Over the past decade, very little has changed in the way Finder work, and most of the changes are visual enhancements. New options like creating smart folders or browsing through files using the Cover Flow are indeed nice, but function-wise Finder is still the same.
The recently announced OS 10.7 won’t be seeing much Finder improvement either unfortunately, but while Apple sleeps, it gives the chance for 3rd party developers to shine, and take it to the next level. Cocoatech’s Path Finder plans to completely replace Finder and the way you navigate on your computer today.
Interface-wise, Path Finder doesn’t attempt to re-invent the wheel, and it keeps the simple yet strong graphical user interface good ol’ Finder has. It builds on it however adding quite a few new buttons and tabs similar to your Safari internet browser.
Because of the similarity in design it is very easy to pick off where Finder left you, with literally no learning curve required. Powerful new elements such as breadcrumbs, tabs and bookmarks can now be found on your favorite file browser.
For one who loves navigating the internet, Tabs in your file browser are a gift from the heavens, helping you organize and simplify file browsing by quite a lot. It cleans up many opened windows and the hassle that comes with attempting to perfectly arrange and resize many windows around.
In addition, tab sets can also be set, saved and reloaded each time you need to work with a particular configuration of tabs, so you never have to resize or open the windows you need twice.
Path Finder enhances Drag-n-Drop operations by adding a “Drop Stack”, a place which can temporary hold files and folders until they can be dragged again to their final destination. This helps saving a lot of time for not only when you have to create a new folder or path to place your dragged files or are just undecided yet on where to move them, but for multiple drag operations as well…
Dual-Pane View adds another folder pane to the standard view of your Path Finder, allowing you to brows two folders at once. This can be useful for a variety of reasons, from drag and drop operations to file name or size comparing, viewing photos and so on an so forth.
Path Finder adds customized information for files and folders, which can be viewed by clicking the Modules option. This will split the main windows, with bottom panes which display whatever information you choose to. Info and preview are the default panes displayed, but you can customize these with file attributes, hex edit, cover flow, iTunes browser, recent docs, permissions, opened processes, file size, sidebar, selection path, terminal windows, subversion, shelf, etc.
Drawers work similarly, but can slide out on the right, bottom or left size.
Path Finder also includes a powerful filtering and selection window, with plenty of parameters and tools to easily find what you’re looking for. It also has a basic image editor, text editor, app launcher, file compression module, and archive preview.
Overall, this app is a worthy successor for Finder, and will help you enhance productivity by a lot.