Opened 8 years ago

Closed 8 years ago

Last modified 8 years ago

#7837 closed enhancement (invalid)

[Tracker Preferences] Make "Single window navigation" default

Reported by: deejam Owned by: axeld
Priority: normal Milestone: R1
Component: Applications/Tracker Version: R1/alpha3
Keywords: Cc:
Blocked By: Blocking:
Has a Patch: no Platform: All

Description

Through my non-scientific observations (that is watching a lot of YouTube movies), I think most users enable Single window navigation for Tracker. Therefor, I suggest that it should be made the default behavior.

Default Tracker preferences in hrev42421

Attachments (1)

default-tracker-prefs.png (16.9 KB ) - added by deejam 8 years ago.

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Change History (25)

by deejam, 8 years ago

Attachment: default-tracker-prefs.png added

comment:1 by pulkomandy, 8 years ago

Resolution: invalid
Status: newclosed

http://www.bytebot.net/geekdocs/spatial-nautilus.html

  • Spatial navigation is easier for beginner computer users
  • Other more experimented users may or may not prefer single window mode, but they will know where to find the setting
  • So, the default is helpful for beginners, and easily changeable for powerusers.

So, we'll keep spatial mode as default. sorry !

in reply to:  1 comment:2 by deejam, 8 years ago

Replying to pulkomandy:

http://www.bytebot.net/geekdocs/spatial-nautilus.html

  • Spatial navigation is easier for beginner computer users
  • Other more experimented users may or may not prefer single window mode, but they will know where to find the setting
  • So, the default is helpful for beginners, and easily changeable for powerusers.

So, we'll keep spatial mode as default. sorry !

I found this poll on Fedora forum where the question was "Nautilus default windowing behaviour: Spatial or Browser?". 87,88% voted for "Browser mode". I guess Fedora users (any Linux user) aren't beginners...

http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=208330

in reply to:  1 comment:3 by polari, 8 years ago

Replying to pulkomandy:

http://www.bytebot.net/geekdocs/spatial-nautilus.html

  • Spatial navigation is easier for beginner computer users
  • Other more experimented users may or may not prefer single window mode, but they will know where to find the setting
  • So, the default is helpful for beginners, and easily changeable for powerusers.

So, we'll keep spatial mode as default. sorry !

That's all well and fine, but Windows, Mac OS X and the big Linux distros (Ubuntu, Fedora etc.) all default to single window navigation. So we can assume that users will expect Haiku to behave in the same fashion. On the off chance that someone who has never used a computer before ends up using Haiku, spatial navigation may be appropriate, but this seems like a rather fringe use case to me.

I think the majority of users would prefer browser mode as the default, along with a sidebar listing devices and then favourite folders (eg. Documents, Downloads, Music, etc.) in the interests of efficiency. You argue that these users will know how to enable browser mode, but the point of defaults is that they should be aligned with what makes sense to the majority of users, rather than catering to the lowest common denominator.

As for the link you posted, I use GNOME and generally like it, but its designers are prone to fits of arrogance. The fact the widely debated change to spatial navigation was subsequently shunned by almost everyone downstream is demonstrative of that. Not to mention the latest release, where they seem to have decided people don't turn off their computers anymore and removed the ability to shut down.

Last edited 8 years ago by polari (previous) (diff)

comment:4 by axeld, 8 years ago

Haiku does not generally aim to mimic the behavior of other operating systems as long as it has a better solution, no matter if users expect it. In this particular case, it's well worth getting used to, and unlike the spatial nautilus, Tracker's implementation doesn't suck.

If you are interested in previous discussions about this very topic, please have a look at our mailing lists archives.

in reply to:  4 ; comment:5 by deejam, 8 years ago

From what I've seen, the developers love spatial mode (and hate browsing) but the users love browser mode (and are confused by spatial mode). I am very interested in knowing what both the developers and the users prefer. Since there are more or less only developers on the mailinglist, I suggest a poll on haiku-os.org where we ask what mode they prefer.

Replying to axeld:

If you are interested in previous discussions about this very topic, please have a look at our mailing lists archives.

