On the way to Dolphin 2.2

KDE 4.10 Beta 1 has been released this week, so I thought it would be nice to summarize the changes that went into the master branch during the last few months. Here is a current screenshot that shows some of them:

New Features

  • Àlex Fiestas added support for MTP devices (like phones) to the Places Panel, making use of Philipp Schmidt’s MTP kioslave. Check if your distribution provides packages for kio-mtp if you want to try it. I’m quite happy that I can finally transfer files to and from my phone easily in KDE (if you wonder why it shows up twice in the panel: that’s because the phone’s internal memory and the SD card are separate devices). See Àlex’ blog post (which also provides information about building kio-mtp yourself) and the review request for more information.
  • Amandeep Singh, assisted by Frederik Gladhorn, implemented accessibility features in Dolphin. Now you can have the current item shown zoomed in KMag.
  • Some people missed an easy way to resize the icons in the Places Panel in KDE 4.9. For those who didn’t know: Dophin’s Places Panel had been rewritten, and the automatic resizing of the icons when the panel was resized (or in some other situations, like when a ‘Place’ with a long name was created or removed) was dropped. We now have an ‘Icon Size’ submenu in the panel’s context menu, just like in the tool bar. I think that this is the best solution: users who want bigger icons can just choose their favourite size.
  • Dolphin 1.x provided two different ways to rename files: ‘inline renaming’ and renaming using a dialog. This changed some time ago due to the view engine rewrite. In KDE 4.8, inline renaming was not ready yet. In KDE 4.9, it replaced the dialog completely (except for the case that multiple files are renamed at the same time), but some people actually got used to the dialog and missed it. In KDE 4.10, you will be able to choose again. Emmanuel Pescosta added a checkbox to the settings dialog.
  • Ivan Čukić made it possible to report the current directory to the activity manager, such that it can easily tell what your most favourite directories are. You can disable this in the System Settings, ‘Workspace Behavior’ if you don’t want the activity manager to keep a log of your directories and documents.

Performance Improvements

Emmanuel Pescosta worked hard to make Dolphin faster:

  • The part of Dolphin that keeps track of the previews that need to be generated did not handle its internal data structures in the most efficient way. Look at the review request for details and for the impressive Callgrind data.
  • Loading a folder with many files can be very slow. It turns out that much of this slowness is due to the “natural sorting” of the items, which makes sure that “image10.jpg” comes after “image9.jpg”, and not between “image1.jpg” and “image2.jpg”. There have been some ideas how the “natural comparison” of two file names can be made faster, but this requires a lot of work. In KDE 4.10, we still use the old comparison function, but make use of all CPU cores on your system to keep the delay when opening a large directory short. Look at the final version of the patch to see how little code you need to make Mergesort use multiple threads with QtConcurrent!
  • The icons which are shown for files and folders if previews are disabled are now cached to save CPU cycles and memory.

More little improvements

The improvements in Dolphin 2.2 were made possible by the following people who contributed patches, provided advice on patches while they were still work-in-progress, and tested features early to report problems and regressions: Alex Fiestas, Amandeep Singh, Christoph Feck, Emmanuel Pescosta, Frederik Gladhorn, Hrvoje Senjan, Ivan Čukić, Jekyll Wu, Kai-Uwe Broulik, Panos Kanavos, Vishesh Handa, and Weng Xuetian. Thanks for your help! If I forgot anyone, please let me know.

If you test Dolphin and find any regressions (or old bugs which haven’t been reported yet), please report them at https://bugs.kde.org/.

38 thoughts on “On the way to Dolphin 2.2

  1. Can you bring back the wrench menu that was introduced in 4.7? I hate that weird “Control” button thing, it looks so inconsistent, especially in comparison to eg. rekonq.

    • I think you know that the ‘comments’ section is not the right place to report bugs or feature requests ;-) If you file a wishlist report about that, could you first check which commit changed that? Before I consider reverting earlier changes, I prefer to know why it has been changed in the first place.

      • I know, I know ;)
        Because Peter Penz didn’t like that small button being stuck to the right corner of the window :D

        • The problem I had with the button on the right was mainly that opening sub-menus was a pain: If there is not enough space to the right for the sub-menu, the sub-menu gets opened left beside the root-menu. From my point of view this made the navigation quite difficult. Personally I like the idea of having a KDE wide solution for this like explained at http://gnumdk.blogspot.co.at/2012/11/appmenu-support-in-kde-410.html and to drop the Dolphin-proprietary solution in the longterm.

