[Thunar-dev] Thunar improvement suggestion

Tomas R sandshrew at gmail.com
Fri May 22 22:53:38 CEST 2009

I would discuss here some of the things that could be improved
or added to thunar to make it even better :)

Icon spacing
Basically the main reason I am writing this is because imho icon
spacing is a bit broken in thunar when compared to other file managers
(nautilus and dolphin). Here is why:
1) Because Thunar doesn't truncate file names, long file names cause
huge gaps between icon rows. It would be really nice if it only showed
whole filename when hovering with mouse pointer over the filename or
when the file is selected like nautilus does.
2) Because file name row width is really long, we get huge gaps
between icons.
Also, alignment of the file name seems strange. Why align to the
left, when all the other file managers center the text?
Here are some screenshots, that show the problems.
Nautilus (yeah, I know that vertical alignment is broken here)
Dolphin (looks pretty good to me)
Ofcourse dolphin even has preferences to configure all this stuff:

Less important than the previous, but anyway:
1) Thumbnails should be actually larger. Currently they are so small
that even when using pretty big icons sometimes it's hard to figure what
they are showing.
Some screeenshots to compare:
2) I think there is feature request in the bug tracker already, but
anyway: Thumbnails on the desktop would be nice.

It would be really nice if icon size of the shortcuts in the side pane
could be adjusted. BTW, selector which lets you select between
Shortcuts and Tree view should use the "bubble" selector instead of the
tickable boxes.

Statusbar features
Even more trivial, but anyway:
1) When some folder with lots of files (/usr/bin; usr/lib) is loading,
it could show in percentage how much still needs to be loaded
(nr of files already displayed / total nr of files * 100) 
2) Statusbar could show some info, depending what file is selected,
mp3: song duration, artist-title (read from ID3 tag) 
picture file: picture width x height
pdf file: number of pages

Split View
I think, when discussing usage of tabs in thunar, one of the core devs
said that split views might be a good idea after all. So, maybe you
could take a look at this video showing nautilus with split views
(Holger Berndt is currently working on this feature) and tell us what
you think:
His original post can be found here: 

I know that usage of tabs was already discussed here and they
were rejected, but anyway I would like to explain, why imho tabs would
be pretty nice.
1) Why would you need tabs in the first place?
First, it unclutters window list. Second, tabs could be reused -
what I mean is that if you forget that some folder is already open
and you try to open it again, instead of opening new window, thunar
could show the tab with that particular folder. Third, people who use
docks (Avant window manager, kiba dock, cairo dock) only see window
titles when they hover with the mouse pointer over the window icon,
having few open folders results in few same icons. Why would you want
to use docks in the first place? Identifying open windows by their
icons is faster than by reading their title. Fourth, it could be really
useful for netbook users because several open folders only occupy one
place in window list.
2) What dolphin, nautilus and pcmanfm are doing wrong?
They all missing one essential thing that makes tabs actually useful.
Folders opened from the desktop should be opened in new tabs instead of
new windows like gedit does with text files - all newly opened text
files create new tabs. Also they should learn one more thing from gedit
- tabs should be reused. Opening same folder again should just show the
 tab with that folder instead of opening new window.

Support composited desktop icon container
This one I guess could have the lowest priority of all the feature
requests here, but... it would be pretty nice if thunar supported
composited desktop icon container, so that other wallpaper managers
could be used. More info here:
http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=444320 (even patches were
proposed for nautilus some time ago, this was never implemented and will
never be implemented in nautilus)

Please comment my suggestions and say if you would be willing to work
on any of these.

Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think. - A. Bierce

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