The Finder is still broken, people.

Right. So over the Christmas break, some Mac OS X geeks were obviously in a reflective mood because developer blogs exploded with the meme that Apple software just ain’t what it used to be. It all started here, and the best-of-breed collection o’ links is here.

Gist? Apple software may be suffering from a bit of a lack of build and quality assurance, but it depends (on who you ask).

What did everyone miss? The Finder. How can people just ignore that sucky Finder? If you are wondering what the Finder is, look at your dock, the smiling blue thing on the left, or at the top. That’s the super sucky ugly Finder. What it does is let you navigate and get at your files to open, copy, and other stuff. What it also does is suck:

Way too many click involved to do common operations. We have internet- and cloud-based files coming at us left right and center, but the feature of sorting by “Date Added” is hiding behind a preference setting! Imagine your Downloads folder sorted by date added. Think about it. It should do that by default, people.

The other thing is that user interface idioms, like the Trash Can, have been around for a very long time, proving that improvements just aren’t a part of the deal. Features like LaunchPad, Mission Control, and the Dashboard* are just grafts on top as an afterthought. I could go on, but for me, the death knell that not enough iterative development has been done on the Finder is that the Save dialog box still acts like the Finder’s bastard son. Says the dutiful user: “I would like to please reorganize my folder structure so I can save this in the right place.” Save dialog box replies: “No, thanks, but my horrible Dad can do that. Please forget what you were doing and go there instead!”

The gist is that we rightfully expect more from Apple software, and the fact of the matter is that it is Apple’s reason for existence: Take something that could obviously be way better and design the hell out of it. I’m kinda shocked that the whole FTFF thang has dropped out of the conversation.


* If you don’t know what those are, then my point is proved.

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  1. Mark Alan Thomas

     /  January 23, 2015

    The whole FTFF thing has dropped out of the conversation because, fourteen years on, it’s become obvious that the Finder never will be fixed. Its last chance was when it went cocoa lord knows how long ago, and nothing changed. Now Apple seems to be convinced that Finders — really, file systems in general — are too hard for people, and should be hidden from view where they can’t confuse us and cause worry. Well, treat people like idiots, and they’ll prove you right.