#19 Cylindrical representation

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Erwin Bonsma
None
4
2012-10-26
2008-01-06
Anonymous
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I've just switched to a mac and, for some time, I've been using a small, but powerfull freeware called "scanner" (http://www.steffengerlach.de/freeware/index.html). Instead of showing the treemaps as squares, it uses a cylindrical representation of the files.

kde filelight also uses it, and there's even a mac port but it misses some agility. what about developing some different ways to represent the space used by the files?

Discussion

  • Erwin Bonsma
    Erwin Bonsma
    2008-01-06

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I am actually aware of the cylindrical representation. In fact, a little over ten years ago I wrote a utility that used that representation. That was still in DOS, so it did not look fancy [1], but it did the job.

    Initially, just after I decided to develop a disk usage application for the Mac, I planned to use the cylindrical representation again, but then I came across tree maps, and decided to use that, as I think it's more powerful. It uses the available space on screen much more effectively, and also copes better with deeply nested folder hierarchies. Admittedly, the cylindrical representation is slightly easier to understand, but that's about all it has going for it.

    I first want to perfect the tree-map functionality before I consider adding radically different features to the application. So, do not expect support for the cylindrical representation any time soon. It may be added eventually, but that is still doubtful as I prefer to keep the application lean & mean. The internal representation of scanned disk contents is currently optimised for the tree map representation. Adding new representations will inevitably negatively impact the speed and memory usage of the application, which therefore is a step not to be taken lightly.

    Cheers,

    Erwin

    [1] http://grandperspectiv.sourceforge.net/ScreenShots/Visions-1_00.gif

     
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    Even though still feeling a bit awkward about the different look, I guess that now it's only a matter of getting used - and actually, I'm looking forward to see its benefits over the cilyndrical view over the next weeks.

    That still may scare some first time users away - for instance, I believe that the "top folder" had to be selected as default, in order to give them a glance at which are the bigger folders and then locate the files, as the default user normally focus on a first scan over the entire hard disk.

    Just as a quick question - are you working in any algorythm for the colors not to match side-by-side or you rely on the fact that folders are always rectangular?

    Thanks for your kind reply, and keep up the great work.

    • felipe.
     
  • Erwin Bonsma
    Erwin Bonsma
    2008-01-09

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    I personally prefer the coloring by Folder, so that is why that is currently the default. However, if "Top folder" would be easier for new users, that would be good reason for making that the application default. The disadvantage of "Top folder" is, however, that it produces very bland views when there are only a few top folders (e.g. only one for the GrandPerspective disk image). I'll consider this point though for the next release, which should also feature configurable coloring by type, which may also affect the decision.

    I am currently not working on an algorithm to prevent accidental side-by-side matching of colors. It's an interesting idea though. Such an algorithm would be quite straightforward, but unfortunately its implementation not. It would require that each rectangle knows who its neighbours are, which is currently not maintained anywhere (as there's no need) and it is not immediately clear that this can be implemented elegantly and efficiently. So yes, for now I am using the fact that folders are always rectangular to make them visually stand out. Furthermore, hovering over an item in the view shows the folders that it resides in, which also helps. Still, you've raised an interesting point, which I will think about a bit more.

    Cheers,

    Erwin

     


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