I found http://www.freelists.org/post/haiku/Tracker-and-default-options, http://www.freelists.org/post/haiku/Desktop-folder-disappears-from-boothome and http://www.freelists.org/post/haiku/Haiku-installation.

in reply to:  5 ; comment:6 by axeld, 8 years ago

Replying to deejam:

Since there are more or less only developers on the mailinglist, I suggest a poll on haiku-os.org where we ask what mode they prefer.

Setting the default to spatial is all we can do to advertise it. If you are resistant to good suggestions, you can easily change it to what you prefer, same as the "alt" vs. "ctrl" shortcut. Most Haiku developers find the spatial mode superior; it's part of Haiku's identity and is very unlikely to change. That's just how it is intended to be used.

I don't use spatial mode on other operating systems either, but just because it hasn't been implemented there well, and windows take too much space. Give different ideas a chance ;-)

in reply to:  6 ; comment:7 by aldeck, 8 years ago

Replying to axeld:

Setting the default to spatial is all we can do to advertise it. If you are resistant to good suggestions, you can easily change it to what you prefer, same as the "alt" vs. "ctrl" shortcut.

I think we can do better to advertise it, contrary to the "alt" vs "ctrl" debate for which i switched side (for the better "alt") almost instantly after a few convincing explanations and self experience, the spatial mode stays a "mystery" to me, maybe i don't use it properly and would need a tutorial :)

In the mean time, to understand what's going on, we could always do a little survey like this: https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dEo2RHVHUHNQczBGSUR6X0ZqU0lnTFE6MQ

in reply to:  7 comment:8 by axeld, 8 years ago

Replying to aldeck:

I think we can do better to advertise it, [...]

Not sure what you mean by that. For reasons why spatial is superior to single window browsing in many ways, see for example http://arstechnica.com/apple/reviews/2003/04/finder.ars/2, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spatial_file_manager.

comment:9 by aldeck, 8 years ago

I meant explaining somewhere in the docs or the site why the project thinks it is superior and chose to set it as default (especially in the context of other Haiku features). In my opinion setting it as default without more explanations isn't enough to convince, at least i personally wasn't _intuitively_ convinced. I generally end up having tons of windows on the screen and finally switch to single window mode. I suspect a clever use with the keyboard modifiers is the proper way, and that's maybe what needs guidance. I quickly looked again at the ml discussions and no rational explanations come out. I'll look at your proposed links though.

comment:10 by axeld, 8 years ago

The spatial mode wins a lot in combination with using the right click navigation - I never find myself using the modifiers to close the parent window automatically, for example.

But I agree that a FAQ entry makes sense.

comment:11 by cipri, 8 years ago

I think it needs a poll related to that subject. From what I have noticed, nearly all want the single window, and not the spatial mode. So why annoying, let's say 99% of users ( i dont know who big it is, but it is a lot more than 50%), when in fact just a few developers prefer the spatial mode? Why can't that few developers change to spatial mode manually after they install haiku, especially because they know where they can change it. But a new user, which doesnt know that he can switch from "spatial mode" to "browser mode" and who also doesnt know about the keyboard short-cuts will be very bothered by the spatial mode, where he ends up with a tone of windows on this screen.

comment:12 by pulkomandy, 8 years ago

The decision power is in the hand of the developpers. If you don't agree with them, there are various things you can do :

  • Use another OS. There are dozen of them with single window mode
  • Set the setting on your own installation
  • Get enough people to become developpers and support single window navigation.

A poll won't change anything. A list of arguments as to why single window mode is better, similar to what axel pointed above, may make us think more about it. But take time to ask yourself, "why do I prefer the single window mode ?"

I can't see any good reason. The spatial mode is both simpler and more efficient when you master it. Countless times on other OS I just wanted to have a quick look at another folder, and then no way to get back. Shell navigation wih cd has the same drawback, unless you use pushd and popd which helps a bit, but is not perfect yet. In spatial mode I can quickly open a folder to have a look, without losing what I'm doing because it just replaced the current window contents.

