FolderView is the awesome?! [updated]

So there has been a lot of confusion about the KDE 4 desktop and FolderView lately and some nasty stuff I don’t want to go into right now. In the comments to Aaron’s blog someone said they don’t see how exactly it will be better and help them be more productive. So let me show you it 😉

For those who don’t know about FolderView: It is a Plasmoid you can add to your desktop in KDE 4 to show files. It can also be used to emulate the “normal” desktop (for those who really really want it) but let me show you a few more very nifty things you can do with it.

FolderView showing my todos

This screenshot shows my self made todo plasmoid. I have a ~/tmp folder where I throw in all the stuff that is, well, temporary. This stuff needs to be moved somewhere else and I was just too lazy to do it right away or is stuff I need to look at and that can be deleted afterwards. And there are also a few TODO files in there that need my attention. So Plasma to the rescue! I created a FolderView that shows the content of my tmp folder and (here comes the nifty) filters it to only show me the stuff I really care about. Which is files with TODO in the filename.

But what about this cool thing: In KDE we have KIO and it is just fantastic. And of course you can also use KIO in FolderView and show all kinds of remote folders right on your desktop.

Here it shows the folders that keep my irc logs on the server my irssi is running on.

FolderView showing remote folders

And here some files on my ftp server:

FolderView showing remote folders

And of course you can also show something totally boring like my home folder 😉

FolderView showing home folder

I hope this shows how powerful this already is now.
But it will become even more awesome once Nepomuk search can be used with this. (Or can it already?) Imagine showing all files tagged with “todo” across your whole file system. Or how about showing all files related to your thesis? Just tell it to show all files containing words related to your thesis.

Get creative people! There is a lot of nifty ahead of us :)

How are you going to use FolderView?

And before someone asks: You will be able to use it just like a “normal” desktop.


Daniel, the SoC student working on Nepomuk integration in Amarok, just send me this:

FolderView showing Nepomuk search results

Sweetness :)  (It is still a work in progress and therefore in Playground.)

72 thoughts on “FolderView is the awesome?! [updated]”

  1. You all will probably hate me, but I think the FV should be attached to the search at first, and the search criteria should be collapsible. I’d also like a window title… These may not be issues for FV, but I didn’t know where else to make them.

    I’d also think it was cool if you could “popout” the attached folder view to be its own entity, and in its attched place, a new search and empty FV is created.

  2. BTW, don’t you guys think there should be a way to iconify or minimise a plasmoid temporarily. Maybe i don’t need to see all the folderviews at the same time and in this case what can I do ?

  3. Looking really good, though I prefer to leave my desktop iconless. Looking forward to 4.1 release, running on openSUSE 11.

  4. I am watching the development ot KDE since its beginning.

    Long time ago I came to the conclusion that having filenames and having directoies is not the right way to handle documents.

    It is much better to have (any number of) tags (or if you want to say attributes) you add to your documents.
    (google made this popular with gmail)

    Please consider, the name of a file is also an attribute of a file.
    And also the directory where a file is stored is just an attribute/tag.

    But there are many more attributes/tags you can add to a file/document. Now with Nepomuk this is possible.

    What you also need for good file handling is a good filter and a good user interface to define the filter you want to use to filter out the file/s you search for out of “all” files you have available.

    Like you define a filter which says “I want an MP3 file which is from ABBA which has a bitrate of a least 128 kBit and I do have stored localy”
    This for you need a good Filtereditor.

    Then you get a Folderview of the “first 30 documents fitting your criterias” with the number of documents which fulfill your criteria.

    One document in the Filterview is active and its content is shown in a documentpreview. you can navigate with a button press to view the net document in the documentview. It might be that the documenttypes are different. The documentpreview can display/render all docuementypes. The documentpreview precaches the next/previous document so that flipping thought the content of a folderview is very very fast.

    If your number of documents fitting your criteria is larger than 500, then you get displayed >500, because it does not make sense to browse through such a long list of documents.

    In this case you add another criteria (selected from the Tags/attributes contained in the
    already selected number of documents) to further filter down your list to a browsable number of documents/files.

    If this is interactive, you can add as many filter as you need to get to a reasonable number of browsable documents.

    lets say you want to browse for documents you got from a person, it might be that you got from one person only 40 documents, than this filter might be enough.
    but you might have gotten from anohter person 4000 documents, then you need to define an additional filter to find the document you search for (e.g. you cold add a word contained in the document or a duration in which you have received the document, or the document type).

    We use this interactive filter interface in a commercial application to look for one certain document in hundrets of thousands of documents (is a warehouse location where every pick is a document, we have about 10000 picks every day) and it is very effective.

    I can see that KDE might go into this.

    If you are interested in more details, please reply.


  5. Dude; Nice little review that handles all of the … “Oh my god where the hell have all my files gone? ” syndrome .. cudos.


  6. Hi,

    I can’t find folderview in my kubuntu 8.04. It should appear in “add widgets” window?

