Alexander Larsson
< Sabayon LDAP support
At last! >
Wed Dec 07 2005 11:25
The last two weeks I have been working on the nautilus-search (and now nautilus-search2) branch of Nautilus. The initial code in this branch was written by andersca and was later maintained by joe. It had a pluggable search interface with a beagle implementation that let you easily search for files from Nautilus. Places->Search in the menu would give you a text entry in the toolbar, and when you typed text there the matches was shown in the normal directory view. Here is how it looked:

While pretty cool and useful, this really isn't state of the art compared to e.g. MacOS X or MS Vista. For one, it doesn't support what Apple calls "Smart Folders" and MS "Virtual Folders", nor does it allow you to specify the search other than with text. Furthermore, the search acts as a special type of folder, but I didn't like the fact that its not obvious that this is not a "normal" folder.

So, after spending some time on the code I now have this:

The blue area is a special part of the window I called "extra location widgets" in the code. It can be used to show that this is a special kind of folder, and I think we should use it for folders in burn:/// also. Furthermore, the "+" button lets you add limitations on the search:

You can also search by type:

When you are satisfied with your search you can use File -> Save Search As... which gives you this dialog:

Looking in home, we see the newly saved file "search for alex.savedSearch". Its really a simple xml file describing the query. However, we can tell by the expander that Nautilus treats it as a folder.

If you expand it, you get the results of the search as if it was a normal folder:

And if you click on it you show the file as a folder:

You can also edit it by clicking on the edit button, giving you back the original query edit widgets. When you've changed them to your liking, File -> Save Search updates the search file on disk:

All this code is on the nautilus-search2 branch in cvs. Its mostly working, I just need to fix some bugs and add a simple (non-indexing) search backend and I think its ready to be merged to HEAD.


Posted by Ken at Wed Dec 07 2005 11:52


One oddity of this is that it displays searches in big-icon-mode, which doesn't make a lot of sense. Big-icon-mode is spatial so you can put things somewhere, and they'll be there later (stability) -- but searches will be adding/removing things automatically. Searches should probably always use a list-view.

And the look of it rubs me the wrong way. Either you can't see what the search is doing, or it eats up most of your window. I wonder if you could formulate a simple 1-line English sentence, with a control to let you edit it ... not sure what the right solution here is. (If Gtk+ had Aqua's drawers, that would be nice. :-)

But then, I realize this is not-quite-alpha code, so a couple rough edges are to be expected. Great work! I look forward to using this someday.

Posted by Wiflye81 at Wed Dec 07 2005 11:57

Great work, that's something I was waiting for

Posted by Fred at Wed Dec 07 2005 12:18

Wow, it looks really nice ! One small thing that disturbs me is the icon of the saved search file, it should really be a folder.
And, does that folder updates it's content when new valid search results exists ?

But this really rocks, i hope it can make it for 2.14

Posted by Anonymous Coward at Wed Dec 07 2005 12:51

I think the division to a query view (with the plus sign) and to a saved search view (with the Edit button) is a bit artificial. Why not just open the saved searches in the query view? There should also be some immediate way to see any additional limitations that have been placed on the saved search and opening directly into the query view would do that.

Posted by anonymous@ at Wed Dec 07 2005 13:09

This looks great. I hope it will be available for gnome 2.14

Posted by Darren Brierton at Wed Dec 07 2005 13:23

When you say "add a simple (non-indexing) search backend" do you mean an alternative to beagle? I'm assuming the screenshots above are showing it using the beagle backend. Do you need a non-beagle backend because Red Hat / Fedora can't ship beagle because it's Mono?

Posted by anonymous@ at Wed Dec 07 2005 13:23

Wow! I expected something like this to be quite a ways off, but here it is looking pretty complete. Thanks a million! Very nice.

Posted by michele at Wed Dec 07 2005 13:45

Just needs some more love for the UI.


Posted by Dennis Krul at Wed Dec 07 2005 13:49

Looks promising!

UI-wise it isn't perfect, but that's only natural for an alpha preview :)

Maybe a nice addition to this 'Places -> Search' approach is to have a little search box (a-la firefox) next to the breadcrumb/location bar to search for stuff in the current folder (+subfolders) with a pulldown menu to narrow down the filetype. I don't know OSX that well, but I think it has something like that too.

Keep up the good work!

