[tahoe-dev] up with filesystems! up with the web!

David-Sarah Hopwood david-sarah at jacaranda.org
Sat Jan 2 17:07:16 UTC 2010

James A. Donald wrote:
> Chimpy McSimian IV, Esq. wrote:
>>> If anything, it sounds like you should stick with exposing a tree
>>> structure to users.
> David-Sarah Hopwood wrote:
>> This would be incompatible with supporting fine-grained sharing
> Sharing is typically browsing.  Browsing arbitrary graphs is fine.
> Manipulating arbitrary graphs is not fine.

If the filesystem is a graph, then the tools need to support it as
a graph.

> Most manipulation tools should manipulate a tree.  If a tree is being 
> manipulated, then what is displayed to be manipulated, or as the results 
> of manipulation, must also be a tree.

You're confusing user interface with structure and semantics.

> Windows explorer (a browse and tree manipulation tool) displays three 
> kinds of things in a directory:  Folders, shortcuts, and files.
> Shortcuts and folders form an arbitrary graph, folders form a tree, 
> files are leaf nodes of the current folder.  When manipulating, 
> shortcuts are treated as leaves, so one always manipulates a tree, even 
> though one browses an arbitrary graph.

Windows explorer is hardly a good example of a well-designed UI for
browsing *or* manipulating a filesystem with symlinks. It can't even
expand a symlink without throwing up some modal error dialog.
(Try browsing '\Documents and Settings' on an OEM Vista install;
you get "C:\Documents and Settings is not accessible. Access is denied."
This is not actually an access control error; it happens for any symlink.
Completely f'd up, if you ask me.)

David-Sarah Hopwood  ⚥  http://davidsarah.livejournal.com

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