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  1. Computer Skills
  2. Commander One
Computers

Development With Commander One

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:

When I started my first job after leaving college, the PC was the system everyone used with the plain DOS prompt. 

When Norton Commander came on the scene, it changed the way I worked. The hot key assignments and dual-panel file browsing was great. Even when Windows came out, I still found myself reverting to Norton Commander.

Since then, everything has become more graphical. I still found myself using Midnight Commander a whole lot on my Linux system.

Midnight Command on the Mac Terminal
Midnight Command on the Mac Terminal

When I moved to the Mac as my main development system, I still used Midnight Commander in a Terminal. I have been using it less and less due to it not playing well with other programs, and I've become used to drag and drop.

Now, that same experience is available in Commander One on the Mac. Except now it is fully graphical and interacts with other programs as well. 

The basic dual-panel browser is free, but the PRO features adds many great extensions that will improve any workflow.

Commander One in the Project Directories
Commander One in the Project Directories

Out of the box, it still looks and feels just like I remembered—especially if you switch to the Oldschool theme. It did not take long to realize the added power of Commander One’s PRO features.

Customizing

When you get Commander One, it gives you a nice, two-pane layout for looking at your files using the system font. But, the Input Font is a great font that I use all the time. Finder doesn’t give any options for customizing the fonts, but Commander One does.

Customizing Appearance
Customizing Appearance

Bring up the Options dialog with ⌘-,. On the Appearance panel, select Files list Font: and select the InputMono, 14.0 in the font selector. You can also change the color theme to one of the pre-programmed themes. 

Or, you can select custom colors for all the different areas in the browser. The oldschool theme has the old Norton Commander look.

Dropbox Integration
Dropbox Integration

Commander One has the best integration with Dropbox than any other browser. What's more, you can set-up multiple Dropbox accounts. An incredibly useful feature that brings all sorts of benefits.

Select the + on the left hand side to add a new account. This is necessary for me since I have a personal and business account.

Viewing Dropbox in Commander One
Viewing Dropbox in Commander One

Once the Dropbox accounts have been set, you can view them in Commander One. The left hand panel is showing my work Dropbox account with folders that I have turned off on Selective Sync in Dropbox

The view here is not what Dropbox has on your computer, but a true view of the full account in the cloud! Without taking up room on my system, I can access files and folders that I do not have synced to my drive. I can then copy them to my system if needed. The speed of the file transfer from Dropbox to my system is amazing.

Extension Activation Tab
Extension Activation Tab

On the Extension tab, you can select to show Network, iOS Devices, MTP Devices (media transport device), and Process Viewer

Since I do not have iOS or MTP devices, I do not have them selected. But, the Process Viewer gives a convenient view of the active processes in the panel. A handy way to see the active processes.

Working on a Web Project

The best way to get a feel on how Commander One works is to see it in action. Therefore, I have made a screencast of my workflow using Commander One to make changes to my web site.

Here, I edit a page of my web site with Vim in the terminal emulator of Commander One. The directory that the active pane is in is the directory for the terminal. 

When you run a command in the command bar at the bottom of the panel, that command is ran in the terminal.

After I finish the edits, I connect to my web server, copy the file over, and then view it in a browser. Instead of going from Terminal.app, to Finder, to Transmit to do the work, I am able to do it all in Commander One. That saves me time.

In this screencast, I go to the command line to build the server code and launch the server locally. I check the active processes in the Process Viewer. Once I see it’s process, I open up the web browser to it. Then I kill the process and check for it again in the Process Viewer. This saves a lot of time since I can just type the name of the process and it goes to it in the viewer.

As you can see, the terminal emulator in Commander One is large and easy to use. I use to like the terminal emulator in Path Finder, but it is always too small to be of much use. The way that Commander One changes the whole program area to a terminal is much more convenient to me.

Here, I can search for every CSS file in the project directory and set that to one of the panels. This really helps in over viewing all of the files and working with them.

Conclusion

Now that you have seen my workflow with Commander One, you can see that it is a much better file manager than Finder. Try it out for yourself and see if it will not help your workflow.

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