Re: [Usability] File type system redesign

On 15Oct2001 04:19PM (-0700), Seth Nickell wrote:
> > i was wondering if you could provide a less verbose summary of your
> > email regarding file types.
> sure, here's a version that skips the analysis and pretty much gives the
> conclusion:
> 1) Having a single central place for setting file types sucks because
> the list of types ends up being too long, and its not when the user
> needs the information anyway
> 2) A better solution would be to make the mime type system localized to
> document (well, really document-types) by putting it in the file
> properties tab in Nautilus like so:
> As well as a second tab that allows setting information about the type
> (need to finish glading the mockup). There are some tricky interaction
> details, particularly surrounding the case when a type does not yet
> exist, so if one were planning to implement such an interface, it would
> be good for them to read the last section of the long version which
> describes these interactions. I'll try to add more detail (and of course
> a mockup) as to how the sub-dialogues like "Add Application"
> could/should work later.

Hi Seth,

Here's a couple of questions/comments about your design. Sorry if
these are answered in the long version, which I have not read.

1) This design increases the number of tabs in the file properties
dialog to five. That deialog is already fairly crowded, I don't think
we should add more to it.

2) This design mixes information about an individual file with
information about the file's type. I don't think it's wise to mix
information at these two different levels in one dialog. For example,
the dialog would have both a way to set a custom iconf or the file,
and a way to customize the icon for the file's type, in different

3) This placement doesn't _really_ put the settings where you need
them. Where you really need the settings is when opening a file, not
when looking at it's properties. Most people who can't open a file at
all or can't open it with the application they are interested in will
not think to look at the Show Properties dialog.

4) I don't see a way to set an application as the default for a
specific file only, rather than for a type.

5) Advanced users still expect to have access to the list of types at
times, since there aren't many other good interfaces for defining a
new file type. Perhaps that list could lead to a dialog similar to the
one you present for each type.

6) I don't see how this integrates with the current "default
applications" capplet.

In conclusion:

* While it's nice to have a dialog where you can set all the
information about one file type, that dialog should not be mixed with
the file properties dialog (although it would be reasonable for the
File Properties dialog to provide access to it).

* "Open with other..." should provide, among other things, access to
this dialog. I'd like to see a design for how that interaction works.

* There needs to be a way to customize the actions per-file, not just
per type. For example, artists may want to open some images in The
Gimp by default since they are working on them, and others in the
image viewer by default since they're just images they look at.

* I think we should still have a mime type capplet that provides a
list and gives you access to the same file type dialog.

* The "default applications" functionality needs to be integrated with
the mime system somehow.

I would love to see another cut at your design which addresses these
issues and fleshes out what the other tabs and dialogs look like and
work like.



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