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Bug 508404 - Sidebar should categorize items displayed with headings
Sidebar should categorize items displayed with headings
Product: nautilus
Classification: Core
Component: [obsolete] Sidebar
Other All
: Normal enhancement
: ---
Assigned To: Nautilus Maintainers
Nautilus Maintainers
Please no '+1' or 'vote' comments. If...
: 544112 575095 (view as bug list)
Depends on:
Reported: 2008-01-09 23:51 UTC by Pierre Slamich
Modified: 2010-08-29 09:51 UTC
See Also:
GNOME target: ---
GNOME version: Unversioned Enhancement

Side Pane from Rhythmbox (17.02 KB, image/png)
2008-11-12 15:06 UTC, palfrey
demonstration (15.79 KB, image/png)
2009-01-09 16:46 UTC, A. Walton
initial work (37.64 KB, patch)
2009-01-09 16:48 UTC, A. Walton
needs-work Details | Review
Mockup of the sidebar (11.46 KB, image/png)
2009-01-09 19:31 UTC, Kjetil Wikestad
Mockup based on Vadim Peretokin work (29.11 KB, image/png)
2009-01-10 12:18 UTC, Matteo Drera
Mockup without tree indenting. (44.11 KB, image/png)
2009-01-13 12:22 UTC, Chris Jones
Sidebar Mockup - By Brad (29.58 KB, image/png)
2009-04-27 22:22 UTC, Brad Jensen
mockup based on Matteo Drera (23.28 KB, image/png)
2009-11-19 14:46 UTC, Vish

Description Pierre Slamich 2008-01-09 23:51:12 UTC
Mac Os Leopard introduced categorization in the Sidebar as shown here:

Implementing this nice feature in Gnome would mean
Putting above places: Places
Putting above devices: Devices

Making those categories collapsable would be nice as well.
Comment 1 Pierre Slamich 2008-01-18 21:22:03 UTC
More precisely this image.
Comment 2 Jakub 'Livio' Rusinek 2008-03-16 13:13:52 UTC
Change version please.
Comment 3 Pierre Slamich 2008-03-29 11:01:39 UTC
(In reply to comment #0)
> Mac Os Leopard introduced categorization in the Sidebar as shown here:
> Implementing this nice feature in Gnome would mean
> Putting above places: Places
> Putting above devices: Devices
> etc..
> Making those categories collapsable would be nice as well.

Comment 4 Pierre Slamich 2008-03-29 11:14:53 UTC
(In reply to comment #0)
> Mac Os Leopard introduced categorization in the Sidebar as shown here:
> Implementing this nice feature in Gnome would mean
> Putting above places: Places
> Putting above devices: Devices
> etc..
> Making those categories collapsable would be nice as well.

Comment 5 Brad Jensen 2008-10-09 04:12:42 UTC
The disc (cd, dvd) drives should be grouped together, rather than mixed in with the disk (hdd) drives and flash drives.

Whether they have their own category, or they come before or after the other.

Also, will this enhancement be seeing any work done soon?

Comment 6 Pierre Slamich 2008-11-02 12:21:26 UTC
Here's a mockup
Comment 7 Fabio 2008-11-02 15:11:20 UTC
Comment 8 Brian 2008-11-03 02:35:20 UTC
Little details like this make everything feel more polished. I especially like Hylkes mockup.
Comment 9 Sharninder 2008-11-03 10:24:00 UTC
This is awesome. +1 from me too. Would be great to see this in 2.26.
Comment 10 Gabriel Falcão 2008-11-04 03:36:37 UTC
Awesome. Waiting anxious!
Comment 11 Bruno Boaventura 2008-11-04 09:21:29 UTC
Totally +1 for me!!!
Comment 12 palfrey 2008-11-12 15:06:16 UTC
Created attachment 122503 [details]
Side Pane from Rhythmbox

Rhythmbox already has a similar thing for it's side pane. Could we not copy+paste (or drag into a shared library)?
Comment 13 A. Walton 2009-01-09 16:46:07 UTC
Created attachment 126119 [details]
Comment 14 A. Walton 2009-01-09 16:48:09 UTC
Created attachment 126120 [details] [review]
initial work

