Shaping (intersection and trimming) to work normally
It would be very nice to have shaping tools (intersection and trimming) to work as expected.
• When intersecting, leave both input objects (do not remove) and inherit the properties of the last selected object
• When trimming (cutting objects) cut the last selected object with the first selected. Leave both objects. Maintain the properties of the last selected object.
Very simple - the 'front-minus-back', 'expand appearance' and 'alt-clicking' tricks are confusing annoying and over-complicated.
And no, it’s not 'normally' :) Normally is how it’s done now. 'Normal' is contextual.
So you basically want this like in CorelDraw, right?
These is a separate request about CorelDraw’s Smart Fill style treatment of Shape Builder you might want to look into:
As for this particular request... as far as I know, very little users actually need to keep original objects, but this can be an option for sure.
The second part of it though...
Illustrator uses the order of selection to define a key object in once case — when dealing with points, to align a partial point selection to the last selected one, because there is no way to define a key point with a traditional way — a second click into an object with a Selection tool.
But the key objects concept is greatly underutilized in every other routine, including arranging or, like you describe here, in Pathfinder operation. Maybe this can be broadened. Let’s see if it gets more votes.