GSoC 2022: Introduction

Hello there!

My name is Ignacy Kuchciński and I'm studying computer science at UMCS in Lublin, Poland. I've been making minor contributions to GNOME over the past few years, and among the projects I was looking into was GNOME Files, a.k.a Nautilus. I learned about GSoC in #nautilus irc chat room as I observed the effort to port nautilus properties dialog to use GtkBuilder, and I really liked the idea of it - have a chance to make a more significant contribution and be a part of an awesome community on a deeper level. Fast-forward two years, I've applied to Nautilus for GSoC'22 and got accepted to help revamp the “New Document” submenu - an adventure I'm very excited to undertake.

The project

GNOME Files, also known as Nautilus, as many of you already know, is a file manager for GNOME. Its goal is to provide the user with a simple way to navigate and manage files.

One of its abilities, the New Document creation feature, is considered to be a part of core user experience, but its design implementation has room for improvement, especially in discoverability and usability. There are also further regressions to be addressed caused by the GTK 4 port.

For this project the idea is to design and implement a new UI for this feature, the main goals are following:

1. Exposing an entire tree of possible templates in a single view, instead of nested submenus.

2. Making use of visual representations of each template, such as icons, to help users find what they’re looking for.

3. Always showing the New Documents menu, even if the Templates directory is empty - in that case, offer the user the ability to add new templates, both pre-defined as well as custom.

4. Add the ability to search the list of templates.

5. Add the ability to quickly rename the newly created files.

I'll be working in close cooperation with the Nautilus maintainer Antonio Fernandes who will be my mentor, GNOME design team, and with various user studies in mind. Initially, the project was supposed to have only one student working on it. However, in quite an unexpected turn of events, two interns were selected. As a result I'll be working on this project together with Utkarsh Gandhi whom I congratulate for getting selected as well!

Nevertheless, the fact remains that the initial project was meant for a single person. Fortunately, there is a room for expansion: resolving the "no default templates" situation, which has a very big impact on the discoverability and ease of use of this feature. We're still figuring our strategy, but one of the possible scenarios is one of us focusing on revamping the "New Document" submenu, and the other figuring out how to deal with the lack of initial templates.


I will keep track of my progress on this blog, and you can contact me on the GNOME IRC/Matrix on the #nautilus channel. I'm very excited to take part in this journey among the welcoming community and I look forward to contributing towards it. :)


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