GNOMEish, we
should talk to Totem, Eye of GNOME and Evince about providing preview
modes that we can hook into. That would be brilliant. :)



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