I need a helping hand: Make Nautilus tabs a joy for users! :)

This is a message to all the people who want to get involved with GNOME/Nautilus development, and do something useful! :)

As of writing, I am the only active Nautilus maintainer, and I am totally running out of time due to my studies. I’ll have a high frequency engineering exam on Wednesday, and it’s getting worse due to various time-consuming activities in my spare time.

Therefore, I am looking for an interested hacker who wants to finish my work on Nautilus user interface tab support (“multiview” branch). You should make sure that all the keybindings and mouse interaction patterns are consistent with Epiphany, and that the overall user experience is flawless.

You should have good communication skills since you would work with the usability team on a GNOME-wide policy for tabbed applications (i.e. keyboard and mouse interaction), and make sure that Epiphany, Nautilus, gedit and gnome-terminal behave accordingly.

Do some hacking for hugs and fame! :)

Update: Jareed Moore volunteered, and already published an analysis of the keybindings and mouse interaction shortcomings. Feel free to add any issues you find.

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25 Responses to “I need a helping hand: Make Nautilus tabs a joy for users! :)”

  1. Tyrone Rambo says:

    So… you mean “as broken as in Epiphany”?

  2. Martin says:

    Tabs? Ugh. Is the captin aware of your evil doings. ;)

  3. cneumair says:

    > So… you mean “as broken as in Epiphany”?

    Some arguments might be a bit more convincing than a simple statement.

  4. cneumair says:

    > Tabs? Ugh. Is the captin aware of your evil doings. ;)

    Yes, it has been discussed with Alex. We also agreed that the frequent request for “split panes” does not make sense until there is a convincing user interaction concept. Due to web browsers, tabs are very common and average people understand how to use them.

  5. Kran says:

    Basically, Nautilus is now screw, since in the world of open source, nobody does anything except giving advice and bickering.

    Good luck on your exams!

  6. Martin says:

    > Yes, it has been discussed with Alex. We also agreed that the frequent request for “split panes” does not make sense until there is a convincing user interaction concept. Due to web browsers, tabs are very common and average people understand how to use them.

    Ok. Though I can’t help but think tabs are as practical when it comes to filemanagement.

    I mean, what’s the most common reason people have more than one file manager window open? Presumably they want to move files between them. This problem must be solvable in a more practical way (I don’t have any ideas though).

    I don’t really see tabs giving you that big of an advantage over the window list.

    Anyways, since you are about to implement it I’m sure it will be done in an elegant way.

  7. Martin says:

    That should read “tabs are NOT as practical”. :)

  8. Mårten Woxberg says:

    Check out Total Commander (Windows) for a good use of tabs in a filemanager. Although that filemanager already have two columns…

    All I’m waiting for is the column-list-view. As long as that gets in I don’t care anymore. Nautilus is as good as it can be, it could get alot faster but that’s about it.

  9. A. Walton says:

    To everyone: This is a pretty polarizing issue in the community, so please refrain from baseless attacks so that we can actually get some work done; bickering for the point of bickering isn’t helping anyone, but arguing a solid case for/against is helpful. Deep breaths, stay calm and level headed and make your case. Lots of people agree, lots disagree.

    It’s also not incredibly helpful to discuss here. Unfortunately as great as blogs are, they’re not the most visible places on the Internet. If you have a coherent, cogent argument about this, please bring it to us on the Nautilus list. If you want to help out on this branch, that might be worth discussing here or talking to Manny himself. Perhaps it’d even be best to have this discussion (tabs, split-panes, multi-sidebars, etc) at some public forum like GUADEC.

    To Manny: I have to admit that I haven’t really taken a look at this code as I’m not a huge fan of tabs, but I’ll at least try to check it out sometime this week and see if I can be of any help. Not a lot of promises though, some parts of Nautilus are still foreign to me, especially the view classes and their extensive Gtk+ subclassing :). I’ve got a few more patches I really need to land in Bugzilla first though (sigh, not enough time these days indeed!) Best of luck on your exams.

  10. Canek says:

    This tabs thing will be only for the browser mode, right? Because I think tabs will break the spatial metaphor.

