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What's wrong with the Finder?

post #1 of 92
Thread Starter 
I keep seeing FTFF but I am perplexed. What is exactly wrong?
post #2 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by MajorMatt
I keep seeing FTFF but I am perplexed. What is exactly wrong?

My only problems with the Finder is its plumbing. It's not that well optimized. It can be slow at times (especially in networking-related tasks). And with Tiger, I have been getting many beach balls when using the Finder.
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post #3 of 92
Thread Starter 
Slow? It seems pretty fast to me.
post #4 of 92
People want Apple to FFTF for the wrong reasons.

People are wanting fixes that relate to the 'now' and the past. People want Apple to fix the Finder so it becomes what it should have been back in OS X 10.0.

Nobody's forward-thinking. Nobody's thinking of how it should become.

I'd much rather see Apple redesign the Finder or scrap it altogether for a 'Project Manager' type app that would simply allow people to group files together and manage them.

The real 'browsing' should happen within apps, either via a custom and specialized interface (like iTunes, iPhoto, Mail, Address Book, etc.) or via a new and improved Open/Save dialog that drops the 'hierarchical browsing' BS and focuses on metadata.

First of all this Open/Save dialog would search your computer (HD and peripherals) for the files that the app can recognize (and only those files because why show all the other files that can't be opened?) This automagically reduces the amount of file you have to wade through...the next step (which should be considered the first step) would be to narrow down the search using the Open/Save dialog metadata browsing options. The metadata that is shown would be metadata that only pertains to the type of file the app can recognize. And the search field (which exists today in 10.4 in the Open/Save dialog box) would allow you to find rapidly if you know exactly what you're looking for. There is no third step (unless you search and then filter...in that case, the filtering would be the third step.)

There is very little reason for the 'average person' to wander around the hierarchy of his hard drive. The Finder could stay for legacy purposes or for the power user that wants total and absolute control of what's on his HD...but the average joe doesn't need to know what's in his 'Library' folder or in the 'System' folder. He only cares about *his* documents and that's the only thing he should see.

What people would need though is an app that groups files together. It would somewhat be like the Finder but the focus would be on grouping files...not browsing storage media.
post #5 of 92
Thread Starter 
It aint broke so dont fix it.

Optomize it, enhance it, port it to cocoa but there need be no major redesign.
post #6 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
People want Apple to FFTF for the wrong reasons.

People are wanting fixes that relate to the 'now' and the past. People want Apple to fix the Finder so it becomes what it should have been back in OS X 10.0.

Nobody's forward-thinking. Nobody's thinking of how it should become.

I'd much rather see Apple redesign the Finder or scrap it altogether for a 'Project Manager' type app that would simply allow people to group files together and manage them.

The real 'browsing' should happen within apps, either via a custom and specialized interface (like iTunes, iPhoto, Mail, Address Book, etc.) or via a new and improved Open/Save dialog that drops the 'hierarchical browsing' BS and focuses on metadata.

First of all this Open/Save dialog would search your computer (HD and peripherals) for the files that the app can recognize (and only those files because why show all the other files that can't be opened?) This automagically reduces the amount of file you have to wade through...the next step (which should be considered the first step) would be to narrow down the search using the Open/Save dialog metadata browsing options. The metadata that is shown would be metadata that only pertains to the type of file the app can recognize. And the search field (which exists today in 10.4 in the Open/Save dialog box) would allow you to find rapidly if you know exactly what you're looking for. There is no third step (unless you search and then filter...in that case, the filtering would be the third step.)

There is very little reason for the 'average person' to wander around the hierarchy of his hard drive. The Finder could stay for legacy purposes or for the power user that wants total and absolute control of what's on his HD...but the average joe doesn't need to know what's in his 'Library' folder or in the 'System' folder. He only cares about *his* documents and that's the only thing he should see.

What people would need though is an app that groups files together. It would somewhat be like the Finder but the focus would be on grouping files...not browsing storage media.

Two observations:

Hierarchical browsing is deeply tied to the "spatial metaphor" that was one of the raison d'être for the original Mac OS. It's in Apple's DNA, and to abandon it would freak out a huge percentage of the installed user base. I expect Apple to gradually add the structures you want (as they steadily have been in OS X) while maintaining a comfort zone for the desktop metaphor set (as they have with list view).

Secondly, in your description of your ideal browser/file manager set-up, I don't see any provision to search for files outside of the app. This is obviously necessary since searches are frequently across multiple apps that are related by criteria other than what opens them; I assume you figure that would be covered by the file grouping app you're envisioning.

