Archive for April 2, 2003

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

About the Finder

John Siracusa:

Since the dawn of Mac OS X, I've been waiting for one of two things to happen to the Finder: either a radical revamp according to a bold new vision of what the Finder could be, or a return to the core values that defined the classic Mac OS Finder and made it so well respected and loved. Neither has happened so far, and so in this article I've proposed a way to do both.

The OS X Finder, though it has improved a lot since 10.0, still has me cursing it almost every time I use it. For the past month, I’ve tried using Columns view instead of the spacial views that I prefer, hoping that maybe that side of the Finder would be more polished. In some ways it is, but I still think Siracusa is right. The current Finder is neither here nor there. It is a half-baked spatial Finder and a half-baked browser Finder melded together in a confusing way.

Siracusa pushes a bit too hard on the idea that the spatial Finder is a better match for human brains. It may be true, and I think it probably is, but his argument is not a proof. Either way, I worry that browser Finder advocates will put down the article before they get to his interesting ideas in the second half.

Spiffy new features and a religious war over the spacial and browser paradigms are putting the cart before the horse. At this point, all I want is a polished Finder. Just something basic that lets me manage my files without frustration will be enough. By basic, I mean windows that auto-refresh and remember their settings, being able to move large numbers of files quickly, and other things that we used to take for granted. For the rest, I can wait for 10.5 or 11.0.

The OS X Finder still feels like a beta. Apple’s been eager to build countless iApps and compete with third-party developers, yet it is unwilling to finish its most important application. Everyone uses the Finder, and it’s not replaceable. Apple should make it first-rate.

Quote of the Day

How do you like my American accent? —Steven Hawking