Location: GUIs >
Experienced users glean many of the same benefits from the Start Button
and the Chicago Taskbar as do beginners-quickly launch a new program, quickly
task switch, etc. However, experienced users need more. They
need a powerful way to browse and manage file hierarchies be they local
or somewhere else. They need to be able to customize the UI to suit
their needs and tastes. They need to be able to take shortcuts to
get tasks done more quickly and efficiently. They need to be able
to do more. The new Chicago UI enables the experienced user to do
more, as you will see in the coming pages and during you’re own explorations.
The Explorer: Power Browsing and File Management
Figure 14. The Chicago Explorer
One Chicago developer describes the Chicago Explorer as the "File Manger
on steroids". It is powerful, flexible, efficient and extensible.
It also solves many fundamental problems with the Windows 3.1 File Manager,
like having to have a new window for every drive. For many Chicago
power users the Explorer will be the primary interface. The best
way to understand the Explorer is to experience it firsthand, however,
here is an overview of its major features:
Single view on a world of information. The Explorer is the
eyes of the Chicago PC. With it, the user can view the whole of Chicago’s
single, unified namespace (all resources, local or connected) from 10,000
feet or zoom down to 10 inches. "My Computer" and the "Network Neighborhood"
can be browsed and managed, and, if the MAPI 1.0 subsystem and Chicago
Mail are installed, the "Infocenter" can be browsed giving access to mail,
shared folders, MS At-Work faxing and any installed MAPI service providers
(such as, CompuServe email).
Flexible and Customizable. Via the Explorer toolbar and View
menu, the user can view folder contents in several ways including large
icon, small icon, list and details views. Folder contents can easily
be sorted by name, size, type, and modification date by selecting the column
title. The user can also map network drives from the Explorer toolbar.
Rich information about objects in Details View. Details view
provides a wealth of context-sensitive information about folder contents.
Files retain their identifying icons
Drive sizes and free space (even mapped network drives) are reported
in My Computer
Descriptions of Control Panel Tools
Jobs in queue in the Printers folder
Comments on others computers in the Network Neighborhood
All of the powerful right-click and Properties features described in the
following two topics are supported in the Explorer.
Shortcuts are an abstract but extremely powerful tool for increasing
efficiency and are especially useful in a networked environment.
A user can create a shortcut to any object (such as file, program, network
folder, Control Panel tool, disk drive, and so on) in the Chicago UI and
place it anywhere else in the UI or in an application. When this
shortcut is opened the object that the shortcut is "pointing" to is opened.
For example, a shortcut to "My network folder" could be created and dropped
on my desktop. When the shortcut is opened, it actually opens my
network folder which is out on some network server somewhere. Shortcuts
are represented just like regular icons, except that in the lower left
corner there is a small "jump" arrow, as shown in Figure 15.
Figure 15. Chicago Shortcut Icon
A shortcut can be deleted without affecting the object to which it points.
A shortcut can be created by selecting an object and choosing Create Shortcut
from the File menu or from the right mouse click context menu. If
shortcuts are created on an object that was created since Chicago was installed,
then Chicago keeps track of renames. This means you can create a
shortcut to \\Server\Share\Public Folder and put it on your desktop.
Then if you or anyone else renames the network folder, the shortcut will
still work regardless of the fact that the name of the folder it points
to has changed. You can also rename shortcuts themselves.
Uses for shortcuts are virtually limitless, but some common powerful
uses for shortcuts include:
Shortcuts in the Programs Folder. Shortcuts are an extension
of the concept behind the icons that used to appear in the Windows 3.1
Program Manager. They simply pointed to an .EXE file somewhere in
the file system. In Chicago, the icons that appear in the Start Programs
menu also appear as shortcuts in the Programs folder, which can be found
by selecting Settings Programs from the Start Button. This way the
user can keep shortcuts to all of his favorite programs in one central
place, regardless of where the programs are actually installed. When
a shortcut is added or deleted from the programs folder, likewise it is
added or deleted from the Start Programs menu.