I don't think that's enough, since it would presumably require the user to be scrupulous in tagging stuff as things are created, which is exactly what "Joe Document Folder" is unlikely to follow through on.

Once you get into "all the stuff that relates to family history", unless you were careful about naming things meta-data won't necessarily be your savior.

Anyway, I kinda like browsing because I forget what the hell I've been up to and it's like a little treasure hunt.
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post #7 of 92
Quote:
Anyway, I kinda like browsing because I forget what the hell I've been up to and it's like a little treasure hunt.

hehe...
I personally don't dislike the Finder.
but what Kim Kap Sol said makes me think of an über-wicked-and-very-cool Spotlight.
I mean, that sounded like Spotlight, only way better.
With a dropdown menu that you can choose what kind of file you would like to search. (Spotlight would know what kind of files you can open by recognizing the apps you have).

I think it would be better if Apple added a second Finder for the people who wants an other finder. Maybe Spotlight (not the current app, but a better version) could fill that gap.

Personally i like the finder, because you can do anything with your files.
e.g. Changing names, changing extentions (like .txt to .html), dragging them to the Trash (This one I like very much), draging to other files & sub files, etc, etc.
instead of opening every app to just change a name or extentions is just absurd and annoying.
post #8 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by MajorMatt
It aint broke so dont fix it.

Are you talking about the same Finder we all know, or is this some mysterious, fast and bug-free Finder we've never seen before?
'L'enfer, c'est les autres' - JPS
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post #9 of 92
Thread Starter 
Name me some places where it is slow and bugs you can reproduce. Use listform.
post #10 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by MajorMatt
Name me some places where it is slow and bugs you can reproduce. Use listform.

You should be a professional comedian.
post #11 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
You should be a professional comedian.

When people wouldn't laught at his jokes; he would ask them to make better ones. And use listform.
'L'enfer, c'est les autres' - JPS
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post #12 of 92
Meanwhile, John Siracusa has this to say about the Finder.
'L'enfer, c'est les autres' - JPS
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post #13 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
There is very little reason for the 'average person' to wander around the hierarchy of his hard drive. The Finder could stay for legacy purposes or for the power user that wants total and absolute control of what's on his HD...but the average joe doesn't need to know what's in his 'Library' folder or in the 'System' folder. He only cares about *his* documents and that's the only thing he should see.

What people would need though is an app that groups files together. It would somewhat be like the Finder but the focus would be on grouping files...not browsing storage media.

OMFG!!

You must be joking. The finder is the manager of files. No app should ever take over that task. EVER. We are already generating confusion with apps that try to mimic the finder. I have seen more people get all confused about this:"are the songs I see in iTunes files? What happens if I delete them, are they erased?" , total nonsense because it isn't clearly defined to the user that the song you see is a link to a file and not the actual file.

Here's another nonsense: You connect a camera to your Mac, iPhoto automatically launches, creates a new folder, moves the files form the camera to that folder and places the photos in it's library, all this is done behind the scenes, the novice user has no idea the iPhoto just created folders without him knowing. Now, are the pictures he sees the files? How does he know that? And where exactly are the files at?

Anytime you hide info you get into trouble. It's just not a good solution.
post #14 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by MajorMatt
I keep seeing FTFF but I am perplexed. What is exactly wrong?

I've probably said this a zillion times already, but here goes.

Absolutely pitiful data/fluff pixel ratio. The Finder takes lots of screen space and shows very little useful info at a time. You have to scroll, navigate and browse considerably more because of this, detracting from the actual task of operating on the files.

Toolbar/sidebar combination that wastes space and just doesn't feel orthogonal and clean enough. Finder feels like a patchwork quilt, not an efficient, purpose-crafted tool for managing files.

A simple task such as dragging and dropping a file to parent folder can't be done except by view mode change (!!!), setting up extra windows, or retracing the full path starting from the closest location that happens to be on the Sidebar. Only the last way is possible after you have started dragging. Finder constantly forces a person out of the natural workflow of moving stuff around and draws attention to itself. There is no good reason for this. Even without a complete redesign, a quick fix would be to springload the back and forward buttons on the toolbar for drag and drop.

If you drag Trash on the sidebar, you don't get the Trash icon, you get the .Trash folder with no indication of whether there is something in there or not. If I could have Trash on the sidebar, I could hide the Dock immediately.

And that is not all. Overall I'm somewhat less frustrated with these things than I used to be, but it's because I have a much larger screen and can afford to throw screen space away. Nothing has been fixed.

