RFC: Bonobo file dialog

Hello Gnome developers!

I was reading the Gnome GUI mailing list archive and stumbled upon a very long thread about how a Gnome File Dialog should look like. The thread just went on and on and people could not agree on the "proper" way to do it. I have very strong opinons on this myself (having to use the Windows file dialog many times every day and hating it), but hesitated to involve myself in the discussion. I want the file dialog to behave "my way" and not adjust myself to a dialog that works better for novice users etc. But I also recognise the demand for a really easy to use file dialog for beginners. In other words, the file dialog is an itch I would like to scratch, but it should not be static and the same for all users.

So I thought about it for a while and wondered if not the file dialog is an excellent candidate for a Bonobo component? There are novice users, intermediate users, advanced users, all with different taste and preferences. Common to all of them are that they have to deal with file dialogs. Common to almost all applications are file dialogs. Should it not be possible for people to "install" their preferred file dialog in Gnome once and for all?

As I see it, a beginners file dialog should be simple, but an advanced file dialog can be quite complex. Of course, it needs to tell its application which file(s) the user has chosen. But an "Open File"-dialog could also open files with http or ftp. There could be a history function for previous directories, and a bookmark function to jump between "important" directories, and these should be persistent between applications and sessions. There could be a "find" function to open several files scattered among many directories. There are lots of file manager functionality that could be added to it. There should also be some way for applications to extend it, for example to show a thumbnail image if the application is an image program. Etc... In short, there are lots of possible features to add, but people with a simplistic taste may not prefer them

I have never hacked Gnome (Java is the only language I feel comfortable with, but I hope to change that in time) so I can not help build this foundation myself. But I think it should be there, because Gnome lacks a good file dialog, and I think when the time comes to change it should be done in a flexible way. A file dialog bonobo component could also be an excellent "Hello World"-like example. If it existed, many people could alter it to suit their taste. In time I imagine that you could dowload a file dialog from themes.org, install it in Gnome, and then all applications would use it. Switching the file dialog should be as easy as switching the shell. This would be also a definite advantage over Windows.

Any comments? Am I right in my thinking that this can be done with Bonobo? Have I inspired someone to start on this?

Regards, Claes

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