[Thunar-dev] Spatial or not-spatial?

Jasper Huijsmans jasper at xfce.org
Mon Feb 28 19:12:42 CET 2005

Auke Kok wrote:
> Jasper Huijsmans wrote:
>> Benedikt Meurer wrote:
>>> I have talked to quite a few people about the spatial or not-spatial 
>>> question recently, and I came to the conclusion, that atleast Thunar 
>>> 1.0 should implement the browser-like paradigm.
>> Hehe. At FOSDEM Auke just held a very good speech (almost passionate 
>> ;-) about why we should use spatial. What were your reasons to change 
>> your mind? 
> I have to adjust my POV and clear something about this: I had very badly 
> prepared my speech and not spent time to do the proper literature work 
> required for a half-decent speech. Brian correctly pointed this out ;^).

Oh, come on. You did great ;)

> Hoever, Benny definately has got a good formula (needs maybe one or two 
> things to make it really usable, but the concept is good) with the 
> mockup he presented us. It reminds me strongly of the gtk file-chooser, 
> and that is IMO a good thing (as I also stated in the talk).

I agree. Like I said during the discussion, it is exactly how I use Rox 
currently. Alexander's comment was that it a navigational interface 
needs a way to tell the user where they are. So, a location bar (not 
nice), a tree (doesn't really fit the design) or perhaps something like 
the path buttons in the gtk file chooser.

> This brings us back to the 'spatial' or 'non-spatial' dilemma. I hope I 
> was clear in my dev-room meeting that something purely spatial will not 
> fit our needs... however, and this is a point that Benny missed by being 
> gloriously absent, an Xfce wrapped with a file manager may very well be 
> not what every seasoned user want, and the modular setup of Xfce will 
> provide him with alternative ways to play with his files.

That was a very interesting point you made and maybe we can try a 
facilitate that by separating viewer (the GUI) and the file operations 
(library, daemon?). Ah, like you say in the next part ;-)

> perhaps this is a good time to iterate that the file manager itself 
> should only be -one- gui. There will be many in the future if we do 
> things right, like the desktop (being the secondmost important GUI to 
> the file manager), and possibly even the start menu in the far future. 
> The real file manager should perhaps even be a non-gui application or 
> library (although a process will undoubtably be a better design for the 
> sake of IPC).
> Personally, my opinion doesn't matter. Neiter does the *personal* 
> opinion of any developer. It's all about our target audience... and this 
> is where all of us have to admit that we're in the dark. Benny's best 
> guess is a navigational file manager, one that closely resembles other 
> parts of xfce's gui already (gtk file chooser), and thus will most 
> likely be a good choice.

Fully agreed. I was really wondering what made benny change his mind. I 
see advantages to spatial, especially implementation-wise, but I also 
from the start have felt that our users may not appreciate the 
restriction it imposes...

> perhaps we should leave spatial to Alexander and his group. I loved his 
> comment about him using mc to do real hands-on file management stuff ;^)

Maybe he'll start using Jens' filer now that we showed him the 
screenshots ;-)

> enough ... I need more coffee!

Real coffee. Not from a machine... ;-)


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