We *know* pat of the users are using single window mode. It's not because they are a majority, that they are right. Anyway, the majority of users are using Windows, and still we are working on Haiku. why so ? Because we feel it's better for our needs. May not suit everyone, but our very own needs. A poll won't change that. Good reasons to use single window mode may.

comment:13 by humdinger, 8 years ago

There's a thread on this at the forums as well. In a comment there, I proposed to reverse the OPT key usage, i.e. auto-close parent windows while navigating by default and only keep a window open when OPT is held. This would help new users avoid drowning in windows untiil they get the hang of it. A good compromise?

in reply to:  12 comment:14 by aldeck, 8 years ago

Replying to pulkomandy:

The decision power is in the hand of the developpers. If you don't agree with them, there are various things you can do :

  • Use another OS. There are dozen of them with single window mode
  • Set the setting on your own installation
  • Get enough people to become developpers and support single window navigation.

By extending this logic, i could say that Tracker developers only (hint hint) will decide. Can't we just discuss things together? And why constantly polarize this discussion as a developer vs non-developer issue? You're not bringing anything rational to the discussion here, i'm sorry. Besides, invinting people to change OS's is just inadmissible.

I'm not at all passionate about the debate and i acknowledge advantages on both sides, i'm just trying to be smooth for all. First get actual figures about the current preferences and opinions, and either find ways to educate people about spatial mode (and/or find what people are missing) or maybe enhance our single window mode (which already has some 'spatial' features), i don't know... Well the only thing i know is that both modes aren't perfect as they are, i.e why do we need two modes?

comment:15 by pulkomandy, 8 years ago

Humdinger: not really for me, as I said above the key point of spatial mode is that window don't close themselves and folders don't go away.

aldeck: the decision process is that one in Haiku. Developpers with svn commit access have voting right and make decisions. I didn't make it that way, but that's how it works. We said in previous posts that this was debated more than enough in previous ML posts, and pointed to some pages explaining why we thing spatial mode is better. I haven't seen a single page showing why single-window mode is better. As for keeping 2 different modes, actually, I find that necessary. Mixing them would lead to something no one like to use. They are two very different ways of working, 2 ways of thinking. They both make sense, but mixing them results in something that doesn't make sense and has contradictions. I already explained that I think we need two separate apps : a file browser and a file manager. The file browser is made for navigating a directory hierarchy and finding things out. Tracker in spatial mode does a great job for that. The file manager, on the other hand, is a tool dedicated to copying, moving, renaming files. As of now, I use terminal and bash for this. On my Amiga I used Directory Opus 4, while the amiga Workbench allowed browsing in spatial mode. On Windows 95, you could use both, with right-click>explore to enter some kind of single window mode (in a more useful way, with a tree on the left), and double clicking entering spatial mode. This may still wrk if you enable spatial mode in later Windows releases. Unfortunately, it will be hard for us to do this in a convenient way, because our spatial mode already uses a lot of shortcuts. I would really like to know why people are not using spatial mode, but the only two answers I got so far are :

  • "Other OS do not do it" - this is not a valid argument
  • "I always end up with a lot of open windows all around" - I must say I very rarely encounter that problem. My answer is to use the XRay / drill-down menus to only open the directory you actually want to use, and remember of alt+up shortcut as "open parent", that's the only one I know and use.

Spatial mode really works great, it takes some time to get used to and needs you to organize your windows, but it's really powerful. Each window has its own settings as to how to show it. My application folders show an icon view so apps are easy to find by their icon, my mail folder is sorted by date, my music folders are sorted by track number. In single-window mode, this doesn't hold anymore, as the view settings are no longer mapped with a folder, but with a window. On the other hand, when sorting out a big mess of files, I really want to use list mode, a sorting criterion that matches what I'm doing, and likely 2 open windows : source/target. In that case, single window is the way. But I don't think that's tracker job, I'd use a separate tool like http://pulkomandy.lexinfo.fr/~beosarchive/?file=archive/nosource/util/fileman/opusiv1.0.zip

comment:16 by aldeck, 8 years ago

Could you stop speaking in the name of the project, there are other people in the team, you know?

