Mac OS X Server 1.x: The Desktop and Viewer

This article describes the Desktop and Viewer as implemented in Mac OS X Server. Its purpose is to differentiate between the traditional Mac OS and Mac OS X Server. It also provides some useful keyboard shortcuts.
This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.
Note: This article pertains to Mac OS X Server versions 1.x, which were released prior to May 2001.

The Desktop

In Mac OS 8 the Desktop Folder is an invisible folder on the hard disk. Everything in that folder appears on the desktop. Dragging an item to the desktop moves it into the Desktop Folder.

In Mac OS X Server the desktop is not designed this way. If an item is dragged to the desktop, a symbolic link to the original item is created. A symbolic link is, for the most part, the same as an alias in the traditional Mac OS. Only symbolic links can reside on the desktop.

There are some things to know about symbolic links. If a symbolic link is copied from one viewer window to another, a dialog box appears. It gives you the option to create a new link in the desired location, to skip copying the link, stop copying, or to copy the original item instead of the symbolic link.

If a link is copied from the desktop, this window does not appear. The original item (to which the link is pointing) is automatically copied to the new location. This is because a symbolic link on the desktop is treated differently than symbolic links in other locations.

The Viewer

Viewing Methods

The Workspace Manager's main navigation tool is the Viewer window. There are three ways to navigate the filesystem using the Viewer. The two that are most familiar to Mac OS or Windows users are the icon view and the list view.

The icon view provides the least amount of information about a file and its directory hierarchy. It only shows an item's icon and title. Directories are shown as folders. Double clicking on an item opens it. Double clicking a directory icon opens a new Viewer window.

The list view is more informative. It provides information about the size of the item, its modification date, and the owner and group to which it belongs.

The least familiar, but perhaps best, is the column view. This viewing method can be thought of as a browser because it allows the user the see multiple directories in the same window, thus saving space. The items inside a directory are listed in columns. When you click on a directory, the Viewer is updated to display the contents of that directory. With this viewing method it is possible to see into multiple directories in one window.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Holding down the Command key while dragging an item to another directory moves it to its new location. The arrow pointer changes so that it has a box to its right.

Holding down the Option key while dragging an item to another directory copies it to its new location. The arrow pointer changes so that it has a plus sign to its right.

Holding down the Control key while dragging an item to another directory creates a symbolic link in the new location. The arrow pointer changes so that it has a curved arrow to its right.

The Tool Bar

The Tool Bar is a group of eight buttons that appear at the top of the Viewer window. The Tool Bar is shown or hidden from the View menu in Workspace Manager. For this discussion the first button on the left is numbered 1 and the last button on the right is numbered 8.

Button 1 has a picture of a house on it because it changes the directory being browsed to your home directory. Button 2 has a folder with an up arrow because it changes the directory being browsed to the one above it.

You may not be able to use to buttons 3, 4, and 5 depending on your level of permissions for a file or directory. In Mac OS X Server when a button has a star on it, the button creates a new item. In this case, button 3 (with a star and folder on it) creates a new folder in the current directory. Button 4 duplicates any selected item(s). Button 5 moves the selected item(s) to the Trash.

Button 6 allows you to choose the way a Viewer window is displayed: by icon, by list, or by columns. These view options are described above.

Button 7 allows you to type the path of the directory you want to browse without having to navigate the filesystem.

Button 8 opens up the Inspector. The Inspector is described in its own article.

The Tool Bar can be turned on or off by selecting the appropriate command from the View menu in the Workspace Manager.

Key Differences

Currently, it is not possible to copy, move, or create symbolic links in the same Viewer window. A second Viewer window must be opened, and the item to be copied, moved, or linked must be dragged to the second Viewer window.

Also, a Viewer window is not automatically updated when a change is made to the filesystem. To see any changes to the filesystem, you must select Update Viewers from the View menu or by type Command+U.

When you double click on a directory icon in icon view, a new Viewer window opens. Holding down the Option key while double clicking on a directory icon opens the directory in the same window.

Changing the name of an item is similar to the traditional Mac OS with one key difference. After selecting an item, you must click on its title. The highlight disappears and the pointer changes from an arrow to an I-Beam. After changing the name, you must press the Return key in order for the change to take effect.
Published Date: Feb 18, 2012