10.5's Dock still sucks

The Dock in 10.5 still sucks, even after the 10.5.2 update that brought back hierarchical folder menus.
Let us recap:

10.0-10.4: you drag a folder into the Dock.

  1. Its icon appears.
  2. If you click on it, it will open its Finder window.
  3. If you right-click on it, you will see its contents in a menu. This menu is left-justified, like all other easily-readable text in the known universe, next to a nice, straight, vertical column of small icons. Holding the mouse over any folder shows that folder's contents, and if there is a subfolder you can mouse over that to see its contents, etc. You can activate any item—program, document, or folder—by clicking on it.

Very nice, neat, and efficient. Useful features, few clicks, mouse motion is only required if you want to activate items or dig into subfolders.

10.5.2: you drag a folder to the Dock.

  1. The icon is from one of the things in the folder.
  2. If you click on it, you see a fan or stack, depending on how many things it has.
  3. If you right-click on it, you get a little menu with options.

Let's look these 3 things in a little more detail.

  1. The icon is from one of the things in the folder.
    To change that,
    • Right-click on it
    • choose 'Display as: Folder'
  2. If you click on it, you see a fan or stack, depending on how many things it has.
    • If it's a fan, the labels for the items are roughly triple-spaced since they're next to large (approx. 48x48-pixel) icons. In fact, they are to the left of the icons, so the text is right-justified. Very hard to read if the names are varying lengths—i.e., always. And the name 'fan' comes from the fact that the line curves to the right, causing the text labels to 'fan' out. You will probably die before seeing another example of triple-spaced right-justified text with each line at a different angle. I sure hope I do.
    • If it's a stack, the items are shown in a grid. (Unless you've got so many items the grid doesn't fit on the screen, then you automatically get a menu. Until you take out enough items—then its behavior will suddenly change back to grid mode.) Icons are huge (128x128) but long names are truncated, leaving you with things like Adobe A...fessional, Adobe P...hop CS3, Microsof...ce 2004, etc. Most of Apple's own apps have short names (iCal, iChat, TextEdit.app, etc.) but even their own System P...nces.app isn't spared. (Though that might only happen if you have 'Show All File Extensions' (Finder -> Preferences -> Advanced) enabled. Then again, maybe not—I just turned that off and it's still showing like that, even though the '.app's are gone when I look at /Applications in a Finder window.)

      Since it's a grid with many rows and columns, it's not easy to find things based on their first letter. Of course As are at the top left and Zs are at the bottom right, but things that start with, say, an M might be anywhere, depending on how all the other items are named. In a list, this isn't an issue, because you can just scan top-to-bottom to see every letter, but in a grid, you've got to go left to right, then down and to the left again, then to the right, then down to the left again, and so on until you find your target. Very inefficient. To see subfolder contents, click on the items. Excuse me—item. You see, once you click on one, its Finder window appears and the menu goes bye-bye.

      So, of course, we want to set this back to the old menu behavior. So we right-click again and this time we chooose 'View content as: List.' Now that we've done all that, if you click on it, you see an old-fashioned menu. At the bottom are 'Options' (display/behavior options) and 'Open in Finder.' OK, so opening in the Finder is now click-move-click, instead of just click, and you've got to learn a new behavior (menu = click, instead of right-click) but that's OK... um, unless you work with more than one Mac, some with 10.5 and some with 10.4. Eh, that's OK, muscle memory is overrated anyway.
  3. If you right-click on it, you get a little menu with options.
    Nothing we can do about that. We've basically made this action useless. These are just things that are in the 'Options' menu and some other options—remove from Dock, show in Finder, etc. That's all. Nothing we can't get elsewhere.

So. Two useful features—click to open a window, right-click to show a menu—are gone. Now it's click and choose a menu option to open a window, or jump through some hoops to get a menu that works like the old right-click menu except that now it happens with the other mouse button. As the drill instructor in Full Metal Jacket said, out-fucking-standing.

Just discovered one more thing. If you have a folder in your Dock, using the old behavior, and you have an alias in that folder, and you mouse over that alias, NOTHING HAPPENS! It doesn't expand like it did in 10.4, 10.3, 10.2, 10.1, 10.0, and the Apple Menu in OSs 9.x, 8.x, and 7.x.

Another 10.5 gripe: Quick Look is great, but I miss being able to press 'space' to jump to the first item in a window. I know I can use option-space, but I have option-space set to be the key combination for QuickSilver. Why do I use option-space instead of the default of control-space? Because I have Spotlight set to use control-space. And why...? Because Spotlight's default of command-space conflicts with the key command that Adobe has used for over a decade in all their apps for 'zoom.'