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Road to Mac OS X Leopard: Dock 1.6

post #1 of 150
Thread Starter 
The Dock in Mac OS X is unique in comparison to the user interface of Windows, most Linux distros that emulate the Windows desktop, and previous versions of the Classic Mac OS. Apple has significantly updated the Dock in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Here's a look at what's new and different in our 3-page report.

This report goes to great lengths to follow the origins, history, and maturity of the Dock. For those readers with limited time or who are only interested in what's due in Leopard, you can skip to page 2 of this report.

The Dock's Origins

On the Mac, the Dock first appeared to the public in the beta preview of Mac OS X released in late 2000, which debuted the new Aqua interface. However, the ideas behind the Dock weren't all new. In the 1987, Apple's English dopplegänger, Acorn Computers, shipped its Mac-like RISCOS with a desktop operating system featuring an Iconbar. The strip on the lower edge of the screen displayed icons for drives and running applications. By the early 90s, the RISCOS Iconbar displayed icons for RAM disks, printers, folders, applications and system utilities.



The NeXT Dock

In 1988, Steve Jobs' NeXT began demonstrating the new desktop of NeXTSTEP, which included the new Dock. NeXT's Dock was a series of block icons, each of which could animate and update. Icons in the Dock could represent running applications or apps ready to be launched; the icons of running apps were tagged with an ellipsis to differentiate them (as is the Digital Librarian icon, fourth from the top, in the desktop image below). That made the NeXT Dock more of an application launcher.

Since icons couldn't be resized, the Dock consumed a lot of screen real estate. NeXT also provided no way to drop other placeholders into the Dock, such as files, folders, or open windows. Files and folders could be instead be dropped into the Shelf, a reserved space in File Viewer windows (analogous to Mac Finder windows).

In the screen shot below, the top four icons in the File Viewer window are sitting in the Shelf, while icons of the Dock are positioned along the right and bottom of the screen. NeXT also moved the desktop Mac trash icon into a Dock icon called the Recycler. The dynamic nature of the icons can be seen in the live time and date displayed by the preferences icon (second from top) and the Mail badge indicating new messages (third from top).



Newton's Dock

In the early 90s, Apple introduced the MessagePad running Newton OS, which similarly used a "buttonbar" as a launcher. The Newton's buttonbar demonstrated the significant resources Apple invested in reducing the amount of clicking required to pull up common tasks on the Newton. Other items could be dragged into buttonbar from a collection of extras, similar to the row of action icons on the iPhone's More/Edit/Configure screen within its iPod section.



Dock Substitutes in the Classic Mac OS

The Newton's button bar never made it into the classic Mac OS, then called System 7. Instead, Apple rounded up various shareware tools and incorporated them into the Mac desktop throughout the 90s. Oddly, there was never any way to tell at a glance which apps were actively running on the classic Mac, an obvious need solved by NeXT's Dock years before the Mac OS was even routinely running multiple applications at once.

Instead, the classic Mac OS used an icon in the top right to indicate the currently running app, which would drop down a menu of other running applications. This Application Menu also served as a way to select between running apps. It was not an app launcher however.



Apple added various systems to the Mac OS to provide functions later handled by the Mac OS X Dock:
In System 7, the Control Panel desk accessory for setting system settings such as screen resolution and audio volume was exposed as the Control Strip (above, lower left), a Dock-like selection of small icons that floated on top of other windows. It did not launch or display applications, and was really intended only for use on PowerBooks.Later, Tabbed Windows (above, lower right) allowed users to collapse an open window into a labeled tab on the edge of the screen; selecting the tab would pop it up back to full size.Windowshade allowed open windows to be alternatively minimized in place, rolling the window's contents up into their titlebarA separate Launcher in Mac OS 8 (below) provided an editable listing of programs grouped by sections.


Windows: No Dock For You

While Microsoft's Windows borrowed heavily from both the Mac and from NeXT, it did not incorporate anything like the NeXT Dock. Instead, it designated a horizontal TaskBar, which creates a rectangular bay for each open window. The obvious flaw of dividing up the horizontal Start Menu bar into rectangles for each open window is the finite space involved. The perpetually cramped TaskBar doesn't make it clear and obvious which apps are running if more than a few are. Individual windows of a single application are also difficult to represent using wide horizontal bars when more than a half dozen windows are open. There is also no way to scale the tiny icons used in the TaskBar.



In 2001, Windows XP tried to address the problem of cramped boxes in the TaskBar -- the inherent result of squeezing multiple, wide bars into a narrow strip -- by grouping together the windows of each app into grouped TaskBar items. Grouped items reveal detail when popped-up into a menu of nearly impossible to read window titles. This only further obscured the individual windows of an app, similar to how the classic Mac OS Application Menu made it clumsy to view the currently running applications.

The Windows TaskBar also does nothing to launch applications; Microsoft added a QuickLaunch bar to do that, which sits between the Start Menu and the TaskBar. After launching an app, QuickLaunch does nothing; it doesn't indicate that the app is actually running, and doesn't relate to that application's windows in any way. Oddly, this most useful interface convention of Windows was downplayed in Windows XP Professional, which turns the QuickLaunch off by default; it requires editing the Start Menu settings to restore.

Microsoft may have backpedaled on QuickLaunch to direct attention toward the fancier Start Menu of Windows XP, which requires navigating deeply nestled submenus to launch a application; it was actually presented as a feature. The main problem with QuickLaunch is that it competes with the TaskBar for the minimal space available; having a few QuickLaunch icons means you have even less room to display TaskBar bays for the currently open windows. Users who only ever open three windows won't see the problem, so XP Home leaves the QuickLaunch bar on. However, anyone who uses their PC to do more than browse the web will find the TaskBar nearly worthless even before cramping it up with a selection of QuickLaunch icons.



