[Epiphany] User defined metadata (was: epiphany toolbar/bookmarks)

On Sat, 2003-05-31 at 19:06, Marco Pesenti Gritti wrote:
> Evaluating the differences in relation to user tasks (which of them it
> improves, which make slower etc...) is more likely to produce a better
> interface then worrying about gnomedesktop flames :)

However, not everything on gnomedesktop is flame. :) 

This posting describes a very real problem of the topic approach: He
can't classify his bookmarks with the current system. So he has a topic
"Jobs", but how does he classify a bookmark as "far" or "near" or puts
it into one if his defined job categories (like "consulting")? 
Automatic metadata (like fetched from the website) won't help at all,
because as much as this is improved, it won't be able to set things
depending on the user, like his location. He could create more topics
and then put a bookmark into the "Jobs", "Near Companies" and
"Consulting" topics but this would be weird and the topic list would
quickly grow into unusability.
While this might not be important for most users, it might be a rough to
just say "deal with it", considering that it's a pretty heavy
regression. The solution probably is to allow the user to add own
metadata to a topic. This isn't very easy though, if you just allow the
user to add his own keywords, this will be anything but userfriendly
(you have to use your keyboard and remember which keywords you used
before). While replying to this posting, I wondered how this could be
done in a simple, yet flexible way (you can read my reply there if you
want to skip this longer email).
I'm not sure if it would be the best solution but what came to my mind
was to add additional "fields" to a topic (database like) holding user
defined arbitrary values. For example this user could then add the
fields "Distance" and "Job Category" to his topic "Jobs". This could be
done for example in the context menu of a topic or somewhere in the
bookmarks window.
When the user adds a bookmark to the Jobs topic, he would be asked by a
dialog to (optionally) enter values for Distance and Job Category in a
combo box. Next time he does this, all the values he entered allready
would appear in the dropdown list of the combo box so you can
conveniently select old values or add new ones.
When selecting the topic in the bookmarks window, it could show both
fields as filters above or below the bookmarks, showing all values in a
select box (including an "All" option of course). This way the user
could conveniently filter his Jobs depending on Distance ("far" or
"near") and his own set of job categories. This would be even more
powerful than submenus because the user could show all bookmarks for a
certain category but for both near and far companies. Additionally, the
user wouldn't have to navigate the menu each time but could simply leave
the window open while checking all the found bookmarks.

When moving a bookmark, it could keep it's field values but only
actually use them, if the topic which it is in (and is selected) has
this field. So you could easily add an equal field to several topics and
move bookmarks around without them loosing their values. Another idea
would be to allow adding fields to the "All" topic, which would then
apply to every topic. 
Combine this with "virtual folders" on the bookmarks toolbar, like "All
bookmarks of the topic >News< where >Show on toolbar = yes<" and even
the last critic should be silent. :)
Maybe I'm shooting over the top here but it was just to demonstrate how
flexible this could be. It could even serve as a good prototype for a
similar model for local files, because we will certainly need something
slightly more sophisticated when we are about to deal with thousands of
user created files. 

Of course "fields" would certainly not be the best user visible term but
you probably get the idea. Maybe this would be overkill for general
usage but then again, I don't think it would get into your way too much
if you don't need this, while allowing users to use bookmarks in much
more powerful and creative ways if they want or need to.

So what's your opinion about this? I hope I'm not just babbling
nonsense, the weither is quite hot at the moment... :)


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