Feature Request: Fixed columns, fixed rows

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JohnFredC
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Feature Request: Fixed columns, fixed rows

Post by *JohnFredC » 2003-03-15, 13:59 UTC

It would be great if we could "freeze" the name column so that it showed all the time. Then we could use a horizontal scroll bar to view the additional columns to the right. This would allow us to display the file comments with the date, size, and attribute values.

Likewise, I would like to be able to "freeze" the rows of a panel at some location (say, just below the folders... I keep the folders grouped separately).

These behaviours are typical of the spreadsheets and datasheets I use daily. I miss them in TC.

After all, file data is data, too!
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Post by *ben hub » 2003-03-15, 15:54 UTC

... a horizontal scroll bar to view the additional columns to the right.
This would allow us to display the file comments with the date, size, and attribute values.
I hate horizontal scrollbars !!

if you are not totally addict to the mouse, use the keyboard ;)

Ctrl+Shift+F2 toggles the view between comments and all file details.
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Post by *jb » 2003-03-15, 21:13 UTC

ben hub wrote:I hate horizontal scrollbars !!
Me too.

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Post by *JohnFredC » 2003-03-17, 04:49 UTC

Well guys, I hate the keyboard...

I was just suggesting a method whereby all of the file info could be displayed on the row with the file name.

What's wrong with horizontal scroll bars, may I ask? I use my middle mouse button for scrolling chores...
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Post by *jb » 2003-03-17, 21:16 UTC

JohnFredC wrote:What's wrong with horizontal scroll bars, may I ask? I use my middle mouse button for scrolling chores...
It's bad enough when vertical scroll bars are needed, but often inevitable. Horizontal scroll bars are a double nuisance, but very evitable in case of TC (unlike in graphics or spreadsheet applications) by the following measures:
  1. Use short file names (here 'short' does not mean DOS-like!).
  2. Show file extension directly after file name.
  3. Don't show century in date.
  4. Don't use 12 hour AM/PM format.
  5. Use size display "dynamic (x.x k/M/G)".
  6. Move the window splitter in emergency.
  7. Use a large monitor (>= 19") if possible anyhow (pays off in many other ways!).
Even on a notebook with a resolution of 1024x768 my file names are rarely truncated in full view. I admit if you use comments then your freeze feature with horizontal scrollbars may be helpful.
Last edited by jb on 2003-03-22, 15:45 UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by *JohnFredC » 2003-03-18, 02:28 UTC

My suggestion was about the comments... and perhaps any other info that might be included on the line with the filename in the future... mp3 encoding, bitmap pixel sizes etc.

Though TC already provides some of that data in the balloon popups, it would be nice to sort a folder of pictures by size, or mp3s by bit rate. For that we need more columns, and the more columns you have, the better that freeze columns scenario might appeal to you.

The file management landscape is changing quickly...it's not just your father's name, size, date, and attributes anymore.

I was proposing a solution that would accomodate future scenarios.

Speaking as a professional developer: software should adapt to the users needs, not the other way around.
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Post by *jb » 2003-03-19, 07:14 UTC

In principle you have convinced me that horizontal scroll bars combined with freezable columns could be helpful to a certain degree. But name, size, last modified date and attributes will always be the most important general properties of files and directories and I think they are almost perfectly covered by TC.
Of course files and directories have or can have some other general properties such as owner or comments and you can imagine even countless properties for specific file types such as picture files, sound files and so on. ACDSee V5.0 for instance offers dozens of properties alone for pictures of digital cameras. If you want some of these extra properties then other questions arise:
  • Which extra properties should be supported by TC?
    In particular should properties of common Microsoft file types such as 'Title', 'Subject', 'Author' etc. in Word documents also be supported (as already partially displayed in the tooltips; you call them "balloon popups" possibly under influence of Apple Macintosh)?
  • What exactly should be configurable and how? What will be the scope of the settings (whole file system, subtree or single directory)?
  • How should the columns behave when the width of the window changes?
Currently 'Comments' is the only general extra property supported by TC and the column configurability is quite modest. For instance it is not possible to show the hard core properties together with Comments and if you choose Comments then the title row does not reflect it.

I think you scratched only the surface of something that would require more analysis and quite a lot of work to implement.

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Post by *JohnFredC » 2003-03-19, 13:15 UTC

Hi JB

>> you call them "balloon popups" possibly under influence
>> of Apple Macintosh)?

Not really. I partied too much when I was young and now have memory access issues. Lost the index file, algorithm gets distracted easily, etc.

I know from tooltips, just couldn't activate search and retrieval...

>> the surface of something that would require more
>> analysis and quite a lot of work to implement

I completely agree. Just thought I would introduce the topic for discussion. Every suggestion made in this forum has ramifications for implementation usually far beyond just the feature wished for.

My real point is not about the fixed columns, per se. It's that the file lists aren't simple lists, they are cartesian grids of data and as such can be (and I think should be) generalized to the spreadsheet/datasheet paradigm. This has implications for user interaction. For instance, I would like to be able to set attributes (date/time/comments) etc, by direct manipulation of the value in the file list... not always in a modal dialog. (Such a feature should have a toggle on/off in the options so as to protect neophytes...)

Thanks for your thoughtful responses!
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Post by *CopyCats » 2003-03-22, 13:04 UTC

Here's a different suggestion.

Below the file list panes, there's a field that shows the size and number of files selected and files present ("nn KB / nnn KB in n / nnn files").
This field is not currently used for anything else.

Suggestion to Christian: When the user clicks on this field, enlarge the pane that is above it, eg to 90%, so that the other pane almost disappears from view. With the extra width, you can make the filename column much wider (to show long file names in full) and you have space to show any comments as well.

Things would return to normal when the user clicks on the field again - or he can click on the field below the other pane, and then that would be enlarged.
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Post by *CopyCats » 2003-03-22, 13:11 UTC

JB ann JohnFredC,

I don't think that TCOM should display filetype-specific properties like MP3 bitrate or BMP-resolution and colordepth. Such information requires that each file be opened and examined and it would be a real drag.
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Post by *JohnFredC » 2003-03-22, 13:33 UTC

Hey Copycats

My goal would be for ALL columns to be optional so we could decide what to display (and what order to display it) in the file panes. That should please everyone.

Also, perhaps the custom data (mp3 bit rate, etc), once read, could be persisted in a file in the folder the way comments are today. I understand there are issues of concurrency in such a scheme, but it might be worth looking at...

Also, if the process that read the file info was running in a separate processor thread, then we could continue to use Total Commander while it updated the file data.

Just some thoughts. I want everything. There have been circumstances when I have wished for nearly every suggestion made in this forum...
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