‘Piles Preview’ author, Richard Das commented to MacDailyNews about certain aspects of Panther ‘Piles’ or ‘Stacks.’ Piles are a rumored new feature of the forthcoming the Mac OS X Panther release that would let users organize documents into vertically-expandable stacks or ‘piles’ and shuffle through them to quickly identify and manipulate documents.
Das wrote, “Just like folder/list/column view, certain people would use this feature, and some others not. I think it would bring more organisation to icon views (ie. give you the benefit of list-view while in icon mode).”
Das continued, “What I meant about the ‘nobody else would be able to implement it’ comment was that although in the Flash demo, it is just objects moving vertically with certain set behaviours, Quartz Extreme renders every object on your screen as a 3D layer (which is why you get real-time transparency of movies playing behind semi-transparent menus, etc.). This would increase, at an order of magnatude, the number of elements on the screen the OS would have to calculate. I don’t know if anyone noticed, but even in the Flash demo I did, each object casts a shadow on the item below it. This shadow is dynamic to the distance between objects (the further apart the files, the more light gets let in, so the shadow fades away). Look at the stack when it’s collapsed, documents underneath appear darker as they are shadowed. As the stack opens up, the rotation of the documents also changes so that they are all in-line and evenly spaced, etc.”
Das concluded, “You’d need a graphics layer like Quartz Extreme to handle all this calculation, which Windows simply doesn’t have. Windows does not render your screen as composited 3D elements. So while you could get a similar effect, you would not be able to implement semi-transparent shading, ghosting or smooth rotation (let alone zoomable vector graphics). So while it might look similar, it would just never look “as cool”. And it would certainly put a greater performance hit on a Windows machine than on an OSX Machine. Notice I said Windows, not Intel, as no matter what chip you’re running, it’s the OS that is giving the orders.”
More on Mac OS X Panther piles here.
I’d use it if Apple offered it.
So if a pile is “expanded” by a click-and-hold, how can one drag the pile? how can one drag an item off the top of the pile? Special modifier keys or extra mouse buttons are the only way I can see to do this.
This feature would be a fantastic benefit to power users! I look forward to it.
From what I understand, the next major version of Windows (Longhorn) will add Direct3D acceleration to the GUI. So, while piles may not be possible in XP, it’s not something that can’t be added to Longhorn. Saying that Windows can’t do piles is like saying that 10.1 or 10.0 Public Beta can’t do piles either ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />
(Not that any of this really matters to me, you’d still need a gun or a WMD to get me to use Windows ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue laugh” style=”border:0;” />)
“But in Longhorn, hardware acceleration will be added to the base OS, through a Direct3D-based rendering system. This change will require Microsoft to significantly raise the minimum system requirements for Longhorn, but after the success of the colorful UI in XP, the company feels that it will be worth the effort. People with 3D hardware will have the best experience, though users with low-end hardware will still have a usable experience.” – Paul Thurrottt’s Windows Supersite ( http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/longhorn_preview.asp )
Better get a different name for England, where “piles” means “hemorrhoids.”
Piles means hemmorhoids on this side of the pond as well. Stacks would be preferable methinks.
What a ludicrous comment… You can’t do this on the Mac either
You know, it’s amazing that you could take a rumor about a POSSIBLE future feature of the Mac and claim “you can’t do this on Windows” as if this were some sort of competitive advantage. Hey, I’m sure the 2010 iMac will have time travel built in too, and while, yes, you can’t do that on Windows either, it’s clearly not a selling point on today’s Mac.
Larry: You’d use a gold-plated enema if Apple offered it.
Duh. Click and hold on something in your dock, and you get a contextual menu (like control-click or right-click). Are you telling me you can’t drag things off your dock? No – didn’t think so.
…From what I understand, the next major version of Windows (Longhorn) will add Direct3D acceleration to the GUI. So, while piles may not be possible in XP, it’s not something that can’t be added to Longhorn. Saying that Windows can’t do piles is like saying that 10.1 or 10.0 Public Beta can’t do piles either ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />…
Well the difference between Longhorn and Panther is that OS X already has 3D composited graphics layering/rendering system with Quartz (and Quartz Extreme) compared to Windows ‘bitmapped’ layering/rendering system! That is why Windows can’t do what OS X does now, there is nothing special about Windows graphics wise!! Panther will be out WAY before Longhorn and Panther already has the advantage technologically because the the advantages already exist!!!
…(Not that any of this really matters to me, you’d still need a gun or a WMD to get me to use Windows ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue laugh” style=”border:0;” />)…
I 2nd that motion ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue laugh” style=”border:0;” />
Oooh! Will the gold-plated iEnema take care of Piles?
The reason MS would have trouble doing this is that Apple has the patent.
Unbiased one says: “…it’s amazing that you could take a rumor about a POSSIBLE future feature of the Mac and claim “you can’t do this on Windows” as if this were some sort of competitive advantage.”
My reply: You are failing to draw a distinction between (3) an underlying graphics technology which DOES exist now and (2) a possible new feature which may make full use of this technology. No one is saying that Windows could not have the Piles feature. We are saying only that as of now it could not implement this feature with the same graphics which Quartz Extreme is capable of — TODAY.
If it works like the Flash demo, I’d say it looks like cool eye candy but I don’t see it as being particularly useful.
This guy is clearly not very bright. He says:
“This would increase, at an order of magnatude, the number of elements on the screen the OS would have to calculate.”
Increase at an order of magnitude? That doesn’t even make sense.