An attempt at this. Not sure that I really like it (it doesn't mesh with the file chooser this way, and it seems like it increases the chance you might accidentally unmount a volume), and the highlight color doesn't seem to work so the patch will probably need a couple of touch-ups.
Comment 15 Pierre Slamich 2009-01-09 17:06:42 UTC
Wow, nice work :-)
It is somewhat themable by GTK themes ? (Can it have more spacing between the items or a coloured background for instance?)
Comment 17 Siegfried Gevatter (RainCT) 2009-01-09 17:42:26 UTC
Yes, why not? :)
Comment 18 Alan Pope 2009-01-09 17:52:51 UTC
Would it not make more sense to have the bookmarks below Computer and before Network? If I bookmark a place it's because I use it regularly, and want quick/easy access to it. I think I use local resources more than network resources, but of course that will differ for others, but isn't a-typical is it?

Either way I like it. 
Comment 19 Anthony Batchelor 2009-01-09 17:54:40 UTC
With bookmarks above network and drives above network.
Comment 20 Mads Rosendahl 2009-01-09 18:04:27 UTC
Looks great! The current sidebar looks very cluttered so an update is needed for sure.


Comment 21 Cleber Santz 2009-01-09 18:16:46 UTC
Great work ! 

Will be cool put space between categories
Comment 22 John 2009-01-09 18:21:36 UTC
Looks good!

Comment 23 Oscar RdG 2009-01-09 18:22:32 UTC
With bookmarks above network too, and some space between categories.
Comment 24 Cleber Santz 2009-01-09 18:33:25 UTC
One more thing, if i create bookmark for a Network, or a Device(USB,CD,DVD,etc) keep this bookmarks under corresponding category, if bookmark link a local directory can be placed under "Computer" 

Well, with this there no need for a bookmark category
Comment 25 cicoandcico 2009-01-09 18:34:55 UTC
Nice work, just some suggestions:

1) more space between categories as already mentioned
2) categories displayed in gray, or bold, just to differentiate them from the category items (more readable)
Comment 26 vbabiy86 2009-01-09 18:49:17 UTC
Comment 27 Mikael Olenfalk 2009-01-09 18:52:31 UTC
Really like it!
Comment 28 Roel Huybrechts 2009-01-09 19:00:15 UTC
I like your work, however I'd like to be able to make (sub)folders in my bookmarks, so I can place bookmarks to external locations (ftp, samba, etc.) in a different folder. This being only one possible usage of subfolders.

I think this might be a better option than the one from Cleber, because the bookmarks stay centralised this way.
Comment 29 Greg Grossmeier 2009-01-09 19:07:01 UTC
+1 to awalton's 1/9/09 blog post image.
Comment 30 A. Walton 2009-01-09 19:08:12 UTC
Subfolders is another bug, and we can't go there until the GtkFileChooser code gets touched and the format allows us to nest the items.

So far the only noted thing was 
) Adding spacing between the columns, but I'm not sure how we'd manage that
) Colors in the headers. The Rhythmbox code works, but my code doesn't atm. Needs some work to figure out why, or if it's just for my theme. Anyways I'm not working on it anymore until the idea has been UI-sanity-checked; I'm still on the fence whether I like it and it's helpful or not...

(Guys, while the +1's are great, having a detailed review, deficiencies, etc. is much more helpful here).
Comment 31 Kjetil Wikestad 2009-01-09 19:30:15 UTC
I think that the image on Waltons's blog post is a really good start, but that the categories are not clearly defined.

Here is my take on it:

* Bookmarks - Shortcut to the file system
* Computer - Devices in or attached to the computer
* Network - External resources

This means that drives should not be necessary and that home folder and desktop should move to the bookmarks category.

The thrash is a special case that I find hard to place. It could go under Bookmarks because it is just another folder in the file system, or under Computer. 

