Talk:Spatial file manager

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Yes, Windows is spatial if you set it to behave this way, that is: set it to open each folder in a new window AND set it to save folder specific changes (which does include the window position and icon layout). When set that way Windows does take care that every folder is represented by exactly one window or close that window when the folder is being deleted. And Window 95 up to version C (don't know about Windows NT 4) had the above two options set by default, which does indeed make it spatial by this pages definition. So either keep including Windows 95 or define and apply the concept of spatial more detailed. 22:29, 21 May 2004 (GMT+2)

The fact remains that Windows 95 is not spatial. The page does a poor job of defining "spatial" right now. If you want something more comprehensive before this page gets improved, see the articles linked at the bottom of the page.
(The fact that this page is incomplete or misleading right now doesn't change the fact that Windows 95 isn't spatial. If Windows 95 was added as an example of a spatial file manager, it would be less correct, not more.)

Windows 95/NT is NOT spatial. It may do some of the concepts, like open folders in new windows thats why some people mistakleny think it is, It dosen't implement a lot of others. You can tweak Windows XP to make it closer, but it still isn't truely spatial. I have updated the article to reflect this common misconception. Ask anybody that uses a spatial file manager, and you will soon find out why Windows 95/NT/XP is not spatial. Krik 12:35, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

IMO that explanation is not full enough. From the article,
# A Window represents an opened folder.
# Multiple Folders can be opened at the same time, allowing files to be moved around.
Windows' file manager (not opened through Windows Explorer explicitly) does both of these.
Perhaps you could fix the article to explicitly state the criteria for a file manager to be considered spatial, or expand a little more on why Windows is not spatial? Dysprosia 13:22, 21 May 2004 (UTC)
Reasons you could argue that Windows 95 isn't Spatial: doesn't use a different icon for an open folder, sometimes a folder will open in a different place that it did before. Are these two required?
Edward 14:38, 21 May 2004 (UTC)
Yes, it has to open in the same space. That's why it's called "spatial".

"Traditional" GUI file managers were spatial. It just seems that most people are too young or too intel-centric to know that.

Care to name some? The only spatial file managers I can think of (that predate Gnome Nautilus) are the Apple Finder, and possibly the Amiga Workbench (it's been too many years for me to remember for sure). I would call Apple and Amiga "innovative", not "traditional".

More about spatial in Windows 95 usability testing:

"Users of every type were confused by the Programs folder. We thought that having a folder on the desktop with other folders and links to programs inside it would be a natural transition for Windows 3.1 users accustomed to Program Manager, while being relatively easy to learn for beginners. We were wrong! Beginners quickly got lost in all of the folders (unlike File Cabinet, each folder opened into a different window) and other users had a lot of trouble deciding whether they were looking at the actual file system and its files or just links to actual files."

That doesn't appear to have anything to do with spatial. Windows 95 isn't spatial, and there's nothing in that paper to suggest that they tried it in testing and removed it for the release. It's easy to spot 3 or 4 different problems with their file browser -- bugs in their implementation of spatial, if that was their goal -- but nothing against spatial itself. (The "Programs" folder is notorious for having lots of poorly-named, deeply-nested folders. There's no visual clue to separate files from links-to-files. The "Programs" folder can probably be opened twice.)
It doesn't look like they ever had a working spatial system. The paper never mentions "spatial", "stability", or "coherency", or anything like that.
Agreed. In fact, the text
"...users had a lot of trouble deciding whether they were looking at the actual file system and its files or just links to actual files."
is entirely contradictory to the idea of a spatial file system.Exia 02:03, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

This "Windows is/is not spatial" argument is a false dichotomy. All file managers have degrees of spatiality and in the Mac vs. Windows debate all that can reasonably be said is that the former is "more spatial" than the latter. If the argument is that "Windows 95 isn't spatial" because, for example, it doesn't indicate that a folder is open with a different icon, then equally one can say, "Mac OS 9 isn't spatial", on the basis that the expandable list view breaks the spatial rule of having every folder open in its own window.

Also, the "Advantages and disadvantages" section could do with a NPOV overhaul - right now it seems written from a distinctly, "spatial is better", viewpoint. I think there needs to some kind of referencing to back up the implied argument that a spatial system is better because it mirrors the way people interact with the physical world. Also, the apologism in "disadvantages" section is rather obvious. -- Hux 14:12, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Oops, looks like you don't actually remember how classic's Finder worked. Allow me to refresh your memory, let's say you've got the following hierarchy:
  • Folder A (list view)
    • Folder B
Now this is what actually happens in the classic finder:
  1. User double clicks on Folder A
  2. Finder opens window displaying contents of Folder A
  3. User double clicks on Folder B
  4. Finder opens window displaying contents of Folder B
  5. User clicks on disclosure triangle for Folder B inside of the window belonging to Folder A
  6. Finder closes the window belonging to Folder B
  7. Finder rotates the disclosure triangle widget and displays the contents of Folder B inside of the window belonging to Folder A
I think it was pretty clever of Apple to be so careful about never displaying anything in two windows at once, maybe somebody'll write a really awesome Finder-replacement for OSuX ('shame about PathFinder stopping at version 4). 10:02, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

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What's going on here?[edit]

It's really not very clear what the article is about, and there's a real lack of material written about this elsewhere. Is there a different term, or is there some notable use of this term that should make it the standard? The top description on the page is:

"In computing, a spatial file manager is a file manager that uses a spatial metaphor to represent files and folders as if they are real physical objects."

Now, that's open to quite a lot of interpretation. It seems from this description, and from some other remarks on the page, that a Spatial File Manager is one which shows files and folders as icons, as opposed to the "List View" or "Details View", where the folder is a list of files.

Then in the first paragraph, we see these four apparent requirements for a Spatial File Manager. They sort of seem to be gushing about spatial file managers, but they don't explain what they are very well.

1. Each folder is represented by a single window.
2. Each window is unambiguously and irrevocably tied to a particular folder.
3. Stability: files, folders, and windows go where the user moves them, stay where the user puts them ("preserve their spatial state"), and retain all their other "physical" characteristics (like size, shape, color and location).
4. The same item can only be viewed in one window at a time.

So what I gather from this is that it's a icon-based file manager where you double-click a folder, and it (always) opens that as a new window, except where the folder has already been opened, and then its window is raised/focused. The 3rd point is not so clear: it's about dragging icons around within the window, and adding other (aesthetic) properties to the files, which are preserved when the window is closed and re-opened?

Why are all of these properties needed? If the author had some particular file manager in mind, it should be mentioned. What is the origin of this term? It seems from Googling 'spatial file manager' to be a term that arose around the Gnome DE, and spread somewhat in Linux circles, but it seems to refer to earlier file managers. There's a good list of examples of them on the page. There are essentially no citations in the article, too. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vanhedrarn (talkcontribs) 14:03, 24 August 2015 (UTC)