I was going to include the way shift-arrowkey selection works, but realized that's not a Finder problem but a Mac problem.
post #15 of 92
It took me a minute to figure out what FTFF was but now that i did, i can give you my $0.02. The thing that finder needs is the following

-Thumbnail View (I know there is a way to sort-of get it with big icons and the icon previews but thats not the same or as easy)

-FTP (finder needs to have better FTP support)

and there are some more but the above are the most important IMO
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post #16 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by iPeon
OMFG!!

You must be joking. The finder is the manager of files. No app should ever take over that task. EVER.

I question whether the Finder should be an app at all, or a fundamental layer or mode of the OS, somewhat like Expose and Dashboard.
Quote:
Here's another nonsense: You connect a camera to your Mac, iPhoto automatically launches, creates a new folder, moves the files form the camera to that folder and places the photos in it's library, all this is done behind the scenes, the novice user has no idea the iPhoto just created folders without him knowing. Now, are the pictures he sees the files? How does he know that? And where exactly are the files at?

Anytime you hide info you get into trouble. It's just not a good solution.

I agree that the model where a single monolithic application like iTunes or iPhoto hoards files to itself is asking for trouble. I'd like to see less focus on apps and more focus on the data at hand. Ultimately the user shouldn't need to be concerned which "app" is being used - what matters is seeing desired data quickly and accurately, and having effortless access to all the ways there are on the computer to modify said data. Any thought expended on whether the desired function is in "Photoshop", "Flash", "Illustrator" etc is fundamentally wasted. Naturally this would demand a very different, humbler attitude from the companies making the data transformation tools. No more splash screens. No more huge software packages with everything and the kitchen sink, but specific tools you need to complement your existing ones. (Obviously many would still sell the tools bundled, but you could buy the bundle, hand-pick one tool from the lot and ignore the rest. No more changing your whole work context "app" to access that one crucial tool.)
post #17 of 92
Quote:
-FTP (finder needs to have better FTP support)

could this be of interest: FileRun
post #18 of 92
Thread Starter 
I am still perplexed. I was reading the ARS article and saw things like "endemic rage in the mac community" or something like that. I have never seen any complaints about the finder until I saw it mentioned here at AI. Nothing is perfect, but I have had years of productivity with the finder with no frustration.

All the complaints about the windows not being affective in metaphor, the new fangled ideas of file management and being slow strikes me as perplexing. I navigate nearly instaneously, even on my G4/400 ...

This all seems much to do about nothing!
post #19 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by iPeon
OMFG!!

You must be joking. The finder is the manager of files. No app should ever take over that task. EVER. We are already generating confusion with apps that try to mimic the finder. I have seen more people get all confused about this:"are the songs I see in iTunes files? What happens if I delete them, are they erased?" , total nonsense because it isn't clearly defined to the user that the song you see is a link to a file and not the actual file.

Here's another nonsense: You connect a camera to your Mac, iPhoto automatically launches, creates a new folder, moves the files form the camera to that folder and places the photos in it's library, all this is done behind the scenes, the novice user has no idea the iPhoto just created folders without him knowing. Now, are the pictures he sees the files? How does he know that? And where exactly are the files at?

Anytime you hide info you get into trouble. It's just not a good solution.

If you truly believe that then you absolutely hate the Open/Save dialog.

And you also hate the fact that it wouldn't matter where your files are.

Questions you'll have to ponder on: how does the novice user know that the icons he sees in the Finder are files? How does he know that the items he sees in the Open dialog are files? Why should he care?

The only info that is being hidden is the info novice user doesn't care about.

Making the Finder handle and manage every type of file is a ridiculous waste of resources. Not only will the Finder never be able to manage the specific needs of a file, there a kind of redundancy (like you said) that confuses people...people wonder if they have to use iTunes to manage their music or if they have to use the Finder.

I once tried to sit down and sketch up how the Finder could handle all the metadata that was available for files. I quickly realized it was near impossible to create an easy-to-use GUI to allow someone to quickly navigate to the file he wanted.

The Finder is the jack-of-all-trades. It isn't particularly good at doing what it does and never will be.

Opening files and saving them should be left to the app. Like I said, I don't care if it's a custom built manager that handles a file's specific needs or if it's the Open/Save dialog that automatically filters out the files that can't be recognized and gives the user pertinent metadata browsing choices...but this is how it's got to be.

There's already too much confusion as to why an Open/Save dialog exists when the Finder could be used to open and save files instead. Or why the Spotlight window exists if the Finder can do everything the Spotlight window can *and* more.

There shouldn't be a middleman. The Finder shouldn't exist.

The only file manager that should exist is one that ties up loose ends and allows grouping of files. And, yes, addabox, the searching would happen in that app.

