XDG, xdg-open, and view vs. edit

Dylan McCall dylanmccall at gmail.com
Tue Mar 31 11:38:10 PDT 2009

> I've been lurking on this list for some time now and find it very
> interesting. XDG (and FD.o in general) is a great step forward for
> open desktops.
> That said, I wonder why the choice was to set a default application
> for opening when most file types have view and edit modes. Why are
> there not xdg-view and xdg-edit (or --edit and --view switches on
> xdg-open)?
> Apologies if this question seems idiotic, but I ask because it's been
> eating at me for some time.
> Daniel

Personally, I don't think it is up to Free Desktop or XDG (or anyone,
for that matter) whether a MIME type association is for an app to edit a
file, view it, or send it into orbit. That should be up to the user and
presented through solid user interface.

For that matter, I've been poking at just that in the background, and
hopefully I'll have something to talk to you guys about in the coming
months. I don't want to write MUCH about the project right now since
it's essentially in that design document / prototyping stage where
dumping stuff all over the interweb would probably complicate matters.

...But here is a little mockup of a document-centric "open file" widget,
albeit with the sad omission of text labels since it's just a mockup:

I think it is quite relevant to this discussion, since what this boils
down to is making file management better. In my head, the open file
widget would unfold from a file icon when it is clicked on once in a
file manager. (Or anywhere else that a file is represented, my favourite
dream-like example being Tango's Window Experiments mockups.
The different icons in my mockup are the Actions provided by
applications. Instead of having Right Click -> Open With, we have each
one presented as a first class citizen and a normal operation; the user
should be able to click a file and choose what to do with it himself.
What each action does is handled smoothly by icons and descriptions,
which are read and understood by the human across the screen.

Dylan McCall

PS: Oh, it also solves that whole "double click or single click" problem
by providing visual feedback (and reasoning) for both steps, but that's
another discussion :)
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