I see that the trash is not visible in the finder(OS X) but is in Explorer (Windows). My opinion is that the trash shortcut it convenient and should be in the sidebar but I'm not sure where.

I will shortly upload a mockup of my proposal.
Comment 32 Kjetil Wikestad 2009-01-09 19:31:26 UTC
Created attachment 126135 [details]
Mockup of the sidebar
Comment 33 Giorgio DG 2009-01-09 19:37:19 UTC
+1 for me!
Comment 34 Matthew McGowan 2009-01-09 19:39:17 UTC
I like this change.  However, it looks a bit messy having the expanders and the unmount button on the same side particularly when they don't sit on a straight line.  

Any chance the expanders could go in front of the category title like what Apple does?  IMHO It would look aesthetically better and minimise accidental drive unmounts when you went to click an expander.
Comment 35 Mike Rooney 2009-01-09 19:44:09 UTC
The categories and indentation especially make it much more readable and
usable, IMO. It is much more intuitive this way as now you can scan down the
folders, find the appropriate one, and then look in there for the specific item
you want, instead of trying to find it in 10 or so different items all at the
same indentation level.

It would be great if the Places item in the gnome-panel menu could be made to
more closely correspond to this as well (nautilus handles that anyway, right?)
Comment 36 Sergio Zanchetta 2009-01-09 20:02:51 UTC
Really a great idea!

+1 for me.
Comment 37 Ryan Lovett 2009-01-09 21:26:28 UTC
I'm glad to see the work being done here. Thanks for taking the time to do it!

Regarding the demonstration attachment:

Under "Computer" one might expect to find computers as under Bookmarks there are bookmarks and under Drives there are drives. I suggest moving the items under Computer to be default bookmarks under Bookmarks.

Under "Network" there is "Network Places" which is redundant. If there is anything under "Network Places" worth seeing it should be directly under "Network". Also, I think "File System" should be renamed to "All Files" since people like my mom doesn't know what a filesystem is. (then again, people like my mom don't want or really need to be navigating places like /usr/lib)
Comment 38 Tadeu Cruz 2009-01-09 21:47:58 UTC
I like, this is a good idea !
Comment 39 Alexander Kirillov 2009-01-09 22:42:28 UTC
My vote for redesign
Comment 40 John 2009-01-09 22:58:20 UTC
Comment 41 Nicolò Chieffo 2009-01-09 23:07:59 UTC
Yes, and if possible add the expander also in computer/filesystem
Comment 42 hype_ 2009-01-09 23:45:49 UTC
One more vote.
Comment 43 Killer Kiwi 2009-01-10 00:10:05 UTC
Comment 44 Og Maciel 2009-01-10 00:50:27 UTC
Comment 45 Darren Albers 2009-01-10 02:03:47 UTC
I normally hate doing this on a bug report but...

Comment 46 r.coded 2009-01-10 06:14:29 UTC

Comment 47 Matteo Drera 2009-01-10 12:18:17 UTC
Created attachment 126165 [details]
Mockup based on Vadim Peretokin work

Mockup base on Vadim Peretokin work (#16)

* Categories easier to distinguish
* Avoid mess between expanders and unmount buttons/icons (#34)
* More similar to Nautilus tree view
Comment 48 Bruno Boaventura 2009-01-10 12:31:52 UTC
Media above Network doesn't make more sense?
Comment 49 Jakub 'Livio' Rusinek 2009-01-10 12:34:47 UTC
What about saved searches? They are places or what?
Comment 50 Matteo Drera 2009-01-10 13:25:36 UTC
(In reply to comment #48)
> Media above Network doesn't make more sense?

Yes, I totally agree.
But in my mockup, I've only keept original order given by Vadim Peretokin work.

The focus is move expanders on left side to improve readability (as already used, in example, on firefox bookmarks), without paying much attention to groups order.

* Groups could be also draggable to fit user preferences (like buddy groups in pidgin)
Comment 51 Guillaume Beland 2009-01-10 15:42:46 UTC
I would really love to see this implemented in nautilus!
Comment 52 Tiago Sousa 2009-01-10 15:53:56 UTC
It looks great, it would be awesome to have it in nautilus, please do it!
Comment 53 davmor2 2009-01-10 17:16:11 UTC
The categorisation makes the whole places menu feel more organised and also makes items far easier to locate.  Congrats on the work.

+1 from me
Comment 54 Karl Relton 2009-01-10 19:10:07 UTC
+1 from me
Comment 55 Peter Van den Bosch 2009-01-10 19:12:10 UTC
1) The categories could be easier to distinguish from the places (grey
background, bold)
2) I think expanders should be avoided when possible. Collapsing and
uncollapsing categories make the places jump location, which makes them slower
to find (spatial memory). I prefer expanders on the right side because they
would visually dominate the places list too much if placed on the left side.
Comment 56 Brad Jensen 2009-01-10 21:12:16 UTC
How about trying the "Sidebar" on the right side rather than the left?
Comment 57 Vadim Peretokin 2009-01-10 22:16:54 UTC
That would be a mean trick to force the users to re-adjust to such a radical change.
Comment 58 Marco De Salvo 2009-01-10 23:09:22 UTC
Totally agree with #47, i think it's the most usable and eye-candy mockup.
Comment 59 Brad Jensen 2009-01-11 04:46:22 UTC
What if you could allow the users to chose having the sidebar on the left or right side of the window?
Comment 60 tualatrix 2009-01-11 07:14:57 UTC
+1 from me. It is useful.
Comment 61 Jos Dehaes 2009-01-12 10:49:47 UTC
Comment 62 Vinicius Depizzol 2009-01-12 22:15:51 UTC
Nice improvement! But... shouldn't the expander arrow be located in the left of the text? The way it is the expander looks confusing with the eject button. And left is just the way nautilus already does for tree view and list view.
Comment 63 Chris Jones 2009-01-13 12:22:16 UTC
Created attachment 126346 [details]
Mockup without tree indenting.

I'm very curious why the mockups are all using indenting for the actual list items.

The sidebar is always going to be very tight on space, and it's pretty likely that some of the most useful items in there will have long names (or may be translated to have long names), so maximising the use of every horizontal pixel seems like it should be a massive priority.

With no regard to the ordering of items in the list, I took an image from and very quickly gimped out the indentation to restore the 2 or so characters lost in the "After" column (2 might not sound by much, but the "Before" column only has 10 or 11 characters of width available, so you're literally throwing ~20% of the useful space away to blank whiteness).

Instead of using indenting to logically group things, I just put a theme-bg-coloured background on the separators. I left the expander icons in, because I don't care if those are there or not. I also didn't spend enough time on it to put the missing 2 characters back in, but you should be able to see there's enough space for them.

I'm not sure if this is even possible with TreeView, but IMHO it absolutely should be - this kind of space wasting in narrow trees goes on all over the place, and is especially (imho) bad in cases like this where there is basically no possibility that the indenting will ever go to a second level.

(In summary, I don't care about the ordering, style, function or anything else, I just want to try and stop the use of indenting when it will harm usability).
Comment 64 Mike Rooney 2009-01-13 18:42:18 UTC
(In reply to comment #63)
> Created an attachment (id=126346) [edit]
> Mockup without tree indenting.
> I'm very curious why the mockups are all using indenting for the actual list
> items.

Personally I like the original better. The background colors make it too busy/cluttered IMO, whereas the original seems clean and visually appealing. I also think the indentation makes it quicker to find what you want via scanning in a tree-like fashion (first find the category you want, then specific item under that), whereas without it it is just like a list that you scan entirely.

I don't feel like many things are going to get cut off with the indentation, and even if a few are they are probably still distinguishable from the beginning characters. If they aren't, a few extra characters seem unlikely to help. If you are in that situation you can just make the sidebar a little wider.

Overall though both seem quite usable and a great improvement, I appreciate all the work going into tweaking and improving, and I'd love to see either one make it into Gnome (is 2.26 the goal?)
Comment 65 Philip Ganchev 2009-01-22 21:27:15 UTC
Completely agree with #64. Horizontal space is of huge importance; wasting it on indentation would be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Plus, the background makes it easier to identify categories at a glance.

