sabato 26 settembre 2009

New shaggadelic feature in the oven - auto-tagging rules based on folders

Hello world,

The issue

Many people have been asking things like "but does it tag the files by itself or do I have to do all the work by myself?". So far we've been answering "no, because it wouldn't be possible to understand what a file is about, without the user telling it to Tabbles...".
This was true until a couple of hours ago.

The Man(uelo)

Maurizio has a very good friend named Emanuele. For some reason Maurizio found it funny to bend his friend's name into the somewhat comical "Manuelo". Apart from getting names and getting mocked for his legendary rebellious haircut, Manuelo is also a kickass developer and - most important - sometimes he has ideas. This time it wasn't actually him who had the idea, it was a friend of him (whose identity has not been disclosed yet) but we suppose that it was indeed an elaboration of the two characters together. Thanks go to both!

The idea

The core of the idea is the following: we are all used to categorize our files into folders and subfolders. Example:

-\ 2009
--\ Customer Alfa
---\ Project Beta
----\ Brochures

(I apologize for being a marketing guy, I can't think of anything else than brochures, but I guess you got the point).

When the typical user starts using Tabbles, he/she is overwhelmed by his folders, by their complexity and by how hard and how long it takes to find a file or to get files grouped in a bit of an elastic way. I believe this is assumption is pretty realistic in most of the cases.

So, in the structure above, if a file is in that "Project Beta" folder, you may well assume that all the files in that folders are linked to the Project Beta, right?
You may also assume that all the files in that particular "Project Beta" folder (there might be more than one in your HD with that name) are also linked to the Customer Alpha and to the year 2009...correct? I believe you see already where I'm heading to :-)

The idea goes into Tabbles

What we're implementing right now (it should take a day of work or so due to our file-system watcher technology) is a set of rules allowing the user to auto-tag a file based on where it is on the HD.

-\ 2009....................-> tabble "2009"
--\ Customer Alfa..........-> tabble "Customer Alfa"
---\ Project Beta..........-> tabble "Project Beta"
----\ Brochures............-> tabble "Brochures"

And subfolder will inherit the tagging rule of their parent folders: in the example above, a file called myfile.pdf inside that "Brochure" subfolder, would be automatically tagged with all the tabbles coming from the folders (rules) above, in a waterfall style:

-\ 2009
--\ Customer Alfa
---\ Project Beta
----\ Brochures
.......|_ myfile.pdf -> tabbles "2009", "Customer Alfa", "Project Beta", "Brochures"

...because tabbles are not folders

Now, some of your might be thinking: "ok, what's the deal here?". Well, the deal is that tabbles are not folders. Tabbles are both a tag and a virtual folder, depending on what you're doing in that moment. Let me elaborate. Let's say that on your HDs (or on a USB stick or on network drive!) you have:

-\ 2009
--\ Customer Alfa
---\ Project Beta
----\ Brochures
.......|_ myfile.pdf

-\ 2008
--\ Customer Alfa
---\ Project Beta
----\ Part 1
-----\ Brochures
.........|_ myfile_2.pdf

--\Customer Alfa
---\ Project X
-----\ Brochures
.........|_ myfile_3.pdf


- the file myfile.pdf will be tagged with the tabbles "2009" "Customer Alfa" "Project Beta" "Brochures".

- the file myfile_2.pdf will be tagged with the tabbles "2008" "Customer Alfa" "Project Beta" "Brochures". (I omitted "part 1" to show that you don't need to tag everything)

- the file myfile_3.pdf will be tagged with the tabbles "2009" "Customer Alfa" "Project X" "John" "Brochures".

The benefit

This means that:

-if you Combine the tabbles "Customer Alfa" and "Brochures", you will get the files myfile.pdf, myfile_2.pdf and myfile_3.pdf.

-if you Combine the tabbles "Customer Alfa", "Brochures" and "2009"you will get only the files myfile.pdf and myfile_3.pdf.

Yeah! :-D

Cool, isn't it? :-)
This is what we call Horizontal browsing: it allows you to browse an sort files independently on their physical location...which in return is what a virtual file system is about.

Well, the only thing I can comment is: why in the world we didn't think of this before? :-O
And then I should add: thank you Manuelo, your electric haircut made our day! :-D


2 commenti:

  1. Hey, I couldn't help to notice that in this way you have added to Tabbles files that are on a removable drive and files that are on a network share.

    Does tabbles traks those files? What happens when windows decides to change the drive letter from F: to H:?

  2. Currently Tabbles gets "confused" and is not able to tell a usb stick from another. But we already planned to switch to an API that would allow Tabbles to find out the serial number of the disk (usually USB disks have one too). Therefore soon Tabbles should be able to understand which is which :-)
    More about this is on our forum:


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