20 Jun

Dustin Curtis – The Death of Files

Mere mortals don’t think of things on their computers as “files.” People think about digital representations of things the same way they think about real physical things: they think about photos, videos, text documents, articles, and people. A “file” on a computer is just a universal container for one of those things.

via Dustin Curtis – The Death of Files. Let’s throw out files and just have apps that operate on a database of files. Store the files behind the scenes and open an app to work on a file or series of files.

This is an interesting concept particularly for the more novice user and simple series of files (movies, music, documents) but does it scale to a programmer being able to manipulate a series of different types of files for a project, same thing for a movie editor or a graphic designer, that’s a different question. The basic design concept I would implement would be an OS level database of files, file types and applications.

Any new application would register with this database adding file types or registering as being able to manipulate a particular file type. The OS could handle storage of all files with applications requesting that certain files be organized together in a manner to be accessible say as a project. This would also allow the OS to take advantage of more efficient storage and backups of the underlying data. The OS could separate out core OS level information, from applications, from application and user level storage. This allows for one click backups of all these different levels of information (backup the whole computer, backup the OS, backup applications, backup my preferences and files for my user account). The iPhone, iPad and even iPhoto and iTunes are great examples of this occurring where the details of files are almost completely hidden from the end user.

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