Posted by Aleksander Kamil Modzelewski at Wed Dec 07 2005 14:39

This is truly great. A little polish and it will surely take over the world ;)

Posted by Christian Kellner at Wed Dec 07 2005 14:44

@Ken: well view is what is says a view of the data so I think it would be totally worng to bind this search to a special view. The other thing is that list-view is not the opposite of spatial, you can have list-view for spatial as well.

@Fred: This is alpha code, so I am pretty sure the icon will change :) And if you use beagle as the backend, yes you will have live queries, i.e. updates of the searches.

Posted by Axel at Wed Dec 07 2005 15:10

I'd be _very_ interested to hear how this relates to RedHats position on Mono. Does this mean RH is backporting all the cool Beagle stuff back to Lucene to make a Lucene search plugin, that RH has changed it's mind on Mono or simply that you have spent a large amount of time coding stuff that will never be used by RH?

Posted by anonymous@ at Wed Dec 07 2005 15:34

Compiled and ready to run
Thanks Alexander :)

Posted by ghaefb at Wed Dec 07 2005 15:45

Interresting work.

But why do you make these horizontal new widgets ?
I think it would be much better to implement something like this in nautilus side pane. What do you think ?

Like a beagle frontend in side pane, that would be so great.

Posted by Jon Kåre at Wed Dec 07 2005 15:53

Can you also search for file names, like the 'locate' command?
I was shown an emacs snippet called 'dired-locate' which gives you a dired view of locate's output. Addictive. I'd like to see it in nautilus as well.

Posted by Alan at Wed Dec 07 2005 15:57

The close icon on a toolbar worries me. Any chance you could use something esle like maybe a collapse/disclosure triangle or something please? Looks very promising.

Posted by anonymous@ at Wed Dec 07 2005 15:58

Very Impressive. Very much needed and a very nice feature. Personally I like the difference between a saved search presented 'solid' while a search you are building provides more interaction. ^^

Posted by Gabe at Wed Dec 07 2005 16:24

Awesome work! Your UI looks very much like the BeOS (talk about a blast from the past), but improves on it. I like the way you let people build queries directly in the result window - BeOS just added a menu item "Modify query..." to search folders that popped up a criteria editor.

Building/modifying a query:

A live search folder:

I'd like to see a simple string input that lets me specify nested criteria, much like an SQL where clause. "(size < 1mb) or (size > 5mb && title startswith "Cool")"

I hope you present the saved searches as "search folders" with no extension. That'd just rule.


Posted by anonymous@ at Wed Dec 07 2005 17:14

yes, you have to specify a behaviour on placing things in "virtual folders".
This would be really easy, if some kind of metadata would be supported - you could then simply add the search term to the "keywords" metadata.

but right now, you have to be creative - if a location criteria is give, you can store the file there.
If the file-type collides with the corresponding filter, you could give an error.

Posted by uptishcreek at Wed Dec 07 2005 21:55

this and this and you really will take over the world. great stuff!

Posted by ryan at Wed Dec 07 2005 22:21

Very cool Alex!

I like it a lot, but I would prefer a "virtual folder" metaphor to a "saved search file" one, since I think its more intuitive to understand. Perhaps we can find a folder icon witha special emblem to show thats its not a normal folder (the same way you have used the blue color).

Also, using a color to denote difference may not work so well for those who are [color]blind?

Posted by emmanuel at Thu Dec 08 2005 02:33

that's great! however when you have several search criteria, it's not clear whether nautilus will do a AND or a OR between them. i think you should offer AND or OR choice or make it clear what will happen.

you example is:
"location is home AND (file type is document OR file type is text file)"

maybe it could be more explicit (though then it could become too complicated/frightening GUI). maybe your current system + some good documentation is enough.

Posted by Gaël Varoquaux at Thu Dec 08 2005 02:39

I like this too, eventhough I think the UI could be reworked (I actually kinda like beagle's UI, it just lacks integration in nautilus). One small suggestion : it's a good idea to try to make the folder look different, but I think this difference should not be in the toolbars of the folder : I find it does not only look ugly, but it is also less obvious that it is a property of the folder itself. I think the folder's background (and maybe fonts) should be different. The folder's list could also look different (and be a bit closer to the beagle UI, the folder information (when in left side panel) should definitly be different.
I am looking forwards to the futur of this work !

