Additional Information











The first thing that is obviously different about how the Servant Finder operates in comparison to Apple's Finder is that Servant is entirely icon based: there is no option to list the contents of your disk by Name. Instead, files, folders, and applications are always represented by icons. However, the Servant environment allows for customization of view options and provides a number of different ways to navigate files on the Macintosh. Windows in Servant have no scroll bars and arrows. Instead, using the hand icon popularized in MacPaint, the user clicks and drags through open windows to locate the file, folder, or application that he or she needs. The window itself stays fixed, but the contents scroll by depending upon which way the user drags, again much like MacPaint. As the cursor goes over a file, it changes from a hand to the familiar arrow icon, allowing the user to select the item, double-click it to open it, or Option-double-click the item to open its Resources. Inertial Scrolling, a Servant setting, allows the user to click and drag using the hand icon, then to let go of the mouse button while the window continues to scroll, clicking again to stop. This, like holding the Apple key on the keyboard and clicking and dragging, which causes the scroll speed to increase, helps speed up navigation through particularly large windows or on disks containing many items. The Eye icon, at the bottom left of Servant windows, allows users who are "lost" in large windows to get an overview of the window, much like the MacPaint's Show Page overview. Clicking the Eye icon and continuing to hold down the mouse button causes the view in the window to zoom out and show the contents of the entire window. A box allows the user to define the area in a window that the or she wants to view; releasing the mouse button redraws the contents of the window with the area selected, quickly bringing the user to the icons she or he needs.







The Scroll Arrows at the bottom of every Servant window allow for an alternate means of navigating windows. As the user navigates through the window, the Scroll Arrows update to indicate where in the window more icons are located. More than just providing a reference, however, the Scroll Arrow icons also can be used to navigate the window, much like using a trackpad. Clicking and dragging the Scroll Arrows allows for fast scrolling through windows; merely dragging up and right in this area will send the contents of the window moving in that direction. Additionally, double-clicking the Scroll Arrows icon resets the view to the center of the window, allowing the user to gain his or her bearings if lost.






As a computing environment whose navigation depends so heavily on the GUI and whose operation requires the use of icons, Servant also enriches the icons themselves to provide more feedback to the user. For example, Servant allows for three different icon views that offer additional information. The default view, abc, shown above, is to view objects by their Name. However, clicking on the Ruler icon will append the file or folder size to the icon view, as shown below. Clicking the Calendar icon will add the Modified Date below the icon's name. Items on the desktop also provide feedback. Floppy disks mounted on the desktop, if formatted as HFS, will indicate such on their icon. When items are dropped into the Trash Can, the lid "pops" off the top of the icon. When copying files, the icon gradually fills, like an hour glass, and when the copy is complete the icon fills itself in with its complete graphic. Additionally, icons in windows can easily be resized: compare the icons pictured in the window above, at their default size, to that of Pagemaker 1.2, which is pictured below. Icons also can be shrunk to very small sizes, which might aid in navigating windows full of many icons.







The Finder menus in Servant are familiar to Macintosh users but offer a few options unique to Servant. Once Servant is opened, a Servant menu is added to the Menu bar at the top of the screen and is visible from any open application.



From the Apple Menu users can get information and tips about Servant, as shown below, or print a bug report. The File menu contains a New File option; presumably this would allow the user to create a new Resource from the desktop, but the feature is unimplemented in this version. The View menu duplicates the icons at the bottom of the window by letting users choose to view icons by their name, their size, and their modification date. The Special Menu also includes a number of Servant specific options. Rearrange, another unimplemented option, would presumably allow the user to clean up icons in a window.



Perhaps one of the most exciting features of Servant is the ability to use any MacPaint or ThunderScan document as a background image, like shown below. Additionally, screenshots are supported in Servant, which saves the files as MacPaint images. However, only ten screenshots are possible, named Screen 0 through Screen9; if more screenshots must be made these files must be removed or renamed. The MacPaint format of the screenshots made in Servant can be used as background images.



The Servant Options area is where different configurations for Servant are set. This controls the functionality of Servant and allows for some customization of the environment. Setting "Switcher On" allows for multiple applications to be running and allows the user to switch between these open applications. "Show Invisibles" exposes such invisible files as the Desktop Database and Microsoft's key disk protection, an early copy protection scheme, in the Finder.



Selecting "Speech On" will cause Servant to speak the names of icons, as well as their file size and modification date if either of those view options are selected. Servant will also speak the items selected from a Menu. While the documentation suggests that MacinTalk needs to be in the System Folder, it seems enough to merely have MacinTalk located on the same drive from which one is running Servant for speech to work. This feature might be beneficial, in conjunction with the large icon size, to a user with diminished eyesight. "Save Screens" is an additional Switcher feature that keeps the contents of each screen saved into memory, causing the switch between applications to take less time. "Auto-Center Dialogs" simply keeps any dialog box that pops up centered on the screen. Finally, "Inertial Scroll," discussed above, is set in the Servant Options dialog box.


While its appearance is familiar to any Macintosh user, Servant includes enhancements and changes to the Finder. The mouse is used much more in the navigation of the Finder, and the appearance of the Finder, from its icons to the background pattern, is much more user-controlled and offers more visual feedback than did the contemporary Finder released by Apple. While the GUI updates and changes are interesting components of Servant, the Switcher and ResEdit abilities are where the real excitement are.



copyright 2002 Josh Burker



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