Nautilus Sidebar

Who mailforwho at
Sat Jul 1 01:28:01 BST 2006

Hi all,

I have just written up a new spec about extending the Nautilus Sidebar
and I'd love some feedback on it:

To give you a taster:

"This specification proposes an improved sidebar panel in Nautilus
that uses different engines (so as to avoid adding dependencies to
Nautilus) to display metadata, relevant information about files, and
actions that can be performed on them. It could list related documents
(using Tracker or Beagle), allow editing of metadata, show detailed
previews of files or add links to relevant web searches or pages in
the history - semantically linking all of a user's data together."

In my 'implementation' section I have outlined (below the caveat that
I am an inexperienced developer, and that if these ideas suck I'd like
to be told (politely if possible :P ) why so I can make suggestions
better in the future) a system where Nautilus exposes a certain amount
of information about the _currently selected file_ to an 'engines'
that are listening. The engine then formulates lists of data based on
queries, file operations and settings defined in a configuration file
(with an engine being able to accept multiple configuration files, but
the specific nature of any configuration file means it must be unique
to an engine). The engine then passes the generated data/list back to
Nautilus that handles the display.

The way it is broken down reduces the dependencies that need to be
added to Nautilus and also allows coding of 'engines' by the teams
that make the software the engine is to use (I.E Tracker team make the
tracker engine). Users can then share an compare their configuration
files, further distributing the development load. The main development
initially would need to be in the 'applet container' inside Nautilus.

Unfortunately I am not nearly capable of doing that yet, so this email
is as much an appeal for some interested developers as it is a
description of an idea! The idea  is useless without people to code it
(and note - I have no real attachment to the design, just the
configurable end result)

Happy reading :)


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