This year's Windows Vista did nothing to fix the absurd Start Menu bar aside from making the Start Menu a round logo ball that conveys even less information about how it might be used, and making the bar itself glossy. The scrunched TaskBar bays can now popup a live preview of the Window they relate to (above), but this requires mousing over each TaskBar bay. Imagine if live previews were just sitting there, live, to preview at a glance without any mousing around? That would take you back half a decade to Mac OS X's Dock.

On page 2: Mac OS X: Return of the Dock; The New Dock in Mac OS X Leopard; and Stacks Take Back the Dock

Mac OS X: Return of the Dock

In 2001, Mac OS X did away with the previous overlapping conventions of the classic Mac OS to deliver a single, simple mechanism for launching apps, storing minimized open windows out of the way, and providing fast access to files and folders. It took its name from NeXT's Dock, but added new functionality by combining the NeXT Dock with the NeXT Shelf; rather than having a limited amount of Shelf space within Finder windows, the Dock gave users an obvious location for dropping anything: apps, files, folders, and open windows: the right end of the new Dock.

The new Dock also demonstrated the graphics prowess of Mac OS X's new Quartz rendering engine by drawing Dock icons with alpha channel transparency, rather than as a series of opaque, square boxes as NeXTSTEP did. Each icon also dynamically and smoothly scales in size along with the Dock. Apple also introduced the magnify effect, which allowed users to shrink the Dock down to a small strip, but blow up icons to a larger size when they are moused-over. Minimized windows animate into the Dock with a genie effect, and icons bounce to indicate that the application demands your attention. Users can also rearrange Dock items using drag-and-drop, dropping new items into it, and dragging unwanted items out. All of these conventions make the Dock highly customizable and information rich, despite being very simple and easy to use.

Like the NeXT Dock, currently running applications in the Mac OS X Dock were tagged with a live indicator (but with a black triangle, rather than an ellipsis), and could be badged by the running application (such as how Mail and iChat get a red badged number indicating new messages). Successive versions of the Dock introduced dockling menus, which allowed users to access functions of apps in the Dock from a popup menu. For example, iTunes' Dock icon allows users to skip the the next song, and iChat's Dock icon lets users set their online status.

Anticipating Vista, the minimized windows in the Dock depict a scaled down version of their contents; a minimized playing movie will even continue to play in its way down into the Dock. With its half decade lead on Windows, the Mac OS X Dock hasn't visibly changed dramatically over the last six years. The translucent Dock background quickly migrated from a ribbed plastic look in the early 10.0 to 10.1 versions (below top) to become a more plainly subtle translucent strip in 10.2 Jaguar through 10.4 Tiger (below bottom). Apple also made it easier for users to hide the Dock, or put the Dock on either side of the screen, functions that were always there but not previously exposed in Dock preferences.





The biggest change related to the Dock in the last several years wasn't even in the Dock, but rather in the new task switcher in Tiger; it painted enlarged versions of the Dock's application icons in prominent view in the center of the screen when using Alt+Tab to jump between applications.

The New Dock in Mac OS X Leopard

It's therefore notable that Leopard sports an entirely new Dock appearance, which now presents its icons as three dimensional objects sitting on a translucent glass shelf, rather than flat objects stuck in a translucent ribbon of icon flypaper. Dock icons now cast a reflection on the Dock (as do other windows on the screen, and even the background image), as well as casting a shadow behind them. The combination of the reflection and the shadow contribute to their dimensional appearance.



The black triangle denoting running applications has been replaced with a more subtle indicator which looks like a glowing blue LED. It's nearly invisible unless you look for it, at which point it is quite obvious. The reflections, shadows, curving texture, indicator lights, and translucency all add up to a new sort of Dock that aspires to show off the user-selected background and add visual interest; one might also complain that it looks busy. I found the new Dock both familiar and fresh. It only looks wrong when you obsess over its details. Once you start looking for reasons to be irritated, you can certainly find all sorts of things that are objectionable; the harder you strain on its details, the more irritating they are. Fortunately, I don't have time to get upset about which way a shadow falls, so I can't complain about nausea and vertigo as some have.

Along with Leopard's translucent menu bar, the new Dock has been a sore spot for users who don't like change; there were similar complaints when Apple changed from the mess of various launchers, switchers, and window minimizers of the Classic Mac OS to using the Dock. Apple has been open to making some changes in response to feedback; it toned down the translucency of the menu bar in recent builds, and made the separator between Dock apps and its Shelf items to the right (it is invisible in the images Apple depicts in its Leopard preview website, such as the image above) more prominent in new builds of the Leopard Dock (A new 'highway stripe' separates the Dock's applications from files, folders, and minimized windows in the image below). Apple didn't go so far as to do away with the new dimensional Dock entirely, however.



The biggest complaints have been that icons in the new Dock sometimes appear to cast multiple shadows (since many icons already include a shadow), and that it looks silly when used on either side of the screen vertically; that's because the more dimensional icons appear to hang in space next to the Dock, rather than seeming to rest on it or float above it as they do in its default bottom position. Of course, if it bothers you that the Docks' icons float in space with no physical structure holding them up when it is positioned vertically, how did you ever survive the logical conundrum of desktop icons floating in space against the Mac desktop, as they have for decades? The other problem inherent with a vertical Dock is that the wide screens of Apple's laptops, iMacs, and other displays can't physically fit in as many icons in a vertical Dock compared to a Dock in the default position along the bottom.

