Grouping and Tile Support

First off, i think you have a great product. It needs two features though:

  1. to be able to group items.
  2. add tile support (icon + label rows).

Without these, it is really difficult to switch from Windows Explorer. -- I am an engineer myself, so let me know if I can help. Also, you may want to consider transitioning to open source now that your product has been built. in early stages of dev., open source isn't good, but now that you have a solid code base, it would help your business.

as a last note, there should be a "padding" setting for the sides of the file listing view. for example, in thumbnail view, the thumbnails start right at the very top of the screen area and it looks pretty odd.

Regards,

Sean H.

You seem to have missed a great deal of Opus' functionality if tiles mode is the deciding factor for you between it and Windows Explorer. That said, I think it's been requested in the official feature request list. As for OpenSource - well that's just silly - then everyone would have to stop washing and wear nerd t-shirts... :open_mouth:

What is this "grouping" you mean ?

You are aware, that Dopus is commercial software without the resources (and financial might) of big companies like IBM, Novell and Sun, all, which get there money back elsewhere (techical support, mass-installations, hardware sales etc.) ?

OpenSource for business is like creating a free-TV program in order to sell TVs :wink: If you've got no TVs to sell, you better encrypt your program.

I yet have to find someone who understands that the "Free" in the "Free Software Foundation" is not about getting something for free.

Except some unwashed guys in nerdy T-Shirts, lol :wink:

An example of Explorer's "Grouping" mode is shown in the screenshot.

Hmm.... is this possible for any other places than "My Computer" in Explorer ? At lease the grouping is there in Dopus for "My Computer".

Lots of places. Give it a try. The groups depend on what you're sorting by. For example, if you're sorting by Name then you'll get a group for each letter of the alphabet (that's used by a filename). If by type then you'll get a group for each type of file in the list.

In Opus you only get grouping where the location is handled by Explorer, like My Computer, Desktop, Control Panel, and so on.

I think grouping was only added to Explorer in Windows XP. The option to turn it on and off is in the right-click context menu's Arrange Icons By sub-menu.

Hmmm... it's kind of nice since it gives you another visual seperator to distguish what it is you're 'grouping' from each other.

It might be useful when listing mp3 files in a FlatView (no Folders) then grouped by Album to make a nice Music inventory list.

For a laugh, go to Control Panel, turn on Grouped mode and sort by Comment.

Not much else it could do in that situation, I guess, but quite an amusing result all the same.

Here's an example of useful grouping. However, If this idea were to be implemented in Opus, I think it should be improved upon.

Current Limitations of Windows Explorer:[ul][li] Can only group by the field sorted by.[/li]
[li] Can only sort by one field at a time.[/li]
[li] As you can see from the screen grab the tracks are sorted out-of order.[/li][/ul]I would Suggested these grouping additions to Opus:[ul][li] A Group field should be added to the Folder Format/Folder Options Dialog > Columns Tab > Displayed Fields list.[/li]
[li] Grouping should be allowed by more than one level similar to how the current Sort field works. So for example one could group .mp3 files by Artist then by Album.[/li]
[li] The new Group field and the current Sort field would combine to provide each grouping level its own sorting, separate from the members of the group. So .mp3 music files could be displayed grouped by Artist then by Album, each sorted alphabetically ascending. Then mp3 files themselves within the Album groups could be sorted by Track ascending (but not grouped by Track).[/li]
[li] When a file listing is grouped, clicking on a column header should only sort the files within the deepest group level. So in the Artist > Album grouping described above, a clicking on the Duration field would sort all Tracks on each album by Duration, rather than by Track number. The groupings and their sorting direction would be maintained.[/li]
[li] A different mouse-click event sequence (perhaps depressing the Alt key while clicking a column) should be used to determine on-the-fly group levels. If the user Alt-clicks on a field that is not currently a grouping level, it becomes a grouping level. If the user Alt-clicks on a field that is currently a grouping level, its grouping level and sorting levels are both removed (it could be resorted by Ctrl-clicking on it).[/li]
[li] Opus grouping should not even attempt to group namespace folders provided by Windows Explorer (Control Panel, Network Places, etc). Just let Windows handle this grouping, else we are just asking for issues.[/li]
[li] FlatView would also have to be considered. Perhaps FlatView Grouped would become a subset of the new Grouping levels.[/li][/ul]


I'm going to file an official feature request for grouping. But I'm going to wait a bit until I hear some feedback on the ideas presented above. I always find that waiting a period and pondering the idea, allows me to cook it awhile in my head and consider it from other angles.

So, I'd really like to hear how others might envision such a feature before I submit the request. It also helps gage whether or not it's an idea worth requesting.

Further Suggestions for Opus Grouping[ul][li] The should be an option in the Folder Options/Folder Formats dialog to hide a grouped field's column from the list. So in the Artist > Album example, neither of these fields would actually be displayed in the listed files as columns. However, they would be displayed as Grouping Level Headers. [/li]
[li] Grouping by a field whose column is displayed in the list should result in grouping by this field (adding a group level header) and optionally hiding the column from the list.[/li]
[li] Ungrouping by a field that is hidden from the list should result in removing the grouping level and adding the fields column back to the list. Perhaps the ungrouping action could also be accessed from the grouping level header itself (since the column header will no longer be there since the column is hidden in the list).[/li]
[li] It would also be powerful if groups could be expanded and contracted. This would be similar to how Outlook groups messages inside a folder and allows them to be expanded and contracted.[/li][/ul]See what happens when I wait just a few minutes and let an idea stew a bit? :bulb:

These seem like good ideas to me.

