Provide the User with a way to save via Drag&Drop, by having a draggable Object visible (for example in the save dialog) that can be dropped on a Nautilus window. Dragging it on another window should open the unsaved document in that application, if possible.


Dragging files to applications is a common way to move or open them. It would often be handy to save in a similar way. Especially with file structures that become complex, a user will sometimes have a file manager window already showing that directory, but navigating there again from the save dialog would involve some work. Allowing the user to save there by drag&drop would be a way to solve this problem that feels natural and fits well into the general method of handling files.

It would be especially good if other applications could take those drops; that way it would be possible to process files without having to save and open them each time explicitly.

The ROX desktop (http://rox.sf.net) already provides similar functionality to its users, and it works (from a user's perspective at least) very well.

  • I think this is a great idea, originally based around the Acorn computers 'Save As' dialog boxes. When you mention a preview as you are saving, could this be extended for example when saving one image over another. A dialog could appear showing thumbs of the two files and asking what you would like to do.

Note: ROX does this by implementing the freedesktop.org X Direct Save Protocol: http://freedesktop.org/wiki/Standards_2fdirect_2dsave

In addition to the ROX applications, this specification is also supported by the Gimp, Thunar (from Xfce) and the JX toolkit.

This was a useful feature on the Acorn Archimedes in 1990. Re-navigating to save a file is an incredible common and annoying waste of time.

Use cases

Berta is working on a long project that has a complex file structure. She has a Nautilus window open showing "~/Documents/Project/Version A/reallylong/butnecessary/path/texts/" She has a word processor window open with a text she wants to save into that folder. Despite having exactly that folder open, she has to navigate there again in the save dialog.

Knut has a large text file he'd like to mail to a friend. With full drag&drop support, he could add some notes to the file in gEdit, drag&drop it to fileroller then drag&drop it from there to a "New Mail" evolution window. He would not have to clean up the modified or the zipped file afterwards.



Several methods were suggested here: UsabilityWishlist

  1. Add an Icon to the save dialog. Dragging that icon into a file manager window will save the file there , using the specified file name.
  2. Dragging the window icon to Nautilus prompts for a filename to save in the drop location.
  3. Save dialog opens a nautilus window of a temporary folder (or permanent staging folder) with a newly created file waiting for file name to be chosen. In essence the same behaviour as when selecting "Create Document" in nautilus today.

A similar thing to method 1 already works with the screenshot application: You can drag&drop the little preview to a Nautilus window and it will save there. It does not, however, take the filename supplied by the user, but names the file always "screenshot". Besides that, this is basically how method 1 could work. If a preview image is not reasonable for the application, or not possible, it should show an icon corresponding to the file type, and put the specified name below it to make it look like it would in Nautilus.



Data preservation and migration

== Outstanding issues ==


|| RobCaskey || This feature request should be filed upstream with Gnome or KDE as appropriate, and is not suitable for Ubuntu as a spec.

NickGlynn -- Surely this is one of the best usability ideas out there? I've often questioned the sanity of having a file manager window open and yet, when going to save an item, the directory tree has to be renavigated. This would be even more of an exciting venture if it worked with GNOMEs virtual searches - Drag your image to a saved directory and it could save the file with the other files (yes I know it introduces a little ambiguity on save location but I'd rather the save icon was implemented before trivialities were discussed :P )

If there is a mentor available to point me in the right direction and offer some assistance then I have no objection to looking at this and implementing it in my spare time. Could be a very exciting addition to the GNOME desktop and especially for ubuntu. Also this could be a way to circumvent the patent on spring loaded folders, as we aren't copying/moving a file - we are saving it. Ah the possibilities and uses!


Drag&DropSaving (last edited 2008-08-06 16:37:59 by localhost)