Stacks Take Back the Dock

Many Mac users drop every application they are likely to ever use in the Dock, resulting in a strip of icons that consumes most of the width of their display and forcing individual icons to be drawn smaller. Users with lots of open windows are also likely to minimize them, leaving the Dock burdened on both ends with too many icons to manage. This clouds the original idea of the Dock, which is to present lots of useful information in a simple context. There are two new major features of Leopard that help clean out the Dock and make it more usable.

The first is Stacks. Drag a folder to the Dock and it becomes a Stack. Its icon changes from the folder's native icon to instead represent the collection of its contents. So far, that's only a distraction, as the Stack icons look a bit messy and cluttered (as stacks of stuff tend to do).

The real benefit comes from clicking on the Stack. If there are about ten items or less, they fan out in to an arc, like a magician's cards (below left). Click on an item (any item) to launch it, or in the case of a folder, to open it in the Finder. If there are lots of items in the Stack, they pop up into a translucent window area with a grid of icons that can be selected (below right). This makes each Stack item equivalent to a Dock annex.

Apple drops three Stacks in the Dock by default: Applications, Documents, and a new Downloads folder Stack. Any folder or selection of items dragged into the Dock will also become a new Stack, with identical behaviors to those described below. Right-click on a Stack to pop up a menu of options. Among them is the option to use a Fan or Grid style display, or to allow the system to choose which to do automatically based on the number of items in the Stack. You can also set the display order of Stack items to be alphabetical by name; by date added, created, or modified; or sorted by kind.



On page 3: The Applications Stack; The Documents Stack; The Downloads Stack; and The Lean, Clean New Dock

The Applications Stack

Having the contents of your Applications folder ready for Exposé-esque access with a single click means you don't have to load the Dock with icons for apps you don't use every day. How well does it actually work? Extremely well: click on your Applications Stack to pop up its contents, and you don't even have to scan through all your icons to find what you're looking for; you can type the first letter (or first few letters) to select the app you want, then hit return to launch it. You can also move the selection around with arrow keys, then hit new characters to jump to a new selection. This is a great app launcher.

The only downside is that some developers insist of putting their applications into a folder of junk and then name their apps after themselves, notably Adobe and Microsoft. Dear Adobe, I know you make Photoshop. Don't call my Photoshop "Adobe Photoshop," and please don't stuff it inside an "Adobe Photoshop" folder. Anyone who knows how to transverse folders to install a plugin can probably also handle doing a Show Package Contents. Just give me a Photoshop icon. We're Mac users, remember? We don't need a Programs Folder so messed up that the operating system warns us not to peruse it, as Windows does, expecting that we set up a parallel bunch of icons hidden away in the Start Menu's program manager just to launch apps.

Of course, the Applications Stack isn't the only way to quickly launch a non-Docked app in Leopard. Spotlight is now a Quicksilver-like, fast app launcher as well. Type Apple+Space and then "ill" and it will almost instantly provide "Adobe Illustrator" as a result that can be launched with a hit on the spacebar. Between Spotlight and Application Stacks, you'll be able to launch apps in a flash without leaving piles of app icons loaded in the Dock or app aliases strewn across the desktop. That leaves more room for documents and minimized windows in the Dock.

The Documents Stack

Of course, you won't need to drop all your recent documents in the Dock either. In addition to the Apple Menu's Recent Documents menu that's always offered a quick link to your most commonly used files, the new Documents Stack in the Dock provides quick access to all your folders of documents just like the Application Stack. If you've organized all your client or project files into folders in whatever way makes sense to you, being able to click on the Dock's Documents Stack to pop up a window full of your folders makes it easy to quickly target the subset of files you're looking for in the Finder.

That saves you some clicks over selecting the Finder, creating a new window if you want to preserve the view of the existing one, selecting your Documents folder, then finding the intended folder by sorting through a long list. With the Documents Stack, you can quickly pop right to the subfolder you have in mind without any slow, deliberate navigation.

The fact that Leopard now dynamically depicts the actual contents of many types of documents in their Finder icon (as Windows Vista already does) makes the Document Stack a fast way to find loose documents too, without opening a Finder window and selecting an icon or Cover Flow view. The Documents Stack makes finding what you're looking for fast and intuitive. You can similarly create your own selection of graphics, documents, or movies and drop them into a Stack for easy reference.

The Downloads Stack

Leopard introduces a new convention for downloaded files. Rather than dumping web downloads and saved email attachments on the desktop, it now defaults to throwing all downloads into their own folder: ~/Downloads. The Downloads Stack of that folder makes it easy to find the last few items you've downloaded, without digging around through Finder windows or asking the browser to reveal where it dumped your download.

Once you download something, the Downloads Stack bounces once to indicate that the download completed. The Stack Dock icon is also updated to reflect that your most recent download is sitting on top of the stack. When you click on it to fan out your recent downloads, the newest item is at the bottom, which seems to make less sense but results in it being a closer target to your mouse pointer.

In earlier builds of Leopard (and as Apple depicts on its site), the Downloads Stack formerly put the newest item at the top of the fanned out icons, and put the "show in Finder" link at the bottom of the arc (as depicted in the graphic above left). The latest builds of Leopard switch that around; the Finder link is at the top, and the new download is the closest target at the bottom.

