"Open URL..." dialog needs major overhaul

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dnedrow
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:51 pm

"Open URL..." dialog needs major overhaul

Post by dnedrow » Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:34 pm

The "Open URL..." dialog is one of the worst designed UI elements I've ever seen. ;)

Generally, oXygen is well designed, but this particular dialog is frustrating.

It appears to be an attempt to provide two distinct operations in a single dialog, one being opening a remote file via URL an the other browsing a remote file system.

There's an input field for opening a URL and a group set of fields to browse a remote site. Unfortunately, the only place to specify a password for opening a URL is in the grouped items. But then it appears I also have to complete the server URL field in the grouped items, even if I've entered a complete URL in the File URL field.

You may want to take a look at something like BBEdit or, even better, Interarchy to see some reasonable dialogs related to remote files and browsing.

If I have a chance, I'll do a mock up in Interface Builder just to show how this dialog could be clarified.

-David

Dan
Posts: 459
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2003 10:56 am

Post by Dan » Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:59 pm

I admit the case you mentioned, the usage of the dialog can be odd.

In most cases the users are browsing for resources, so basically they use only the lower part of the dialog including the user name, password and the server field.

The upper part of the dialog consists of a textfield in which the complete URL of the resource can be edited directly. An URL is composed of several parts:

1. The protocol part: ftp// or http// or sftp// or even file://
2. The user and password part. The user must be separated from the password by ":"
3. The server address or name. If the user and password part were specified, a separator "@" must be placed before the address.
4. The path to the resource.

So, if I want to get the file /dir/file.xml from the server 10.0.0.16, using my username: "dan" and password "1234", through the sftp protocol I would write:

ftp://dan:1234@10.0.0.16/dir/file.xml

This is the standard way to specify URLs. The Internet browsers, like Firefox or Internet Explorer, use the same syntax.

Additionally, oXygen collects the user and password from the dialog, if this information was not specified inline in the URL string.

Please let us know if you have any suggestions regarding this dialog.

Best regards,
Dan

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