Fileside
Illustrative image for the blog post

Fileside, meet world

By Erik Jälevik on 16 February 2019

On 7 February 2018, I made the decision to start working on a brand new application in my spare time. On 16 February 2019, said application is ready to come out of hibernation to face the world.

What is Fileside?

Fileside is an alternative file browser for Mac and Windows. It was born out of years of frustration with the operating systems’ sanctioned tools, Finder and Explorer respectively.

The main issue that Fileside addresses is the constant need to open multiple windows, navigate down to the locations you need in each one, then painstakingly resize and arrange them side-by-side to start moving files around.

Surprisingly, almost none of the alternative file managers out there address this pain. You might get two panes side-by-side if you’re lucky, harking back to an interface pattern established in the 1980s and popularised by the MS-DOS application Norton Commander.

Fileside addresses this pain, curiously, through more panes. Add as many panes as you like, both horizontally and vertically, navigate to the locations that make sense for the task at hand, once, then save the layout for immediate recall later on.

Fileside with three panes
Fileside with three panes

I’m happy to announce that the very first beta version, with the snappy name of 0.0.1, is now available for both Mac and Windows.

What’s the beta?

Beta is generally the term used to refer to pre-release versions of software, intended for testing and evaluation. To that effect, beta versions will be made available to a selection of intrepid testers from today onwards.

This means that Fileside is not yet publically available, but has reached the point where the fundamental functionality is in place. It is the earliest point at which it could be claimed to actually be useful.

If you’re not yet part of the beta tester group, but would like to be, please send us a mail using the link in the footer.

What to expect?

This early version is very much a work in progress, and is guaranteed to have a few bugs. So proceed with caution.

Due to the potential ramifications of bugs in an application that modifies the contents of your hard drive, however, all file operations have been thoroughly tested by automatic unit and integration tests before going into beta.

What’s in?

Having said all that, Fileside already has quite a rich feature set for a 0.0.1. Here’s what’s been implemented so far.

  • View contents of a folder
  • Sort contents on different columns
  • Open file in associated application
  • Add/remove folder panes horizontally and pane rows vertically
  • Copy/move via drag and drop
  • Cancel on-going file operations
  • Conflict resolution when merging folders
  • Detailed progress reporting of file operations
  • Rename
  • Trash and Delete
  • Create new folder or file
  • Save/load named layouts
  • Save/load favourite locations
  • History of visited locations
  • Dark and light themes
  • Undo/redo
  • Automatic save/restore of program state on exit/restart
  • Automatic updates
  • Windows only: Show all drives in top-level This PC view

What’s not?

As already alluded to, certain essential features are still missing at this early stage. The most glaring omissions in 0.0.1 are as follows.

  • Cut/copy/paste of files and folders
  • Delete layouts, favourites and history items
  • Drag and drop items between Fileside and other applications
  • Drag and drop onto an individual folder in a pane

The exact roadmap is very much contingent on the feedback received from the beta testers, but the goal is to get these missing features implemented during the course of the beta.

What might the future hold?

Our goal is to eventually make Fileside a complete replacement for both Finder and Explorer. To get there, new features and improvements will be added also after version 1.0. Here are some of the already planned features for later versions.

  • File previews
  • File type icons for each file
  • Configurable pane columns
  • A smart path input for quick keyboard navigation
  • Non-blocking UI during file operations
  • Search and filtering
  • Access to network locations
  • Access to cloud locations
  • User-defined themes

What’s next?

It’s time to finally get some real feedback and bug reports from real users actually using Fileside for real!

If you want to be a part of shaping the final product, please get in touch to get early access to a beta version. I hope you’ll find Fileside useful and am very much looking forward to hear what you think.

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