So this post isn’t going to focus on huge changes, sometimes its the little things that count. Specifically, the way that Mac OS handles files and folders that are in-use.
This can be a area of pain for Windows users, who hasn’t seen the error message below and despaired at how to find the file that is in use by either guessing/checking every open command prompt or using a tool like Handle or FileMon.
Note: Much of the pain caused by this message could be avoided if the in-use file/folder information was included on this message. I probably wouldn’t be writing this post if it was.
To say Mac OS X handles this in a better way would be an understatement of colossal magnitude (Ok, Ok, maybe that is overstating it but I really hated this under Windows :).
Take this situation:
I have a folder, with a file in it. The folder is open in a finder window and a terminal window, the file is also open in preview. Recipe for disaster, right? :)
Rename the file and the file updates in the finder, so far so good but Windows also does this. Click on the preview window though and the title bar updates… kinda neat but not earth shattering :)
Now rename the folder and everything just works again. The open Finder window just updates, the preview updates. Very neat but still, we haven’t really improved on Windows yet. In Windows the folder would have closed instead of updating, but it’s a small victory :)
It is the next step where it gets interesting though:
I removed the folder from the finder window and two things happened:
- There was no 10 second pause, followed by the error.
- The terminal window actually switched to follow the folder into the trash.
I could have also renamed the folder with the Finder window and the terminal window would just have updated next time I used it. The whole process “just works™”, it is so elegant it hurts.
Now this isn’t going to be a massive pain when all three windows are positioned right next to each other and visible like they are in this example, but how often does that happen in real life :) The terminal or command prompt is usually 16 windows deep or some rogue app has left open file handles to something and you end up in a reboot as the quickest way to fix it. It just wouldn’t happen here.
Like I said, it’s the small things :)
But… It isn’t completely rosy, I have a criticism that I found while writing this up, and while it is only a small point it is quite significant. Files removed with command line “rm” don’t get moved to the Trash. This is quite inconsistent and I am guilty of relying on the Trash/Recycle Bin too much sometimes :)
Update: I always thought that Windows honoured the Recycle Bin from command prompt but I just tested it and it doesn’t. Who knew!