To keep or not to keep… that is the question

OK, I’ve just installed TotalFinder, having acquired it as part of the latest MacHeist bundle, and I’m currently deciding whether or not to keep it installed. It’s a bit of an edge case for me, because I’m not a fan of tabs in the Finder, so there isn’t a huge amount of incentive to keep it installed. Anyway, here are a few first impressions concerning minor issues that it would be nice to fix (which would encourage me to keep using TotalFinder):

  1. Tabs: As noted, I don’t like tabs in the Finder; I prefer separate windows in general. Therefore, I have the Finder’s “Open folders in tabs instead of new windows” unchecked. I was initially very annoyed to find that TotalFinder overrides this choice and does exactly what I don’t want: it reuses existing windows. NB I’ve now discovered the “Freelance Windows” option (which I had to Google, because there’s nothing about it on the associated Help page). OK, so that solves this problem, but it’s unfortunate that TotalFinder can’t simply honour the Finder preference that’s already there for this particular choice.

  2. Title bar paths: I have the Finder set to show the full path in the title bar, not just the leaf. TotalFinder’s tabs are so narrow that they make this feature almost useless. Ideally, TotalFinder’s tabs should behave like Safari’s tabs: start off at the full width of the window (leaving space for the little controls, obviously), then get progressively smaller while remaining of equal width (i.e. half-width for two tabs, third-width for three etc.). This is enough of an inconvenience that it’ll probably prevent me from sticking with TotalFinder, I’m afraid.

  3. Hidden files: I often want to reveal hidden files for a short time and then hide them again. The fact that TotalFinder has an option to do this is extremely useful. But why is it hidden away so obscurely in the preferences? OK, I can learn the keyboard shortcut, but it’d be really nice to have an optional new button for the Finder’s toolbar. Maybe a ‘ghost’ icon?

So, hm. I’m not yet decided. I really like the new Dual Mode, and I like the ability to toggle the visibility of hidden files (though I’d like a toolbar icon for it). I quite like the ability to colour filename backgrounds, as in earlier versions of the Finder (though I’d like some extra choices here, such as the ability to tint the icons themselves, for example).

However, I don’t really like the new tabs (especially given that the Finder can do tabs all by itself these days), largely because they render the path display almost useless, and the fact that this is a plug-in worries me a bit in terms of future compatibility.

Overall I like it, but not quite enough to use it full-time, I think. I’ll keep an eye on future updates, though. I like some of what it does, but there aren’t quite enough really useful extra features to make me want to keep it installed.

One feature suggestion, if it’s actually possible: it’d be nice to be able to choose which ‘Shared’ devices appear in the Sidebar (i.e. to have the option to hide some of them). My network has a mixture of computers and devices that you can’t talk to directly with the Finder, but icons appear for those devices, even though they’re completely useless. If TotalFinder allowed me to hide them, it’d be another good reason to use it.

For me, the regular Finder is a total mess because it does not have the “Folders on top” feature that TotalFinder has.
That feature alone, makes TotalFinder a keeper.