Your vision is quite original, using terminal for your file ops kind of render your opinion unusual and inadequate. Concerning your last paragraph, you're wrong, single window mode does it exactly the same, it keeps settings per folder, and I spent weeks fixing bugs in this area a few years ago. Window shape/position persistency works a bit differently though, but is definitely there contrary to other OS's. In the end, the only difference between the two modes is the navigator and the constraint of not opening the same window two times (note that spatial breaks this constraint considering it can show the same folder on different workspaces and also allows to change settings on the same folder). Considering the IMHO overhyped "spatial" terminology, in single window mode, i also organize things spatially exactly the same as in spatial mode if i want, except i can also associate a screen space with a task instead (and that will still work with multiple workspaces).

comment:17 by pulkomandy, 8 years ago

what I'm saying in the name of the project is fact: this was discuted several times already, and the decision was taken.

The rest I said in my own name, and reflets the way I use Haiku, which may be somewhat different to the "average", whatever that means.

I don't expect the different views to be mapped to folders instead of windows in single window mode. This is an example of mixing both modes to something that doesn't make sense, and is neither spatial nor single-window. they are different ways of thinking, as I said :

  • In spatial mode, the key element is a folder. A folder shows as a window, and has a position/size and a presentation.
  • In single window mode, the key element is a window. A window is a way to see the filesystem, which is made of folders and files. A window has a position and size, and a presentation, and shows a partial view of the filesystem. Another window may offer another view on it.

So, making the per-folder presentation settings work in single-window mode is actually making it partially spatial. This can get confusing to users. What I'd expect in single window mode is what I said above. I set the columns I want to see in that window, then I navigate through folders and keep these settings. I can have two windows open on the same folder, one in icon view and the other in list mode, if that's what I need. How does that works now with your spatial "hacks" ? the same apply to the workspace trick in spatial mode, and I really hardly ever use it, as I have different workspaces to do different things, ad they are almost binded to parts of my FS hierarchy (Music, Development, ... are both workspaces and folders for me). I think it could even be made a rule, with a desktop per workspace and showing only what's inside that desktop.

The task-minded way of working is fine if that's what you want, but I think it makes more sense to power users that learnt to multitask and share the screen space between multiple apps. I chose the "1 workspace = 1 task" way as it feels less messy to me. That's a matter of state and no one opinion will really change on that. The problem is more knowing whic mode should be the default. The fact that we have a setting, despite Haiku's mantra of "Sane defaults, not maximum configurability', shows that there's support on both sides and we can't select only one. So, which one is to be the default. The answer to that is not by looking at the majority way of thinking, or we'll all switch to Windows. Windows does a lot of things wrong, and still some people can't work with anything else. The default setting is the one you encounter when you first start the computer. We decided that the spatial mode was simpler to learn for a complete beginner, because it is more concrete : a "folder" has a material representation as a window. single window mode allows to decouple the concepts of windows and folders. It may be more powerful, but it needs to get used to the paradigm. That's why it's not the default one. Power users which are already used to work with it, from other OS or previous experience, may give a try to the spatial mode for a change if they feel adventurous, if not, they'll quickly find the setting and revert to single window (at least that's what I gather from the discussion here, people wanting single window mode found out how to enable it).

comment:18 by deejam, 8 years ago

I made this ticket because of the projects motto of using sane defaults. I also created the forum thread Humdinger linked to above to see if my observations were correct (currently 90%+ has voted for browser mode, which lines up with the poll result on Fedora forum).

comment:19 by deejam, 8 years ago

Have you read the About the Spatial Debate… article by David Feldman? It questions some of the statements made by John Siracusa in his About the Finder... article, which is quoted as a source by The Spatial Way.

It also quotes a study made by Microsoft that made the conclusion that All but the most advanced users did not understand how to manage overlapping windows efficiently. The main reason users give for not using spatial file navigation is the many windows clutters the workspace.

I'm in favor of a hybrid solution. For example, I like the spatial way of limiting the file manager to one window per folder (per Workspace).

