Saving window layout and module configuration in PF8

bernhard.bockelbrink's Avatar


10 Sep, 2019 08:49 PM

Whenever I opened Path Finder 8, it appeared that the layout and configuration of the modules was in a totally random state, as if it forgot all or at least some of the changes I made.

After looking at the knowledge base (which is easy because there's not a lot of content), and the public discussions (which is hard, because the search does not seem to provide a way to search for exact phrases), I decided to do some testing, and I discovered a lot of confusing and counter-intuitive behavior.

First I looked at browsers, here's what I found:

A browser appears to be a window, but not quite, because there can be several windows with the same browser open at the same time.

I can save a new browser, which creates a new entry in the browsers submenu, and apparently saves the tabs and the state of dual or single pane of the current window, but it does not save the state of the module (more about modules below).

If I open a specific saved browser through the menu, and then open a "new browser", the second browser opens as the "same" browser, because that browser has now a checkmark in the menu, it appears to be the default for new browsers (but it is not the "Default Browser").

If I now press F1, both windows toggle single or dual pane (I can open a few more, and all will toggle synchronously, even if each of them points to a different directory).

But now it gets confusing: If I change a directory in one of those windows, then select another window of the same browser, and open a "new browser" from there, I get a new window that is not in the state of active window, but in the state of the window I changed last.

Then again, when I close all windows a browser, Path Finder automatically saves the current tabs and the state of dual or single pane of that last window, even though my last change to the browser was in another window. Even if I save my browser again under the same name, closing the last window of that browser overrides my save.

I wish somebody from Cocoatech would explain in simple terms what a browser actually is, and what the intended use of a browser is. Because I still can't figure out where this might be helpful. All I have figured out so far is where this might get in the way.

And here's what I found out about modules:

I open two windows, and add a preview module to one, and a process module to the other. Then I close Path Finder. When I reopen Path Finder, each window still has it's module. If I create a new window, it will contain the same modules as the currently selected window, even if I open a new browser. (Note that this is different with a new browser's state, which depends on the window that had the last change, not the currently selected one).

When I close all windows one by one, the last window determines the state of all modules for the next window. So it's pretty common to tweak something, e.g. add a new favorite to the sidebar, then close that window a couple of hours later, and the change is lost because there was another window still open in the background.

It's not possible to save the entire layout of a window, it's just possible to save presets for each individual module. However it seems, these presets can only be restored manually, it's not possible to lock a module to a preset.

After all this I understand that I did not lose my settings at random, but by design. I can't help but think that if somebody had actually bothered to write all that stuff down BEFORE implementing it, it would not have ended up so messed up in the first place.

But things being as they are, I guess the very least is to provide some documentation so that users can at least find out how all this is working.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Path Finder Sup... on 11 Sep, 2019 04:13 PM

    Path Finder Support Team's Avatar

    Hi Bernhard,

    Thank you for the detailed questions, I have forwarded it to our developers, so they could provide you the most precise information as well as look at your suggestion on improving the knowledge base.

    Please feel free to write us back and we will be happy to assist you.

    Best Regards,
    Path Finder Support Team

  2. 2 Posted by bernhard.bockel... on 11 Sep, 2019 06:01 PM

    bernhard.bockelbrink's Avatar

    It appears that it does not work out to well that the developer(s) take care of the knowledge base, all but three(!) articles are from 2014 or older, so it appears that documentation is not a priority for them.

    I have a radical suggestion: what if the support team builds the knowledge base? To do your job, you require an in-depth understanding of how Path Finder works anyway, and you directly benefit from better documentation, because then you can refer users to the knowledgeable instead of compiling individual responses.

    I see that working very well in other organizations, I can see no reason why that should not work for Cocoatech.

  3. Path Finder Support Team closed this discussion on 11 Sep, 2019 07:53 PM.

  4. Path Finder Support Team re-opened this discussion on 16 Sep, 2019 02:02 PM

  5. Support Staff 3 Posted by Path Finder Sup... on 16 Sep, 2019 02:02 PM

    Path Finder Support Team's Avatar

    Hi Bernhard, 

    We have had requests for manuals and documentation and are consider adding them to our site. We would also aim for the manual to be more detailed and cover more of the available features and use-cases, as they often get overlooked.
    I am sorry for the inconvenience, I understand how important it is for users. 

    Unfortunately, what we can offer at the moment are the knowledge base and YouTube screencast channel:

    As for the Save Browser, the initial intent was to save your current working environment (tabs and current view), but since it was first implemented we've added numerous additions to the Path Finder (e.g. modules are not saved) and updated how the preferences are stored, which reduced this option functionality. Your message was taken as a feature request and our developer will look into improving it. Saving different module layouts is also on our feature requests list. 

    Best Regards, 
    Path Finder Support Team

  6. Path Finder Support Team closed this discussion on 16 Sep, 2019 02:02 PM.

  7. bernhard.bockelbrink re-opened this discussion on 16 Sep, 2019 03:38 PM

  8. 4 Posted by bernhard.bockel... on 16 Sep, 2019 03:38 PM

    bernhard.bockelbrink's Avatar

    Hi Jordan,

    We have had requests for manuals and documentation and are consider adding them to our site. We would also aim for the manual to be more detailed and cover more of the available features and use-cases, as they often get overlooked.

    What is keeping you from starting small, and adding just a few stubs and expand them later? Or just crowdsource the documentation, set it up as a Github page and accept pull requests? It literally takes minutes to create a repo, set up a Jekyll website and publish it to a Github page. There's free templates. It's so simple.

    Do something. Or tell me you're no going to do anything in the foreseeable future. Also fine with me, it's your call, not mine.

    But please don't point me to the obsolete knowledge base, or the youtube channel that also only features 4 videos more recent than 7 years ago. That is a waste of your time, which would be better spent writing documentation.

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