Collapsibility is useful, I think, when the categories + entries take up more vertical space than the window height. That would avoid having to scroll. One alternative design would be a accordion menu if vertical space is limited.

The whole idea is useful when there are many entries but might be a drawback when there are few entries and most categories have no entries or one entry.

Allowing users to choose which side to show the side bar would be an unnecessary complication. It would also encourage users to experiment to find the correct side. It is our job as the designers to find the correct side. Placing the sidebar on the right would visually interfere with the scroll bar (for example make it harder to see). 
Comment 66 Mads Rosendahl 2009-02-06 09:55:24 UTC
With A. Walton providing actual code (#14), I really was hoping for this much wanted change to land in the Gnome 2.26 release. But now that the UI Freeze is active, no UI changes may be made without approval.

Mike Rooneys mockup in #64 is the way to go.
Comment 67 Cosimo Cecchi 2009-03-13 00:17:42 UTC
*** Bug 575095 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 68 Kris Thomsen 2009-03-16 00:19:41 UTC
I really hope this will go into GNOME 2.28.

I don't like the grey background on the categories, I think the treeview is way better and less cluttered :)
Comment 69 derma 2009-04-13 02:15:23 UTC

...but without the arrows on the right (neither on the left!!!)... it's enough the category title to open or close the tree.
Comment 70 Brad Jensen 2009-04-27 22:22:30 UTC
Created attachment 133456 [details]
Sidebar Mockup - By Brad

What does everyone think about this attachment/mockup?

I think it could use some work, but it's what I think Gnome should look like, somewhat.
Comment 71 Kris Thomsen 2009-04-27 23:13:37 UTC
Look good, but remove the italic headlines - make them standard formatting with bold.
I think the light/dark grey-thing make it look cluttered.
Comment 72 Brad Jensen 2009-04-27 23:33:49 UTC
(In reply to comment #71)
> Brad,
> Look good, but remove the italic headlines - make them standard formatting with
> bold.
> I think the light/dark grey-thing make it look cluttered.

Is there any way to replace my last attachment with a new one?

Anyways, I did what you suggested, and I like it more now. :)
Comment 73 Vadim Peretokin 2009-04-28 00:16:33 UTC
I think that's quite solid for the design (and the theme made for it is nice too, but not everyone will be using it)
Comment 74 Brad Jensen 2009-04-28 00:58:27 UTC
(In reply to comment #73)
> I think that's quite solid for the design (and the theme made for it is nice
> too, but not everyone will be using it)

It shouldn't matter what theme people use..  Maybe when it is first implemented it won't be so great looking with some themes, but that would change fast with theme updates.

Also, I think the question we need answered now is what categories we should have?  Like the "Places", "Drives", "Personal", "Home", etc.

Personal seems to me to be more user friendly than Home, imo - because it's your personal folder and files.

There could be a separate heading for regular media and one for removable media..

Do we need to use the heading, "bookmarks", or could the personals + network headings take care of that?  I think we might want a bookmarks heading.
Comment 75 antistress 2009-06-20 12:15:15 UTC
see also bug 576587#c20
Comment 76 Nando 2009-10-08 11:55:20 UTC
This is an excellent addition.
I think the group splitting really makes sense and would be easier to use the sidebar.
What's the current status on this?
Comment 77 Pelle K 2009-11-10 13:28:21 UTC
It's sad this didn't get in gnome 2.28. I second the previous comment, what's the current status on this?

IMHO Matteo Drera provided the most functional and uncluttered example with the mockup he provided in comment #47 -
Any solution would be a huge improvement to nautilus though.
Comment 78 André Klapper 2009-11-10 14:40:55 UTC
Folks, the status i clearly visible here in the upper right corner:
Status:  	NEW

No need to create bugmail. Thanks. :)
Comment 79 Vish 2009-11-19 14:46:59 UTC
Created attachment 148125 [details]
mockup based on Matteo Drera

Reading this whole report, Matteo Drera's is the cleanest mockup, with least visual noise. The arrows on the right side clutter up the UI.