The Lean, Clean New Dock

Those three Stacks, stuck in the Dock by Apple (and removable by a simple drag poof), offer to greatly minimize the number of icons most users will want to leave in their Dock, leaving space open for more minimized windows without cramping down the size of icons. In other words, there's less to clutter in the Dock and on the desktop.

The new Dock, along with Spotlight, makes it easier to quickly locate and target both applications and files. In addition, the new Finder -- with its slimmer, space conserving Dock-like sidebar -- also acts like a Shelf for sticking files, folders, and applications for later use. As the Road to Mac OS X Leopard: Finder article noted, the new iTunes-like sidebar makes it easy to customize Finder windows with links to whatever files or folder the user desires.

The Finder's Dock icon also gains a few functional shortcuts in its dockling menus for creating a new folder, a new smart folder, performing a search, 'go to folder' (which allows you to type in a path, useful for browsing invisible directories), and 'connect to server' (for browsing or entering a URL address to a WebDAV, FTP, AppleShare, NFS, or SMB Windows file server). Screenshots of Leopard already published on the Web depict these features (below).



The only desktop problem that remains is tons of minimized windows in the Dock. If you hate having to choose between having a desktop cluttered with too many open windows or a Dock full of too many minimized open windows, Leopard provides another new feature to solve that dilemma, which will be examined in an upcoming Road to Leopard report.
post #2 of 150
I must point out that the Windows Start bar can be moved to the right where it is (in my opinion) much easier to use and read.
I know that 99% of Windows users don't do that, but it is possible and improves the Windows experience.
Is the Dock better? Yes, but not that much better.
post #3 of 150
My favorite part:

"Dear Adobe, I know you make Photoshop. Don't call my Photoshop "Adobe Photoshop," and please don't stuff it inside an "Adobe Photoshop" folder. Anyone who knows how to transverse folders to install a plugin can probably also handle doing a Show Package Contents. Just give me a Photoshop icon. We're Mac users, remember? We don't need a Programs Folder so messed up that the operating system warns us not to peruse it, as Windows does, expecting that we set up a parallel bunch of icons hidden away in the Start Menu's program manager just to launch apps."

post #4 of 150
Great article, thank you.
post #5 of 150
I think a lot of people don't like it simply because it's too much like Vista.

I remember when Steve introduced it, the audience laughed and he was taken aback for a moment. It was because grass was one of the Vista backgrounds, and Vista had also been criticized for overuse of transparency/3d, so people thought he was poking fun at Vista with a caricature.

When it sunk it that this really was the new desktop, well, I don't think some have yet recovered from that moment.
post #6 of 150
Whoa, AI is getting all retrospective on us!

A nicely written trip down GUI dock history - well-done. (Though I think DragThing might deserve a mention - for a time it was practically a necessary part of using the Mac OS.)

I hear that in the most recent Leopard builds the ability to click-through folders in the grid view of a stack was removed (it now opens that folder in the Finder). Can someone confirm? That's a bit disappointing if true.
post #7 of 150
The Amiga had a dock called "Tool Manager" ~1990.

http://www.amigaforever.com/tour/af_wb_3x.html

http://www.amiga-magazin.de/magazin/...eber/bild1.gif

http://groups.google.com/group/comp....963b4c407cacbd

http://home6.inet.tele.dk/jail/enhan...olmanager.html

In 1990, Jonathan Potter wrote "Directory Opus", a file manager for the Amiga that was completely dock based. Below the file listing were dozens and dozens of configurable launch buttons that could launch apps, react to drag and drop operation, run scripts, left click vs. right click configurable, etc. Most people used the default file operation button set, but I had mine tricked out as an app/script launcher and did things that even today's Automator can envy.

Standard config: http://classicwb.abime.net/classicwe...ns/image11.png
post #8 of 150
My biggest pet peeve with the Applications folder is that Apple doesn't let me organize it. I have a lot of them, and I'm expected to keep them all in one big folder instead of in logical groupings. Bleah. (And yes, I even try to keep my Start Menu categorized on my Windows system-- which while not perfect works a lot better than MacOS X in that respect.)

It looks like Leopard is getting even further from letting me use my personal computer the way I want, which is disappointing. If you like Apple's organization, like the author of this article obviously does, it's great. If you don't, Apple wants you to go use Windows instead.
post #9 of 150
I don't see why you can't organise it however you want. Applications generally don't care where they are moved to (I think even Microsoft has avoided the fiasco of Office 6.0 where you not only couldn't move the applications, you couldn't rename your hard drive after installation of Office without breaking it).

I also have a nicely organised folder of Application Aliases which is dropped in my dock. That way I can launch XCode under "Development Apps" and Radio 365 under "Audio Visual" and Gimp under "Graphics". I click and hold my Application Shortcut folder (next to the Trash in my dock) and get a nice hierarchical menu.
post #10 of 150
I'm not sure what you mean by this. You can organize your Apps folder however you like. However, there are some apps that are expected to be in a specific location for other apps to access them (Mail, Safari, Disk Utility, etc.) Moving those might have adverse affects on how other apps interact with those apps, but will not stop those apps from working at all.

If you want to group all of your web browsers in to a folder called "Web Browsers", under the apps folder, you can. If you want to have an apps folder inside your home folder, you can.

You sound like an uninformed Windows user. Get some hands on time w/ Mac OS X and you'll see you can organize your folders however you like.

Oh, and for comparison, start mucking around with your apps folders inside your Program Files folder on a Windows box. I guarantee you more apps will break faster than doing the similiar action on a Mac OS X machine.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

My biggest pet peeve with the Applications folder is that Apple doesn't let me organize it. I have a lot of them, and I'm expected to keep them all in one big folder instead of in logical groupings. Bleah. (And yes, I even try to keep my Start Menu categorized on my Windows system-- which while not perfect works a lot better than MacOS X in that respect.)

