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Author Topic: Organize files using virtual folders  (Read 2064 times)

jeromg

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Organize files using virtual folders
« on: September 21, 2012, 11:26:38 AM »
Hi DCers,

I'm looking for a different way to organize my files (on Win7). I think what I'm looking for is a concept of virtual folders... Let me explain :
I'd like to have specific (virtual) folders, for example, for all files modified or created in the last 7/30/60 days, whereas all the files are physically organized in a (physical) folders tree.
I'm maybe considering using some kind of tags that would allow me to present files in other virtual folders (e.g. by tag).

After a quick search I could find some interesting solutions like Tabbles, but I was wondering if anyone is using or has in some way tested similar solutions...

Thanks in advance folks!

Cheers  /jerome

iphigenie

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Re: Organize files using virtual folders
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2012, 05:46:14 AM »
I've been hoping for that kind of solution for a while, so curious what people find

What i want to do is avoid having to *manage* my files and folders like I have to.
In my email I have switched to a "big archive pot" and using search and virtual categorisation for finding things. This was because at some point around 2000 i was spending more time moving and reorganising email than actually processing it.
I've managed to do the same for photos and music thanks to the standard tags available there. Doesn't matter where they are

For documents, I am not there yet.
I've looked at some of the tagging options, but the amount of work of switching makes me hesitate - knowing what has worked (or not) for others would be valuable. One thing I wont do is move them all into a database like some of the document management tools do. Feels far too risky, documents need to stay in files on disk :)

Stoic Joker

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Re: Organize files using virtual folders
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2012, 09:41:32 AM »
Isn't that what the native Windows Libraries feature is for? Combined with saved custom searches (grouped by date/size/etc) should make for a fairly flexible solution.

jeromg

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Re: Organize files using virtual folders
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2012, 10:41:22 AM »
Isn't that what the native Windows Libraries feature is for? Combined with saved custom searches (grouped by date/size/etc) should make for a fairly flexible solution.

Kind of... if they worked! Maybe it's just me but the saved searches are *crap*: some files seem to be missing, the searches do not refresh as I would expect... And Windows Search syntax definitely lacks some flexibility (for me).

I've been hoping for that kind of solution for a while, so curious what people find

What i want to do is avoid having to *manage* my files and folders like I have to.
In my email I have switched to a "big archive pot" and using search and virtual categorisation for finding things.

I'm trying to do the same, but it seems to be much easier to do with email than with files.

I even thought about developing something myself (using symbolic links) but I was wondering whether some better, ready-made, good options existed out there!

Cheers  /jerome

IainB

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Re: Organize files using virtual folders
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2017, 03:20:15 AM »
I just thought I'd resurrect this thread by asking the denizens of the DC forum if they knew whether the apparently "broken" native Windows Libraries feature has been fixed and now works "properly" in Windows 10 - or at least "well enough" so that the concept of VFs (Virtual Folders) could perhaps be fully implemented in practice, using either (say):
  • (a) Drag-and-drop, or
  • (b) (ideally) nested VF categories and files being "smart-filtered" - e.g., auto-assigned to relevant VF categories depending on the text strings in their filenames.
    ________________________________

The (b) option could be achieved by using (say) filename tags, rather than plain text (e.g., "Filename [Tag1] [Tag2].doc" as have been described by @Armando in DCF: How do you tag (or even organize) your files?
 - and as referred to here:
Interesting you ask! I have abandoned my quest a long time ago, but I just googled tag2find, etc. and found this
https://www.tagspaces.org
It's open source -- a great thing for that type of software...
The funny thing is that it implements the same solution I implemented myself 8-9 years ago. Basically, to avoid compatibility problems, writing the tags directly in the file names, using specific tag delimiters, etc. I described my method somewhere on DC. (Wonder if someone in their team read my description of if they just reached the same conclusions after an analysis of the situation.)

After at least 8-9 years tagging my files this way, I'm still finding it convenient. Using it every single day. People laugh when they see my file names, but I smile... they don't realize that I can group files on "any" subject (or combinations of subjects) in just a few seconds... in any OS or file system.
_____________________________________

Related threads: (not a comprehensive list - more may need to be added later)
 - How do you tag (or even organize) your files?
 - On the lack of standardisation in "tagging" .
 - Interesting: Tag2Find, Tagging for All Filetypes for Windows
 - DiviFile from Qnomad - Mini-review
 - Program Whose Time Has Come: virtual folders, collections, file baskets...
 - IDEA: Extending Files2Folder
 - Everything Search Engine: tips, tricks, ideas and code for poweruse

Contro

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Re: Organize files using virtual folders
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2017, 06:16:10 AM »
I think there are two mainly methods.

One method is obviously the tags. We will need a tag manager. And add tags to the desired files.
A second point of view is possible filtering the files by tag. Or by a set of tags.

But I believe more in simple known folders. (the tags may be more nearer to the intuitive concept of virtual folders...)

Suppose is an inventory of my house. Made with photos. I classify the photos by room. Then by concepts. By example the ladders and staircases in my home. Or the movie dvd in the different rooms.

