New Pup is Born, Dolphin 2.0

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 01, 2011

Dolphin, that underappreciated file manager shipped with KDE, has had a hard time. Many users didn't want it in the first place. Many were upset that it replaced Konqueror as the default file manager. Some have real complaints and will never be happy with it. But those who use Dolphin might be happy with some of the newest changes coming in KDE 4.8.

Peter Penz today blogged about his latest work on Dolphin and the major improvement he discussed was the "view-engine" for the view mode. Dolphin currently uses Qt's Interview Framework which might be slow, unstable, and a pain for developers to work with. For these reasons Penz said he will be switching to Itemviews-NG which is said to make things "simpler, faster, and easier to use."

For regular users the first thing noticed might be the improved performance. Penz said when using Itemviews-NG "switching view-modes, zooming, resizing, ... is done with nearly no delay no matter how many items a directory has."

But there are visual improvements as well. One of which is unclipped filenames. Due to limitations with Interview Framework filenames were often clipped. But with Itemviews-NG all of the filename no matter how long will be visible. For me, that will be a big help. Penz also said that even with the full filenames, the icon will still take up less space.

Another visual improvement is nonrectangular boundaries. Currently no matter where you hover or click an item, a big block is highlighted. When using Itemviews-NG you can get a nicer looking customized highlight and confined to when actually right above the icon and text.

A handy new feature will be improved grouping support for all views. "Currently the "grouping" feature is only supported for the icons mode but will be available for all view-modes in Dolphin 2.0." This is another welcome feature for me as I often use the Detailed view.

And finally Penz spoke of animated transitions. He said currently when moving items they move instantaneously making them difficult to follow to the new location. "With Dolphin 2.0 the layout-engine is fast enough to make those transitions animated. I don't like animations that slow-down the usage of an application so I took care to make them fast and unobtrusive."

So, yet another reason to look forward to KDE 4.8. See Penz's post for more details and a few screenshots.