Friday, June 21, 2002

Losing my [unix] religion....

Coming from a Unix background, one of the first configuration options I changed with OS X 10.1 was to force the display of extensions throughout the Finder and (as a result) all applications.

Today, I turned that off.   If I am correct in my assumptions and observations, the system's handling of extensions mostly "just works".  By "just works", I can ignore that the extensions are even there and the system will deal appropriately.  Nice.  Cross platform interoperability combined with a clean presentation to the user.

By turning the display of extensions off, I am actually saving considerable UI real estate.  The icons provide plenty of 'type' information and-- what finally motivated me to try this-- is that browser columns can display more information.

If a browser column-- finder or Open panel-- is faced with a long filename, it truncates the name by placing an ellipsis in the middle of the filename.  Normally, this behavior would be fine.   However, with extensions showing, it means that a good chunk of what can actually be used to identify the file can no longer be seen.

As developers figure out that extensions don't need to be three letters-- they can actually be descriptive-- this compounds the problem.

The obvious solution is to simply turn extension display off.    A big change in mindset for a Unix traditionalist (or, I suppose, for someone making the switch).

There isn't way to recursively turn off 'show extensions' for all files below a certain point in the filesystem.  Then again, I didn't look very hard because it is so easy to do from the command line (assumes Dev tools and BSD layer are installed).  For example, this command....
find ~/Documents -name '*' -exec /Developer/Tools/SetFile -a E "{}" ;
...will hide all extensions-- files and folders-- in your Documents directory.

10:26:29 AM    

Adam Swift picked up Radio and has a weblog of his own now. I showed Adam Radio UserLand while we were at WWDC.

Hopefully, Adam will decide to build a real set of templates for his blog (that I'll be able to rip off for mine :).

While I'm currently porting a very large body of code from NeXTSTEP 3.3 to OS X / Cocoa, Adam is the only person I know (though I'm sure there are others) who is actually doing new NeXTSTEP 3.3 development for a Very Large Company that Shall Not Be Named.
9:01:55 AM