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Why the Mac Finder took so long to get the new Tabs in OS X Mavericks

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
More than half a decade after adding tabs to Safari 3.0 in 2007, Apple has incorporated the same feature into the OS X Mavericks Finder to organize multiple views into a single window, building on years of technology advancements to support the seemingly simple and obvious feature.

OS X Mavericks Finder


"Finder Tabs help you declutter your desktop by consolidating multiple Finder windows into one," Apple states on its feature preview site. "You could keep a tab for Documents, one for AirDrop, and one for Back to My Mac, all in a single Finder window."

Just like Safari's browser tabs, "you can switch between tabs, customize views, and reorder them however you like."

A Full Screen Finder



Users might wonder what took Apple so long to bring such an obvious feature from its web browser to its desktop experience. After all, Cocotech's Path Finder and BinaryAge TotalFinder introduced tabbed Finder alternatives years ago, and Apple certainly understands the value of tabs given its years of supporting them in Safari.

Rather than being a simple feature addition, the new Tabs are designed to be particularly useful in the new Finder because they support drag and drop of documents between tabs, including a tab of the AirDrop window for wireless sharing.

This also makes the new Finder fully-functional in Full Screen mode, where users can actually work with multiple window views. Currently, the Finder is among the few apps bundled in OS X that doesn't support Full Screen use.

Multiple Displays



Making the Full Screen Finder even more useful is Apple's parallel overhaul of Multiple Displays. For the first time on the Macintosh, there's no longer any notion of a "primary display" hosting the menu bar and Dock.

OS X Mavericks Finder


In OS X Mavericks, every connected display presents a fully functional menu bar and a Dock (above), including any wireless AirPlay screens hosted by an Apple TV connected HDTV display (below).

OS X Mavericks Finder


Each display can also now support its own Full Screen app, and a "supercharged" new version of Mission Control now allows users to drag and drop an entire Space (including a Full Screen app) to another display (below).

OS X Mavericks Finder


While seemingly simple, the development of Multiple Displays and support for a Full Screen Finder required a lot of background changes to how OS X works.

Standing on the shoulders of giant leaps forward



The evolution of the revamped desktop and its Finder is visible in previous releases of the operating system, including 10.3's Expos? for managing windows and apps, 10.4's Dashboard as a parallel desktop environment of widgets, 10.5's Spaces implementation of virtual desktops and 10.6's rewritten Cocoa Finder.

In OS 10.7 Lion, Apple introduced Full Screen apps and the new Mission Control feature to unify Expos?, Dashboard and Spaces along with a new Screen Sharing architecture supporting multiple concurrent users through support for virtual displays. Apple also enhanced the Finder with expanded new integrated Spotlight search and item arrangement views.

In OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Apple added support for drag and drop enhancements to Remote Desktop virtual displays, for Full Screen apps on any attached display and for AirPlay Mirroring to Apple TV.

These features set the stage for OS X Mavericks' expansion of multiple desktops, virtual displays and wireless AirPlay, along with a Full Screen Finder that binds multiple views into a single tabbed window rather than just tacking on tabs as a standalone feature.
post #2 of 68
The article says that adding tabs to the Finder "required a lot of background changes to how OS X works", but never mentions what those changes are. Reading it, I felt there was a page two which explains the details, but it doesn't seem to exist.
post #3 of 68

Don't care how long it took (in the past nothing can be done about that now) just freaking geeked to be getting it.

 

Spaces and Tab Finder have been the top 2 items on my wish list since the early versions of OS X.

 

Third on my list was independent displays (No Primary Monitor).

 

I think I can be very happy with 10.8 for a long while.

 

I hope Mr. Jobs got a chance to see 10.8 because his NeXT OS rocks.