Metadata may not be a savior...but it's better than the current hierarchical system where there's no metadata and if you misplace a file (don't remember file path) and don't remember its name, there's absolutely no way to find it unless you go through every folder. At least with metadata files get freebies tacked onto them allowing them to be found any number of way.

All things being equal, someone finding a file by filtering metadata will do so more rapidly than someone that is going through every folder. Why? People remember metadata more easily than exact file names and file paths.

People remember that the file they're looking for was a picture or a newsletter before they remember the name of the picture or newsletter.
post #20 of 92
Quote:
I was reading the ARS article and saw things like "endemic rage in the mac community" or something like that.

"Something like that" indeed. Is it too much effort to take a second glance and get the actual quote?

Quote:
Dissatisfaction with the Mac OS X Finder is endemic in the Mac user community, ranging from mild frustration to deep-seated rage.

(Emphasis added.) In other words, many Mac users are not satisfied with the Finder. Maybe that just means they get miffed once in awhile when it beachballs after a server disconnects or something. Or maybe it drives them up the wall on a daily basis. There's a range. But it's certainly not a well-loved application. Of all the bundled Mac OS X apps, the Finder gets the most complaints, version after version. We can all argue about the reasons for, or legitimacy of those complaints, but confirmation of their mere existence is only a google search away.
post #21 of 92
Thread Starter 
Yes, it is easier to write that because I'm not writing an english paper.

Mind you, writers always employ great literary license when they write. So bear his remark with little weight.

Ofcourse if you google for "Finder problems" or what not you will find complaints. However you must realize people are more apt to complain then to suddenly exclaim, "The Finder is working great today! I love it!" as one doesn't say, "wow, my throat feels great today!"

The problem probably feels amplified in a place like AI where we come to nitpick about the most minor things. I bet for every person who doesnt like the finder there is 99 who work with it with no thought at all, because for them it just works.

Sure there are problems but the fact remains that 99.998% works correctly.
post #22 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by Jwink3101

-FTP (finder needs to have better FTP support)

I think FTP support is not a required feature for the finder. there are excellent FTP solutions for macos X in the market. Fetch, Transmit, Capitan FTP and the list go on .... if you do not want to pay for those solutions, use the terminal.app

by the way, my brother still use pico for editing his text files. the is the ultimate NO-GUI fan!

regards!
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post #23 of 92
Is the current finder (Tiger) a Carbon app or a Cocoa app? I am confused on this part.
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post #24 of 92
I wish spotlight didn't scrap the entire search when you change a character in the search field.

You type in "hello kitty" into the search field and it searches and completes the search, if you hit backspace so it looks for "hello kitt" it starts the search from the top. It would be great it it removed from the existing list what didn't match and add what it found new in the list.
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post #25 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by MajorMatt
The problem probably feels amplified in a place like AI where we come to nitpick about the most minor things. I bet for every person who doesnt like the finder there is 99 who work with it with no thought at all, because for them it just works.

And for every person who complains about Microsoft Word, there are probably 99 people who use it and are never even quite sure if it's "Dell", "Windows", "Word" or "Internet Explorer" they are using, far less being capable of pointing out and analyzing what's wrong with it. That doesn't make Word good software.
Quote:
Sure there are problems but the fact remains that 99.998% works correctly.

If specifications say a software should format your hard drive, fry your screen and make rude jokes about you through the speaker, and it does that, it's working "correctly", It's still useless software. What matters is how well the software lets you do your work. I personally have observed no "correctness" (read: crashing and obvious bugs) in 10.4 Finder, although it is still rather choppy especially with preview column enabled . It's the obvious faults in design that bug me, and those are present in 100% of Finders.
post #26 of 92
I have to agree with MajorMatt. Obviously some people seem to encounter problems with the finder, but I personally have been using a mac for over a year now and have A LOT of files. I have never personally experienced any slowness or beachballs with finder. This could be due to the fact that I never browse a network with it.

And coming from the windows world it works much better then the windows equivilent. I am not saying that means it can't be better but it is better then windows.

When MajorMatt says there are probably a ton of people that don't even think about it I think thats true. I wouldn't have ever thought about if there wasn't the posts on the apple oriented message boards.
post #27 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by zenatek
I have to agree with MajorMatt. Obviously some people seem to encounter problems with the finder, but I personally have been using a mac for over a year now and have A LOT of files. I have never personally experienced any slowness or beachballs with finder. This could be due to the fact that I never browse a network with it.

And coming from the windows world it works much better then the windows equivilent. I am not saying that means it can't be better but it is better then windows.

