Alternate Approach to Folders, Favorites, and Categories

Ideas for improvements and requests for new features in XnView Classic

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JohnFredC
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Alternate Approach to Folders, Favorites, and Categories

Post by JohnFredC »

As many of you who read these posts are aware, I have been quite vocal in my dis-satisfaction with the way some of the new features of XnView have been implemented. This thread promotes my ideas for a revision (in some future version... 2.0, perhaps) to the XnView browser... addressing specifically the panels for Folders, Folder Favorites, and Categories. Please see screen shots in the posts below this one.

I have many years of experience as a software developer, have a thick skin, and welcome everyone's suggestions and dislikes. So: fire away! :wink:

Here are the major principles that guided me:

1. The Folder Tree, Folder Favorites, and Categories panels allow the user to display various sets of files. Therefore, the Folder Tree, Folder Favorites, and Categories panels are tools used by the File List panel and should be subordinate to it... that is, these panels should be displayed in a sidebar of the File List panel, not the XnView window.

2. Folder favorites are actually folders! In B3, the folder favorites even display the target favorites' subfolders. Therefore, the Folder Favorites should be in the folder tree (as a root item). They're folders!

3. The current button bar for Folders, Folder Favorites, and Categories is not screen-space efficient... there is no purpose to having a button used to display, say, the Categories (and Ratings) panel as a button 1/3 (!) of the screen wide. Too much wasted space!

4. If Folder Favorites are displayed in the Folders Tree (see above), that leaves only the Folders tree and the Categories as subordinate panels to the File List panel. Therefore, move the Folder Tree and Categories buttons to the mini-toolbar. This frees up quite a bit of screen space (no need for those very wide buttons) and makes logical sense, since the mini-toolbar is a tool of (ie. subordinate to) the File List.

5. If the Folders and Categories panels are resident in the sidebar of the File List panel, there are three possible states for their visibility: Folders showing, Categories showing, neither showing. Therefore, the mini-toolbar should have an additional button to toggle visibility of the File Lists sidebar, plus buttons to toggle between the Folders Tree and the Categories in the the File List sidebar.

OK... that's a start. See the following posts for mockups...
John
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JohnFredC
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Post by JohnFredC »

First, here is the mock-up of my XnView browser proposal showing the Folder Tree. Also notice in the mini-toolbar that 1) the (new) Sidebar display button is depressed (ie., pushed in) so that the File List sidebar is visible. Notice that the Folder Tree button is also depressed (pushed-in), so that the File List side bar displays the folder tree.

Here also you can see the Folder Favorites as an additional root of the tree.

Image
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JohnFredC
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Post by JohnFredC »

Second, this mock-up shows the Categories (and Ratings) panel displayed in the File List Sidebar.

Again, the (new) Sidebar visibility button (in the mini-toolbar) is selected (pushed-in), as is the Categories button.

Image
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JohnFredC
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Post by JohnFredC »

Finally, this third mock-up shows how XnView would look with the File List Sidebar hidden.

Notice that the mini-toolbar Sidebar button is no longer depressed (pushed-in). Also notice that the Categories button is still depressed, indicating that the next time the user displays the Sidebar, it will contain the Categories panel.

(I debated with myself that maybe the Folders Tree and Categories buttons should "pop-out" when the Sidebar is not visible... what do you think?)

Naturally, clicking the little button in the divider (not visible here) would expand the Sidebar and depress the Sidebar button.

Image
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JohnFredC
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Post by JohnFredC »

I think there are at least four advantages to my approach:

1. Reduction in the number of controls and panels required

2. Reduction in the amount of screen real-estate required

3. More logical organization and operation

4. Reuse of already implemented XnView UI conventions (toolbars, buttons, panels, etc)...

OK, that's it.

Thanks for considering my proposals!
John
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foxyshadis
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Post by foxyshadis »

I just wanted to let you know I think it's a good idea. It does seem to be a better idea to make favorites a special case of folders, rather than duplicate all the folder code into favorites, one beta at a time. It looks pretty nice, too.
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Post by xnview »

I think that your proposal is good :-) So dicuss about it for the release after 1.90 :-)
Pierre.
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Olivier_G
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Re: Alternate Approach to Folders, Favorites, and Categories

Post by Olivier_G »

JohnFredC wrote:I have a thick skin, and welcome everyone's suggestions and dislikes. So: fire away! :wink:
I'll take advantage of that... :mrgreen: (see *)
JohnFredC wrote:1. The Folder Tree, Folder Favorites, and Categories panels should be displayed in a sidebar of the File List panel not the XnView window.
4&5. Move the Folder Tree and Categories buttons to the mini-toolbar.
1. Treeview/Categories => items in Filelist => item in Preview. That doesn't imply that Filelist should be a sidebar of the Preview Panel.
Actually, it's all just different ways to show that relationship. Therefore I don't see your logic*.

4&5. I never show the minitoolbar (takes too much thumbnails space for little advantage) but would often switch Folders <> Categories. So, I don't like your idea*.
Moreover I favor a button on the separator (as implemented now) to hide a panel away rather adding a dedicated button in any toolbar.

About 2. (favorites into folders): I am more open now, especially when having large hierarchies of folders and favorites which don't share the same organizational logic (one is extensive, the other is selective). And actions are not exactly the same (how do you feel if I delete/remove a favorite? And if I do the same with a folder?... :| ...some users may not understand the difference beforehand).
Olivier
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JohnFredC
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Re: Alternate Approach to Folders, Favorites, and Categories

Post by JohnFredC »

Hi Olivier!
Olivier_G wrote:That doesn't imply that Filelist should be a sidebar of the Preview Panel.
I didn't say anything about the Preview Panel. Instead, I think it can be demonstrated that the File List is the primary panel in the Browser and all of the other panels (including the Preview) are functionally subordinate to the File List.
Olivier_G wrote:Moreover I favor a button on the separator (as implemented now) to hide a panel away rather adding a dedicated button in any toolbar.
The buttons on the separators are great and I did not suggest to remove them! Instead, I said:
JohnFredC wrote:Naturally, clicking the little button in the divider (not visible here) would expand the Sidebar and depress the Sidebar button.
Olivier_G wrote:About 2. (favorites into folders): I am more open now, especially when having large hierarchies of folders and favorites which don't share the same organizational logic (one is extensive, the other is selective). And actions are not exactly the same (how do you feel if I delete/remove a favorite? And if I do the same with a folder?... :| ...some users may not understand the difference beforehand).
Yes! these are valid concerns. I was hoping to promote further discussion.
John
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Olivier_G
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Post by Olivier_G »

Ahhh... by reading more carefully this message, I now better understand your point of view.
JohnFredC wrote:We tend to think of the file system as a container for files, with the file conceptually subordinate to the folder. This is forced on us by the "standard" folder tree navigation paradigm in which we first select a drive/folder and then a file and then view its contents (Select Drive -> Select Folder -> Select File -> View File Contents). This the way XnView works now.
But if you think about it abstractly, the folder location of any file is just another property of the file itself, a peer of all the other data about the file.
I'll give more thoughts (when 1.90 will be in calm waters... :P )
Olivier