Posted by Rat at Thu Dec 08 2005 02:41

"Does this mean RH is backporting all the cool Beagle stuff back to Lucene to make a Lucene search plugin, that RH has changed it's mind on Mono or simply that you have spent a large amount of time coding stuff that will never be used by RH?"

Red Hat has always written tons of code that it doesnt include in its own distribution. Just ask Alan Cox or Al Viro for examples ;-)

Posted by Andrew Luecke at Thu Dec 08 2005 03:01

One thing I'm not sure of, is why it should be done in a similar way to apple. There are better layouts that can be used. Maybe whats really needed is a new infrastructure/paradigm for user interaction with directories/files. Getting Gnome Storage (Seth's Project), would be nice.

Unfortunately, we really need to start asking ourselves what we can do to seperate ourselves from OSX and Windows

But good job by the way ;)

Posted by David Mills at Thu Dec 08 2005 03:42

Andrew: That's what I was thinking (shamless plug: I'd just started working on a beagle gnome vfs plugin, bit pointless now, dman... :).

Great work all the same, and much more intuitive to use than what I was preparing, I just wonder if a hole new section is really needed.


Posted by tm at Thu Dec 08 2005 03:49

Great job! Together with ability to tag files this will rock the gnome.
Andrew - you are quite destructive here - path to storage is quite steep for now!

Posted by Joseba at Thu Dec 08 2005 03:57

Just a little suggestion. As it has been pointed, this looks a bit like BeOS, but as a long term BeOS user, I believe that the "Save as..." window is a bit "artificial", and even in BeOS it doesn't follow the BeOS paradigm. Why just not drag and drop the blue part? (or however it is implemented in the final release) The blue part is what defines the search, right? Just move it to wherever you want to get a link to that search and done.
That's just my idea.
Great job, btw.

Posted by Miza at Thu Dec 08 2005 04:06

Cool, leave it as-is and touch nothing! :-)

Posted by Sebastian Rittau at Thu Dec 08 2005 05:15

Great stuff!

I would like to underline what ryan said though: I think there should be some kind of visual indication in the tree view expander that "search for foo" is a virtual folder.

Also, in the first result window you have multiple files with the same name ("ChangeLog" for example) and there is no way to distinguish them.

- Sebastian

Posted by anonymous@ at Thu Dec 08 2005 05:22

Good job.. in copying Apple.

Posted by Juri Pakaste at Thu Dec 08 2005 05:24

Alex, you're a superhero.

Posted by rboss (Raphael Bosshard) at Thu Dec 08 2005 07:23

That's so cool. I love it, especially the "Saved search". It's a huge step in the right direction. Now if I only could tag my files in a unified way...

Posted by emmanuel at Thu Dec 08 2005 09:09

i'm thinking.. maybe it would be good to also be able to display the full path of every match. for instance in your results you have twice ChangeLog. and you'd have to right-click properties to know which one is where.

but this has great applications. for instance if it would work to search for all ChangeLog files then zip that virtual folder... many tasks that were command-line only so far would be become doable in the GUI :o)

Posted by Ryan at Thu Dec 08 2005 09:20

Glad to see Beagle integrated into a File Manager finally. I tried to tell the folks over at XFCE to do this with Thunar but was mocked and ridiculed. However, I've never had any good experience with Nautilus. It's always been very unstable for me, adding more features seems to me like it would only add to that instability.

My personal thought would be to start from scratch with the file management side and build something like a "Type Manager" (or iTunes like interface) to manage all the files on the system, giving options to hide or unhide different folders that are system related and putting emphasis on home and application folders. Today's file managers are no help to a novice computer user who wants to navigate through a linux file structure. They need something that highlights only the files and folders that would interest them. Just my two cents.

Posted by Jesse Keating at Thu Dec 08 2005 09:36

This is pretty cool. Will there be a widget or button to refresh the search? Some folk will probably have a search folder open for a long period of time, but will want to refresh the results w/out closing the window and reopening it.

Posted by Sidiasus at Thu Dec 08 2005 10:33

Very nice work, here. I know this is another generic compliment; but features brought to the table by apps like beagle go a long way towards giving Linux an edge on the competition, but it isn't until these features are presented through a coherent and pleasant environment that will make Joe Average consider GNU/Linux a serious contender in the OS Market.

Posted by MacUSEr at Thu Dec 08 2005 10:38

Does it take hours or just serval minutes to search some easy described files? I compared beagle and Spotlight and i must say, beagle was just too slow ....
just me 2 Cents ....