When MajorMatt says there are probably a ton of people that don't even think about it I think thats true. I wouldn't have ever thought about if there wasn't the posts on the apple oriented message boards.

Well it could just be because people are complaining about the wrong reasons. :P

Like I said earlier, a lot of people are complaining about slowness and bugs...when the biggest issue at hand is that the Finder concept in general is deprecated. To fix the Finder would mean to get rid of it.

But I guess I fall in a very tiny 'FTFF' category with a view toward the future instead of the present. I'm sure tons of people think I'm crazy. And maybe I am.
post #28 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
If you truly believe that then you absolutely hate the Open/Save dialog.

And you also hate the fact that it wouldn't matter where your files are. :::::snip:::::

Huh? I don't think we are on the same page.
post #29 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by MajorMatt
It aint broke so dont fix it.

Optomize it, enhance it, port it to cocoa but there need be no major redesign.

What's the relevance of whether it's Cocoa or Carbon?
post #30 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by krispie
What's the relevance of whether it's Cocoa or Carbon?

With Cocoa, Apple will be able to develop faster and focus on what really counts.
post #31 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by MajorMatt
I keep seeing FTFF but I am perplexed. What is exactly wrong?

There a couple things I'd like to see. Closing the last window in an application should close that application. Easier access to the applications and home/documents folders would also be nice.
post #32 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by BenRoethig
There a couple things I'd like to see. Closing the last window in an application should close that application. Easier access to the applications and home/documents folders would also be nice.

I would HATE that! Sometimes I want to run programs with no windows open, seriously, it's just because of windows that people have come up with this backward notion that window==program, which is counter-intuitive to a multi-tasking environment where you have many windows in many programs open.
post #33 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by BenRoethig
Closing the last window in an application should close that application

Negative. If I have a document open in say, TextEdit, and I am done with that document, I want to

1) Close that document, and
2) Open another document.

Now if the policy was that the app would quit when the last document was closed, then I have 2 choices, neither of them elegant:

1) Close the document, and have to re-launch the TextEdit app to see my next document - a pain in the ass

2) Open the next document with the old document still open, to prevent TextEdit from quitting, and THEN go to the Window menu, bring the old document to the front, and close it - another pain in the ass.

So I much prefer the Mac way - close the document you are finished with, and then choose Open and open the next document you want. NOT a pain in the ass.
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post #34 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
People want Apple to FFTF for the wrong reasons.

There is very little reason for the 'average person' to wander around the hierarchy of his hard drive.

But it is very important for developers! Essential.
post #35 of 92
Thread Starter 
To me, the ability to create a file hierarchy the way I want and to navigate it is a paramount mac experience.

To sacrafice it for a 'faster' and supposed better way by relegating the system to take over the task is madness. We have a computing metaphor that works very well, let me reiterate: if it aint broke, dont fix it.
post #36 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by BenRoethig
There a couple things I'd like to see. Closing the last window in an application should close that application. Easier access to the applications and home/documents folders would also be nice.

That's so Windows and so very annoying. Why would you need to close an application in OS X?
post #37 of 92
Not everybody has 4gb of RAM.
post #38 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by BenRoethig
Not everybody has 4gb of RAM.

Well, that's obviously *your* problem. My 2.7 Dual G5 PowerMac with 8GB of RAM has *no* problem functioning the way macheads want it to function (never quit any app, ever, even if that app is a useless piece of shit that you never want to run again *cough PhotoBooth cough*).

You should get more RAM so the Finder will work the only way it should work, the non-Windows way, never quit any app, evah! Fixing the Finder is not an option when RAM is dirt-cheap, only about 600 bucks for 4GB of RAM. And yes, if you don't like it, buy a Dell!
'L'enfer, c'est les autres' - JPS
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post #39 of 92
Mr. Clean, what are your troubles/issues with PhotoBooth?
I find it simple, attractive, and even fun. Sure, it's kind of gimmicky, but the gimmick works. I see people playing with it at the Apple store, and they're almost always enjoying themselves.
post #40 of 92
Quote:
Originally posted by MajorMatt
It aint broke so dont fix it.

it IS broke, I should be able to have the option of a nesting tree view for files and folder navigation (left pane folder tree right pane files in hilighted folder), it should work with FTP and windows shares faster, it should lose bruched metal, it should get morecore image and core video integration.

I also think 10.5 will be a huge release for the entire platform as Apple will be gutting the last of the prehistoric Carbin from the OS itsself and its accompanying apps like finder

The GUI needs to be unified accross OSX, finder, Mail, safari, ical, Quicktime, prefs, ichat, iLife, iwork, and so on.
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