Re: [Usability] Getting rid of Open and Save entirely?

On Sat, 2004-01-10 at 11:35 +0000, Alan Horkan wrote:
> > > There is, at least, one technical problem: the open/save file dialog
> > > should work with GTK-only app, with or without GNOME, and, thus, with or
> > > without Nautilus (AFAIK).
> >
> > My opinion (though certainly questionable) is, that we don't even need
> > File->Open. Besides other problems, it also breaks every try to make

> we still need a better File Open and Save As dialogs for legacy
> applications.

Legacy applications won't use the new API anyway. ;) But of course I
wasn't suggesting to simply drop the dialogs.

> However I would very much like to see a version of something like Gedit in
> fact ANYTHING* without Open and Save before wholesale changes in the
> desktop and toolkit get made.

I'm currently writing such a text editor with Mono and so far it works
fine. The File menu contains nothing but "Close", still it's usable. :)
But even more importantly, you can already use your desktop without
using File->Open and this is in fact exactly what I'm doing most of the
time. When I want to open a file, I use Nautilus to navigate to it and
then I either open it with a double-/right-click or I drag the document
on the application.
Avoiding New and Save As is a little bit more tricky, because the GNOME
desktop doesn't provide a way to create new files besides of folders. I
solved this problem for text files with a Nautilus script, but that's
obviously not a real solution. In the long run, I think it would be nice
if creating any kind of new document would be as simple and fast as
creating a new folder (and it shouldn't require the application to do

> > window. But then you have to ask yourself, why you use the application
> > to open the document in the first place and not the file manager.
> Well in older versions of Mac OS you never could be sure if the file
> manager would open the file in the program you wanted especially if you
> have five difffernt graphics programs (same goes for Linux) so you need to
> open the application first and then choose the file to ensure it got
> opened correctly.  And incidentally file type detection in programs was

You'd just have to improve the user interface for this. Why isn't it
trivial to choose exactly with which application you want to open a
certain document? It should. It's already possible and easy with drag
and drop. These kind of improvements are what I'm talking about, so that
using the Open/Save dialogs becomes completely optional. 

> usualy more rigourous and careful in applications, while the file manager
> needs to be faster and will try to exploit tricks like the file
> extensions, the applications have to be accurate and properly parse and
> open the documents.  I recall documents refusing to open until I chose
> File Open, from exactly the same program.

That's a technical problem and clearly not very logical. The file
manager just gives the filename to the application, just like the file
selector does. There shouldn't be any magic happening in the file
selector. Maybe the problem was that the application didn't understand
the URI string which the file manager was trying to send it or something
like that.

> There is so much talk about using a Filemanager instead of FOSA (File Open
> Save As) Dialogs I must ask has anyone done it yet?  This idea seems so
> popular I would be very surprised if none of Nautilus, gnome-desktop or
> GTK hackers have tried it out yet! Are there patches available that will
> allow you to invoke Nautilus intead of the open dialog and have the file
> you choose be opened properly in the current Application from which you
> choose Open?

That's a bit of a misunderstanding. I really wouldn't suggest to make
the File->Open item open a file manager which would then act as a file
chooser. I rather think that those options shouldn't be necessary in the
first place. To open a document, I want to open it from my file manager.
To create a new document, I want to use my file manager just like I
already use it to create new folders, move, rename and copy documents.
This is not something you need patches for, as you can mostly do this
already today. All I'm arguing for is that this way of working should be
encouraged and improved, rendering the Open/Save dialogs more and more
obsolete over time. We will probably have to keep them around a long
time for technical reasons and for those users who are still on slow
hardware with very small resolutions (making it impractical to use
anything but the main application at the same time).


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