Just some thoughts on “How do I manage files/content on computers?”.

I’ve been planing this post for quite some time, ever being a procrastinative type, sigh….


Ironically, this is the most intuitive way. File is a concept well-known, but very inflexible. Reasonably, it’s in fact the most unintuitive way as it forces us to think in very low level that conceptually has nothing to do with what we really want: the content.

In a world more and more mobile-oriented, the role of files has receded. And yet it remains the most efficient method for managing simple content (like a post ;P).


To center around an application is not new in mobile computation, but it only gets popular as a mindset with the rise of mobile devices. In the era of desktop, users use applications to accomplish tasks but yet they think in files instead of applications: a word document, a powerpoint file and etc. With mobile devices’ small screen estate, inconvenient inputs and on-the-go usage, navigating a file system becomes so cumbersome that most users would avoid.

Applications strive to present content directly and intuitively. However, how to represent content has no universal consent. This creates a fragmented world with big players creating large closed circles by offering more integration within its own ecosystem but inconvenient, if even possible, interpolation with other applications. In retrospect, the very weakness of File concept is also its very strength: low-level but universal. Nevertheless, I still consider application-based content management is a breeze compared with files.


I’d like to say this is the future, but I lack any confidence to say so as content representation is so diversified that any universal and yet high-level enough representation seems impossible.

Computers are indeed becoming smarter though, so if we can have an intelligent personal assistance, then we might be able to think in a content-oriented way and be free of “opening this or that app for my work” lock-in. However, then we might be locked-in with a specific type of assistance system, right ;P

Comment: Github Issue