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Thoughts on how to improve the sidebar and projects

Thoughts on how to improve the sidebar and projects

Postby optilude on Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:42 am

Hi,

ST2 is rapidly doing what no edit has managed to do for years: replace TextMate. But there is one part of it that feels a lot less complete and at times downright wrong than the rest: The sidebar (and, to a lesser extent, the projects concept).

Let's illustrate with an example. I'm in a (Python/Buildout) project directory, which has some files I want to be editing at the root (*.cfg) and some source code in a subfolder (src/). It also has a lot of stuff I don't want to have in the project (a huge parts/ directory for example).

To start working with this, I might do:

Code: Select all
$ cd the-project
$ subl -n .


This means I get a sidebar with a "Folders" tree containing only one folder ("the-project"), which I then have to expand every time. That's two superfluous levels of expand/collapse. It also brings in everything unless I do a global exclude of e.g. 'parts'.

So, I might instead try:

Code: Select all
$ cd the-project
$ subl -n *.cfg src/*


Now I have only the files and folders I want to work on. The sub-folders of src/ are under the Folders tree, and the top-level files are in the Files tree. But wait - all the files are open. I don't want to work on them right now, I just need them there so I can search across them and maybe edit them later. Let's close their tabs.

D'oh! All the files disappear from the Files tree.

There are a few things that feel "wrong" here:

  • The "Files" list is just the same as a list of open tabs. This is neither obvious nor terribly necessary. (If there are too many tabs to show, most applications would turn the last tab into a drop-down list of all or the hidden tabs).
  • There is no way to have top-level files in a project. The files in the "Files" list are not really part of the project (unless they also happen to be in a folder under Folders)
  • The distinction between "Files" and "Folders": why do I care? It's obvious from the expand/collapse icon (or lack thereof) to the left of the file/folder name

I think with relatively small tweaks, this situation could be made more logical:

  1. Rename "Files" to "Open files".
  2. Introduce an option to hide the "Open files" list, next to the option to show/hide the tabs bar.
  3. Rename "Folders" to "Project contents"
  4. Let this contain both top-level files and folders
  5. If the 'subl' command line option is passed a single file, open it in a new tab; if it's passed a directory and/or multiple files or a directory and one or more files, open a project with no files open (no "untitled" tab either!). (This is basically how the TextMate 'mate' command works, and I think it's quite sensible.)
  6. Ensure it is possible to easily search across all files in a project (whether under a top level folder or not)

There are two other improvements that would also make sense:

  1. Make it possible to use the arrow keys to navigate the sidebar folder tree
  2. Make it possible to hide folders/files on a per-project basis by right-clicking on the relevant file/folder and choosing to remove it from the project (but not from disk). This is currently only possible in a top-level folder.

Cheers,
Martin
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Re: Thoughts on how to improve the sidebar and projects

Postby dsarch on Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:01 am

+1

Im with @optilude here, i liked all suggestions as they improve the usability.
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Re: Thoughts on how to improve the sidebar and projects

Postby jbrooksuk on Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:52 am

+1!

I was actually thinking about posting the same thing! The sidebar is pretty useless in most cases for me at the moment. Ctrl+P does everything I tend to need at the moment.
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Re: Thoughts on how to improve the sidebar and projects

Postby Cleer on Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:06 am

Agreed with all of these suggestions.
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Re: Thoughts on how to improve the sidebar and projects

Postby newbery on Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:32 pm

+1

Just one minor quibble. Martin wrote:

The "Files" list is just the same as a list of open tabs. This is neither obvious nor terribly necessary. (If there are too many tabs to show, most applications would turn the last tab into a drop-down list of all or the hidden tabs).


I agree that it's not obvious that "Files" is just a list of the open tabs, but this does seem to come in handy when you use one of the alternative layouts (multi-columns, multi-rows). Then the "Files" list turns in a number of "Group" lists corresponding to each panel. This turns out to be very useful.

An option to hide these lists would still be a welcome improvement but I just wanted to point out that the claim that these lists are "not terribly necessary" may be a bit overstated ;-)

Cheers,
Ric
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Re: Thoughts on how to improve the sidebar and projects

Postby oats on Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:47 pm

+1 to @optilude's suggestions.

more useful changes would probably become clear, but those suggestions are a good place to start in taking the projects/files in a better direction.
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Re: Thoughts on how to improve the sidebar and projects

Postby optilude on Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:15 pm

Seems someone's been listening, in build 2111 ;-)

optilude wrote:Rename "Files" to "Open files".

Done

Introduce an option to hide the "Open files" list, next to the option to show/hide the tabs bar.

Done

Rename "Folders" to "Project contents"
Let this contain both top-level files and folders


Not done, unfortunately, which means that when you open a project with top-level files, if you close the tab, you lose the file reference.

If the 'subl' command line option is passed a single file, open it in a new tab; if it's passed a directory and/or multiple files or a directory and one or more files, open a project with no files open (no "untitled" tab either!). (This is basically how the TextMate 'mate' command works, and I think it's quite sensible.)


Done for opening folders, though not multiple files.

Ensure it is possible to easily search across all files in a project (whether under a top level folder or not)


You can search open files, of course.

Make it possible to use the arrow keys to navigate the sidebar folder tree
Make it possible to hide folders/files on a per-project basis by right-clicking on the relevant file/folder and choosing to remove it from the project (but not from disk). This is currently only possible in a top-level folder


I do really miss these still.

Martin
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Re: Thoughts on how to improve the sidebar and projects

Postby mail@kervinramen.com on Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:31 am

+1

This would be a feature that would make me buy sublime!
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Re: Thoughts on how to improve the sidebar and projects

Postby kervin on Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:35 am

+1
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Re: Thoughts on how to improve the sidebar and projects

Postby vrwall on Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:45 pm

It would nice if it behaved like NerdTree in Vim.
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