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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > macOS > Why the Panther Finder is Brilliant UI Engineering

Why the Panther Finder is Brilliant UI Engineering
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riverfreak
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Oct 26, 2003, 02:02 AM
 
Okay, we're all familiar with the desktop metaphor. The finder of OS X (and even pre-OS X finders) broke that metaphor. For example, navigating the filesystem was always in relation to the logical root point.

In pre-OS X systems, a bandaid was placed on this wound - double clicking a hard drive mounted on the desktop restored the viewpoint of navigating through a nested group of folders.

But in OS X, all finder windows were rooted at the mount point, a rather drastic departure from the metaphor of shuffling through papers and folders on ones desktop.

Now, in Panther, the metaphor is finally complete. With the "sidebar", you no longer need be concerned with the root point of the tree you are currently navigating. Each folder becomes just like any other folder on your desk.

Brilliantly executed.
     
blackbird_1.0
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Oct 26, 2003, 02:07 AM
 
yeah, the sidebar feature is pretty good
Apple II GS | Powerbook 165 | iMac Rev. A 96mb RAM| iBook G3 500mhz, 128mb RAM | Power Macintosh G5 1.6ghz, 2.25gb RAM | Black MacBook 2ghz, 2gb RAM | iPhone Rev. A 8gb HD
     
barbarian
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Oct 26, 2003, 03:27 AM
 
The sidebar would be so much better if we had the option to use it as a shelf.

It still is often a chore to move a file from one place to another. I always end up opening 2 windows and moving between them. Would be so much nicer to move something to a shelf, navigate to the new location and have the option to drop it somewhere.
     
G0Ducks
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Oct 26, 2003, 03:35 AM
 
Actually, If you look under the windows, there is this thing called the desktop... it functions rather well as a "shelf."

heheh. Don't let yourself get trapped in those perty metal boxes

R



Originally posted by barbarian:
The sidebar would be so much better if we had the option to use it as a shelf.

It still is often a chore to move a file from one place to another. I always end up opening 2 windows and moving between them. Would be so much nicer to move something to a shelf, navigate to the new location and have the option to drop it somewhere.
     
rjenkinson
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Oct 26, 2003, 03:37 AM
 
Originally posted by barbarian:
The sidebar would be so much better if we had the option to use it as a shelf.
copy and paste the file.

-r.
     
icruise
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Oct 26, 2003, 04:08 AM
 
Yes, I'm really warming to the new Finder. One of the things I really didn't like about the old finder was the way it did away with the spatial organization we grew to love with previous versions of Mac OS, but I really liked column view. This seems like a great way to have them both. I don't like the brushed metal, but I can live with it.
     
- - e r i k - -
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Oct 26, 2003, 04:42 AM
 
Yup the desktop's got as much shelf-space as you'll ever need

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LaGow
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Oct 26, 2003, 08:49 AM
 
Originally posted by G0Ducks:
Actually, If you look under the windows, there is this thing called the desktop... it functions rather well as a "shelf."

heheh. Don't let yourself get trapped in those perty metal boxes

R
It's largely the same, except when you move things from other disks or partitions around. The old Finder wouldn't copy files from other disks or partitions to the root disk when you move those files to the desktop like the new Finder does. It would instead do the copy from the desktop to the new destination, asssuming it was to another disk or partition.

Even if the user is moving a file from one destination to another on the same remote disk, the Finder will still copy the file to the root disk in transit if you use the desktop as a shelf. That leaves lots of iterations of your files lying around in their old places that you have to go back and delete. A pain, and not a tremendously useful shelf in that very common instance.

Another problem with using the desktop as a shelf is one of screen clutter. Exposť helps a bunch, but it's still another step one has to take to clear out all the windows a user may have littering up his/her screen in order to find space on the desktop to temporarily place the file. A shelf built into the sidebar, a la PathFinder makes good sense.

If, as John Siracusa over at Ars laments, the Finder is no longer spacial, but instead a device-like browser, then Apple should follow that metaphor through to its conclusion and provide users with the means to ignore the archaic desktop altogether. The user who began this thread seems to intutively recognize this.
     
moonmonkey
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Oct 26, 2003, 08:51 AM
 
Originally posted by - - e r i k - -:
Yup the desktop's got as much shelf-space as you'll ever need
Not so fast Erik!

It only works if you are moving stuff from the same disk/partition as the system.

Move from other disks and you get a copy.
     
LaGow
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Oct 26, 2003, 09:18 AM
 
Originally posted by moonmonkey:
Not so fast Erik!

It only works if you are moving stuff from the same disk/partition as the system.

