Nautilus 3.18 – Comunicating changes

Hello community,

So these 3 weeks has been crazy of work. Basically because we had a roadmap, and we wanted to complete all that was marked as a target. The UI freeze was the first deadline, and Georges (Gsoc student for Nautilus and Gtk+ that I was mentoring) and me managed to get merged the Other Locations view, as Georges did for Gtk+ previously. Was a overworked week and a half, but the result came in!

So important changes on 3.17.90:

Now we use a popover for renaming instead of a dialog, since some users gave valid reasoning for it and designers also though in the same way after testing for a few days. Good thing is that a popover allows us to provide the same kind of experience than a dialog but being less disruptive, so I think it was a good change.


Then we have the other locations view, which aims to replace the connect to server dialog and provide a cleaner experience. We invested lot of effort on this one (Georges the most of course) and I think the overall result is really nice.

other-locationsAlso we improved the operations feedback, and now the button tries to catch more attention and also the operations give feedback much sooner.


Also we improved the search, making it faster (tracking races, not internal rework) and making the files of the current folder easily recognizable. When you search, the view switches to list view to allow the user see more information about the files, being the most important the location, so he can discern between file names that are duplicated. If the user changes the view manually, we disable this automatic behavior. Also, files on the current folder are always first, and files on the current folder don’t show a name in the location columns, to make it distinguishable from other files at first look. And another small improvement… now the location row show the relative path to the original folder of the search. So no the full path, which is too much and disruptive, neither only the containing folder, which is too little information.

Also we disabled manual sorting on Recent and Search to avoid confusion using a different sorting on those. Maybe we will need to think about search, because one might want to search but sort in a different way. However, maybe we can do that differently? It’s an open question, but for now try to avoid inconsistencies.


Also, the preferences dialog went down considerably…but not because we removed them, but because now all the settings are in-window! Previously people were confused about having permanent settings on the “Preferences” dialog, and temporary (and it actually depended on what!) preferences in the menus of the window. So now all menus of the windows are permanent preferences.

Major changes for 3.17.91

We did lot of ground work to clean up the code… because it was somewhat confusing, and actually the isolation of components were null. That was kinda on the way to have more kind of views, like the other-locations one. Georges isolated the necessary to make it work, and after his work was merged, I took the remaining part.

It was a hard part, and dealing with races on multi-thread as you may know is the worse debug process. But it is necessary for the future rework of the views planned for 3.20, and to be honest, nevertheless Nautilus just really needed that.

Also we fixed most of the translations problems of Nautilus thanks to Alexandre Franke and Piotr Drąg.

And actually I want to do give some special thanks to Piotr to spot in a matter of minutes any translation problem, and not only that, but fixing the code by himself (and adding the files to POTFILES that it’s something that I always forgot). So kudos to you!

Also we added a preference disabled by default for the “automatically open folder after a timeout while performing a drag and drop operation and hovering a folder”, since performing actions while the user is still, and keep doing it while there is folders available, it’s not a really good experience. Also actions based in timeouts are even more problematic for people with disabilities. But the real reason to actually take the decision is the possible consequences. Since the action can be performed accidentally, it can happens that the user lose track of where he was, and drop files in a place that he was not expecting to, losing the track of his files. Another example, is dropping accidentally sensible files on a public folder.

However, I learned that is the kind of feature that some people were happy to use as is, and even if its implementation doesn’t comply the standards, it was already there and some people were used to it. That’s why there is a setting to allow those users to enable or disable at their will.

Another point, now we take care about remote locations for searching. It won’t longer try to make a recursive search making everything slow and consuming a big chunk of bandwidth. Also we provide feedback about that when searching on those cases.

non-recursive-searchThings that need work:

There is a problem though, with all the ground changes we took the risk to be more unstable than we are used to. So now I fixed the most important crashes, but there is still work to do and we need testing. I hope everything will be better for 3.18, but being honest, I actually expect that 3.18.1 will be as stable as 3.16 was, but 3.18 will have small issues.

Another issue, even if we improve the search, I made it worse in the latest days due to the need of peeking the file system information for deciding if the location is remote or not. However I already have a bug report for that and I will track it hopefully before the 3.18 release.

Also, if you want to know the most important changes, they are kept track of them on the NEWS file and for future, you have the roadmap in the wiki of nautilus

Hope you like what we have done for this release. Was hard, but we were passionate about it and we are happy the result is there!

Thanks to everyone who made it possible.

PD: I will continue the series of blog posts about what was discussed at Guadec.