Posted by Just call me anonymous at Thu Dec 08 2005 11:43

This looks awesome! I say it's THE must-have killer-feature of 2.14! Ofcourse, it's a bit early for that, and I'm sure there will be lots more cool stuff (I hope)!

Posted by dp at Thu Dec 08 2005 11:55

Hi Alex. Nicely done! Here are some suggestions:

1. File Menu or Right-Click: "New Saved Search"
2. When you create a Saved Search:
(a) in the current Nautilus window, an icon appears as a folder with magnifying glass and its name/tooltip is the search name, and
(b) a side pane appears with the search criteria with the highlight/focus in the search name box; a side pane is the most efficient shape to hold a number of short criteria in a long rectangle
3. The search is automatically saved (ie. no save/load/edit button) and all searches are saved in a .savedsearch folder in the home directory of the user (this allows easy backup of saved searches)
4. Whenever you click on a Saved Search folder, the sidepane appears in the Nautilus window with all the search criteria showing/ready to be edited on the fly
5. The Saved Search expands/opens as a regular folder but with the sidepane

Exciting work!

Posted by Guest at Thu Dec 08 2005 12:33

This type of view definetly breaks the spatial-view metaphor, and will always do - no matter what you do. Why don't you just create a temporary folder and put links to the found files into it. Then you can skip the save-option at all (the user can move the folder to wherever he likes it to rest with just nautilus). And, one could handle the search result like any other folder of files. Only, the search view should be active, so that not the icons of the links but the icons of the originals are shown and that the search options are at hand.

Posted by David at Thu Dec 08 2005 12:36

Great work.
The concept of a 'new look' meta folder for searches and burn, and possibly other uses is needed, I am just not keen on your blue. This needs to work with many different desktop themes.
Over to the graphic design dept ?

Posted by Bob at Thu Dec 08 2005 14:41

Good idea.
But... Why use teh folder icon? wouldn't another icon for saved searches work better for quick identification (Maybe a folder with a spyglass over it, or an eye on the folder). That way you wouldn't have to do anything special to see at once what it is.

Posted by Karderio at Thu Dec 08 2005 15:09

At last ! This looks great.

I agree that the blue color is definitely not "the right way" (tm). In browser mode the path for the CD burner is "burn:///", so "search:///" would differentiate these dialogs, as well as the icon. For spatial, all I could think of would be a header, a big bar with a magnifying glass and "search" in bold. Don't know if this is any better than the blue, but at least it would not be a problem for [color]blind users.

Could the search restrict by default to the current path (i.e. the place we were when the search button was pressed) ?

I do hope this will also work in browser mode. Better may spatial nautilus be, however I can't see myself getting used to it any time soon. In browser mode I would expect to be able to change to list view and zoom in, as with any other folder.

I think it is important that the file view look like any other nautilus file view, anything else would be confusing at the very least.

Rather than a refresh button, should this not use gamin, and refresh automatically ?

Whether it be better as is or in a side pane I don't know. I would however say that the side pane seems very under used to me in nautilus (I have written quite a bit on this in my 2 cents of GNOME improvements, stay tuned to GNOME forums :-).

I'm very happy to see this, it is a great improvement, I would be ecstatic to see this in gnome 2.14.

Love, Karderio

Posted by Leonardo Fontenelle at Thu Dec 08 2005 15:46

The project itself looks very useful. But I must remember that someday Reiser4 will be released, and search functions are previewed, so it will be interesting if there is any kind of integration with it.

Interview with Hans Reiser on

Posted by AnXa at Fri Dec 09 2005 01:00

Finaly they have done the search function integration to nautilus. What else we could expect from a desktop that is imitating Windows in every aspect. And maybe System7 and OSX in future.

Posted by Mike at Fri Dec 09 2005 02:36

Speaking of seaching. Are there any alternatives to Beagle? Beagle (still in version 0.1.2) seems to be worse program ever when it comes to resource use. After about one day it uses somewhere between 500-900M of memory and starts to slow down my system dramatically. Also the index (1.4G under ~.beagle) is absolutelu huge, .Yes, I know I have a lot of stuff under my home. That's why a search engine like beagle would come useful, but in it's current state beagle is completely unusable.

Posted by Karderio at Fri Dec 09 2005 05:43

I do hope this uses some sort of plugin/backend system, this is of course always a good idea : a little code now saves a lot of work (for someone else maybe) later.