        • Hm, but Chromium and Rekonq also do it and I don’t see a huge problem with that, Dolphin doesn’t have more submenus in that compacted menu than the other two. But yes, a generic solution for all KDE would be the best way to go. Unfortunately, from what I can tell the current appmenu in the decoration only just grabs the generic application menu and displays that in the button. It does not allow for an application to decide to show a compact menu there like Dolphin does it.

  2. Thank you, nice improvements !! And I love the fact that you may choose to add some configuration settings when it feels necessary (icon size in the panel, rename dialog box…).
    Smart guys :)

  3. That sounds so exciting! I can’t wait until 4.10 lands in Fedora! My favorites are the control-L (I use that a lot with browsers) and all the speed-up code.

    I’d like to also vote a +1 for the wrench as kbroulik says.

  4. Very nice!
    About the renaming of files. I think you should just select either inline or dialog instead of an option. Dolphin is different from konqueror because it keeps things simple – having an option for which visual way to rename files goes against that.
    About natural sort: Have you looked at how “ls -v” does it?

    //Pascal

    • “About the renaming of files”: people request new options all the time, and I usually say no, but in this case, the option existed between KDE 4.0 and 4.7. Moreover, renaming with the dialog was the only way to rename files in KDE 4.8, so people got used to it and complained when it was removed, and I thought that they have a point. This still doesn’t mean that the decision is right though. In fact, having to take this kind of decision is not exactly the most attractive part of a maintainer’s job IMHO – some people will always complain, no matter what you do.

      “About natural sort: Have you looked at how “ls -v” does it?”: no, I haven’t, and I don’t really have much time for that either. There are lots of issues which look more urgent to me, and far too little time to work on them :-(

    • “ls -v” is neither Unicode-, nor locale-aware, and as such, completely unusable for KDE. The version (number) comparing algorithm, however, is basically identical to the current version in kdelibs, because they both are derived from the same code.

  5. Excelent news! but, please, improve the move/copy function adding “retry” option.

  6. Thank you so much! Dolphin is one of the main reasons I use KDE – it is best file manager!

  7. Awesome work guys!.I assume if dolphin preview is made faster that performance boost also affects Gwenview, at least I hope so.

    • From what I can tell this only affects Dolphin but Gwenview has also seen lots of performance improvements related to preview generation and caching. It does it much faster in 4.10 as well :)

  8. Thank you. There’s one thing missing sorely, though. Under Dolphin->Preferences->General->Previews tab, can we have a check-box to enable/disable all previews at once? Right now I have about 20+ preview plugins and its a pain clicking so many individual check-boxes!

    I have filed it as a bug too … #310123.

    Thanks again.

  9. You mention “The ‘Recently Accessed’ entries in the Places Panel”. For the longest time, I’ve desperately wanted to be able to have a places style way of accessing the folders I’ve used most recently. Is ‘Recently Accessed’ the same idea? If so, I’ll be doing a merry little happy dance, indeed!

    • They are available since 4.9 already. In the sidebar you get entries for “Today”, “Yesterday”, etc which show files recently accessed provided by Nepomuk. You can also access these by typing timeline:/ into the address bar, there you get some virtual folders containing those files. You can then also add them arbitrarily to your places panel.

      • I don’t want to see recently used files. I want the recently used folders to be as easy to get to as my places. (as I tend to use the same project folders over and over but for short periods of time).

        • For example, I’d like to be able to drag a new file onto any of the folders I’ve used recently (because they’re in the left column, under my places)…

          …and I want a pony. ;P

  10. should be nice to substitute the icon size option menu with the same slider control of the files pane. interface would be more coherent.

  11. Speaking of shortcuts – is there some easy way to focus the main window (the one displaying contents) via keyboard? I focus the filter bar with ctrl+i or alt+f, I type in something, I have to press tab multiple times to get back to the main window.

  12. Awesome stuff. I would ask for a ‘automatic’ option under icon size as I liked that feature (want it bigger? Just resize the window… never wastes space) but that’s a minor gripe :D

  13. What about the ability to search for tags? I switched from Gnome/Nautilus just for that feature and suddenly it was gone. Also, the kio_nepomuksearch query syntax changed in some undocumented ways, so no luck there, either. What do tags even exist for if there is no way to search for them? This doesn’t make any sense at all! But thank god we can change the size of the icons in the side bar.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. It’s just that I thought removing essential features was a Gnome thing and now it got to you guys, too.

    Anyway, thanks for your hard work, even if it is kind of pointless (to me), right now.

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