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Recently, there has been much debate over the Gnome file-selector dialog box. At the moment it looks rather old fashioned, even if it is intuitive and easy to use it lacks some of the recent UI improvements that have surfaced recently (such as the shortcuts-bar that appears on the left-hand side of many open/save dialog boxes now-a-days).

A few mock-up screen-shots of ideas for the new file-selector can be found here, here and here. Out of all the ideas I’ve seen, I like the design found in this item at OSNews. The accompanying explanation does a good job of explaining why the dialog is laid out is a somewhat unconventional manner. I agree with most of the arguments put forward and I especially like the ‘pathfinder’ widget used.

Having the shortcuts-bar on the left does seem a little strange. I would expect that it was put there to mirror the common web-navigation scheme whereby the main site navigation is on the left and the main content on the right. In the context of the file-selector, I feel having the items at the top might be a good idea. However, I’d like to read some arguments put forward for having the shortcuts to the left before making a decision on this.

The new Gnome file selector should be much better than the current one, whichever layout is chosen. Having common shortcuts is a valuable thing. I use the ‘Home’ button on the Nautilus toolbar all the time, and miss having a ‘My Documents’ one in Windows Explorer (the Common Tasks pane to the left has shortcuts like this, but presents too much extraneous information for it to be truly useful in this capacity). Having shortcuts to all my common files in the Nautilus would also be useful. Perhaps Nautilus could implement a bar similar to that found in the Panther Finder. That might interfere with the new spatial concept used. It would promote consistence between the application used to view the file system, though, so could be something to think about.

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