LibraryView (testing, ideas, and feedback needed)


#1

Update I’ve just posted a new version of LibraryView.


I’ve been working on a LibraryView.

Once the LibraryView works well I plan to add it to TaskPaper and (and Mutahhir will add to FoldingText). Currently I’ve added it to a simple text editor so you can test it out. Help shape how it turns out with your testing, ideas, and feedback.

Goal

The goal is to create a strait forward Folder/File based view that allows you to switch between documents within a single window. Library content in sidebar on the left, selected document content to the right. Here’s what it looks like:

Download Latest LibraryView test app.

Things try out

  • Select file item in library and it opens and displays in document view to right
  • Double-click library items to rename
  • Use File > New in Window to create a new untitled document in the current library view window
  • LibraryView updates to reflect changes made by other apps, Finder, terminal, etc
  • Drag to reorganize items in library browser
  • All library drag operations support: Option to Copy, Control to Alias
  • Right click library item for context menu:
    • New Folder
    • New Document
    • Get Info
    • Rename
    • Move to Trash
    • Show in Finder

Library Location

The standard library location is the iCloud documents folder. But you can also open any folder on your Mac into its own library view by dragging and dropping the folder onto the LibraryView application icon in the dock.

Document saving behavior changes

I’ve tried to minimize changes to standard document based app behavior. To this point there are only two changes that I’m aware of:

  1. Documents autosave drafts into the current library folder instead of always saving them to your iCloud folder. (Drafts are documents that you’ve edited, but never explicitly saved). If you open a folder on your Mac as a library, drafts will autosave into that folder (and so show up in library view), not your iCloud folder.

  2. When you first save a file (changing it from it’s draft state) you will always be prompted to save into the current library folder instead of the last saved location.


LibraryView 2.1
#2

@jessegrosjean Super excited to get the library view in TaskPaper and FoldingText! Downloaded this app and playing with it now. Is it possible to implement a library view like Ulysses and Quiver?

So the Library and groups are on the left and the documents are in the next pane to the right and the editor is in the pane to the right of that. Then you can use ⌘+1, ⌘+2, ⌘+3 to toggle panes. In fact Ulysses does a lot of great shortcuts for navigating the library. Worth a look to see if that pattern would work for your apps.


#3

Thanks for trying it out, and glad you like the idea.

Possible… but I don’t think that view works well for my apps/preferences:

  1. I don’t like that style… those views confuse me! :slight_smile: I like to understand what and where my files are… I see them as the underlying unit of organization and work. But with fully source list style UI’s like Notes.app or Ulysses.app filesystem information is all hidden away. I’m not actually sure if either of those apps stores files on disk, or hidden away in a database. I’ve tried to design my sidebar to be a very strait forward view of the Finder.

  2. An important feature of my apps is the existing sidebar generated from the document content–currently showing projects, searches, tags. Ulysses doesn’t have that, so following the Ulysses design means that my apps would need the 3 Ulysses panels, plus one more to show that extra list. I think that’s to many.


#4

Exciting!!! I love how the icon in the sidebar changes if you change the folder icon in Finder. I enjoy procrastinating on getting stuff done by customizing folder icons…

In terms of a wishlist, one thing I’d love is the ability to manually arrange the library rather than having it automatically go alphabetically.

Another thing which would be cool is having “Open In New Window” as an option in the context menu. Not that hitting ⌘N and clicking on the document you want is enormous amounts of work. :slight_smile:

The only other thing I can think of is hiding the file extension.

Thanks for this! I’m really excited to see how this develops.


#5
  1. I see. I can understand that.
  2. It does have a 4th pane that’s specific to that document on the right side with structure and attachments and things like that. See the screenshot:

Thanks for adding the library!


#6

I don’t think there will be an option for manual ordering. The problem is then I need to store that ordering somewhere and everything gets much more complicated trying to keep that “order” state in sync.

Good idea, I’ll try to implement that.

I’ll try to implement this too.


#7

I don’t think there will be an option for manual ordering. The problem is then I need to store that ordering somewhere and everything gets much more complicated trying to keep that “order” state in sync.

Makes sense! I’ll just use the same file naming tricks I use in the Finder. Thanks!


#8

Oh! On the off-chance that this isn’t an insanely complicated feature to add — would it be possible to, if you open a file, have the other files in its parent folder show up automatically in the library view, instead of the default iCloud folder?

Without having to drag & drop the containing folder onto the dock icon.


#9

I really like how this Library view works.

The only thing I can see that might make this cleaner is the option to gray out of hide the file extensions altogether.

Maybe also some options for automatic naming conventions.


#10

Looks good. Will be looking forward to having LibraryView integrated with FoldingText.


#11

@jessegrosjean
I ran through all the tests above without any problems.

One quirk I noticed – if I have an instance of LibraryView open, and then click one of the corresponding files in the Finder, it opens a new instance of LibraryView rather than opening the existing one & highlighting the file.

Also - to be clear - each LibraryView is limited to one directory, correct? I tried dragging another folder in to display it concurrently but it instead moved the folder in the filesystem to the existing folder that was displayed (hope that makes sense!).


#12

As someone who’s really prone to opening a text editor to jot something down having something like this library view feels like a fantastic addition to TaskPaper. So glad you’re making this!

It feels like a nice middle ground between the classic Mac app model of just managing files yourself, and the modern apps of today (like Evernote or Bear) that try to give you a totally managed library.


#13

This is probably already on the roadmap but at the risk of stating the obvious, it would also be great to have a library search / filter capability, too.

(Just today as it happens I set up a File Filter in Alfred to only search TaskPaper files within a particular folder, which basically accomplished the same thing…but it would be nice to have it built in)


#14

Another lovely feature would be an easy way to add links to an existing library file. Right now you can drag a file onto the text editor and it inserts the full path – and if you type file:// first you can get a file link – but it’s long and ugly.

How about registering LibraryView as a URL handler and creating lv:// URLs shortened bit.ly style? (and of course making them active in the editor). Or alternatively just a preference or quick toggle to view/hide full URLs – that might be most elegant & future-proof.


#15

Great to see a SIMPLE library view as I’m not a fan of the complexe / full of section sidebar, a good simple “finder-esk” view of files is all I need. I actually left FoldingText behind to go to iA Writer as it was the only thing missing in my opinion.

A search would be welcome as I tend to put every small notes in one big folder.


#16

About the ordering of the files in the sidebar, I think you could provide an option to sort them by “modification date” besides the “alphabetical” order.

And it would be handy to have “Open Folder…” as an option in the menubar so we could easily (and more intuitively) open local folders as libraries.


#17

Cool will download and test for sure tommorow. hopefully I can provide some useful feedback. Is this built in swift ?


#18

Nice.

Would that be a column to the left of the current left column in TaskPaper or would the LibraryView content be in the current “Projects” folding bit?

Rob


#19

I would even go so far as to suggest that this be the default behaviour for opening files (though with the library view by default hidden on open, for those tasks when it’s not needed).


#20

Very cool, Jesse! I look forward to seeing this implemented in my long dreamt of update to Writeroom :wink: