Thursday, 24 November 2005

Secrets in GNOME file dialogs

Thanks for to ebassi who answered my rant about the GNOME file dialogs.

ctrl+L is the answer. While thanking you I can’t help wondering why it is so obscure. The Mac GUI may have no shortcut keys and I had mistaken GNOME successful hiding as the same deficiency.

I had noticed that when I typed a real letter, a floating edit box (no title) appeared for quick-jumping to a file in the current view, and would not accept full paths. Interesting if I ctrl+V into the file dialog nothing happens until I press a real letter too, upon which the floating edit box appears complete with the real letter and pasted text.

I wonder why ctrl+L and this other mechanism are both needed, they seem to duplicate each other, and where just typing is sort of intuitive, why is ctrl+L intuitive?

What I would like is for the path button bar to behave like a button bar AND an edit box. The button bar is nice because it shows the path I have descended to even if I pop up a level, sort of like expanding out the forward button of a web browser. But I would also like to be able to type in it. Perhaps like overlaying transparent buttons over a real edit box and moving the boundaries of the buttons to the positions of the slashes. I also want it to have a drop down list box to show recent full paths like firefox and windows explorer does. A selected path will then be displayed in the button/address-bar combination thingy.

A button/address-bar combo sounds like a dogs dinner; but what it were implemented in terms of the edit box custom drawn? Clicking on parts of the path change to that directory and render the old tail in dull grey so it can still be clicked on.


  1. the “floating box” is the treeview type-ahead; you can find a row inside the treeview widget *current* contents (it actually works with every treeview widget, which is what the filechooser uses). ctrl+L, instead, opens a location dialog (it has no title because titled dialogs conflict with the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines).
    as for the recently used paths: it’ll be a feature of the next GTK release; I’m working on it for Project Ridley, as part of the new Recent Files and Bookmarks infrastructure that will be used inside GNOME.
    so, you just ha ve towait another six months. :-)

  2. You de man ebassi!
    I’m just curious why the ctrl+L seems hidden, where should we GNOME users look to find other such wonders? (apart from the source)

  3. the documentation should mention it - feel free to file a bug into bugzilla for the GNOME documentation or the GTK documentation if you cannot find it.