I've tried to find information on why the GNOME project decided to abandon spatial as the default mode in Nautilus. Any help with that would be appreciated.

comment:20 by pulkomandy, 8 years ago

Thanks for that interesting read. It sums it up pretty well ; however I have to disagree on OSX way being the good one :)

I said I would like it as two separate tools to use side by side, in this article I think I see the same idea : short term storage is spatial, while long-term is hierarchical. In Haiku I noticed I end up using queries a lot, so I don't bother as much about building hierarchies. Queries are another non-spatial tool to work with.

in reply to:  20 ; comment:21 by deejam, 8 years ago

Replying to pulkomandy:

Thanks for that interesting read. It sums it up pretty well ; however I have to disagree on OSX way being the good one :)

I said I would like it as two separate tools to use side by side, in this article I think I see the same idea : short term storage is spatial, while long-term is hierarchical. In Haiku I noticed I end up using queries a lot, so I don't bother as much about building hierarchies. Queries are another non-spatial tool to work with.

The important thing is that we now know (I guess) why our users don't use the spatial mode (too many windows), which is very good! As the creator of this ticket, I thought that the only difference between spatial and browser (in Haiku) was that in spatial folders are always opened in a new window and in browser mode, they are not. But I guess there are more differences (maybe aldeck can explain?).

Anyway, can we come up with some sort of hybrid solution as the default setting, where windows aren't opened for each folder, but still use the foundation of spatial navigation?

in reply to:  21 comment:22 by humdinger, 8 years ago

Replying to deejam:

Anyway, can we come up with some sort of hybrid solution as the default setting, where windows aren't opened for each folder, but still use the foundation of spatial navigation?

Reversing the OPT key usage would achive exactly that, I think. It's still spatial, but by default the parent window isn't left open, so new users aren't choked with lots of windows. Experienced users shouldn't be too inconvenienced, as they just have to get used to holding the OPT key additionally when they want to keep the parent window open.

(It'd be nice to have double-right-click == OPT+double-left-click for mouse users.)

comment:23 by axeld, 8 years ago

I don't think David Feldman's article is of much help in this discussion besides pointing out that it doesn't have to be a black&white thing. He also seemed to be a bit confused about hierarchy vs. spatial, ie. there is no vs. in the first place :-)

Anyway, pretty much the first thing that got added to OpenTracker once Be open sourced it, was in fact single window browsing mode. It's not questioned that many people prefer it - but due to what they know, as file browsing pretty much sucks everywhere.

The only actual problem of spatial browsing for many is indeed having too many open windows around. This can easily be avoided by using the right-click navigation. Of course, people not familiar with this just won't use it this way, and therefore won't like it. Most people have no idea about the file hierarchy, and many people can't cope with windows either. Browsing mode is not at all adequate for representing a hierarchy. That's why Windows has the folder view in the left, and OS X has the tiled view. However, Tracker does not have any of this; it's single browsing mode is just not good enough to be the default. The spatial mode is the best implementation of this method I've seen so far; it lets Haiku's file management excel, no matter if you like it or not.

In any case, if a discussion about improving the current situation is desired, this is not the right forum for this. Please start a thread on the mailing list instead.

To pulkomandy: DirectoryOpus was only needed as file manager on the Amiga as the Workbench was pretty much unusable for anything but launching apps :-)

comment:24 by pulkomandy, 8 years ago

axel: that's the point in my idea of browsing vs. management. Workbench is not a good tool for it, but DOpus really shows what can be done in the management side - while being useless at browsing.

The same situation could be seen in Windows 3.11 (progman vs. file manager) or even in windows 95, were spatial mode and single window with directory tree lived happily together. There are some similarities for example in Palm OS, where the default interface was very application-centered, with no way to access your files. On my Palm I used a tool called Filez that was a file manager, and allowed me to see my files and manage them. On 8-bit microcomputers it was an usual thing to navigate in BASIC (using load, run, that kind of things), this was a tool to run apps and load files, any complicated operation would require a dedicated disc management tool with copy features and so on. There are various samples of this idea in different systems, and I'm curious how it would work in a modern system like Haiku. but this would be better done as a blog post if I ever take the time to write it :)

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