  7. @Datoch: If you have KDE 4.1 beta 1 then yes it should be there. If you already upgraded to beta 2 then no. Something is currently broken it seems and the applet is missing. Wait for package updates.

  8. Anything that will let me get rid of the horrible KDE4 “desktop” and go back to sanity is a welcome addition! This is one of the crucial apps that will make using KDE4 not so much of a chore.

  9. I think it is a great feature and an step ahead from Desktop Icons. I think there must be two kinds of criticism:

    1. People who don’t want desktop icons to change as they are adapted to them (Always happen when you change something)

    2. People that see that you can still go futher and get greater usability (Well we want to change the world! but cannot do it in one step)

    So first, congratulations and thanks for the improvement. Second I hope my opinions can help. I never got many functionality from plasmoids in the background so sometimes I don’t feel comfortable with FolderView because of it is not in my panel. Here are some of the problems I got:

    1. To know if there was any change in the plasmoid content

    2. Access to it’s contents (If you are in “keyboard mode” there is a key shortcut but I never remember it. In most common “mouse mode” you got Show Desktop plasmoid. But in both cases you don’t really want to hide all your windows, just to view a folder.)

    It would be nice if FolderView could be taken in any way into the panel. Currently if you add a FolderView plasmoid to the panel you can’t do anything. So would be nice if there is not enought space to show the icons where converted to a single one and then you click on it:

    1. The plasmoid is shown in front of you with all the icons
    2. Something like Leopard Stacks
    3. Dolphin window
    4. Somebody must have better ideas than me

    In general it would be nice if all plasmoids could be in any way be minimized into panel to have an easy mouse access and visual access (to get notifications) so you can control the system from your panel! I think it’s one of the OSX advantages in comparsion with KDE. You know ?

    Showing a search from Nepomuk in a FolderView is AMAZING!!

  10. @LYDIA: Is there a way to define a negated filter. Also display all files, which are not documents? For example:
    !*.txt !*.doc or
    ^*.txt ^*.doc

  11. So there has been a lot of confusion about the KDE 4 desktop and FolderView lately and some nasty stuff I don’t want to go into right now. In the comments to Aaron’s blog someone said they don’t see how exactly it will be better and help them be more productive.

    @Lydia: With all due respect I think it’s incorrect to assume that the person about whom you are speaking is confused or blind to the possibilities of KDE4’s advanced features. You seem unable to understand that some people work in a production environment where losing the functionality of their good old desktop, limited though it may be,is a severe burden. It doesn’t matter how much better the new thing is, it’s not worth a disruption in the work flow.

    From what I have read about this it would seem that the KDE4 developers were naive and arrogant when they decided to eliminate the old desktop functionality. I don’t mean to be starting a flame war here but I have yet to hear a sound reason for this decision.

    Ok so they have this plasmoid paradigm they want to utilize and it’s plasmoids that get dropped on the desktop. What’s the big deal really? To keep the old functionality they just need wrap the icon with a tiny invisible plasmoid when it’s dropped on the desktop. It would have been the obvious first order of business IMHO.

    Now I have read many times that it’s possible to do everything in KDE4 that could be done in KDE3 such as dropping icons on the desk top. And Lydia you have repeated this mantra but I have not yet seen a demonstration or an explanation of how this would be done. I suspect that what is meant is something like “Well you can kind of sort of can do something that is kind of like what you used to do but you won’t want to do it because it is not nearly as easy as it used to be…”

    Perhaps you would be kind enough in your reply to explain exactly how one would go about dragging a file, an application short-cut, and a url to the desktop in KDE4.1. Exactly what has to be done, what are all the steps, and what does the result look like.

    I’m sorry if I sound nasty here but you can hardly expect to treat technical professionals like ignorant boobs without any distension. Am I wrong?

  12. Rick, it was not at all my intention to sound arrogant or tell people that what they feel is irrelevant. Contrary. What I did was show people all the new and cool stuff they can do with their new desktop in a rough time when a vocal minority bashed it publicly.

    So about your concerns: If you feel that KDE 4.1 is not ready for you: fine! Absolutely no problem. Keep using KDE 3 for the time being. Noone is going to call you names for it 😉
    And about the things you wanted to see like dragging a file and so on: did you try it? I am currently switching between KDE 4.1 and what is going to be KDE 4.2 so I can’t really tell you if it is all possible in 4.1 already (Also depends on what your distro backported…). So for now my advice for you is to wait and test live CD’s every now and then and check if the features you need are implemented. For a _very_ large number of people 4.2 will be that release. For a considerable number 4.1 is that release already. And for some even 4.3 will not be it. There unfortunately is no 1-fits-all :/

    Thanks for your comment.

  13. hi

    i am using Ubuntu and installed kde on it,
    i want my plasma desktop folder back on kde desktop
    i tried as you had said in ur article above folder view.

    but still i am not able to enable it..
    to get my desktop files i have to go to dolphin file explorer..

    so can u pls help out

    how to get it back..

    pls reply in detail

    pls email at
    thanks n rgds

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