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Old Aug 8, 2012, 11:25 AM   #1
djtech42
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iDocuments Concept (iOS 7)

I posted this in another thread:

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Originally Posted by djtech42 View Post
It would be cool if Apple could come up with an app called iDocuments that uses a skeuomorphic design to portray documents that exist in apps across the system (a file viewer, but limited to documents, doesn't let you mess with system files or app files that aren't document-related). Developers could implement the API in their apps to have the app's documents show up in iDocuments. The design would be friendly enough to allow anybody to manage their documents in iOS. Each app could have a shelf of documents. The documents could be dragged into "project folders" that would allow the user to easily find relating files quickly.
I have been thinking about this, and I have decided to make some mockups of what the app might look like.

When a document is created in an app on iOS 7, an API tells the OS about the new document (file type, when it was created, when it was last modified, preview of the document, and the app it is contained in). This information is placed into a new app that is part of iOS 7 called iDocuments. iDocuments compiles all of the documents from each app on your device.

iDocuments allows apps to share documents and syncs changes made in one app to the other apps. There is Versions support (up to 5 changes), and you can duplicate documents. iDocuments also lets you organize documents of different types and apps together.

App Selection: The first screen that shows up when you open it for the first time is the app selection screen. You see all the apps that have documents on your device, and the number below the icon is how many documents are in the app. Tap the icon to see the documents from that app. The "Other" category includes files received from AirDrop or Mail that aren't supported by any installed apps, duplicates of documents that you have made in iDocuments but haven't opened in an app yet, and any other documents that don't exist in an app yet. If you tap the total number of documents below the apps, it will let you look at documents from all apps on one shelf.



App Shelf: Let's tap on Preview (Preview is available on iOS 7). Here we have all the documents from Preview on a shelf. You can drag them to the trash to delete them, send them to another device with AirDrop, or put them in a project folder (more on that below). The iCloud button in the top-right toggles iCloud documents. You can choose to just look at local documents or see all of your documents from every device specific to the app. (Note: all apps in iOS 7 that support iDocuments automatically upload to iCloud, doesn't have to be supported manually by developer). To get to a different app, tap on the app name at the bottom, and it will take you to the app selection screen (first screen).



AirDrop: AirDrop works just like its Mac counterpart. You can send documents to other devices and also receive documents. Drag a document to the AirDrop icon from the app shelf or a project folder to send it to another device. While in AirDrop, you can receive documents from nearby devices. When a device requests to send it to your device, you must confirm the transfer first. Received documents go into the "Other" folder until opened by an app. When the document is opened in iDocuments, the OS will tell you what installed applications support the document (if any). If you need to install an app to view it, just install it and come back to iDocuments. iDocuments will know that the document is now supported. The iCloud button will toggle Macs that support Back to my Mac. In OS X Lynx, Macs can receive iDocuments from iOS devices.



Document View: Tap a document on the app shelf or in a project folder to view a preview of it and information about it. The size of the file, when it was created, when it was modified, and what apps support it are listed. The folder to the left is the current project folder of the document. (Nothing will show there if it isn't in a project folder.) Tap this folder to go straight to the project folder. The icon to the right will show if the document is stored in iCloud or only on the local device. The iCloud button in the top-right will toggle the document's storage in iCloud. The "share" button lets you perform other actions, such as sending the document through iMessage or Mail, duplicating the document, and browsing previous versions of the document. Tap an app icon at the bottom to launch the app and open the document. The document has been opened in and is stored in the apps that have arrows below the icons. Any changes in one app will sync in the other app for the same document. Both the preview app and pages app are referencing the same document, instead of copying the document and taking up more storage.



Project Folders: When working on big projects, people often want to organize documents of different file types together. Project folders allow documents from different apps to be organized into folders. Drag a file from the app shelf to the folder in the bottom right, and the shelf will slide to the left and reveal the project folder screen. Place it into one of the folders that exists, or drag it to the folder with the plus sign to create a new project folder. Project folders can also be dragged to the folder with the plus sign to duplicate the folder and all the documents within it. Folders can be dragged to the trash to delete them, or sent over AirDrop. Documents in project folders reference the original documents in the apps. Any changes made to them will show up in the app shelf, too. Deleting a project folder does not delete the documents from the apps (However, deleting from the app shelf will delete the document from the project folder). The iCloud button toggles project folders that hold any iCloud documents (Option to show folders that only include local documents).