It looks like Leopard is getting even further from letting me use my personal computer the way I want, which is disappointing. If you like Apple's organization, like the author of this article obviously does, it's great. If you don't, Apple wants you to go use Windows instead.
post #11 of 150
Quote:
how did you ever survive the logical conundrum of desktop icons floating in space against the Mac desktop

It's called gravity and it's magic!
post #12 of 150
For me, the new stacks is almost a step backwards. I use the dock in much the same way as I used the Apple menu in OS 9, placing a folder in the dock, holding down on the folder allows me to browse through all the sub folders without loading a window. Stacks looks like it's going to force me to open a sub folder in a window which I don't want. I need lots of sub folders for all my stuff otherwise my folders are just a mess.

As for organising the applications folder, I've found a good way is to have a folder within the applications folder for all apps not made by Apple. When the apps folder is in the dock, it makes it very easy to find the app I'm looking for.
post #13 of 150
Vista puts bling above functionality. The Live Preview from the task bar looks great in demos, but not when you actually try to use it. You only get a live preview if you only have one document open in the application. For example, if you have one spreadsheet open in each of two instances of Excel, you get two live previews; if you have two spreadsheets open in a single instance of Excel, you get a blank live preview.

OS X ages like wine: "I thought I'd hate that feature, but now that I'm using it, I love it."

Windows ages like whine: "I thought I'd love that feature, but now that I'm using it, I hate it."
post #14 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

My biggest pet peeve with the Applications folder is that Apple doesn't let me organize it. I have a lot of them, and I'm expected to keep them all in one big folder instead of in logical groupings. Bleah. (And yes, I even try to keep my Start Menu categorized on my Windows system-- which while not perfect works a lot better than MacOS X in that respect.)

What I do is give non-Apple apps a green label and then set the Applications folder to sort by label.
post #15 of 150
Now here's a place where Apple missed the boat with the Stacks feature. Why didn't they make an option in the Preferences to make the Minimize button send the Window in a Stack ?
post #16 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

My biggest pet peeve with the Applications folder is that Apple doesn't let me organize it. I have a lot of them, and I'm expected to keep them all in one big folder instead of in logical groupings. Bleah. (And yes, I even try to keep my Start Menu categorized on my Windows system-- which while not perfect works a lot better than MacOS X in that respect.)

It looks like Leopard is getting even further from letting me use my personal computer the way I want, which is disappointing. If you like Apple's organization, like the author of this article obviously does, it's great. If you don't, Apple wants you to go use Windows instead.

I keep major categories on separate HDD's. I have one for graphics. One for publishing. One for video editing, etc.

I only put the programs in the apps folder that must go there. While I would like Apple to ease up on this with their own apps, rarely do others cause problems.
post #17 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

My biggest pet peeve with the Applications folder is that Apple doesn't let me organize it. I have a lot of them, and I'm expected to keep them all in one big folder instead of in logical groupings. Bleah. (And yes, I even try to keep my Start Menu categorized on my Windows system-- which while not perfect works a lot better than MacOS X in that respect.)

It looks like Leopard is getting even further from letting me use my personal computer the way I want, which is disappointing. If you like Apple's organization, like the author of this article obviously does, it's great. If you don't, Apple wants you to go use Windows instead.

Create a mock Applications folder and put it wherever you want. You can even copy over the icon from the standard Applications folder so it looks the same. Then create subfolders in there, however you please. Lastly, put aliases (ie. shortcuts) inside those folders for your applications.

- you don't need to move any of the real applications
- you can "organize" your applications however you please
- drop the mock Applications folder into the Dock to have a popup menu

Now, with all of that said, Spotlight is still the easiest way to launch your apps.

1. Cmd-Space
2. Type a few letters from app's name "itu" ==> iTunes
3. Press Return.

Apple is pushing "search" instead of "organization". You can see this trend everywhere.
post #18 of 150
Yes, great article.

There will definitely be places for improvement but since Apple hasn't done an official general beta since 10.0 they won't get the user feedback en masse until Leopard is released. Then they'll sift through the Apple related web sites and find the nuggets to fix. It'll probably be at least 10.5.3 that they tweak and refine the UI further.

I'm personally looking forward to using the stacks. That's some cool GUI effects for a practical solution organizing the dock.
post #19 of 150
Actually, this is my BIGGEST peeve with OS X. In the Classic OS, you could put apps wherever you wanted. Each application had an ID that was used to locate it rather than a path. You could make aliases and move the original, it would still find it. In OS X, you CAN put most things where you want, but especially Apple apps won't be found in a subfolder of /Applications - when being called by other applications or Software Update. And yes, Adobe's new Window's-like approach to the Mac is very annoying as well and if you move Adobe folders from their default location, it will have to 'fix' itself which Photoshop has never been capable of doing properly on my system. What has happened is that my /Applications folder is very messy and I've given up on Apple ever allowing me to organize things the way I want them again.
post #20 of 150
In Leopard, Apple makes it very easy to launch applications simply by using Spotlight. Unlike Tiger, Leopard's Spotlight will auto-select the first application it finds as you type the name, you can then simply hit return to launch it. I haven't opened my Applications or Utilities folders once to launch something. In fact, the only time I go into either folder is to throw stuff out.

