Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm going back to cuneiform tablets

I must have unzipped thousands of files since I started using computers. I bet billions of files are unzipped every year by computer users.

And yet...

Not a single fucking software vendor has noticed that a lot of zip files contain just a folder with the actual files inside it.

In fact, I think that's probably the most common use case for zip files.

Instead every vendor says "oh, we'll just be flexible and give the users a choice"

"Do you want to unzip all the files in this zip file you haven't looked inside to a folder or not?"
a) Sure, I love having folder structures like \Desktop\downloaded_file\downloaded_file\setup.exe
b) Nah, randomly dump files all over my desktop

Why give users a choice when you know what they'll want and you could pick for them? This goes double for a choice where the user would have to research which option to pick (like looking inside every zip before choosing)


Daniel said...

I don't know about it being the most common case but I agree it's not rare.

But for me it's almost automatic to throw unknown-structure zip files into a temp folder first, then "Extract Here", and then either rename the folder accordingly or move things up if it's already got a nice folder structure.

Blake Householder said...

Ok, you're probably right about it not being the most common. One file zipped probably is, but still...

That's a lot of steps for something that's always the same. The point of computers is to free us from repetitive tasks like that.

Ben Dusinberre said...

I like the way Nautilus (GNOME's default file browser) does it. If the archive contains a folder it extracts to that folder, if it doesn't, it extracts to a folder named after the archive. Never have to worry about files going all over the place or extra folders.

Calum said...

I was just going to post what Ben put. Nautilus handles this pretty much perfectly. If the archive contains only a single file it just plonks that down, too.