Project Folder View: Works very similar to the app shelf. Drag documents to AirDrop, trash, and the folder (The folder lets you change the folder of the document). Tap on a document to view it. The iCloud button toggles the visibility of iCloud documents in the folder. The name of the folder is listed on the tab of the folder.



Document View (Projects):


Notes:
-You can get to the AirDrop screen by just tapping the icon (don't need to be sending a file all the time).
-Safari downloads go into the "Other" category of the app screen.
-If Dropbox is installed, any document can be opened in Dropbox and uploaded.
-Documents dragged to the trash are permanently deleted (iOS style), not stored in a trash folder.
-If there are no documents yet on your device, there will be a link to the app store to find iDocument-enabled apps.
-When an app is removed, its documents remain in iDocuments. If it is opened in another app, it will remain in that app shelf. If there aren't any apps that support it anymore, it will go into the "Other" category.

Please let me know what you think of this concept and how it could be improved. I tried to make this as Apple-like as I could. I think this is a lot better than throwing an old-fashioned file manager on the OS where new users could mess up the system. I hope I was able to explain the concept as best as I could.
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Old Aug 8, 2012, 11:49 AM   #2
batting1000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djtech42 View Post
I posted this in another thread:
www.apple.com/feedback
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Old Aug 8, 2012, 12:33 PM   #3
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While I'm sure I could find some little details to nitpick with your plan, I don't feel that's the point here. The bottom line is that I like the way you're thinking and I hope Apple is thinking like this too.
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Old Aug 8, 2012, 12:40 PM   #4
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Try and patent these ideas. Then sue saying you don't want to be the innovator for Apple (who claims to innovate for the world).
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Old Aug 8, 2012, 12:46 PM   #5
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LOVE the concept. I'm sure we'll see something to this nature down the road... (hopefully)
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Old Aug 8, 2012, 02:49 PM   #6
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Awesome idea! Definitely submit it into the feedback page.

I really like this.
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Old Aug 8, 2012, 03:22 PM   #7
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Never going to happen. Apple aren't going to have document folders like you suggest in future.
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Old Aug 8, 2012, 04:32 PM   #8
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What you've described here is a "file explorer"

this is just os x / windows




this will never come to iOS
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Old Aug 8, 2012, 04:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Carl Sagan View Post
Never going to happen. Apple aren't going to have document folders like you suggest in future.
They already have document folders right now.

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Old Aug 8, 2012, 05:39 PM   #10
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This frankly looks hacky to me.

What you are essentially doing is putting a nicer UI and folders to Settings -> iCloud -> Storage & Backup -> Manage Storage.

Apple should (and probably would) move this settings to higher level in the future, while letting users move and/or copy files to other apps. But I think creating an iDocument app will open a whole new can of worm that Apple doesn't want to encourage.
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Old Aug 8, 2012, 05:49 PM   #11
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Desperately needed. But sadly unlikely, as Apple would not be able to abuse this to make moving out of the ecosystem more difficult, which is their overwhelming priority above ease of use.
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Old Aug 8, 2012, 07:02 PM   #12
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This is unlikely.

The old method of your documents all in a folder is disappearing, and the new method is documents belong to apps...which makes sense. I don't need to open a Sibelius file in Pages, for example. You'll be opening the app you want to find the document you need from now on, meaning documents won't get lost or stored in bizarre places.
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Old Aug 8, 2012, 07:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nutmac View Post
This frankly looks hacky to me.

What you are essentially doing is putting a nicer UI and folders to Settings -> iCloud -> Storage & Backup -> Manage Storage.

Apple should (and probably would) move this settings to higher level in the future, while letting users move and/or copy files to other apps. But I think creating an iDocument app will open a whole new can of worm that Apple doesn't want to encourage.
This isn't anything like Manage Storage. All you see in there is how much data each app is using in iCloud and the option to delete it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shawnwich View Post
What you've described here is a "file explorer"

this is just os x / windows




this will never come to iOS
This isn't a "file explorer." A file explorer is a lot more complicated, showing the actual file system, including system files, instead of a simplified view of the documents in apps. Document management is important, and it will come to iOS if done the right way.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zcott View Post
This is unlikely.