To answer the question of another post... You cannot traverse through nested folders from the Dock anymore. The "Stacks" feature has removed that ability. Maybe Apple will add an option to disable the "Stacks" feature on an individual basis?
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
Reply
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
Reply
post #21 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

My favorite part:

"Dear Adobe, I know you make Photoshop. Don't call my Photoshop "Adobe Photoshop," and please don't stuff it inside an "Adobe Photoshop" folder. Anyone who knows how to transverse folders to install a plugin can probably also handle doing a Show Package Contents. Just give me a Photoshop icon. We're Mac users, remember? We don't need a Programs Folder so messed up that the operating system warns us not to peruse it, as Windows does, expecting that we set up a parallel bunch of icons hidden away in the Start Menu's program manager just to launch apps."


Right, because Apple itself doesn't do this does it? Ahem:

/Applications/iWork '08/Keynote.app

post #22 of 150
I never use the Dock for minimizing windows. Talk about clutter. Plus, it makes all your app icons moving targets.

This is also why I keep just about all the apps I commonly use on the Dock itself, instead of hidden in an Applications folder that I have to pop up. Every time I launch an app, the Dock goes nowhere. Much better for muscle memory.

Sure that makes the Dock pretty filled, but I have good enough eyesight to make it the minimum size without losing the ability to distinguish between icons. Plus, as I said before, my muscle memory allows me to launch icons almost without looking, anyway, because the Dock never moves.

Between Exposé and the simple Command + H "hide application" command, which I have conveniently mapped to my center mouse button, I never have a problem with too many open windows. Spaces will make that even easier to manage.

As far as Stacks go, the only one I see myself using is the Downloads stack. I hate a cluttered desktop. It would probably be just as easy for me to put the Downloads folder in my Finder sidebar, though. So chalk that up as another feature that I'm glad is there for other people, but that I'll probably never really use.
post #23 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

Anticipating Vista, the minimized windows in the Dock depict a scaled down version of their contents;

... anticipating Vista? The Dock was doing live preview in Jaguar (I first saw it in 2003, but it looks like 10.0 did it as well: http://arstechnica.com/reviews/01q2/.../tiny-dock.jpg), years before anything with Aero was available. Versions of Windows at the time didn't (and still don't) double buffer window contents.

To say that Apple took cues from what is now called Vista when designing the Dock doesn't seem to reflect reality. Maybe it could have read:
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider, or at least what should have been

To show off the power of the Aqua windowing system, the minimized windows in the Dock depict a scaled down version of their contents;
post #24 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post

Right, because Apple itself doesn't do this does it? Ahem:

/Applications/iWork '08/Keynote.app


At least it's not called "Apple iWork", "Apple iWork Keynote.app", or "Apple Keynote.app".
post #25 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post

Right, because Apple itself doesn't do this does it? Ahem:

/Applications/iWork '08/Keynote.app


I think you're missing the point. Apple doesn't label the "iWork" folder "Apple iWork" and then call the apps "Apple Pages", "Apple Keynote" and "Apple Numbers".
post #26 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

I must point out that the Windows Start bar can be moved to the right where it is (in my opinion) much easier to use and read.
I know that 99% of Windows users don't do that, but it is possible and improves the Windows experience.
Is the Dock better? Yes, but not that much better.

The Start bar is very bad all around. THe OS X Dock trumps it in every way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinney57 View Post

Great article, thank you.

Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hdasmith View Post

For me, the new stacks is almost a step backwards. I use the dock in much the same way as I used the Apple menu in OS 9, placing a folder in the dock, holding down on the folder allows me to browse through all the sub folders without loading a window. Stacks looks like it's going to force me to open a sub folder in a window which I don't want. I need lots of sub folders for all my stuff otherwise my folders are just a mess.

You really should read up on Spotlight. It's really quite useful for productivity. Also, "holding down" your mouse button on a Dock folder to see a list of items isn't nearly as useful or as fast as a single click on a Dock Folder. Plus, you can drag and drop these expanded stacked items to other areas. For instance, you can click on your Download Stack and drag a DMG of an app you just installed right to the Trash. Quite useful. (did the article mention that feature?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by montrealer View Post

Now here's a place where Apple missed the boat with the Stacks feature. Why didn't they make an option in the Preferences to make the Minimize button send the Window in a Stack ?

Which stack would it go to? Would a bezel popup asking you which stack to send it too? Do we really want Windows of applications hanging around in our stacks? Is that even possible?
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post #27 of 150
I'm OK with Adobe putting their apps in a folder. I for one, do not want to have to muck inside a package to just remove a plug in or put a script or action in the folder. It's not that it's too hard, of course its easy. But it's just not safe. I don't want to pile a bunch of plugins I'm testing "into the application". I want to be able to dump them in or move them quickly and easily. Same with scripts or actions, no need to keep them 'inside' the application.
Plus remember, not every user is the administrator!
post #28 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyKrz View Post

Actually, this is my BIGGEST peeve with OS X. In the Classic OS, you could put apps wherever you wanted. Each application had an ID that was used to locate it rather than a path. You could make aliases and move the original, it would still find it. In OS X, you CAN put most things where you want, but especially Apple apps won't be found in a subfolder of /Applications - when being called by other applications or Software Update. And yes, Adobe's new Window's-like approach to the Mac is very annoying as well and if you move Adobe folders from their default location, it will have to 'fix' itself which Photoshop has never been capable of doing properly on my system. What has happened is that my /Applications folder is very messy and I've given up on Apple ever allowing me to organize things the way I want them again.

Its NOT OS X's fault. This is not your biggest pet peeve with OS X. Its your biggest pet peeve with people who make OS X apps (including Apple) who do this.