I don't think beagle is yet a dependency/part of GNOME, so in order to get this into GNOME 1.14, maybe a find, grep, and locate backend (as in the actual 2.10 find dialog) is in order.

Posted by fraggle at Fri Dec 09 2005 05:49

That is absolutely fucking beautiful.

Posted by Robbie at Fri Dec 09 2005 09:14

Wow, very cool ...

Please the UI needs work... it takes up too much space and waists alot too.
Your current UI looks alot like Mac OSX 10.4 but the main difference is the wigits on Linux are huge. can the dropdown and text boxes be made slim to use less space ?

Posted by Richard at Sat Dec 10 2005 01:24

It seems that there's a lot of wasted space when one goes to "Advanced Search" (via the additional fields). In this case, MS's sidebar/pane might seem like a better idea.

Posted by Rodd Clarkson at Mon Dec 12 2005 17:45

I'm curious. Why is Gnome preceeding to use technologies that the major distributors haven't even agreed can be included legally in their distros.

By this I mean, why is Nautilus utilizing beagle when beagle relies on Mono which at least one major distro refuses to include due to legal issues?

Is this going to become the trend for Gnome, because if it is, then this is going to tear apart the Gnome desktop from the inside. It seems insane to develop tools for Gnome that clearly can't be used on all platforms.

Posted by James Giddon at Mon Dec 12 2005 18:18

That's why it uses a modular backend, so it can use either Beagle, if it is installed, or any other search solution.

Posted by Freyr Gunnar Ólafsson at Fri Dec 16 2005 07:12

One quick question. What happenes when a user tries to copy files into the "virtual folders"?

Posted by Pavel Nikulin at Fri Dec 16 2005 12:52

>One quick question. What happenes when a user tries to copy files into the "virtual folders"?

Looks like that is only interactive non pseudo virtual folders(I don't know how to call this feature=).

Awesome feature.

Posted by Lean Fuglsang at Sat Dec 17 2005 06:04

As another poster said: Labels is the way to go.

So the perfect scenario for me would be:
Search for a lot of labels, put files in those folders and they get those labels.
Actually every field that is search for, should be able to change. If the user put a file in a folder, where it doesn't make sense to change the file (e.g the creation date) sensible warnings (non-ui blocking) should tell the user what to do, and how to fix the problem, e.g create a new search.

Also, labels should be two way:
If you just search for all labels on the system - or look at the properties of a file to see its label, you can just drag the label to any other files!
Then these files would also get the labels.

Also if a person has made a search, he could just drag a lot of labels to the search, and they would be included.

Just to recap, a label is just like a directory (a name), except the ordering doesn't matter.

It is really a long sought feature, because people really don't care if a file is called images/housewarming/teapots/green-teapot.jpg
or housewarming/teapots/green/image

The just one the file, that they saved with some comments. Also, open and save dialogs should implement this as much as possible. Make it easy to search, and add labels when doing these operations.

(Actually I think that open and save dialogs is the spawn of the devil, but lets take one thing at a time).

So pleeaase consider this in nautilus search. Nautilus search should support labels, and dragging things to a search folder should not be illegal!

Posted by ga-ba at Fri Dec 23 2005 10:19

>One quick question. What happenes when a user tries to copy files into the "virtual folders"?
it would be nice that doing this tags that file with the search key(s).
This could integrate/replace tagging function in f-spot / banshee(?) ...

Posted by Brad at Tue Dec 27 2005 10:42

You should try putting the query options boxes in one line as they take up a sizable chunk of the window.

Posted by Ravi at Sun Jan 08 2006 05:09

This is a feature that Linux lacked till now. Windows has yahoo search and google desktop search. And mac has its own built-in search tool called spotlight. Till now most linux distributions did not bundle Beagle by default in Linux. So one had to go and download it and install it in order to use it.

Believe me, it was a reall hassle for me when I was using fedora core 2. Even when I moved to ubuntu, it was an irritant.

Now by incorporating beagle in nautilus, the developers have addressed a most asked for feature.

Kudos to nautilus developers.

PS: can't you integrate it on the taskbar too ? like in a Mac?


Posted by Thomas Dybdahl Ahle at Tue Jan 10 2006 06:41

I'd be nice if the search folders would work in none nautilus applications also, like the terminal.