The old method of your documents all in a folder is disappearing, and the new method is documents belong to apps...which makes sense. I don't need to open a Sibelius file in Pages, for example. You'll be opening the app you want to find the document you need from now on, meaning documents won't get lost or stored in bizarre places.
But, this is a new method. This isn't a file manager in the traditional sense. It is an app that helps you organize documents without any knowledge of file systems. Anybody can use this. Documents still belong to apps, but they aren't forced to only belong to apps. The user can organize them in a way that makes sense to them. Documents don't get lost either, as they are always stored in the "Other" category if you need them. It is just an easier way to be productive on iOS. The current way of handling documents in iOS is too restrictive. However, document management can work if done the "Apple" way.
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Last edited by djtech42; Aug 8, 2012 at 07:26 PM.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 04:27 AM   #14
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I've said it before, and I'll say it again: It's 2012 - users shouldn't have to deal with a file system.

A file system is not coming to iOS; there probably won't be a file system on the Mac OS for much longer.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 04:51 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Aidoneus View Post
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: It's 2012 - users shouldn't have to deal with a file system.

A file system is not coming to iOS; there probably won't be a file system on the Mac OS for much longer.
This.

All files can be found in the application you want to use them in anyway so the concept is pointless.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 06:18 AM   #16
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This.

All files can be found in the application you want to use them in anyway so the concept is pointless.
More than that the power users are using version control systems like git to tie people, files and projects together. which is what we want the file system for. It would be good if apple could bring that sort of tech to the masses, by getting to deal with the conflict resolution area. It's the sort of thing that apple made its name on.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 07:11 AM   #17
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That is over complicating things, everything is fine as is. Though they need an AirDrop app to replace iTunes Files and Dropbox
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 07:12 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Zcott View Post
This is unlikely.

The old method of your documents all in a folder is disappearing, and the new method is documents belong to apps...which makes sense. I don't need to open a Sibelius file in Pages, for example. You'll be opening the app you want to find the document you need from now on, meaning documents won't get lost or stored in bizarre places.
Well, and what about files that could and should be opened by more than one app?

Unfortunately, I have one app for OCR (pdf), one to take notes, one to organize and also need that pdf as attachment - do you really think that cross-copying/sharing around all sandboxes is a good and ergonomic idea?

IMHO, big players push their core business too much - Google wants everything on the web (forget the lag), Microsoft uses its de facto Windows Desktop monopoly to push its mobile platform and Apple forgets that iOS devices flourished next to classic PC devices - it is still more addition than revolution - eating out the share of PC in areas where they were less suitable or overkill - not making them obsolete (or how many of us do write their posts on mobile devices here?)

I think Apple answers the fundamental question "why is iOS so successful" incorrectly - they think it is "the better way of computing overall" - I think the iOS simply found the best use of growing resources (CPU speed, fast storage, advancement in batteries) to bring more mobile, simpler and better looking experience - one that Microsoft too attached to its "windows desktop is only way of personal computing" paradigm could not explore with Windows mobile and co.

there is no effective way of stopping big players from "doing everything" nowadays, the only thing I fear is the rise of vendor-lock in - past years blessed us with possibility to use Google Search and Gmail with our iPhone/iPad/iPod and reasonably powerful OS X/Windows PC or even Linux - with reasonable choice of web browsers for example - now I see the risks of "full devotion to our ecosystem or exile" principle - but neither big player imho has the competence and understanding to build ecosystem where each component is close to the best (remember Apple and its web/cloud offerings in past)

bottom line - iOS has been the best mobile/touch friendly and mostly casual system - "copying" it to desktop will not make the best desktop/productivity system (no, I am not saying that productivity is impossible with iOS) - if Apple wants iOS and OS X to meet one day, they should move them equally to the meeting point (and iDocuments concept is one piece of work to be done at iOS part) - waiting till OS X catches the (lets call it "simpler") nature of iOS - that is IMHO not the best long term strategy (and we have seen enough to be sure that even the biggest companies are not oracles when it comes to long term strategies)
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 07:38 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Aidoneus View Post
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: It's 2012 - users shouldn't have to deal with a file system.

A file system is not coming to iOS; there probably won't be a file system on the Mac OS for much longer.
And if Apple had found a way around it I would agree.

It's 2012, people shouldn't have to deal with touching their device, they should only have to think it, get all those touchscreens off the iPhones. See I can say absurd things too.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 07:42 AM   #20
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And if Apple had found a way around it I would agree.