Move from other disks and you get a copy.
Sheesh, it took you two sentences to say what I did in four paragraphs.

Yeah--what he said...!
     
ShotgunEd
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Oct 26, 2003, 09:26 AM
 
Originally posted by barbarian:
The sidebar would be so much better if we had the option to use it as a shelf.

It still is often a chore to move a file from one place to another. I always end up opening 2 windows and moving between them. Would be so much nicer to move something to a shelf, navigate to the new location and have the option to drop it somewhere.
I'd do it like this:

drag file, exposť to show desktop, use spring-loaded folders to get to the location you want to drop in, release mouse button.
     
dharknes
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Oct 26, 2003, 09:43 AM
 
Originally posted by riverfreak:
Okay, we're all familiar with the desktop metaphor. The finder of OS X (and even pre-OS X finders) broke that metaphor. For example, navigating the filesystem was always in relation to the logical root point.
Funny but this IS what's physically on disk. In the unix filesystem EVERYTHING starts at the / directory. If I mount a network fileserver, a CD, or everything else it becomes part of the local filesystem. So I don't have to know where the file is physically located other then the path to access it /Volumes/Server/file.

I can accept that adding a shortcut to the floppy disk directory (/Volumes/Floppy) makes it easier to use. But don't make that the root of browsing window chances are I don't want to stay there.

Why shouldn't the file manager in this case the Finder show me that?

Now I'll find away to make the finder work for me. After two years I finally kinda figured out the OS9 thing. Thank god they changed it.
     
dlefebvre
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Oct 26, 2003, 11:01 AM
 
Originally posted by moonmonkey:
It only works if you are moving stuff from the same disk/partition as the system.

Move from other disks and you get a copy.
If you press command while dragging it to the desktop or to another partition, it actualy moves the file. It works fine, even if it still doesn't explain why you can't cut and paste a file.
     
riverfreak  (op)
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Oct 26, 2003, 11:05 AM
 
Originally posted by dharknes:

I can accept that adding a shortcut to the floppy disk directory (/Volumes/Floppy) makes it easier to use. But don't make that the root of browsing window chances are I don't want to stay there.

Why shouldn't the file manager in this case the Finder show me that?

Now I'll find away to make the finder work for me. After two years I finally kinda figured out the OS9 thing. Thank god they changed it.
I think making shortcuts (and rooting folders / devices) makes it easier to use. You may not want to stay rooted in the Floppy (floppy? still?) but placing bounds on its navigability makes it behave more intuitively -- and more in line with the real life representations of these things. Having everything rooted in the computer or hard drive is fine, but it sure doesn't make much sense to people who don't leave and breathe computers.

But I agree: it would be nice to have a key combination that would let you escape the root of the current path you are browsing.

And if you want to use the finder practically as it was in X.2, just Hide the Toolbar from the view menu.
     
ShotgunEd
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Oct 26, 2003, 11:15 AM
 
Originally posted by dlefebvre:
If you press command while dragging it to the desktop or to another partition, it actualy moves the file. It works fine, even if it still doesn't explain why you can't cut and paste a file.
Cutting and pasting files is a terrible concept for copying files, I hate the way the easiest way to copy a file in windows is to use something that was designed for text or images.
     
SMacTech
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Oct 26, 2003, 11:18 AM
 
Originally posted by dlefebvre:
If you press command while dragging it to the desktop or to another partition, it actualy moves the file. It works fine, even if it still doesn't explain why you can't cut and paste a file.
I didn't know about the move command, that's great. That will save me lots of time when backing up files, etc.

Cut can be a dangerous operation. Many users at work with XP will accidentally cut files from the server and I end up restoring from tape after they lost or replaced the ' cut ' file.

Cutting and pasting files is a terrible concept for copying files, I hate the way the easiest way to copy a file in windows is to use something that was designed for text or images.
What he said ^ !
     
CobraMantis
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Oct 26, 2003, 11:20 AM
 
but I really liked column view.
Wait. Is column view gone?! Please say no...
     
ShotgunEd
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Oct 26, 2003, 11:36 AM
 
Don't despair, column view is still there.
     
Spliffdaddy
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Oct 26, 2003, 11:42 AM
 
Originally posted by SMacTech:
I didn't know about the move command, that's great. That will save me lots of time when backing up files, etc.

Cut can be a dangerous operation. Many users at work with XP will accidentally cut files from the server and I end up restoring from tape after they lost or replaced the ' cut ' file.



What he said ^ !
What's the difference between 'cutting' a file and 'moving' a file?


