For the most part, OS X’s Finder app looks nice and does a good job. Former game programmer turned web-dev Antonin Hildebrand would, I think, agree. But, could it be better? Will it blend?Why can’t toilet paper glow in the dark? In response to one of these questions, Hildebrand has produced TotalFinder – a small plug-in that improves Finder in a big way.
Open a Finder window with TotalFinder running and most people won’t even notice the difference right away. In fact, one of the goals of the open-source project is to “improve Finder in areas where it lacks but keep the overall design”. The attention to detail in this regard is excellent and as a result none of the features feel tacked on or out of place. The entire experience is simple, clean, and true to OS X.
Topographically, the most obvious change to the UI is the addition of tabs. Most of us use tabs regularly in our web browsers and having this feature in a Finder window turns out to be pretty handy. Just like in your browser, ⌘+T opens a new tab, and ⌘+W closes one. TotalFinder also adds a ⌘+U shortcut to Finder that will activate “Dual Mode” joining two tabs together in a single side-by-side panel that is great for quickly moving files from one spot to another.
Showing and hiding hidden system files is a snap with a simple shortcut that doesn’t require killing and restarting finder. Click, the files are there. Then, clack, they aren’t. If you like seeing folders sorted to the top of a list of files or maximizing your windows to the full screen resolution, then you’re in luck. TotalFinder can do that too.
Some of the more advanced features include “Visor”, a persistently available finder window that smoothly animates to show and hide with a configurable keyboard shortcut (think opening the console in Quake). “Asepsis” appears to be useful for anyone going back and forth between multiple platforms who has to continually clean up .DS_Store files.
If any of the features I just listed sound appealing to you, check out TotalFinder. The dev is a cool guy that responds quickly to questions and openly invites the sharing of ideas, code, and workflows. If you’re in the Asynchrony downtown office, stop by my desk to see TotalFinder in action. Alternatively, you can visit http://totalfinder.binaryage.com/ for more information and a 14-day trial of this nifty plug-in.
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