Finder (software)

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Finder
Mac Finder icon (OS X Yosemite).png
Yosemite Finder.png
Screenshot of an OS X Yosemite Finder window, displaying files in Cover Flow view.
Developer(s) Apple Inc.
Stable release 10.10 / October 16, 2014; 36 days ago (2014-10-16)
Written in Objective-C++
Operating system System Software, Mac OS, OS X, GS/OS
Platform Macintosh
Type File management
License EULA
Website Official website

The Finder is the default file manager and graphical user interface shell used on all Macintosh operating systems. Described in its "About" window as "The Macintosh Desktop Experience", it is responsible for the launching of other applications, and for the overall user management of files, disks, and network volumes. It was introduced with the first Macintosh computer, and also exists as part of GS/OS on the Apple IIGS. It was totally rewritten with the release of Mac OS X in 2001.

In a tradition dating back to the classic Mac OS of the 1980s and 1990s, the Finder icon is the smiling screen of a computer, known as the Happy Mac logo.

Features[edit]

The Finder uses a view of the file system that is rendered using a desktop metaphor; that is, the files and folders are represented as appropriate icons. It uses a similar interface to Apple's Safari browser, where the user can click on a folder to move to it and move between locations using "back" and "forward" arrow buttons. Like Safari, the Finder uses tabs to allow the user to view multiple folders; these tabs can be pulled off the window to make them separate windows. Opening a new folder would open a new window. There is a "favorites" sidebar of commonly used and important folders on the left of the Finder window.

The modern Finder uses OS X graphics APIs to display previews of a range of files, such as images, applications and PDF files. The Quick Look feature allows users to quickly examine documents and images in more detail from the finder by pressing the space bar without opening them in a separate application. The user can choose how to view files, with options such as large icons showing previews of files, a list with details such as date of last creation or modification, a "cover flow" view similar to iTunes, and a "column view" influenced by OS X's direct ancestor NeXTSTEP.[1]

The modern Finder displays some aspects of the file system outside its windows. Mounted external volumes and disk image files are always displayed on the desktop. There is a trash can on the Dock in OS X, to which files can be dragged to mark them for deletion, and to which drives can be dragged for ejection. Finder can record files to optical media on the sidebar.[2]

The classic Mac OS Finder uses a spatial metaphor quite different to the more browser-like approach of the modern OS X Finder.[3] In the classic Finder, opening a new folder opens the location in a new window: finder windows are 'locked' so that they would only ever display the contents of one folder. It also allows extensive customization, with the user being able to give folders custom icons matching their content. This approach emphasizes the different locations of files within the operating system, but it tends to clutter the desktop with multiple Finder windows which must be closed individually when no longer needed. Navigating to a folder nested inside multiple other folders fills the desktop with a large number of windows that the user may not need have open.[4]

Reception[edit]

Introducing Mac OS X in 2000, Steve Jobs criticized the original Finder, saying that it "generates a ton of windows, and you get to be the janitor."[4]

Ars Technica columnist John Siracusa has been a long-standing defender of the "spatial" interface of the classic Mac OS Finder, and a critic of the new design.[5] Daring Fireball blog author John Gruber has voiced similar criticisms. In a 2005 interview[6] he said that the Finder in version 10.3 of OS X had become "worse than in 10.0" and that "the fundamental problem with the OS X Finder is that it's trying to support two opposing paradigms at once – the browser metaphor ... and the spatial metaphor from the original Mac Finder ... and it ends up doing neither one very well." Reviewing the same version of OS X, Siracusa comments that the Finder "provides exactly the same self-destructive combination of spatial and browser-style features as all of its OS X predecessors".[7]

Finder replacements[edit]

Third-party OS X software developers offer Finder replacements that run as stand-alone applications, such as Path Finder, Xfile, and XtraFinder. These replacements are shareware or freeware and aim to include and supersede the same functionality as the Finder.

Timeline[edit]

There are notable differences between Finder versions and Classic OS to System 7. From System 6 onward, the version numbers are unified. OS X therefore shows a combined System and Finder.

Since the introduction of OS X, the largest rewrite of the finder with the 2009 release of Mac OS X 10.6, into the Cocoa API, though little change was visible to the user.[8]

Timeline of Macintosh operating systems
Apple Intel transition Power Mac G5 Power Mac G4 iMac Power Macintosh Macintosh Quadra Macintosh Portable Macintosh SE/30 Macintosh II Macintosh Plus Macintosh 128K A/UX A/UX A/UX Mac OS 9 Mac OS 9 Mac OS 9 Mac OS 8 Mac OS 8 Mac OS 8 Mac OS 8 System 7 System 7 System 7 System 7 System 6 Mac OS Mac OS Mac OS Mac OS Mac OS OS X Mavericks Mac OS X v10.8 Mac OS X v10.7 Mac OS X v10.6 Mac OS X v10.5 Mac OS X v10.4 Mac OS X v10.3 Mac OS X v10.2 Mac OS X v10.1 Mac OS X v10.0 Mac OS X Public Beta Mac OS X Server 1.0 Macworks Plus II Macworks Plus Sun Remarketing Macworks Finder (software) Finder (software) Finder (software) Finder (software) Finder (software) Finder (software) Finder (software) Finder (software)
A graphical timeline of Macintosh models

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gruber, John. "Walter Isaacson’s ‘Steve Jobs’". Daring Fireball. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ LeVitus, Bob (August 2011). "How to Burn CDs or DVDs in Mac OS X Lion". "Mac OS X Lion For Dummies". For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-02205-4. Retrieved June 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ Jones, Jasyn. "Missing The Boat On Panther". Mac Observer. 
  4. ^ a b Rothenberg, Matthew. "New OS X headlines Jobs keynote". ZDNet. 
  5. ^ Siracusa, John (April 2, 2003). "About the Finder...". Retrieved December 20, 2006. 
  6. ^ Marcin Wichary (September 2005). "Interview with John Gruber". GUIdebook. Retrieved January 13, 2007. 
  7. ^ John Siracusa (November 9, 2003). "Same as it ever was". OS X 10.3 Panther review. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  8. ^ "11 major new Snow Leopard features". Macworld. IDG. August 26, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 

External links[edit]