Re: Finding and Reminding, tech issues, 3.0 and beyond

On Fri, 2010-04-09 at 18:09 -0400, Owen Taylor wrote:
> I've attempted below to extract out some of the technical bits from
> and see how they line up with our current technology. This is just
> notes, not yet a concrete plan.
> - Owen
> File management ideas and technology
> ====================================
> "Things can safely fall off the desktop"
>   The desktop is reconceptualized as "what you are working on", 
>   "the most relevant items". Getting something off the desktop then
>   shouldn't require an explicit filing decision by the user. The user
>   should be able to let items "expire" with attention, or they should be
>   able "archive" an item to remove it from the desktop.
>   There are two basic approaches here - one is to avoid storing
>   things on the Desktop. Instead of seeing the Desktop as a separate
>   location in the file selector, you'd have a checkbox:
>    [ ] Pin to Desktop
>   (or whatever the designers come up with), and that would create
>   a symlink to the desktop.
>   The other approach is when expiring or archiving to move files
>   from ~/Desktop to an archival location like ~/Documents.

I don't have much time to participate in this discussion atm, but i'd
like to point out here that the current implementation of the nautilus
desktop is done as a "virtual" location that merges various sources. It
would not be hard to let it contain any random set of files given a way
to locate them. Of course, this would make the "desktop" folder not very
useful, and would need similar work in the file selector.

> "User defined tags"
>   A completely flat view of all documents doesn't handle all users
>   or use cases. "Frequent filers" will want to be able to identify
>   projects and other subsets of files.
>   There's not a detailed plan for the user interface right now, but
>   technically this could be done a couple of ways.
>   We could use the traditional method of grouping by using
>   folders; and just make that look somewhat tag-like in the
>   UI. (Make selecting a folder show all the files in that folder
>   and all sub-folders. Allow creating a folder of files without
>   worrying where it was and automatically creating it in
>   ~/Documents.)
>   Or we could use a real tag-based approach with tags stored in
>   metadata. (multiple tags per file, tags orthogonal to folders.)

Does tracker currently index gvfs/gio metadata? Thats a highly efficient
way to set small "non-extracted" metadata on files that will
automatically be copied/moved/etc when files are managed with nautilus
or other gio apis.

> "Adding non-files to Desktop"
>   Files won't be the primary interesting thing for all people;
>   we probably want to provision for at least putting web
>   bookmarks into the desktop area. (This is also interesting
>   for people who want to have a GNOME desktop for their users
>   configured in some particular way.)
>   Probably the existing way we do web bookmarks for ~/Desktop will work.

Davidz and i have had long discussions about adding a new bookmarks API
for gio. Its in bugzilla somewhere and might be helpful for this.

> Tracker
> =======

>  * Using Tracker to extract and index metadata from files is
>    pretty uncontroversial. Using Tracker as the primary store
>    of information (such as tags) is more controversial - suddenly
>    the user's data is dependent on the use of Tracker.

I'm personally of the opinion that we should use a separate store for
such metadata, and then index this with tracker. Which is why i created
the gvfs metadata storage:
 Alexander Larsson                                            Red Hat, Inc 
       alexl redhat com            alexander larsson gmail com 
He's a benighted umbrella-wielding assassin with a passion for fast cars. 
She's a strong-willed impetuous archaeologist from the wrong side of the 
tracks. They fight crime! 

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