Add a "Tag Cloud" as an alternative search method

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RobW2
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:06 pm

Add a "Tag Cloud" as an alternative search method

Postby RobW2 » Sat Mar 19, 2016 2:07 pm

Hello, this is my first post to this forum.

This is a feature request to add a "Tag Cloud" as an alternative search method. By Tag Cloud, I'm referring to this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tag_cloud

I found a similar request in the forum here:
https://www.voidtools.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4256

First, a little background. I've been using Everything as a tag manager for my Visio drawings for a few weeks. It's a great system. Let me explain...

Previously, I had used dedicated tag manager software. Around 2009 I started using tag2find http://www.tag2find.com/, then in 2013, I migrated to Taggtool http://www.taggtool.com/. Of those, tag2find was the superior tool, however, it's no longer maintained and when I switched to 64-bit Windows, it would no longer run. tag2find used NTFS alternate streams and a database to keep track of the tags for each file. It employed a tag cloud as the search mechanism which worked beautifully. I would still be using this tool had it been maintained for modern operating systems. One downside was that if you copied a file to a non-NTFS drive, e.g., FAT32 (USB drives) or Linux server, the alternate streams are lost.

After my good experience with tag2find, I found a suitable replacement in Taggtool. Taggtool worked similarly to tag2find (I'm unsure if it used alternate streams), but its user interface was less well done than tag2find. It was written in Java, I presume to make it portable, so it had a somewhat alien look and feel that I found a bit clumsy. It had a poorly executed tag cloud that just wasn't up to par. It made me realize how well thought out and executed tag2find had been. I continued to use Taggtool for several years. In 2016, Taggtool went to a browser-based system that requires a Java-based server running on your local network. It has become too complicated for me.

In search of a replacement, I stumbled upon TagSpaces http://www.tagspaces.org/ which employs a very different technique, it embeds the tags in the filename. At first, I was repelled by this idea, I couldn't imagine browsing for and maintaining files with very long filenames. But I came to realize its strength - the tags are always attached to the file, no alternate streams, no database, works with any file system. The only downside is that I find the TagSpaces user interface to be awkward and cumbersome to use. It's written to operate on every modern platform including mobile, so it's got huge buttons and doesn't excel at anything. But worst of all, the search is unintuitive and difficult to use.

While experimenting with TagSpaces, I realized I could find the tagged files much faster using Everything. So I stole Tagspaces' tagging methodology and modified the naming convention to delimit each tag with a "." (period or dot character). Now my Visio drawings end up with names like this:

vnnnn.tag1.tag2.tag3.tagN.vsd (where nnnn is a serial number, i.e., 1000, 1001, 1002, ...)

Here are some example tagged files:

v1009.dsss.dft.timing.vsd
v1010.dsss.dft.figure.timing.vsd
v1011.product.dsss.fir.filter.fpga.vsd
v1012.product.dsss.mnc.vsd
v1013.acm.big-picture.fpga.vsd
v1014.product.dsss.fpga.pll.symbol-loop.vsd
v1015.figure.fpga.top-level.vsd
v1016.demod.dsss.figure.top-level.vsd

With Everything, If I type into the search box something like this: ".vsd .timing" then Everything will just show me the two files that contain timing diagrams:
v1009.dsss.dft.timing.vsd
v1010.dsss.dft.figure.timing.vsd


Then if I add "!.figure" to the search string, Everything will narrow the results to just show me timing diagrams that aren't formatted as figures:
v1009.dsss.dft.timing.vsd

Similar to tag2find's tag cloud, Everything's search results list gets shorter as you type each character into the search box. It's a real pleasure to use.

I change a couple of default settings in Everything:

Tools -> Options...
Under General-Results, check "Hide results when the search is empty"
Under General-Search, uncheck "Match whole filename when using wildcards"

Now that I've explained how I use Everything, I want to explain my wish. I wish Everything had a tag cloud search. My first thoughts on this are:

  1. The user would specify a folder or folders to narrow the search scope.
  2. In those folders, every part of a filename that starts with a user defined delimiter ("." in my case) is treated as a tag cloud entry (including the file extension).
  3. A tag cloud browser is implemented that at first displays all the tags discovered in item 2 in a tag cloud format. Each word in the cloud would be sized and emboldened based on the number of occurrences of that tag in the specified folders.
  4. When you click a tag in the cloud, the matching files are listed in the results window, and simultaneously, the tag cloud is reduced to show only the tags remaining in the results. In three or four clicks, you can reduce the list to a couple of entries.
  5. Provide the ability to unselect a previously clicked tag. Doing so would remove that tag from the search string and increase the size of the results and the size of the tag cloud.

And that's it. Now, Everything is a both a fantastic search tool and the best tag manager available.

-Rob

pietervh
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:26 pm

Re: Add a "Tag Cloud" as an alternative search method

Postby pietervh » Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:51 pm

Awesome idea Rob.

I definitely see this or some version of it fitting into my workflow - will definitely be playing with the idea...
Hopefully I won't run into path length issues (I tend to already have long file and folder names with deep folder structures)

-- Pieter

reelismism
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:41 pm

Re: Add a "Tag Cloud" as an alternative search method

Postby reelismism » Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:18 pm

Hey, long time lurker, first time poster - just wondering if progress was made on this?

Thanks for such an INDISPENSABLE tool!

Morgan

PolySaur
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:44 pm

Re: Add a "Tag Cloud" as an alternative search method

Postby PolySaur » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:01 pm

Yeah, - the way I used to do things was to put everything in the filename with a separator, so Everything could find it. I don't think that's the right approach, so I started using keyword tags instead as managed by Windows. That's what tags are for, and there are hundreds of them available, especially for images.

As I mentioned previously, I would be a fan of Everything knowing how to read Windows tags (system.keywords) vs bulking up file names as a naming paradigm.

RobW2
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:06 pm

Re: Add a "Tag Cloud" as an alternative search method

Postby RobW2 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:59 pm

PolySaur,

I agree with you 100% regarding using the operating system's built-in tags, unfortunately, Microsoft only deems certain file types to be tag-worthy, i.e., music, images, and Office documents. They don't allow you to add tags to most other file types nor can you add tags to folders. In fact, Windows XP had more support for tags than Windows 7 so they seem to be going in the wrong direction. Until Windows supports tagging all file types with arbitrary tags, I'm going to keep using Everything as a tag manager.

-Rob

mapa4
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:28 am

Re: Add a "Tag Cloud" as an alternative search method

Postby mapa4 » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:00 am

RobW2 wrote:I wish Everything had a tag cloud search. My first thoughts on this are:

  1. The user would specify a folder or folders to narrow the search scope.
  2. In those folders, every part of a filename that starts with a user defined delimiter ("." in my case) is treated as a tag cloud entry (including the file extension).
  3. A tag cloud browser is implemented that at first displays all the tags discovered in item 2 in a tag cloud format. Each word in the cloud would be sized and emboldened based on the number of occurrences of that tag in the specified folders.
  4. When you click a tag in the cloud, the matching files are listed in the results window, and simultaneously, the tag cloud is reduced to show only the tags remaining in the results. In three or four clicks, you can reduce the list to a couple of entries.
  5. Provide the ability to unselect a previously clicked tag. Doing so would remove that tag from the search string and increase the size of the results and the size of the tag cloud.


Hi RobW2, at very first glance this could be done using an external autonomous script invoking Everything ES that gives the targeted list of files, then parsing this list to give you what you want.
Here is an example of scripting doing a requested feature https://www.voidtools.com/forum/viewtop ... f=5&t=5928


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