Removal of type-ahead find

Recently I stumbled upon mccann's blog entry[1] "Cross Cut" where he
described several changes soon to hit nautilus. I was happy to see that
most seem to be very well considered. I especially welcome the
incorporation of a functional search capability.

That being said, I was a bit disturbed by the removal of type-ahead
find. While I can understand that there are a few issues with the
existing implementation, I think we have to be careful not to lose sight
of the fact that there are at least two common distinct uses of
nautilus: searching and browsing.

In the case of the former, the user has a specific file or group of
files in mind. In this case, nautilus should allow the user to locate,
isolate, and manipulate these items quickly. Clearly, a solid search
feature goes a long way towards accomplishing this goal.

In the case of "browsing", however, the user seeks to quickly survey a
group of files quickly. Among other things, it necessary to allow the
user to efficiently move among the contents of a directory. Working in
experimental physics, I find myself frequently needing to wade through
large directories of data sets. While doing so, I generally want to
quickly move between regions of the parameter space (encoded in the file
name). For this, type-ahead find is nearly ideal, allowing me to move to
a region of files while allowing me to easily survey surrounding files.

For this reason, to remove the type-ahead find facility without
providing a replacement (hopefully superior) mechanism to fill the
need for easy movement while browsing would be a significant regression
in functionality. I'll have to think a bit about what such a mechanism
would look like, but this is something that should be seriously
considered before moving forward with removal of the existing solution.


- Ben


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