Shortcuts on the Desktop. Power users will create shortcuts
to commonly accessed files, programs, drives, folders, and utilities right
on their desktops. This is especially powerful with network resources,
because no complicated browsing or drive letter mapping is required to
access network folders.
Embedded Shortcuts in applications. For example, a user can
drag a shortcut to a large file sitting on the network somewhere into a
mail message. When the message recipient double clicks the shortcut
the network file will be opened. This is much more efficient than
embedding the actual file in a mail message because it is much smaller
and it cuts down on version proliferation.
Property sheets are an all-pervasive feature in Chicago. All objects
in the UI carry context sensitive properties that can be accessed and customized
by selecting File Properties or by right-clicking. Good, consistent,
easily accessible properties sheets have been a favorite of power user
testers to date. Properties will be illustrated through a series
of "Try This" tips.
Try This-Rename Your Hard Drive in Disk Properties
From the Explorer or My Computer" right-click to select your hard disk.
Type a new name in the "Label" box. Choose OK.
Choose View Refresh.
Figure 16. Chicago drive properties
Right-clicking, like properties, is another all pervasive, context-sensitive
feature of Chicago. (Right-clicking refers to clicking the secondary
mouse button because most right-handed people set their mouse options to
use the left button as primary and the right as secondary.) Usability
tests have shown that in general, right-clicking is not a feature that
novices discover or remember, therefore, the vast majority of functions
performed on the right-click can also be performed by selecting the corresponding
menu commands. However, right-clicking as a short cut for the most
common actions to perform on an object has proven to be another very popular
power user feature. The power of right-clicking is best illustrated
through a series of "Try This" tips.
Control Panel: The Consolidated Control Center
The objective of the Control Panel special folder in Chicago is to consolidate
into one location, all command, control, and configuration functions.
A problem with Windows 3.1 was that these functions were difficult to find,
use, and remember (such as, Windows Setup to change video resolution).
The UI team has striven to create distinct and memorable visuals for all
important functions and offer previews where appropriate. Individual
Control Panel tool functionality will be covered in the section to which
it pertains (such as, "Network" in the "Chicago networking and Systems
Management" section of this guide).
Figure 18. Explorer larger icon view of the Control Panel
There is one Control Panel tool, however, that pertains to customization
of the UI itself, "Display". Display gives the user total control
over the configuration of the Chicago UI allowing for personalization.
Its four tabs are:
Background. Allows pattern and wallpaper configuration and
Screen Saver. Allows screen saver configuration and preview.
Appearance.: Allows configuration and preview of all of Chicago’s
UI metrics (fonts, sizes, colors, and so on).
Settings. Allows configuration of monitor resolution and color
Figure 19. Chicago Display Properties
Find Files or Folders: Easily Location
Figure 20. Chicago's Find Files or Folders
Figure 21. Search in Windows 3.1
A powerful new Find utility is built into Chicago. It goes far
beyond the minimal functionality of the File Manger’s Search utility in
Windows 3.1. Features include:
Printers Folder: Consolidated Printer Control
Partial name searches. Type "rep" in the Find Files Named
window and all files and folders with rep in the name will be found.
Search on "Last Modification Date". Files can be searched
on last modification date. Therefore, the user can perform searches
like: "Find all Word documents modified in the last 3 days".
Full text search. Full text of documents can also be searched.
Search results save. Complex or useful searches can be saved.
File management from search results pane. Rename files or
look at file properties all from within the results pane just as if the
user were in the Explorer.
The Chicago Printers Folder offers one stop shopping for printer management
and configuration. It replaces the troublesome Print Manger and Printers
Control Panel Tool from Windows 3.1.
Figure 22. Chicago Printers Folder
Figure 23. Printer Configuration from Windows
Font Settings: More Powerful Font Management and Preview
Figure 24. Chicago Fonts Settings
New font management capabilities are only partially integrated into
the UI in Beta-1. Going forward, the Fonts Folder will gain in power
and accessibility. However, the Font Settings tool in Beta-1 is significantly
improved over Windows 3.1.
Figure 30. Properties for a File, Showing New