I think generally grouping should work by splitting the grouped-by column into distinct entries, with a few special cases like name (split by first letter), date-time (split by date but not time), size (split into some kind of small/medium/large groups?).

Not sure how much work supporting nested groupings would be, but a simple way to do it -- which would at least allow "Artist - Album" groupings -- would be to allow more than one group column to be specified and then concatenate the column contents into a single string which is treated as the group.

I think it'd be fine to always remove the group column(s) from the display if and only if they are used as-is for the group names. In other words, any column which has a special-case rule, like Name/Size/Date, shouldn't be removed since information is lost when mapping column contents to group name.

Imagine you'd be too fast, Jon implements it, when you realize, that you actually wanted something different. It just came to your mind later :wink:

(lurker springs to life...)

Coming back to the tiles suggestion, however...

I absolutely agree that this is cannot be the reason for staying with Explorer (I'm hard-pressed to find any reason to stay with Explorer, for that matter :smiley: ). What I did encounter, though, is that in Explorer I can change the icon of my folder via the desktop.ini file sothat it displays a nice big custom content-indicating icon in tiles mode. This way, I can find the correct folder at a glance, without having to read the folder name. For example, my data disk contains folders as 'Movies', 'Music', backups, etc. In tiles mode, they all show the folder icon. I would like to use tiles mode and customize each folder to display the content type.

I tried the same in DO9, but was unable to get any further than my custom icon inside the folder 'icon' (with transparency apparently not supported). Also tried folder.gif etc, but with no success - always the folder indication around my picture. I would like to remove the outer folder indication altogether, since this is already part of my custom icon itself. Follow?

Alternatively, can we (the users of DO9) do something as fancy as the CD container for album art for music folders in Thumbnails mode, whereby we change the CD case for something other (such as nothing, or a custom container). This would be great! Hope I'm making sense with this. :open_mouth:

I am absolutely loving using DO9 (and was already very happy with DO8 ).
I couldn't agree with anyone saying it's missing features required for an Explorer replacement - even the VFS plugins :slight_smile: Maybe I'll be eating my words once I gain Power user status. :sunglasses:

Keep up the good work, guys!

Opus doesn't seem to support these icons in Tiles mode (or Thumbnails Mode). Perhaps it should support the Custom Icon, as specified in Desktop.ini, if the folder doesn't contain a Folder.jpg or Coverart.jpg file.

Currently Opus recognizes Folder.jpg and Coverart.jpg as folder thumbnail images. You can place a file named " Folder.png" (with the spaces but without the surrounding quotes, in your folder, and it will show as the first thumbnail (out of four possible) displayed on the folder when it's parent is listed in Thumbnails View Mode. When you do this, you can see that Opus does support displaying transparent images on the folder. It just doesn't know to look for any files other than Folder.jpg and Coverart.jpg (see screengrab).

I'm going to submit a request that Opus support any of the following as a Thumbnail image for a folder (in this order of precedence):[ul][li] Coverart.png[/li]
[li] Coverart.gif[/li]
[li] Coverart.jpg[/li]
[li] Coverart.bmp[/li]
[li] Folder.png[/li]
[li] Folder.gif[/li]
[li] Folder.jpg[/li]
[li] Folder.bmp[/li]
[li] Folder Icon as specified in Desktop.ini (via Properties - Customize)[/li][/ul]

You could always change your Custom Icon. I'm not sure how much work it would be to customize this.

Perhaps the CD Frame could just a transparent image (of certain dimension), within which Coverart.jpg is displayed?


Hi Ken,

Having more control over the folder looks in the tiles view (and possibly in thumbnails mode) would be a real boost. Perhaps a hidden dopus.ini file? That would also allow the icons/images themselves to be located somewhere other than in the folder itself. :sunglasses:

We can already change the text color. Where is this information kept? Why not in dopus.ini in the folder itself?

Thanks for trying that out... I wasn't aware of the special status of "Coverart.jpg". Perhaps I could use this for the time being although the CD frame and the name "Coverart.jpg" makes little sense for most of the folders. The size of the thumbnails is a bit on the large side for a folders only view. I know I can reduce the thumbnails size, but I want to keep the size unchanged for 'real' thumbnails.

My thoughts exactly. :slight_smile:
Perhaps a special (user-specified) frame based on the first matching filename found. For example, I specify a list:

Folder.png => FolderFrame.png
Coverart.jpg => CDFrame.png
Backup.png => BackupFrame.png

The frame images should be kept somewhere central, in a DO subdirectory, for example.

If a folder is entered, it searches for the Folder.png then Coverart.jpg then for Backup.png (file extensions may be optional) and for the first one it finds, it can use the specified frame image for the thumbnails view. What do you think?

However, I would still also like more control over the tiles view...

The only thing I miss from explorer is the "View Extra Large Icons" option you get in vista, which makes for a nice image browser. (it works in some places, but not others?)

I have a mediaplayer (fb2k) to sort my music tracks and list them in a pretty fashion :slight_smile:

What about Tiles or Thumbnails mode with 256x256 thumbs?

Presumably the places where Explorer provides the view (My Computer, etc.).

Hi Ken,

Did your request support the ideas that I mentioned before, or should I submit a report myself? I'd really like support for this kind of functionality.

Thanks.