Readers not happy with ‘Piles’ name suggest Panther ‘Stacks’ instead; link to preview ‘Piles’ here

“I think that piles will match my work and organizational styles pretty well. Certainly I’d like to see them to play with them. Not a big fan of the name…”stacks” is definitely the way to go,” writes ‘Scott’ in response to our original article entitled, “Preview shows the promise of rumored Mac OS X Panther ‘Piles'” reprinted here:

“Piles are a rumored new feature of the forthcoming the Mac OS X Panther release. ‘Piles are kind of like super spring-loaded folders, without the folder. Advantages are: you can tell just by looking at a Pile what’s in it, and have easy one-click access to all files contained in it. Piles can be various sizes, and you can see at a glance how big one Pile is compared to another,'” writes Piles Preview creator Richard Das who has created a small Flash demo of his impression of how the rumored feature ‘Piles’ would work.” (see link below) explains, “The patent was filed in 1994, but has gained interest with recent rumors that the next major revision of Mac OS X (Panther) will utilize this design. The function of a pile is, of course, the grouping of documents. For those interested, the Patent description provides more details on the actual implementation and also describes advanced sorting/searching functions, including:
– analysis of the content of a document in a pile
– automatically filing new documents according to criteria (date, content, etc.)
– piles looking neat or disheavled per user preferences
– create/sort into subpiles based on criteria (date, content, etc.)
– script based sorting of documents”

According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, the word “Piles” can mean “hemorrhoids.” We’ll let you look that one up yourself, if you’re still not with us.

MacDailyNews Reader ‘Paul’ asks, “Piles?” And then suggests, “I think you can buy a cream for that at the drug store.” ‘David’ writes, “Anything that lets you look into a bunch of files (a folder, pile, whatever) and quickly determine the contents is a plus in my book. They must come up with another name though, a ‘pile’ of something often carries a negative connotation.” And ‘Levon River’ wonders, “Do we really need a panther with piles?”

Richard Das writes, “…nobody else will ever be able to implement Piles in their OS… they are heavily graphically intensive… Unless you’ve got Quartz pushing it, you’re gonna be out of luck! Rock on, Apple!”

Check out what “Piles,” errr, “Stacks” might look like and how they could work here.


  1. Probably, Piles would ship as a view option, turned off, or something to that effect – off by default, so that those who’d like to use Piles/Stacks could and those that don’t or aren’t aware of the option wouldn’t have to go that route.

  2. Piles seem to most aptly named. I’d use them as I would on a real desktop, documents that needed to be worked on or needing to be organized, stacked in the corner gathering dust. I need it badly, I’m always hemmoraging more docs.

  3. I don’t know about you, but the picture I get when I say “Panther Piles” is a little stinky. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  4. Well, I find it laughable that nobody else could implement it becuase it’s so graphics intensive. FOR PETE”S SAKE, IT’S BEEN PROTOTYPED IN FLASH! THINK, PEOPLE, it doesn’t require a supercomputer to do it, and M$ could rip it off in a heartbeat, and probably will if it is well received.

  5. A pile is nothing more than a collapsed list. Although with a list I can easily see everything. Piles have been around since copland and if you ever read asktog you are sure to be aware of them.

    I don’t mind adding new interface elements for the advancement of the OS. I just wish the ones that were already there worked better.

  6. I was at apple when Piles were developed in the ATG’s (advanced technology group) human interface team. I loved them. I still have a copy of the final report from the project somewhere I think – because I thought they were such a good idea. The “auto sorting” feature was my favorite, which used Sherlock’s back end indexing engine to find similarities between documents in a pile and then make smaller piles sorted by topic – all automatically. sweet idea.

    Anyway, as I understand it the reason they were never implemented was because they user tested poorly. Some good ideas came out of the project, but that specific implementation and design seemed to give users trouble. That might have changed in the last nine years, users change. But I’ll be pleasantly surprised if Panther includes an interface like this.

    Microsoft could implement it if they wanted to, btw, because about five years ago Apple and Microsoft executed a patent swap. This patent is old enough that it was included in that swap.

  7. Piles? Stacks? (Are stack overflow errors eliminated in Mac OS X? I never hear about them anymore…so maybe there’d be no confusion?…)

    How about logs? messes? brickettes? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  8. Piles, stacks seam nothig rearly new to me. What rearly woul need is a direct integration of IMAP (mail) into the Desktop like it is done with WebDAV and FTP. Mails would then be like the Apple applications
    (i.e special folders), containing content as attachments and the mail
    as an RDF document. Then one could put mail etc. in and out of an folder directly, search etc. Naturally one could create links (aliases)
    to this and more. The dream interface for IMAP.

    If somebody likes the idea and wants to start a project, please
    contact me.


  9. I’m glad someone else noted that if you can implement it in Flash, it doesn’t require substantial horsepower. This ‘MacOSX UI is so CPU intensive that no one but Apple can do it’ rubbish is starting to wear thin.

    It’s true that Aqua IS very CPU intensive, but that doesn’t mean it has to be, or that Intel processors couldn’t handle it. GDI+ in Windows has tons of translucency features – in fact in VS.NET, you can set the transparency of form windows at run time. It’s something everyone plays with for a bit, then abandons because it’s silly.

    As for ‘piles’, it’s cute, but what happens when you get a lot of documents in a pile? I think I like Window’s briefcase metaphor better.

  10. I don’t agree with the “it’s not graphics-intensive because they did it in Flash” argument. There’s a big defference between a simple animated picture and an animated OS feature. In Flash you’re just animating some little static pictures with text, and that’s it. In the actual OS, the system would have to expand the stack on the fly (one of any number of stacks with any number of files in them), find the info for each file, draw everything else on the screen, etc. Flash isn’t Quartz.

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