Path Finder 4 is out, and it was well worth the wait. As with previous versions, Path Finder makes no attempt to be a spacial Finder—which is, I think, what I still want. Instead, it goes all-out in trying to be a great browsing Finder, and I like the result much better than Apple’s FrankenFinder. There are lots of great little features and details which I’ll write about later. However, to me the main points of the upgrade are that it’s much faster, it updates immediately when the disk changes, and it supports tabbed browsing—which is very useful since the browsing paradigm essentially forces you to have a small number of large windows instead of many small ones.
Unfortunately, one of the best features of Path Finder 3 was lost in the transition from CocoaTech’s own implementation of columns view to an implementation based on NSBrowser. Path Finder used to show each column that was visible in the path navigator, and this made it possible to browse up and down the hierarchy and always see where you’d been. Now, it bizarrely hides nodes both above and below where you are:
- When you use the shelf, bookmarks, or path navigator, it roots the hierarchy at the item you clicked on—much like when you click on the Finder’s shelf—rather than at the “Computer” level that shows all your disks.
- When you click on the grandparent of the folder you’re viewing, Path Finder hides the columns for that folder and its descendants.
I find this unnerving, even after three and a half months of getting used to it while testing Path Finder 4. Were CocoaTech not planning to fix this, I would still be using Path Finder 3.
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