Talking about IM buddies and the file dialog sluggishnes recently let my poor excuse for a brain come up with an idea. When opening a folder with many items, say over 300, nautilus and the file dialog could show a little query widget instead of listing all the files while giving an option (button) to browse the files if you insist.
This is based on my experience:
When I enter a folder with a lot of items I have some idea of what I’m looking for when loading a file. Searching for a substring is how I found stuff in the old file selector. Select as you type in the new one may or may not work as good. It is pretty much impossible to find a file just by scrolling and scanning content.
When saving I’m rarely interested in the contents of the destination folder. I just want to navigate there and provide the filename. Sometimes I do want to know a filename in that folder, but again I know a substring at least from the item I’m interested in.
With applications such as the GIMP, the last used folder is stored. If you saved your current document to a folder with a lot of files, and want to save or open a file, the file dialog opens up in the same location slowing you again before you can browse to a different location.
I will try to mock up something or maybe even realise that 1AM ideas don’t sound so cool in the morning. ;)
Update: This is of course not only bound to the performace. Of course making both nautilus and the file dialog handle huge item amounts snappily is a good goal. But once you have it shown quickly, you’ll still struggle to find the item you’re looking for…