 

 

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post #4 of 68
Okay, but this article doesn't explain what the title of the article promises: WHY did it take so long? Why don't I give you the answer why: Because Steve Jobs didn't want a tabbed Finder. Now that he is sadly no longer with us, the engineers at Apple are able to start doing a lot of the advanced stuff which Jobs nixed in the past.
post #5 of 68
I quit using multiple displays because it was so wonky, so I'm stoked for the new display handling. Finder tabs is nice, but it doesn't help me a whole lot. It does seem that it took 13 years to get here, though. I'm guessing that Steve Jobs didn't like the idea, so now that he's gone, we finally get the feature. But that's just a guess.
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post #6 of 68
That's interesting, but it would be interesting to know the answer to the headline to greater depth than "it took years of hard work", because that's pretty much a tautology, as in, "It took a long time because it took a long time."
Edited by JeffDM - 6/13/13 at 3:00pm
post #7 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

More than half a decade after adding tabs to Safari 3.0 in 2007, [...]

too hard to just say "More than five years"? it's not just "More than half a decade". why stop there? it's also more than 5% of a century. More than 5% of a century. oh, the humanity. or maybe More than a lustrum would have gotten you more clicks?
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post #8 of 68
The why is the underlying technology required to support not just the appearance of tabs, but also their functionality Full Screen and across screens.

As long as the Finder was tied to the desktop, menu bar and Dock (which are actually separate processes on OS X) on the main display, there were conflicts related to taking it full screen on any screen, which is where tabs serve the purpose of working in a full screen, iPad-like experience on one screen while other displays are active with full screen apps of their own.
post #9 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

The why is the underlying technology required to support not just the appearance of tabs, but also their functionality Full Screen and across screens.

As long as the Finder was tied to the desktop, menu bar and Dock (which are actually separate processes on OS X) on the main display, there were conflicts related to taking it full screen on any screen, which is where tabs serve the purpose of working in a full screen, iPad-like experience on one screen while other displays are active with full screen apps of their own.

What underlying technology, specifically? Also, full screen isn't required to make tabs useful, it wasn't even until Mountain Lion that apps were universally given full screen ability. Across screens seems like a pointless claim of limitation. Macs don't seem to care what screen a window is on. That the menu bar is on all screens now doesn't strike me as a problem that previously prevented tabs from being implemented.

Anyways, this line of reasoning sounds like an example of the perfect being the enemy of the good.

The Finder has been a bit of a sore spot, long-neglected. And I don't think it's because improving it was necessarily too hard to fix problems that it had. More realistically, I think it just wasn't a program sexy enough to make it worth improving.
Edited by JeffDM - 6/13/13 at 3:19pm
post #10 of 68
All I want is auto-right-size-columns in column view. It's so freaking stupid that this hasn't happened yet!
post #11 of 68

I loved some of Finder features in OS9 which disappeared in OSX.

 

Option+double click on a folder closed one window and opened a new one -- you can do this in OSX but the new listing opens in the same window, and retains the size of the parent window.

 

With multiple windows open in OS9, Option-clicking on the now green traffic light resized every window according to number of files within each -- doesn't quite work in OSX. In fact, resizing windows in OSX limits the size (length) of each window and forces scrolling -- methinks this was designed around the 13" laptop screen but is cumbersome on a larger display.

 

Can anyone remember being able to park Finder windows at the bottom of the screen in OS9?

 

Sometimes it is best not to mess with some of the more useful and distinguishing features of an OS, which is why I avoided WinPCs all my computing life.

post #12 of 68
I also imagine that rewriting the Finder was one of those projects that they kept promising to do "someday" while they added features and squashed bugs for each OS X release. Eventually they got around to doing it. I don't think that there is a lot of "why" to this. It was this or that Jobs nixed it. Probably.
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post #13 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by sip View Post

I loved some of Finder features in OS9 which disappeared in OSX.

 

Option+double click on a folder closed one window and opened a new one -- you can do this in OSX but the new listing opens in the same window, and retains the size of the parent window.

 

With multiple windows open in OS9, Option-clicking on the now green traffic light resized every window according to number of files within each -- doesn't quite work in OSX. In fact, resizing windows in OSX limits the size (length) of each window and forces scrolling -- methinks this was designed around the 13" laptop screen but is cumbersome on a larger display.

 

Can anyone remember being able to park Finder windows at the bottom of the screen in OS9?

 

Sometimes it is best not to mess with some of the more useful and distinguishing features of an OS, which is why I avoided WinPCs all my computing life.

The option-double click trick should just honor the "open folders in new window" preference and it would work correctly. I wonder why it doesn't? 

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post #14 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooch View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

More than half a decade after adding tabs to Safari 3.0 in 2007, [...]

too hard to just say "More than five years"? it's not just "More than half a decade". why stop there? it's also more than 5% of a century. More than 5% of a century. oh, the humanity. or maybe More than a lustrum would have gotten you more clicks?

