Inert Detritus The Internet's dust bunnies

20 November 2007 @ 10am

What “Why Spatiality is Nonsense” Missed

Rixstep just pub­lished an arti­cle about why spa­tial file nav­i­ga­tion does­n’t work in today’s file sys­tems: there’s just too many files. And if you assume you’re try­ing to assign a unique loca­tion on screen to each fold­er, you’re absolute­ly right: you’d have to be insane. But nav­i­gat­ing in (for the moment, we’ll use the OS 9 Find­er as our bench­mark, see­ing as OS X’s bro­ken­ness) Ye Olde Find­er, I nev­er have more than a few fold­ers open at once, and when I do, they relate to each oth­er. What are the odds that I’ll be open­ing ~/Documents/Desktop Pic­tures at the same time as /usr/share/lib? Or, for that mat­ter, why in the world would I nav­i­gate the Unix under­pin­ning (/bin, /dev, /var) with Find­er at all? Any manip­u­la­tions I want to per­form on the con­tents of those fold­ers are only avail­able in a shell to begin with, so why both­er nav­i­gat­ing through them spatially?

I sup­pose that very flaw may be part of their argu­ment, but, if you sep­a­rate out nav­i­ga­tion into “Duh, use zsh” for the Unix under­side of OS X, and, “Let me drag and drop my files!” in ~/Documents or ~/Desktop or ~/Pictures, spa­tial nav­i­ga­tion becomes more use­ful. I’ll say it again: spa­tial nav­i­ga­tion makes blind­ing­ly obvi­ous sense in cer­tain cas­es, and just because it does­n’t work every­where does­n’t mean it nev­er works anywhere.