This could perhaps be accomplished by having nautilus creating a folder some secret place, make symlinks to the found files, make a symlink at the saved place to the secret folder. And then offcource update it as much as needed.

This way the user could also manually put files in the folder, and even wine programs would be able to open the folder.

Posted by Karderio at Mon Jan 16 2006 07:14

We could say that searches, similarly to the CD burner, are not real “locations”, as far as Nautilus is concerned. This seems to give rise to certain problems, as the functionalities related to these objects differ from those of normal locations in Nautilus.

* You cannot paste a file into a search, or rather what logic would this serve ? Usually, when you cannot paste or move a file in nautilus, it is because the place is read only, or you do not have permission, not because it represents something other than a location.

* When you click on search in a browser window, you loose the utility of the cookie crumb navigator. (you get lost :-o )

* When you click search in a spatial window, it actually opens the search in another window. Could this window not simply be a “search application window” rather than a Nautilus window ?

* Perhaps a list view would be the preferred default way to view a search results (irrelevant of the default nautilus setting), not only to view the path (and additional information for identifying files) but also to provide quick sorting (sorting is kind of like a second search).

* When you start a search with the tree view in the side pane, what should be shown as the current location in the tree view ?

* Subfolders in a saved search appear “inside” the saved search, however when you open a subfolder you get sent to the actual path of the folder. It would therefore seem that presenting search results like a folder could be the wrong metaphor.

* A user may want to add an emblem to a file in a saved search, but not to the actual file, or the other way around...

* When you change search parameters of a saved search, does it automatically save them, or ask for confirmation ? Both ways I can see this as problematic, as you generally do not save things in Nautilus.

* A saved search shows subfolders “inside” the search (in exactly the same way as files are “inside” folders), however when you click on these subfolders you are actually redirected to the real folder. Say I searched for files modified today ; as a user, considering a “virtual folder” type metaphor, I would assume to find only files modified today in the saved search subfolders.

* Seeing as files appear to be “inside” a saved search, could the user not think the files have been copied there ?

Actions applied to the contents of these special places differ substantially from those applied to other objects in nautilus, such as folders or network places, thus problems arise from trying to imitate normal Nautilus behavior. So many inconsistencies make me wonder if it is wise to integrate such functions as search or a CD burner into the file manager. The new search seems very impressive, but what are the real advantages of having this in Nautilus rather than separate ? To me it would seem much clearer if the CD burner was completely separate from the file manager, and if search was performed in a separate window.

The need for “not normal” folders, that gave rise to the “blue background” for me goes to show that this just should not be here. If the we must differentiate “special” nautilus browser windows, why not just put them in another window, or a separate application ? One consensus could be that a particular application window serves a particular purpose ; Nautilus is a navigator, not a burner or a search tool etc. You wouldn't add a CD burner to evolution, even though it can save files, Nautilus would be adapted for browsing CVS or SVN though (as it is for FTP...).

Search as it is works without confusing anybody, although it lacks some much needed functionality. I think one of the main things currently missing (pre 2.13) is a button in nautilus that opens the search dialog ready to search in the current path, and saved searches ; plus of course backends, beagle... The main thing I am getting at here is that I do not think integrating search into Nautilus (represented similar to folders) is at all a step in the right direction, I think it will do more to confuse users than it does benefit them with the new functionality. I think the exact same functionality can be provided without integrating search into the file manager part of Nautilus, with an interface similar to the current implementation, added search buttons, a few modifications and addition of new capabilities.

I do hope I don't seem too harsh, the new search is very impressive, and contains many very neat ideas, so much so that I feel rather bad about criticizing it. I was rather hesitant about posting this, as I don't want to seem to be bashing other peoples hard work, but I am rather worried that we may be trading simplicity for snazziness here. It would seem to me that most people accept the new implementation as an improvement, but please give it a little thought.

I hope these comments will be found useful by some, hopefully for ideas to help make the GNOME interface both more simple and more functional.

Love, Karderio

Posted by Frederick Sammis at Fri Jan 27 2006 13:39

This is a great start and the suggestions are great too. And here's another approach. Searches result in a "document" containing HTML(-like) links to found files. This "document" metaphor is general and could be extended to document all sorts of "results". No special icons, windows, widgets, etc. Just a new "document" (could actually contain HTML) containing results of this or that operation. Open the document, click a link and the taget appears, opens, executes, as appropriate. It's very intuitive. The documents could be .html, .map or other.

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