Why Dolphin is a Good Choice for KDE4

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I've always been a big fan of Konqueror so when I heard that Dolphin was going to be the new default file manager for KDE4 I was disappointed. But after researching the decision further and actually giving Dolphin a try, I'm a convert.

One thing I had to think about is why I like Konqueror, and the biggest reason isn't Konqueror itself, but its integration with KIO Slaves and its flexibility. Fortunately Dolphin maintains much of that while actually being more efficient and focused than Konqueror.

Features

Some of my favorite features are simple ones. The toolbar makes it very easy to switch between views, and even better, switching between split views and a single page couldn't be easier.

Compatibility with Konqueror context menu entries is also a plus. To prevent an overwhelming number of items Dolphin doesn't use the same location as Konqueror to store its context menu definitions, but it's easy to copy any Konqueror entry to the appropriate Dolphin location with no code modification being necessary.

Future Plans

Everything's not perfect, but fortunately some of the screenshots I've seen for KDE 4 add features that look to address some of my wants. The current left side sidebar has a drop-down to switch between bookmarks and information. In the future IInformation will get split off to a second panel on the right, which is nice because it shows bigger document previews and actions that can be accessed without needing to right-click a file.

Another sidebar addition is a tree view. While it probably won't be the default, there are definitely cases where having one is useful.

It also looks like each of the sidebar views can be closed individually to add even more flexibility. It will be interesting to see what else the developers have in store for us.

Search integration is supposed to be another new addition. I haven't seen how the implementation works, but it's something I am definitely looking forward to. The current version of Dolphin has a Filter bar that can be enabled, but it only works for file names in the current directory and does not search within a file.

Feature Requests

A link to Konqueror's File Association configuration through the Settings menu is a must have. Most of the time I think of changing file associations when using Dolphin so having a convenient way to change them would be a big time saver.

An additional preview size between the top two available options would be helpful to. On my screen I each have a thumbnail preview that's too big or too small.

Conclusion

Dolphin shows a lot of potential and does a great job focusing on some of the file manager useability that Konqueror lacks. I'm really looking forward to its future releases. If search can get implemented properly it will be a significant boon to useability.

It looks a look like Thunar

It looks a look like Thunar to me. Thunar, however, is also light-weight and, though it's probably a down-side for you, it is GTK.

http://thunar.xfce.org/