By ease the first classification by room I can easily organize with a folder for each room.

Then I create more folders according to any criteria. The folder for ladders will include a shortlink to the file with ladders or staircase.

I can use some of the scripts DC made for the ocassion some time ago (possibility to automate the creation of shortlinks for the selected files in the desktop, in a set of folder, in an open folder, etc....)

For me this is more intuitive.

For complex needs may be more powerful by tags. And by tag force the reorganization in a set of folders. But in any case using finally virtual folders or "virtual files" for not use duplicated files anywhere...

 :-[

ayryq

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Re: Organize files using virtual folders
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2017, 06:24:35 AM »
For the specific case of files on the windows desktop, Stardock Fences does some of the things you want.
Clipboard01.jpgOrganize files using virtual folders

wraith808

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Re: Organize files using virtual folders
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2017, 10:47:33 AM »
I just thought I'd resurrect this thread by asking the denizens of the DC forum if they knew whether the apparently "broken" native Windows Libraries feature has been fixed and now works "properly" in Windows 10 - or at least "well enough" so that the concept of VFs (Virtual Folders) could perhaps be fully implemented in practice, using either (say):
(a) Drag-and-drop, or
(b) (ideally) nested VF categories and files being "smart-filtered" - e.g., auto-assigned to relevant VF categories depending on the text strings in their filenames.

When you say 'broken' what do you mean?  What didn't work?

IainB

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Re: Organize files using virtual folders
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2017, 12:47:53 PM »
Sorry, "apparently broken" per @jeromg's comment (2012-09-22, 10:41:22) re searches on native Windows Libraries not working.
I'm not sure whether they are/were actually "broken", or if it wasn't Search that was broken. If native Windows Libraries were OK, then the solution to the requirement for VFs would be within our reach - I presume. Or maybe it's just too hard to use them easily/flexibly as VFs?

Separately, I recall the author of xplorer² commenting in the http://netez.com/bbs/ forum that Microsoft's implementation of Libraries was a seriously badly done hack, or something. I'm not sure how much this related to the difficulty Libraries presented to him as a developer. "Poorly-documented" was in there somewhere, as well, I recall.

When Google first introduced "Labels" for Google Drive, I was blown away by this easy creation of VFs. Suddenly, one could have a file that might appear in several different VFs (Labels). I mean, if Google could do it, then why the heck hadn't MS done it in the OS for the hard drive?
Then Google later essentially withdrew VF Labels, and turned the Labels into conventional logical folders (same as Windows folders), leaving links to those documents which had appeared in several VF Labels on Google Drive. At the same time, without a by-your-leave, Google messed with some of the files - e.g., turning them into proprietary Google docs.
All this seemed to indicate that VFs might have been simply "too much trouble".

What I would like is to be able to set up a VF parent called (say) "Vegetables", with subfolders (child VFs) called "Carrot", "Lettuce", "Cabbage", etc.
Any file with the tag [Carrot] would automatically go into the VF "Carrot", and be inherited by the parent VF, and so on for [Lettuce], etc.
If you dragged and dropped a file called "Foofile" into the VF "Carrot", then the tag [Carrot] would be inserted into the filename - now "Foofile [Carrot]" - and if that file was later dragged out of the VF "Carrot", then that tag would be automatically removed, whereas if you copied it into the VF "Cabbage", then that file would get an additional tag [Cabbage], so becoming "Foofile [Carrot] [Cabbage]".

Over a period of years, by dint of careful use of tags and Regex searches and a lot of tedious and meticulous file tag naming, @Armando has apparently managed to move in this general direction. It's all been done manually and/or in batch, but it seems to work OK despite any prevailing constraints.

wraith808

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Re: Organize files using virtual folders
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2017, 08:27:30 PM »
Sorry, "apparently broken" per @jeromg's comment (2012-09-22, 10:41:22) re searches on native Windows Libraries not working.
I'm not sure whether they are/were actually "broken", or if it wasn't Search that was broken. If native Windows Libraries were OK, then the solution to the requirement for VFs would be within our reach - I presume. Or maybe it's just too hard to use them easily/flexibly as VFs?

For me, it's the latter.  They work for me; I set it up for my wife as she doesn't 'use' the file system very efficiently, and I was trying to set up her back up plan.  I put OneDrive on an external drive, and wanted her to save her pictures and artifacts from photo shoots there.  I also back up that folder to the NAS.  But she'd forget, not be able to find it, etc.  So I set up a library to include it, and have it set to be the default place where her documents are saved, but also included her local documents in the library.  It's been working swimmingly.  But she doesn't search, so I'm not sure about that.

For me, it's a pain to set all that up, so I don't use it, as much as I'd like to.  I use tag spaces instead.

IainB

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Re: Organize files using virtual folders
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2017, 10:51:08 PM »
@wraith808: That's interesting...and IIRC  (when I last looked) tagspaces can't allow Libraries as "Locations" - it seems that it has to be a Windows Folder...
Hmm. So, maybe Libraries are a kinda kludge.