Benefits of the history panel
The first thing to notice is that the items in the history panel are
"first-class citizens", i.e. they can be completely manipulated. For
example, you can delete a file you see in the history panel without
first opening its containing directory.
But the most important feature of the history panel is its
capability to show the recent directories, because this enables
faster navigation, while leaving the taskbar uncluttered. Let
me explain this in detail. When you work, you usually move
continuously among a bunch of directories (which are "important" in
the current situation). To improve navigation speed between those
directories, you usually leave many file manager windows open, each
in one directory. Unfortunately, this has some serious drawbacks:
- Many open browser windows clutter the taskbar. The
taskbar is not meant to contain many windows. A cluttered taskbar
makes it very expensive to switch tasks.
- it is not easy to switch to a window you just visited.
In particular, it is very difficult to continuously switch between two
directories. This is a consequence of the taskbar having a static
To solve this problem, web browsers introduced "tabbed
browsing". Unfortunately, tabbed browsing only solves the first
problem, whereas OneFinger's history panel solves both. The panel
contains a history of directories which:
- allows the taskbar to remain uncluttered (because the history is
separate from the taskbar).
- makes you quickly reach an important directory (because you see it
in the history at any time).
- makes it easy to toggle between two (or more) directories (because
the history is sorted by recent usage, so the two directories are
always on top of the history).