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tabbed spatial file management

i think spatial file management and tabs are two great user interface patterns, and i'm trying to work out the best way for them to work well together in {harrison}.

spatial file management is the skeumorphic {design} principle that most famously underlies the classic mac os finder, but also several other file managers including haiku's tracker, amiga's workbench, risc os's filer, and gnome's nautilus in the refreshing period around version 2.6. the theory is as follows:

it's an extension of the classic desktop metaphor, and it worked great, especially as everyday people were getting used to using computers. they saw a file icon on the screen not as a representation of a file on disk, but as the file itself. this has benefits and drawbacks, of course, but it is a very intuitive way of experiencing an interface.

at some point tabs came along and ruined everything.

tabs have the advantage of not taking up much screen space and allowing easy access between multiple resources. however, they are program-centric, which means they are filetype-centric, when really they should be workspace-centric. you are much more likely to want to keep switching between different tabs, one for research, one for an essay, or one for documentation, one for source code or something, than multiple of the same file type.

browsers have lessened this problem for many people by consuming anything they possibly want to do. but this is not the best solution really.

it's difficult to add tabs to a window spatially, as what exactly does the window represent at that point? in a browser, most pages you visit will be on different servers, and at that point there's barely any use for spatial tabs and windows as each window (even for a whole domain, say) is likely to contain only one tab.

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