The 'cut' file in Windows doesn't go anywhere until you tell it where to go. You can't lose a 'cut' file simply because you never pasted it anywhere.
     
barbarian
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Oct 26, 2003, 11:45 AM
 
>Actually, If you look under the windows, there is this thing called the desktop... it functions rather well as a "shelf." I love pathfinder, but it will never be as integrated as the finder.

You've obviously never seen my desktop... it's basically a mass of windows, so a shelf would be infinitely more useful.

Copy/paste doesn't work for me because it leaves the original file where it was.

---
The other UI disappointment is is that we can't sort in column view. Sort by date/sort by name & sort by kind seem essential. Again pathfinder to the rescue.

--
Question... if something is in the sidebar is there a way to "break out" if for some reason you want to find the folder's place in the hierarchy. So if you have a nested folder in the sidebar and then need to find out where it is located, how do we get to it so that we can see the folder enclosing it.
     
SMacTech
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Oct 26, 2003, 11:47 AM
 
What's the difference between 'cutting' a file and 'moving' a file?
Moving the file with command key held down is a deliberate action, as a Cut operation is often done mistakenly because of its prevalence in applications.
The users whose files I restore, most always did it by mistake when they thought they had something else selected. Stupid user tricks they were, but it causes me grief to restore their files.
I didn't even know you could do a move, let alone done it accidentally.
     
BuonRotto
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Oct 26, 2003, 11:47 AM
 
The next realm for Finder improvement: improved batch and multiple file management. Well, that plus saved searches and/or smart folders.
     
SMacTech
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Oct 26, 2003, 11:54 AM
 
Originally posted by Spliffdaddy:
The 'cut' file in Windows doesn't go anywhere until you tell it where to go. You can't lose a 'cut' file simply because you never pasted it anywhere.
True, but they are unaware of the actions they are taking.
They cut the file and paste it locally removing it from the server. Instead of leaving the original behind. They may intend on making changes to the file, or whatever and end up trashing their local copy.
Now the file no longer exists. If they dragged the file, or copy and pasted, the original would still be there.
     
CobraMantis
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Oct 26, 2003, 11:57 AM
 
Originally posted by ShotgunEd:
Don't despair, column view is still there.
Whew, thank you!
     
snerdini
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Oct 26, 2003, 11:59 AM
 
Originally posted by BuonRotto:
The next realm for Finder improvement: improved batch and multiple file management. Well, that plus saved searches and/or smart folders.
Smart folders is #1 on my list of requested features added to the Finder. They would be so damn useful.
     
Sage
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Oct 26, 2003, 12:30 PM
 
With all of this talk of wanting a shelf or using tricks to move apps, have none of you ever heard of XShelf? Fabulous little app that I use all the time.
     
foamy
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Oct 26, 2003, 01:14 PM
 
For those of you who feel like the Desktop is a replacement for the shelf, try out PathFInder for a little while and you'll see that the Desktop is no shelf.

I really love the Panther Finder, but I am consistently reaching for Pathfinder so that I can use the shelf. The Pathfinder shelf lets you make piles of items in the shelf. Say you drag two items to the shelf, then drag another 3 items, a small "2" will be shown in the corner of the shelf. If you drag the "2" to the new location, all 5 files will be moved. If you grab the pile, the top 3 items will be moved, then you'll stil have the 2 remaining. The moveall feature is especially useful if you are grabbing a bunch of things from different places and moving them all to a single location.

The biggest problem with Pathfinder is that the real Finder is way snappier(R).
     
dharknes
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Oct 26, 2003, 03:21 PM
 
Originally posted by snerdini:
Smart folders is #1 on my list of requested features added to the Finder. They would be so damn useful.
I've looked a little bit at the concept of smart folders. And I have yet to really understand the benefit. What is the great thing about having a folder that really doesn't represent what's physically on disk? Just curious.
     
voodoo
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Oct 26, 2003, 03:31 PM
 
I'd really like to see a 'shelf' concept in OS X. I think it is strange that all the NeXTies at Apple haven't put that in OS X since it was such an important thing in NeXT GUI along with the Column View. Hm.
I could take Sean Connery in a fight... I could definitely take him.
     
LaGow
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Oct 26, 2003, 04:10 PM
 
Originally posted by voodoo:
I'd really like to see a 'shelf' concept in OS X. I think it is strange that all the NeXTies at Apple haven't put that in OS X since it was such an important thing in NeXT GUI along with the Column View. Hm.
I think I remember Rhapsody having a shelf at first. I'm pretty sure I saw some early builds at Macworld some years ago that had it. It must have been discarded early on, never to see the light of day again.
     
   
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