OS X has many APIs that if used properly this issue would never appear. Unfortunately too many devs (including Apple) are lazy. But its not OS X's fault.
post #29 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by serpicolugnut View Post

I'm not sure what you mean by this. You can organize your Apps folder however you like. However, there are some apps that are expected to be in a specific location for other apps to access them (Mail, Safari, Disk Utility, etc.) Moving those might have adverse affects on how other apps interact with those apps, but will not stop those apps from working at all.

If you want to group all of your web browsers in to a folder called "Web Browsers", under the apps folder, you can. If you want to have an apps folder inside your home folder, you can.

You sound like an uninformed Windows user. Get some hands on time w/ Mac OS X and you'll see you can organize your folders however you like.

Oh, and for comparison, start mucking around with your apps folders inside your Program Files folder on a Windows box. I guarantee you more apps will break faster than doing the similiar action on a Mac OS X machine.

I've been using Macs since 1988, and MacOS X since it was called Rhapsody Preview Release 1. *You* sound like the kind of Apple bigot that makes the rest of us look bad.

In Windows, almost all the installers let you pick where you want the app installed and in what group in the Start Menu it should put the links. After that, an amazing thing happens-- updates still work! Unlike on MacOS X, where if it's not in the /Applications folder it doesn't exist, Windows will actually track the location and handle updates and uninstalls correctly.

There's a lot of great things about MacOS X, but this isn't one of them.
post #30 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

I've been using Macs since 1988, and MacOS X since it was called Rhapsody Preview Release 1. *You* sound like the kind of Apple bigot that makes the rest of us look bad.

In Windows, almost all the installers let you pick where you want the app installed and in what group in the Start Menu it should put the links. After that, an amazing thing happens-- updates still work! Unlike on MacOS X, where if it's not in the /Applications folder it doesn't exist, Windows will actually track the location and handle updates and uninstalls correctly.

There's a lot of great things about MacOS X, but this isn't one of them.

As I wrote above - this is not a OS X issue. Its an application issue. 100%. There is no excuse for applications not doing this. And on WIndows while you can choose where it gets installed - guess what? You can't MOVE IT!
post #31 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

I've been using Macs since 1988, and MacOS X since it was called Rhapsody Preview Release 1. *You* sound like the kind of Apple bigot that makes the rest of us look bad.

In Windows, almost all the installers let you pick where you want the app installed and in what group in the Start Menu it should put the links. After that, an amazing thing happens-- updates still work! Unlike on MacOS X, where if it's not in the /Applications folder it doesn't exist, Windows will actually track the location and handle updates and uninstalls correctly.

There's a lot of great things about MacOS X, but this isn't one of them.

If you then move a Windows app about, it won't work. In a lot of the Apple software installers, you can also choose where to install an app. Neither OS will track where it moves to, at least not in my experience (unless you're talking about small apps that don't make system calls).
post #32 of 150
I think most of the people here don't see the concept and power of the Taskbar. It is the whole OS! You can reach everything from it and see always (!) every running task. This isn't the case with the Dock. So with the Taskbar it's easy to operate in full screen mode while you can switch to or start every other task. No need for an Exposé-like feature or additional menus.

And because the Taskbar is at the display's border (like the Dock), it doesn't matter how tall the buttons are (Fitt's law!). Scaling only the button's width is very smart to use the space in an optimal way.

With Vista there is now a very good hierarchical structure to display information:

1: the icon shows what program is running
2: the title shows which document a button represent (if there are multiple windows open from the same program. Titles are in the format: "document name - app name")
3: the thumbnails show a small version of the window (by hover over the button)

And one very useful thing about the Taskbar is, that you can minimize a window by just click the equivalent button a second time.

For me, the Dock (and the window management on OS X in general) is the most important reason, why I will not switch over to Mac. My hope was, that Apple would improve the behaviour of the Dock with Leopard but instead they just put more features on top of it (like Exposé before).

The Dock's behaviour is too realistic (> docking) compared with the (IMO) powerful concept of window entities in the Taskbar.

Think of what would happen, if Apple would replace the Tabs in Safari with a Dock-like bar?! The Taskbar in Windows is like a Tabbar for the OS.
post #33 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdasmith View Post

For me, the new stacks is almost a step backwards. I use the dock in much the same way as I used the Apple menu in OS 9, placing a folder in the dock, holding down on the folder allows me to browse through all the sub folders without loading a window. Stacks looks like it's going to force me to open a sub folder in a window which I don't want. I need lots of sub folders for all my stuff otherwise my folders are just a mess.

As for organising the applications folder, I've found a good way is to have a folder within the applications folder for all apps not made by Apple. When the apps folder is in the dock, it makes it very easy to find the app I'm looking for.

Stacks is a visual disaster, as I've said ever since the idea was introduced. It's like a Dagwood sandwich overloaded with unnecessary clutter.

As for me, XMenu is still my favorite way to organize my apps because it's simple and direct. Don't like the dock either.

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post #34 of 150
Some Leopard shots show a folder in the Dock.

So you CAN still put folders in the Dock AS folders, rather than as Stacks? (How do you choose whether a folder shows as a folder or a stack?)

Presumably, if you can still put folders AS folders in the Dock, then you can still right-click them to navigate the full hierarchy, and no functionality has been lost.

Any confirmation that folders can still be in the Dock as folders? The article didn't mention it but did have a picture.