 

I would've gone with a quarter score, but that's just me.

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post #15 of 68

I'm still wonder why they didn't just add tabbing windows together to the window manager instead. Would be nice if all apps could use it for "free" or opt-in to using it like full screen mode.

 

Since lots of apps use the whole sidebar feature (like iTunes, Finder and now Safari), it would be interesting if you could tab together windows from different apps. The sidebar and menubar would simple change to match the tab that is selected...

post #16 of 68

Hm, with all due respect, this article is garbage.

 

It does not actually answer what it promises to answer in the headline. We still don't know why it took so long to get tabs in the finder. This whole article is based on assumptions and conclusions based on an author apparently unqualified to make such judgements.

 

However, one thing is clear. Neither did implementing tabs for the Finder require any or "a lot" of background changes to OS X, nor did the fact that you may drag and drop between tabs have much to do with implementation complexity.

 

Probably the reasons are more along the lines of "because they never bothered to". The fact that we got a tabbed finder together with better multi screen support is merely coincidential.

 

 

Quote:
While seemingly simple, the development of Multiple Displays and support for a Full Screen Finder required a lot of background changes to how OS X works.

 

I'm also really baffled at how statements such as the above actually manage to get published and pass the editor. There is absolutely no reasoning justifying this statement, nor is there a source. And frankly, this is a bunch of bullshit and phrases such as "a lot of background changes to how OS X works" just highlight the fact that the author does not seem to have any idea of what he is talking about.

post #17 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Okay, but this article doesn't explain what the title of the article promises: WHY did it take so long? Why don't I give you the answer why: Because Steve Jobs didn't want a tabbed Finder. Now that he is sadly no longer with us, the engineers at Apple are able to start doing a lot of the advanced stuff which Jobs nixed in the past.

 

Do you have even a shred of evidence that that is so? I thought not.

 

 

If tabs were 'years' in the making then that suggests that they were working on this when S.J. was alive. And remember how long it took to even get the Finder rewritten to Cocoa. In the end we have no real idea what has been going on with Finder and what the delays were.

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post #18 of 68
I don't know about Finder tabs (time will tell), but in Safari, tabs have proven to be quite useful.

However, only recently did I discover the tabbed window in XCode 4.x

Not only has this feature in XCode vastly improved my productivity, but it also seems a lot faster. And nothing keeps you from opening an occasional throw-away window that you can move independently. Soooo nice.
post #19 of 68

Can we please, please, please, all just agree among ourselves to refer to the new OS as simply 10.9? OS X Mavericks is completely ridiculous. Worst name ever. Every time I see OS X Mavericks, I do a mental substitution for 10.9.

post #20 of 68
What is the answer to the question "what took so long"?

I didn't really see it in the article.
post #21 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by cynic View Post

Hm, with all due respect, this article is garbage.

 

It does not actually answer what it promises to answer in the headline. We still don't know why it took so long to get tabs in the finder. This whole article is based on assumptions and conclusions based on an author apparently unqualified to make such judgements.

I wholeheartedly agree.

 

This article does not remotely answer the question it poses in the title and it feels like amateur detective work at best.

post #22 of 68
Here's why it took so long: Not enough people really wanted it. Otherwise Apple would have done it.

The people clamoring for tabs were a minuscule minority, is all.

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post #23 of 68
Did anyone notice that no where in the article did the author answer the question the title seems to ask? I mistakenly thought it had some information about WHY it took so long to get the tabs in the Finder.
post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eluard View Post

Do you have even a shred of evidence that that is so? I thought not.

In all fairness, the article gave no evidence or citations for its claims WRT delays on tabs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by initiator View Post

Can we please, please, please, all just agree among ourselves to refer to the new OS as simply 10.9? OS X Mavericks is completely ridiculous. Worst name ever. Every time I see OS X Mavericks, I do a mental substitution for 10.9.

I'm not fond of the name either.
Edited by JeffDM - 6/13/13 at 6:26pm
post #25 of 68

Shorter answer:  most people don't really want tabs in Finder. 

 

This is more or less proven by the existence of excellent quality Finder replacements that use tabs, that have been around for years, and that have only achieved a small niche status.  