    I love my simple, clean and fast spatial Nautilus; please don’t break that.

    BTW, I’m subscribed to the Nautilus mailing list and I don’t remember any discussion about tabs (although I may have missed it); the discussion with Alex was in private?

  11. Anders says:

    Hey,

    I am not ready to get my feet that wet. But I hope someone takes the task. I am totally in love with the consistent tabbing in the terminal, gedit and firefox – and having this in nautilus also would be great.

    Best
    Anders

  12. Aethralis says:

    I think the way PCMan File Manager has solved the tabbed interface is quite useful and also solves some of the problems of not having two pane interface (hint: when copying files and dragging them to a tab the focus of the window changes and you can drop your file there).

  13. cneumair says:

    Canek:

    > This tabs thing will be only for the browser mode, right? Because I think tabs will break the spatial metaphor. (…) the discussion with Alex was in private?

    Yes to both questions.

  14. […] e quem quiser ajudar a desenvolvimento pode entrar no blog do cara que tá fazendo isso, Christian Neumair. Senão pode usar outros gerenciadores de files que já implementaram as abas como o Thunar, PCMan, […]

  15. Anonymous says:

    How does one help get into development? Where do the developers discuss? What sort of things will people need to know to be valuable to the project? A link or a mailing list would go a long way :)

  16. cneumair says:

    > How does one help get into development? Where do the developers discuss?

    We usually discuss technical details and architectural decisions on the development mailing list:
    http://mail.gnome.org/archives/nautilus-list/

    Bugzilla is also used for discussion:
    http://bugzilla.gnome.org/

  17. amano says:

    Since we are talking about long outstanding wishes: is it possible that the “adventures in the land of policykit” become reality (even with alex l. busy): http://blogs.gnome.org/alexl/2007/11/23/file-operations-in-nautilus-gio-and-adventures-in-the-land-of-policykit/

  18. […] est à la recherche d’un peu d’aide pour la dernière ligne droite. Vous pouvez récupérer les sources et les compiler vous-même. […]

  19. maty1206 says:

    TO cneumair:

    I’m sorry for ask you if the new tab function will do to nautilus more heavyweight and memory consuming ?

    Best regards

  20. Sebastian says:

    I think the key here is getting the tabs working with DnD. If you could get the path breadcrumbs to accept dropps that would also be an immense improvement.

    My mail usability problem with Nautilus is this: There is nowhere to drop files in a window like this (http://www.chestud.chalmers.se/~kb01bese/currentfolder.png) to get them into the current dir and not one of the subfolders.
    I havn’t tested your new compact collumn view yet, but from the screenshot it looks like it will have space between items for dropping files. Nice!!

    Good luck with the exam!

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  22. Tyrone Rambo says:

    If it isn’t obvious tabs are broken in Epiphany, then it’s because you don’t use more than at most 3 or 4. They disappear, they don’t shrink – in fact, the way that Epiphany tabs works, there is only ONE use case better than say Firefox (or just about any browser/tabbed app) – wait for it – closing many tabs quickly. That’s the only one. The only. And this is even from the mailing list discussions when some of the devs tried to find excuses for why it worked like it did.

    It’s hard to point to one single thing even, it’s all broken in every respect, from scrolling to no middle click to disappearing to no scaling to… well, all of it. And the Epiphany devs just say “noone should use more than 5 anyways” (also on mailing list).

    There just is no understanding WHY firefox tabs are so succesful. Or IE. Or Opera. Or any but Epiphany.

  23. Mårten Woxberg says:

    >(hint: when copying files and dragging them to a tab the focus of the
    >window changes and you can drop your file there).

    Isn’t that the Folder-pop-up patent that Apple has?

  24. […] pronta e funcional, mas ele pede alguma ajuda e quem estiver interessado basta acessar AQUI para […]

  25. […] e quem quiser ajudar a desenvolvimento pode entrar no blog do cara que tá fazendo isso, Christian Neumair. Senão pode usar outros gerenciadores de files que já implementaram as abas como o Thunar, PCMan, […]