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Grumbling about how Apple wrecked the Finder when switching to OS X has been going on since OS X was first released.

It's been ten years since John Siracusa outlined exactly how the Finder ought to behave.

With Mavericks, Apple stepped even farther from this Spatial Finder model, where it's apparently not even possible to have a double click/ open a new window by default (it works in windows without toolbars, but the newly opened window will, by default, have a toolbar…).

My question is this: is there a third-party Finder replacement that behaves in the spatial way that Siracusa's ten-year-old manifesto calls for?

Note that it is possible to quit the program that Apple calls Finder.app. Is there some other program I could launch in its place that would give me the behavior he describes, most notably the binding of one folder to one window that retains its state with regard to position, size, color, etc.?

  • And if not, seriously developers, given how many tech-savvy Mac users have been griping about this since OS X first rolled out, why hasn't someone done this yet? – Daniel Nov 3 '13 at 19:31
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    Apple have made it easy for you to become a developer. So nothing really stopping you doing it yourself!:-) – markhunte Dec 2 '13 at 17:30
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This isn't a direct implementation of Siracusa's vision. It is, however, a Finder alternative that looks distinctly spatial in orientation, an the opposite of the file browser direction most other Finder alternatives (and the Finder itself) seem to be going:

Raskin for Mac seems to be the very spirit of the spatial Finder that Siracusa has been calling for. I just downloaded the free trial and am exploring it, but this might be exactly what I've been looking for.

  • That looks pretty interesting, and allows for good spatial recall. My One hesitance is that I'm often searching for files of different types, and not just those which are standardly viewable on mac. Also, I use Alfred 90% of the time for any finder related navigation. It'll be interesting to see what you find, though. – wrossmck Dec 2 '13 at 14:54
  • We're currently working on the latest version of Raskin. You may join the free beta here: raskinformac.com/beta – mahal tertin Dec 2 '13 at 15:37
  • Cool. I just bought the current version on the Mac App store. This looks really promising. – Daniel Dec 2 '13 at 17:38
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I don't see Siracusa's manifesto as a specification for an application - though it could be turned into one. Rather I see it as a collection of related concepts which could lead to a more intuitive use of our Macs. Some technologies and applications which have been implemented in the 10 years since the article was written include:

  1. Metadata. Tags (in the form of OpenMeta tags) have been around for some years and have now been incorporated by Apple into OS X. The most capable application using tags is arguably Leap.

  2. Saved Searches: These have been part of Finder for a while along with the ability to search on metadata. When combined with tags (and other metadata) these provide new and powerful views of files.

  3. Quick Look and Cover Flow: Again part of the existing Finder these provide a visual view of files which is part of Siracusa's concepts. I must admit I seldom use Cover Flow, but Quick Look is an essential part of my use of Finder.

  4. DesktopShelves: The shelf concept has been turned into an application. One of its uses is a temporary location (a shelf on the desktop) when moving files around. I also like to keep Saved Searches on a shelf (rather than the Finder Sidebar).

So rather than a single application implementing all of Siracusa's ideas, we can see that there are tools and technologies which have incorporated some of his key ideas.

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    But the key thing he called for was a binding of one folder to one window that always always always retains its state with regard to position, size, view options, etc. – Daniel Nov 6 '13 at 3:15
  • I suspect we might have different views as to the most key/useful concept, though you may well be right. I take it you are saddened that most Finder add ons and replacements (XtraFinder, Forklift, etc.) lead us further away from Siracusa. – Gilby Nov 6 '13 at 3:34
  • Not saddened — I love Forklift for what it is. I'd love to use it alongside a true spatial Finder. It's clear that Apple has no intention of shipping such a product, so I'm looking for a third-party Spatial Finder to complement the fine variety of File Browsers out there. – Daniel Nov 6 '13 at 3:35

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