Proposal File Menu Reorganization
|Proposal pages help us get from feature requests into actual plans. This page is a proposal to reorganize the File menu to provide distinct clarity between Audacity Projects and audio files, separating them in the menu.|
Proposal pages are used on an ongoing basis by the Audacity development team and are open to edits from visitors to the wiki. They are a good way to get community feedback on a proposal.
- Note: Proposals for Google Summer of Code projects are significantly different in structure, are submitted via Google's web app and may or may not have a corresponding proposal page.
Users, new users in particular, are Confused about what 'export' and 'save' mean - a distibction made less clear as users can currently "open" an audio file with Audacity leading them to think that Audacity is a WAV, MP3, whatever editor.
Basically we need to clearly maintain the distinction between native and non-native formats, using "Open" / "Save" only for native format (Audacity Projects) and "Import" / "Export" for non-native formats (audio files)
Aside: and as Vaughan quoted in an unrelated email thread: "As the saying goes, "Confusion on our enemies" -- not on us!" "
We should take the split between "projects" and "audio" to its logical conclusion and completely separate them in the menu structure. Better use of fly-out submenus.
- 'Open' will be renamed 'Open Project' and ONLY open an Audacity project. If you try to open a wav file it will tell you about projects and tell you to import instead. This will help reduce the risk of users thinking they are genuinely opening and working on a wav file directly.
- Commands that operate on Projects to be clearly separated in the menu from commands that work on audio files.
- Recent Files will continue to operate much 'as currently'. If you import a file it will be added to the recent files list. If you select a non .aup file from the recently opened list it is imported.
- Drag-and-drop opening of a .wav file will import the dragged audio into your current project.
- It was previously suggested that'Check Dependencies...' should move to the proposed Tools menu, as it is a diagnostic tool. However although it isn't directly a "file" operation, it is intimately associated with saving projects. Moving it out to the Tools menu would potentially discourage its usage.
Gale's File Menu proposal
This assumes we do not allow an "Open" menu to open audio files. If we do this we should probably stop "Recent Audio", opening audio files in the file manager and dragging audio files to the Audacity icon opening new project windows.
The key thing for me is that the item that does "export" has "audio" or "audio files" in the title.
This scheme lets us have a root menu item for straight export and import.
This schema is supported by Peter, Steve and Ed.
Previous Feature Requests relating to this proposal
There don't appear to be any.
- At this stage we are NOT proposing a mode where Audacity can switch over to using a wav file as if it were its project (for which there is a Pending Feature Request) - much as Microsoft word can open a txt file, but then warns when you try to save it that 'some features/formatting can't be saved in text format'. It's not that hard to add, but it would go outside the scope of this proposal. This could be a good feature though and solve a lot of user confusion. If we were to do it, we'd list in the warning dialog what would be lost.