BitCommander is a project to build the alternative Windows file manager re-imagined from user experience point of view to allow users easier navigating and organizing large amount of computer files each of us has today. It features improved Miller Columns system (OSX Finder's column view), intelligent shortening of folder and file-names, relative file dates, batch file processing and much more.
In the last 10 years average capacity of the personal HDDs has increased more than 10-fold, while the file managers remained relatively unchanged. Explorer's tree-view tall as sequoias today is not suitable any more; and Finder still suffer from the same usability problems they had since the invention of Miller Columns in 1980.
BitCommander organizes folder hierarchy in system of nested tabs with scalable width, aligned right to minimize required eye and hand movement (in case of touchscreen usage). Files absolute date/time was never convenient especially in this part of the world still using AM/PM system, so bitCommander uses relative dates called file age, displaying files age as number of hours, days and months since file creation. Lazy ellipses shortening of long file-names was replaced with intelligent words shortening while making numbers in files bold to improve file revisions findability.
Don't forget to check other UPDATES in the "Updates" tab above!
If you know a functionality of Windows Explorer or OSX Finder that bitCommander does not have, suggest it for the stretch goal.
Move easier through folder structure
Folder structure is presented as a system of nested tabs on different levels to make folder hierarchy clearly visible. Clicking on a folder reveals its child-folders by sliding all ancestor folder-levels to the left. This way you always look at the same area until you find the desired folder.
All folder-levels are re-sized to fit available space. If you have small screen and folder-levels become too narrow, hover one to expand.
Smart folder names
If a folder-name does not fit panel width, it is intelligently shortened so you can still recognize it.
For example, folder name
"Adobe Media Encoder CS6" will become
Adobe Media Enc..CS6" instead of
"Adobe Me...coder CS6" (OSX Finder) or
"Adobe Media Encod..." (Windows Explorer)
Find the filename you want easier
- Filenames are shown without special characters
- Merged words are separated to improve readability
- Numbers are thicker so you can find the revision you want faster
Intelligent filename shortening
Filenames are intelligently shortened to fit available space while keeping them recognizable.
This means that numbers in filenames will not be shortening collateral as in other file managers.
Relative file dates
Instead of using absolute dates like other file managers, bitCommander shows relative dates.
Now you don't have to check the current date and do the math to find out when the file was modified.
- If a file was modified today you will see how many hours and minutes ago you did it.
- If you modified it less than two months ago, you will see how many days passed.
- Up to a year ago, you will see file age in number of months.
Color coding of the file age makes it even easier to find what you are looking for. The older the file, the colder the color.
Thumbnails and details in the same view
In this special view mode, image and video files are displayed as thumbnails while all other files are listed with details.
To make most use of the space, all thumbnails have fixed height while their width is proportionally resized.
That is perfect for folders containing pictures with varying aspect ratios, even ones mixing portrait oriented images and wide panoramas.
Easily create "To Do" tasks in any folder
These are basically text files with custom extension which program recognizes and styles differently.
Instead of file icon there is a checkbox for a quick interaction with "To Do" files".
First X characters of the task's text is the filename while the rest is in the file. Program displays text from the file and not the filename, so you can include any special characters.
Use special "To Do" folder (under list of drives) to organize yourself.
If you point it to a folder in the Dropbox, you will have it synchronized across all your computers.
Open multiple tabs within the same window and easily switch between them.
List of recently opened folders is accessible from any tab.
As you start dragging selected files you see only areas where you can drop your files.
Drop them to a folder, folder-panel, drive, another tab or Temp list.
Holding CTRL copies files; otherwise files are moved.
Collect all files you need in a Temp list before moving or copying.
Put files from multiple folders in the Temp list and copy all at once.
Batch worker is a module for sequential copying and moving. Since it processes files one-by-one it makes the copying faster. It does not interrupt for errors, but lets you to decide about those at later time.
Batch worker is also useful for maintaining multiple backups since you can save the whole list and run it at different times. You can even export the list as windows batch file and make it execute every time you log off your computer even without bit commander installed.
When I started the project I already knew some things that I wanted to improve related to file management. To come even further I decided to imagine that every element of today's file browsers was wrong.
User experience is re-imagined from the ground up. Every element on user interface, whether it is a button, text, line, dot has the exact reasons why it looks the way it looks, why is it positioned exactly there, how it works and why it works the way it works.
One of the goals were to make simple interface while setting up clear relationships between interface elements, not hesitating to make something completely opposite to current practices as long as number of pros outweighs number of cons.
Please note that this software will be available only on Windows.
Don't forget to check other UPDATES in the "Updates" tab above!
Thank you for your interest and contributing!
Risks and challenges
The challenge was always to push the boundaries of usability and experience. I came this far through prototyping end testing with users with different levels of computer knowledge and I will continue practice.
There are still many functions to be added (some buttons on the demo are just a placeholders at the moment) and optimized for performance. I am at the point where default .NET components are over their limits so some of them must be replaced with rather expensive commercial third party libraries to further improve bitCommander functionality and performance. Many functions I must be created from the scratch though.
Successful funding will also allow me to purchase third party .NET components, get VisualStudio Professional and hire another developer to speed up the process and further improve some of the components.
- (31 days)