It's a geek feature that the average user won't use or care about.

post #26 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Okay, but this article doesn't explain what the title of the article promises: WHY did it take so long? Why don't I give you the answer why: Because Steve Jobs didn't want a tabbed Finder. Now that he is sadly no longer with us, the engineers at Apple are able to start doing a lot of the advanced stuff which Jobs nixed in the past.

 

And Steve Jobs was right.  

 

OS X is a consumer operating system and as such it doesn't (or didn't) need geeky features like Finder tabs.  Now iOS is the "consumer" OS, it finally makes sense to geek out a bit more on OS X.  

 

This whole release comes across to me as an attempt to ameliorate the criticism they have been getting from so-called "pro" users that OS X is no longer serious enough by adding in a few long held "wants" form that crowd.  If OS X was designed the way you wanted it years ago, it would never have taken off as a consumer OS and would have remained something similar to NeXT with a tiny niche market of Unix geeks.  

 

The sad thing to me is that everything about OS X 10.9 and iOS 7.0 seems targeted towards ameliorating criticism of one kind of another.  AT least this year, Apple has seemingly shifted away from doing what they think is right, towards "fixing" what their critics think is wrong.  IMO this is bad news if it continues.  

post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by initiator View Post

Can we please, please, please, all just agree among ourselves to refer to the new OS as simply 10.9? OS X Mavericks is completely ridiculous. Worst name ever. Every time I see OS X Mavericks, I do a mental substitution for 10.9.

 

plus a million internet points.  

 

I have already made this decision myself before I read your post and will *never* use "that name."  I find it idiotic at best, but occasionally it elevates itself to the level of irritating or even offensive.    

post #28 of 68

Makes me want to buy a thunderbolt display for my iMac, just to try the new multi monitor setup. I'm trying to imaging this on a new Mac Pro + dual 4K displays. Splooge.

post #29 of 68
Rewrite the article and explain why it took so long to get tabs. TotalFinder implemented a long time ago without access to the source code.
post #30 of 68
This article doesn't answer the headline:
"Why the Mac Finder took so long to get the new Tabs in OS X Mavericks".

I kept on reading to get to a point where the answer why things were taking so long was answered but then it ended.

As always with AI, a lot is written but not much is being said.
post #31 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

And Steve Jobs was right.  

OS X is a consumer operating system and as such it doesn't (or didn't) need geeky features like Finder tabs.  Now iOS is the "consumer" OS, it finally makes sense to geek out a bit more on OS X.  

I get your point but I don't agree; most of the 10.9 features (not using the name!) are making the operating system better behind the hood. It's absolutely a great thing to see they are not adding too much crap this time and instead focus on memory usage etc.

Further tabs are not intrusive to the consumer user. They can simply not use it. It's not a thing they need to worry about unless they choose to add a tab. It's all about exposing the power things at the right time.

Another confusing thing was the terrible multi monitor support. I think the new concept is much better to grasp by all types of users.

Lastly I am not sure if Steve Jobs was 100% right. Yes it's a consumer OS, but we got iOS now to cover 'our moms and dads'.

Things like the launch pad and 3D dock are meant to be for 'consumers' but that is where apple loses me: launch pad is just another (inferior and redundant) way of opening and managing too many icons, a 3D dock should be attractive but is merely visual clutter opposed to the (hidden) 2D one.
post #32 of 68

"Boss, it took me two days to print this memo because I had to understand how our office network works, how printers are connected, and I found the best way to give print command from my PC/Mac."

 

This article sounds like an incompetent effort to justify the delay of a project which took triple the time needed.

 

Several other smaller third party software added tab option to Finder years ago. Other than the much touted Multi Display support, there was no other point why Apple fails to do what others did so easily.

post #33 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by bOMBfACTORY View Post

All I want is auto-right-size-columns in column view. It's so freaking stupid that this hasn't happened yet!


Oh no kidding. I love it when an OS X folder reveals to me "Ethernet i...onous.txt," because I'm pretty sure that's the file I was lookin' for. I'm not 100% sure but it's still damned exciting to have finally found it anyway.

 

Auto-sizing of columns to accommodate what's being viewed (well, we're all trying to view it) should have happened 10.2 or 10.3. A Panther thing probably. Years later would be better than nuthin' tho...

