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Re: Worrying nautilus development direction, New default file manager?


On Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 2:13 AM, Brandon Watkins <bwat47@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Yet another feature removed in nautilus recently: templates. You can no
> longer right click > create new file. I definitely think we should at least
> be patching basically functionality like that back...

Maybe that's for the best since Nautilus's templates were so weak.
Like with so many things, the feature didn't suck, but the
implementation did.

OS/2 didn't just have the best template system I've seen to date, it
was so much better that I don't think of the other template systems as
anything of the sort.

Describing from memory, but here's a screenshot:

(I picked the screenshot from the last version I used.)

The OS/2 desktop had a folder called "Templates". In it was a template
for every kind of file you could create. If you got a good OS/2 app,
it added templates to that folder. Maybe it even added a subfolder
there or elsewhere with even more templates. WordPerfect, as I recall,
added a template for a blank WordPerfect file, but also had a folder
with the usual office application type of templates: business letter,
personal letter, invoice, etc. There was no hiding of templates behind
a start-up screen. You can maybe tell from the screenshot that
templates had a special icon to indicate they were templates.

Double-clicking a template created a new item based on the template,
but you would have to tell the computer where to save it. Instead the
thing to do was to "tear off" a copy from a template and put it where
you wanted it. I forget just how a name was given; maybe there was no
shortcut so you had to start the renaming in the usual way. Templates
were like copy-only files in the GUI. You could move a template or
change it, but you had to do something like ctrl+click, ctrl+drag, or
use the right-click menu. The whole idea was to quickly make a new

Anything represented by an icon in a folder could be a template,
including folders. You could make anything a template through its
property sheets. I think dragging into the "Templates" folder
defaulted to something like "Copy As Template". Maybe there was even
something on the right-click menu. Making a folder into a template
meant copies would be made of everything in that folder when you "tore
off" a new copy. Do you have some set of files that you always make
when starting a new project? "main.c", for example? Put them all in a
folder, make the folder a template, and as quickly as you can
drag-and-drop 100 times, you can start 100 projects. If you want to,
you can have in your project folder a template for source code. Then
you tear off a copy to create a project, open the project, and tear
off a few copies of suitable source files from the template created in
a folder created from a template. Using git or bzr? Instead of making
projects from a regular folder, make a folder suitable for revision
control and start with that. I guess some kind of scripting is needed;
maybe the file manager could recognize an uninitialized revision
controlled folder and run the right command?

The Nautilus template system was really weak. Did it even have
anything by default? There was no documented way or expectation for
apps to contribute templates. Putting a folder in ~/Templates just
added a submenu to the right-click menu. The icons in ~/Templates
folder didn't look or behave differently. It was just a pain to use
since it required going to a submenu of a right-click menu, and since
most of the things aren't there, why bother?