your post seemed a bit strange for me in the beginning, so I checked KIT and – yes, there is something about it that is more elegant. It is stupid perhaps, but the drawer in KIT seems a more intuitive approach to adding meta information to a document than a separate info panel.
Although DT is already very usable, it seems that some re-structuring in that direction may be fine in the future.
I agree with this. Also, I find the ever abounding series of windows which open when barrelling down multiple levels of folders rather frustrating (almost like using OS 9 again!). I now you can auto hide a window when another opens by holding the option key, but visually the windows keep jumping around – not a very satisfying experience. The reference to the Finder model is good I think.
What if, in column view, after plunging down through a series of folders and finding the doc you want, instead of getting an “Info” pane of the document, you actually got to see and use the document, like in the vertical split view. Would save having to open another window in order to read the doc, and make navigation much faster, particularly among docs within the same folders.
One suggestion I have for making it easy to manage all the windows comes from a program I really liked, the old WebArranger. Basically, it let the user name each window as it was opened, and then placed the named windows under the window menu. You could then resize, change view, etc, to your heart’s content, and specialize the window for a particular purpose. So I’d have one window open for browsing the internet, another for searching, another for organizing, and a few more focused on particular groups. If DT would allow you to name windows and then restore the “named” windows each time you opened the program, that would, I think solve the multiple window question, because one could have as many windows as you wanted, each with their function in the title bar reminding you what you were doing with that window. Obviously many people would like to not be required to name a window, but this seems pretty easy to implement either as an option to turn on/off, or just add an item to the window menu that is called “Name and Remember Window”.
Seems more a matter of how to manage a large number of windows being open at a time (“window clutter”) irregardless of what they’re named. I’m pretty minimalist about having a lot of windows open, preferring to keep most activity focused in top-level window.
I have the “Open windows that were open on quit” preference set and typically have four windows of group items open when DT launches, using different views/sizes/placement. I also have a !Favorites group (the ‘!’ prepended to keep it top-sorted) with replicates to those groups plus other items I want to find and open quickly). The names are distinct and easy to identify. That handles window save/restore well enough. One change might be for each item to have an “Open at Startup” attribute so windows for them could be closed during a session and would still reopen again at next startup, which isn’t possible now. I’d want a way to easily find those items and toggle their open-at-startup state, too.
Right now some form of tabbed interface (with consistent, predictable navigation) is the only specialized window management DT lacks that I see having immediate value for me. I’ve already mentioned I’m fond of NNW 2.0’s interface and it’s easy using it as a lightweight Safari alternative. I wouldn’t mind if DT database browsing in general felt more that way.
I like much of KIT’s interface but that’s where any comparison with DT ends (well, except for KIT’s Smart Groups ). It was worth a quick look.
PS – Drawers are okay when not misused, like for mailbox lists in Apple Mail. I’m mosty neutral about DT’s Classify and See Also drawer; issues I have with it is another topic.