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post #34 of 68

You can have it now... Just install small utility XtraFinder <http://www.trankynam.com/xtrafinder/>. If you dive into the preferences, you can have your columns resized automaticly, you can also have tabs, dual panel, dual windows, etc. All for free, today and in the Finder, no 3rd party utility. Enjoy. I use it now for more then year.

post #35 of 68
I thought the improvements to OS X were superb and better than the mismatch of changes in iOS.

Number 1 thing on my wish list that hasn't been dealt with? ZFS. This was rumoured some time ago then disappeared when Oracle bought Sun.

Number 2: better Finder copying controls. Years ago under System 7 there was a Finder replacement called Speedy Finder which allowed you to serialise copies (ie start multiple copies running at the same time but get them to queue so only one copy was done at a time and when that one finished, the next one started), reorder them and pause them. Also, I'd love to see much smarter merging, replacing, conditional skipping, etc when copying files where there are duplicate names. Tools like rsync are great but having some of these options in the Finder would be far better than the other GUI 3rd party tools currently available.
post #36 of 68
After I've upgraded to 10.9 I'll delete TidyWindow (MAS app, free) which is serving me well now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sip View Post

I loved some of Finder features in OS9 which disappeared in OSX.

Option+double click on a folder closed one window and opened a new one -- you can do this in OSX but the new listing opens in the same window, and retains the size of the parent window.

With multiple windows open in OS9, Option-clicking on the now green traffic light resized every window according to number of files within each -- doesn't quite work in OSX. In fact, resizing windows in OSX limits the size (length) of each window and forces scrolling -- methinks this was designed around the 13" laptop screen but is cumbersome on a larger display.

Can anyone remember being able to park Finder windows at the bottom of the screen in OS9?

Sometimes it is best not to mess with some of the more useful and distinguishing features of an OS, which is why I avoided WinPCs all my computing life.

MacOS Finder was indeed great! Never was 'fond' of Windows Explorer, but there were many add-ons available for it. Or easily tweaked in that awful Registry. I really loved the NeXTSTEP implementation. That was so ahead of its time, similar to the iPhone in 2007.
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post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Okay, but this article doesn't explain what the title of the article promises: WHY did it take so long? Why don't I give you the answer why: Because Steve Jobs didn't want a tabbed Finder. Now that he is sadly no longer with us, the engineers at Apple are able to start doing a lot of the advanced stuff which Jobs nixed in the past.

 

I think Jobs had some other vision of how he wanted Finder to work, and it just couldn't be done. If you look at Finder under Mountain Lion and FInder on the Mac Plus (late '80s) it hasn't changed much in all that time. And even back then there was pressure to make Finder more intuitive and useful. This has been decades in coming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nitewing98 View Post

I quit using multiple displays because it was so wonky, so I'm stoked for the new display handling. 

Yeah, I can't figure why multiple displays were so messed up during all of OSX. I had multiple displays running fine on my old MacII. Each display had its own video card and I could operate them pretty independently and move documents and applications between the screens. Meanwhile, doing this on a WIndows computer was impossible. Then Windows gained the ability while Macs got wonky. 

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post #38 of 68
Doesn't really explain why it took so long.
The headline should have been "Appleinsider parrots apple's talking points"
post #39 of 68
Just an idea to answer the question in the title of this article : could be because the Finder was still Carbon frameworks app until Lion, but Finder has been rewrote in Xcode Cocoa framewoeks for Mountain Lion. That could make some important technology difference as other part of the OS were already in Cocoa ?
post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by DGNR8 View Post

Don't care how long it took (in the past nothing can be done about that now) just freaking geeked to be getting it.

Spaces and Tab Finder have been the top 2 items on my wish list since the early versions of OS X.

Third on my list was independent displays (No Primary Monitor).

I think I can be very happy with 10.8 for a long while.

I hope Mr. Jobs got a chance to see 10.8 because his NeXT OS rocks.


This is the way Linux should have always been, Yeah I Talking To You REDHAT!

Linux has had independent desktops and a tabbed file explorer for a while now. What exactly do you need in Redhat, I use CentOS so if you ever need help adding a feature or making the desktop more user friendly I'll be more then happy to help.
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