It's 2012, people shouldn't have to deal with touching their device, they should only have to think it, get all those touchscreens off the iPhones. See I can say absurd things too.
Apple has found a way around it.

iCloud.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 07:48 AM   #21
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Apple has found a way around it.

iCloud.
iCloud has nothing to do with document management. The closest Apple has gotten to addressing the situation is approving the dropbox app
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 10:53 AM   #22
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iCloud has nothing to do with document management. The closest Apple has gotten to addressing the situation is approving the dropbox app
When I make changes to a Pages/Keynote/Numbers document those changes syncs to all my iOS devices.... sounds like a pretty good solution. Who needs an over complicated file system? Not me.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 11:04 AM   #23
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Explanation

I don't think people understand what this concept is supposed to be. It is NOT a file explorer because a file explorer would be too complicated for iOS. If you want to see a real file explorer, look at the one on Android or look at Finder. Those are real file explorers. It is NOT a file system because a file system is what takes care of the files on an operating system. iOS does have a file system, and so does basically any other operating system.

It IS a document manager. iOS can't manage documents right now except within the app. This means you have to go into the app you used to create the document in order to do anything with it. If you delete the app, say goodbye to your document. You can't open documents in multiple apps like you can on OS X. This presents a big problem for productivity. This is a simple solution to that problem.

This app is supposed to be the perfect blend of simplicity and functionality. It brings the ability to actually do things with your documents in an easy to use, beautiful, and simple application. You really can't get any simpler than this. However, it still gets the job done. You can open documents in multiple apps. You can delete and duplicate documents outside of apps. You can revert to previous changes you made to a document. You can send documents to other people using AirDrop, iMessage, or Mail. You can organize relating documents of different types into folders without messing up anything in the system. You can actually download things from the internet or store attachments on the device. You can safely delete apps without worrying about losing your documents.

That's what this concept is all about. Not about being able to modify the system, not about moving files, not about "seeing" the file system, not about being too complicated. It is about being able to easily and safely manage your documents. I think this is the perfect solution to working with documents on iOS.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 11:29 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djtech42 View Post
I don't think people understand what this concept is supposed to be. It is NOT a file explorer because a file explorer would be too complicated for iOS. If you want to see a real file explorer, look at the one on Android or look at Finder. Those are real file explorers. It is NOT a file system because a file system is what takes care of the files on an operating system. iOS does have a file system, and so does basically any other operating system.

It IS a document manager. iOS can't manage documents right now except within the app. This means you have to go into the app you used to create the document in order to do anything with it. If you delete the app, say goodbye to your document. You can't open documents in multiple apps like you can on OS X. This presents a big problem for productivity. This is a simple solution to that problem.

This app is supposed to be the perfect blend of simplicity and functionality. It brings the ability to actually do things with your documents in an easy to use, beautiful, and simple application. You really can't get any simpler than this. However, it still gets the job done. You can open documents in multiple apps. You can delete and duplicate documents outside of apps. You can revert to previous changes you made to a document. You can send documents to other people using AirDrop, iMessage, or Mail. You can organize relating documents of different types into folders without messing up anything in the system. You can actually download things from the internet or store attachments on the device. You can safely delete apps without worrying about losing your documents.

That's what this concept is all about. Not about being able to modify the system, not about moving files, not about "seeing" the file system, not about being too complicated. It is about being able to easily and safely manage your documents. I think this is the perfect solution to working with documents on iOS.
But iOS has no need for a universal document manager. All files are managed by the app that created them. Within that app, they can then be exported and shared.

Your concept does nothing but add complexity to what is already possible in iOS today.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 12:18 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by djtech42 View Post
That's what this concept is all about. Not about being able to modify the system, not about moving files, not about "seeing" the file system, not about being too complicated. It is about being able to easily and safely manage your documents. I think this is the perfect solution to working with documents on iOS.
I thought you made the point clear on your original post well enough. You are essentially creating a Game Center like app of some sort for "Document & Data". Well, perhaps just the Document part, but similar nevertheless.

But I stand by my earlier post that you are essentially window dressing Document & Data section of Settings app. Yes, you are adding few new interesting features such as showing badge count for each apps, AirDrop, and Safari download manager. But it is essentially just another Springboard supplement feature, joining Game Center, Newstand, and Passport. While that may appear to be the approach Apple is taking, I sincerely hope Apple will fix Springboard once and for all instead.
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