A few changes would be better to 
 - keep the user bookmarks along with the the User home and desktop.
 - Place network below the media
 - And *maybe* instead of using the tree arrow , to differentiate from the treeview , we could use the - and + signs. These are commonly used all over the web and probably would not be confusing. [Just to keep it more cleaner].

Attaching a mockup.

The treeview /collapsible apart , I would consider moving the bookmarks placed higher would be more essential. As these bookmarks are the items the user interacts the most with, keeping them together would be ideal.

Any reason this is not being considered by the devs? or are they waiting for a better mockup or idea?
Comment 80 Calum Benson 2010-01-05 18:16:20 UTC
Just as a reminder, this issue extends beyond the scope of the Nautilus sidebar--several other parts of the desktop also act as entry points to these folders, bookmarks and mount points, and all of them need to be brought into line.

(I've blogged about this issue a couple of times before, most recently at
Comment 81 Allan Day 2010-05-28 16:32:12 UTC
*** Bug 544112 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 82 ammonkey 2010-06-11 17:03:00 UTC
Patch from nautilus-elementary revamped sidebar with categories,
patch generated from nautilus git commit 38986e1c0773299a7efa9f7333d5d0c513a8b66c

don't forget to copy the following files attached in the archive:

gossip-cell-renderer files come from rhythmbox source code (without any modifications) to get expanders on the right.

the expanders states are stored in different gconf values.
The bookmarks under Personal category can be reordered by simple drag and drop.

Note: all the mounted points which don't have volume goes under network. We have to code this part.

Happy testing !
Comment 83 Cosimo Cecchi 2010-08-25 19:16:45 UTC
This is now fixed in master; what has been implemented is basically [1], except that we don't have the 'Recent' section, and 'Network' is a bit different from what's in the mockup (we don't show nearby shares automatically).

The mandatory screenshot of the feature can be found here [2].

Closing as FIXED.

Comment 84 John Stowers 2010-08-25 20:49:58 UTC
Excellent work, thanks a lot!

Now all we need is the Places menu, and the GtkFileChooser to also adopt this new ordering.

A quick Google could not reveal any relevant bugs on this matter in their respective bugzilla products.
Comment 85 Philip Ganchev 2010-08-26 03:37:33 UTC
I would like to point out that a Recent menu, like the one in the mock-up, would be very useful. Not having it is a big lack.
Comment 86 Milan Bouchet-Valat 2010-08-28 21:53:08 UTC
Very nice to have! Thanks, Cosimo!

Though, the "Computer" heading sounds very weird to me: it contains your personal files, plus the root of the filesystem. The only reason to separate the former from the bookmarks is that they are XDG folders that apps are able to detect. I like the idea of making them "special", but "Computer" really doesn't explain this. What about a wording like "Standard", or "General", "Common"?

Plus (sorry for discussing late), I think "Devices" would be better right after "Computer". "Devices" and "Network" are likely to change often, while "Computer" and "Bookmarks" are stable: keeping the top of the list stable and only changing it's end is better for users. Else, when you insert an USB key, your personal folder and all bookmarks move up/down, which is very confusing in general (see bug 486839 in the file chooser for example). All in all, I'd say: "Computer", "Bookmarks", "Devices", "Network"[, "Recent"].

Hope this is useful...
Comment 87 Cosimo Cecchi 2010-08-29 00:45:41 UTC
Milan: feedback and ideas for improvements are appreciated, but please file them as separate bug reports (as a general rule, it's not good to reopen closed enhancement requests closed by a maintainer of the module).
Comment 88 Milan Bouchet-Valat 2010-08-29 09:51:51 UTC
Ah, sorry - personally, for small changes like that I often prefer people to discuss on the main report rather than scattering their comments all over Bugzilla. But that's your choice! ;-)

I've filed bug 628237 with my comments.