(And thanks for the great article series! I'm amused by the people who say the perspective on the icons don't match each other. Did they ever? Some were always squarely face-on, and some were slightly tipped back. That's still the case. And both perspectives just look like something propped up, like a plate-holder on a shelf, which does not bother me at all. Floating icons won't bother me either, when I get my Dock on the left where it should be, away from scrollbars!)
post #35 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolfactor View Post

Create a mock Applications folder and put it wherever you want. You can even copy over the icon from the standard Applications folder so it looks the same. Then create subfolders in there, however you please. Lastly, put aliases (ie. shortcuts) inside those folders for your applications.

- you don't need to move any of the real applications
- you can "organize" your applications however you please
- drop the mock Applications folder into the Dock to have a popup menu

Now, with all of that said, Spotlight is still the easiest way to launch your apps.

1. Cmd-Space
2. Type a few letters from app's name "itu" ==> iTunes
3. Press Return.

Apple is pushing "search" instead of "organization". You can see this trend everywhere.

Using Spotlight to launch apps is insane. Especially if you've external HDs. Waiting for them to spin up while using Spotlight makes me want to tear my hair out every time.

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post #36 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyKrz View Post

Actually, this is my BIGGEST peeve with OS X. In the Classic OS, you could put apps wherever you wanted. Each application had an ID that was used to locate it rather than a path. You could make aliases and move the original, it would still find it. In OS X, you CAN put most things where you want, but especially Apple apps won't be found in a subfolder of /Applications - when being called by other applications or Software Update. And yes, Adobe's new Window's-like approach to the Mac is very annoying as well and if you move Adobe folders from their default location, it will have to 'fix' itself which Photoshop has never been capable of doing properly on my system. What has happened is that my /Applications folder is very messy and I've given up on Apple ever allowing me to organize things the way I want them again.

Google "XMenu". It's solved my problems.

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post #37 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Using Spotlight to launch apps is insane. Especially if you've external HDs. Waiting for them to spin up while using Spotlight makes me want to tear my hair out every time.

How is it insane if your apps are on your main HD, the way they are for most people?

(On an external that isn't used enough to stay spinning, a delay to spin back up is inevitable. Avoiding Spotlight won't prevent it, it will just happen to some other app-launch operation. If this happens often, I recommend putting that particular app in the Dock.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAdiMundo View Post

I think most of the people here don't see the concept and power of the Taskbar. It is the whole OS! You can reach everything from it and see always (!) every running task. This isn't the case with the Dock. So with the Taskbar it's easy to operate in full screen mode while you can switch to or start every other task. No need for an Exposé-like feature or additional menus.

OS X's Dock does show ALL running apps, even hidden ones. Always. And right-clicking one will show you ALL its windows EVEN if the app is hidden. At least you CAN hide an app for a time if you want your Dock simpler, unlike the Taskbar which doesn't give you that option. And thus, Macs OS X doesn't rely on Quitting stuff to keep your environment manageable. That's the beauty of Hide--and yet you don't have to use it if you want everything always visible like Windows. It's always your choice.

As for Exposé, it's far better and faster than the Dock OR the Taskbar: it can be triggered any way you like (middle mouse button, a key, corner gesture, Dock icon) and you instantly see the whole window for ALL windows, instead of having to mouse over taskbar items one at a time or read a bunch of tiny text labels. I couldn't live without it. I desperately miss Expose when using an older Mac or a Windows machine.

I do recommend you stick with Windows though, as you have certain habits that may make it difficult to learn the strengths of something new. You already know the benefits of the Mac platform, and you know they aren't worth it to you (or don't plan to give the new workflows a real chance) so I respect your choice to stay away from Macs.
post #38 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

I've been using Macs since 1988, and MacOS X since it was called Rhapsody Preview Release 1. *You* sound like the kind of Apple bigot that makes the rest of us look bad.

In Windows, almost all the installers let you pick where you want the app installed and in what group in the Start Menu it should put the links. After that, an amazing thing happens-- updates still work! Unlike on MacOS X, where if it's not in the /Applications folder it doesn't exist, Windows will actually track the location and handle updates and uninstalls correctly.

There's a lot of great things about MacOS X, but this isn't one of them.

Not entirely true. I install many apps in different drives with no problem. Updating is fine.

Apple, for some reason seems to want us to put most everything in the apps folder on our startup drive, but you gererally don't have to.
post #39 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Using Spotlight to launch apps is insane. Especially if you've external HDs. Waiting for them to spin up while using Spotlight makes me want to tear my hair out every time.

That has nothing to do with Spotlight. I have apps on several drives. They way I pick them results in the same drive activity no matter what.
post #40 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAdiMundo View Post

I think most of the people here don't see the concept and power of the Taskbar.

Power...Taskbar ... military ... intelligence ...

The Windows Taskbar is the 3rd worst part of Windows. Just so you know, the Registry is #1 and DLL #2.

The Taskbar is horrible. I could go on for days about this without repeating myself but I'll stick to the number one reason the Taskbar sucks.

Reason #1) No matter what you do, the icons in the taskbar will not be in the same order each time you login unless you very specifically launch things in a certain order AND hope that explorer doesn't crap out causing it to close and reopen and pick a random order to place the items in. The fastest way to open a program is using muscle memory where the icon on the Dock is always in the same place EVERY time no matter how many times I reboot or even if you have to restart the Finder.

Reason #2) I can't stop myself from adding this. You can't reorder the programs in the taskbar. What moron thought this was a good idea? I'll refer back to #1 which this is all about.

NOTE: OS/2 had a "Taskbar" before Windows did. OS/2 2.0 came out years before Windows '95 did. Their "taskbar" is still years ahead of the Windows one. Even the one from 1992.
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