Mon, 11 Mar 2013
Are the Directories Evil?
Jimmac has an interesting blog post about how GNOME users are not satisfied with the current look of GNOME folder icon, explaining the reasons behind its current state. The blog post contains an interesting reasoning, but I wonder whether the fact that an explanation was actually necessary does not invalidate it. For me, however, the most enlightening part of his blog post is this:
Exposing the directory structure is the pre-GNOME 3 world. What we focus on now are the applications.
This is exactly the kind of mentality which leads us to the world of systems with severe usability problems like Android, GNOME 3, or most current MP3 players. Maybe this is a news for some of you, but the concept of directories actually is useful!
I hate it when the audio player Android app cannot present the albums that I have on my SD card neatly sorted into directories (also) as those directories. I hate it when my car stereo cannot use subdirectories with depth greater than 1, and does not have a "shuffle subtree" function, making the whole "shuffle" thing unusable: I have songs, tales for kids, audiobooks, and language courses stored there, and I obviously don't want to shuffle through all of these, intermixing random language lessons with songs and audiobook chapters.
Why do I have to use a domain-specific "directory sorter" (e.g. MP3 or photo tagging application), when the system already has a general purpose means of grouping various files together: the directory tree?