XFCE design SIG: Thunar: "Redesign of the Shortcuts Pane", ideas and comments

Harald Judt h.judt at gmx.at
Tue May 31 19:59:35 CEST 2011


Here are some comments on and ideas for the redesign, not in any 
specific order:

I'd go for the example using no custom widgets, as from all the 
proposals, I like it best.

* I've never attached more than 4 devices to the computer at one time. 
External hard drives with multiple partitions might make a difference; 
Maybe the partitions of a hard drive should be made a separate level of 
the tree then, or color-coded?

> If e.g. “Devices” is collapsed but the user inserts some removable
> media, the header of the collapsed section should give some feedback
> of the new device (Jannis proposed blinking) (Simon Steinbeiß)

Absolutely good idea. Or (unintrusively) change the background color.

> But since the nodes aren't really like links (even though I agree
> you could argue the opposite here as well) I think the hand is
> misleading. To me they're more like folders and folders don't
> need/have much prelight. (Simon Steinbeiß)

Although I like the idea very much, I agree the "hand" cursor would look 
strange here, but maybe another cursor or not changing the cursor at all 
would be good enough? In any case, another thing is missing compared to 
current thunar: The bookmark indicates you clicked on it, and what you 
see in the standard view now reflects its contents. On the other hand, 
thunar doesn't have any action for hovering over the item.

* Give the category headers an additional purpose:
   Example: When the user clicks on "Devices", a list of devices is 
shown like files and folders in the standard view, similar to 
computer:///. There, a color-coded progress bar (green, yellow, red) 
indicates occupied and free space, like Windows 7 explorer does in 
"Computer". Of course, it could show other useful device information 
too. The item could be treated like the corresponding item in the 
shortcuts pane (mount, eject,...). Optionally, the special view could 
have a different (grey like the shortcut-pane's) background, to indicate 
that it is special.
   Example: When the user clicks on "Places", a list of places is shown 
in the standard view, along with how much space they occupy, etc.

* Will the places section be configurable? That is, will it replace the 
bookmarks functionality of the current side-panel? There shouldn't be 
any things in there the user doesn't need or want, and the user should 
be free to adjust the order as he or she wants. In particular, thunar 
should not delete bookmarks when the resources cannot be found, because 
it might be on a device the user works with regularly but which is not 
available all the time.

* How about enabling custom actions for devices or certain types of 
devices? Use-case: Formatting an USB stick or an optical disc.

* I don't know if this belongs to this specific proposal, but since I've 
seen it on the wiki page: How are samba shares different from network 
resources? Will they be handled in a different way? Do they use 
/etc/fstab? Maybe there's a better, general name than the technical term 
"Samba Shares"? Or wouldn't it better qualify as a subcategory of 
network, if an own category is needed at all?

> Archives or iso-images make sense as part of the devices, if the
> feature lands in thunar, I guess this is how it should look/work
(Simon Steinbeiß)

ISOs mounted via loop device are already shown in the bookmarks pane, so 
there may not be so much left to do ;-)

I hope this is a bit helpful and of interest to you.


`Experience is the best teacher.'

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