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Last post Author Topic: Feature Request Thread  (Read 17660 times)

mouser

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Feature Request Thread
« on: June 02, 2005, 09:39:35 PM »
Let's put feature requests here.

i'll start with the feature requests in to f&r todo list:

when set to display relative path, display parent path if the relative path is \
separate words should act as AND searches rather than phrases
search patterns on full paths and extensions?
add scripts
add heuristic points for recent access based on access date stamps
get list of recently run apps from system
checkboxes to choose columns in details mode
add general hotkey support
Folder name searching
Ability to use \ to specify dir name pattern (so graph\photo would match graphics\photoshop)..
Ability to specify an extension with a . (so photo.exe would match photoshop.exe)
Ability to drag files from the box outward from app into other program
ability to right click and get normal shell context menu
Customizable sound effect when launching?
Right click to add current item to an alias.
Speed up loading of ini files.
Add toolbar for custom icons
add ability to specify custom file browser + internet browser
Improve icon

mouser

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2005, 09:57:03 PM »
regarding previous requests for some kind of ability to open web pages or conduct google searches.

i was thinking i could expand the functionality of the alias list to allow such things, by saying that if the first word matches an alias,
then any remaining words would be treated as arguments that could be referred to on commandline launch of alias.

so for example you could define the alias "go"
with commandline: "C:\program files\internet explorer\iexplorer.exe %args%"

then if you typed into the box:
go www.donationcoder.com

it would launch
"C:\program files\internet explorer\iexplorer.exe %args%"

you could use the same exact approach to add an alias to conduct google searches.

the only other thing i can think of that might be nice to add to that is
maybe an ability to specify a mask to match the arguments

so that you could create an alias called "go"
and it would trigger a different commandline depending on whether the arguments that follow start with "http" or not.

kfitting

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2005, 10:32:30 AM »
Woohoo, feature requests! Quick comment: isnt "\" already in use to search for a number?  Incidentally, the latest version (1.15.16, I believe) is fully functional and I havent noticed problems with it!  Awesome awesome awesome program!

Kevin

Scott

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2005, 03:51:24 PM »
I was going to post this until I saw it here already:

Quote
ability to right click and get normal shell context menu

That would be awesome.  :)
« Next Edit: Tomorrow at 12:13:47 AM by Scott »

mouser

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2005, 04:11:46 PM »
being able to righ click to get normal shell extension is definitely planned (youll see it in todo list in help file alread).

kfitting you are right about \, we'll have to figure out how to solve that.

in addition to the posts here i've talkedwith cracksloth (and before that kfitting) over email about a whole bunch of new features which are great ideas.. (forum is always better so others can comment!)

one thing that does occur to me though, and it holds for the ideas in the forum about tabs and different config files, is that F&R is being torn between two purposes,

one is as a tiny fast keyboard application LAUNCHER.
the other is as a file search tool.

these are somewhat conflicted purposes.

in the first case, being able to do everything from keyboard is key, and one wants a small window, and wont be switching between configuration files, etc.

in the second case, when using as a file searcher (and i note that are tons of file searchers already, so i give this second priority), its not so important if user needs to use mouse - whats more desirable is flexible use of results (hence right-click contextmenu, drag&drop, etc.)
and as i understand it, what users are interested in F&R as a file searcher is to be able to more efficiently search for common stuff.
so in this case would be nice to be able to quickly select from some preset kinds of searches (ie tabs for mp3s. etc).

i think its important to remember that F&R's main purpose is the first case, to be used as a launcher.
i'm definitely open to thinking about ways to make it useful as a search tool, but only if these can be done without infringing on its functionality as a launcher.

i was thinking that one way to do this would be to have an optional panel at the bottom that you could toggle on and off.
this panel would be a mini file browser, such that when you clicked on a found result, it would jump to that location in the mini file browser panel, where you could do normal file operations, etc.

this panel could also include buttons for quick-loading of different configuration files for different settings/directories..

cracksloth

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2005, 05:06:43 AM »
okay, let me discuss some ideas mouser and i have been throwing around.  f&rr is great at what it does and it approaches the situation in a unique way that would be applicable to other situations.  currently, it's primary use is to search through shortcuts and provide intelligent results based on a keyword.  in actuality, there is nothing that restricts this usage to program shortcuts.  f&r could also be used to find other types of files as well with virtually no impact on its current use.  imagine wanting to play all music in your collection by Gomez.  or finding your thesis from 2 years ago about all those smoking monkeys.  or digging up your CV/resume on the spot when you need it.  or quickly starting a movie from your collection just by typing in a few letters.  or pulling up all your pictures that you took in germany.  you get the idea.  essentially anything can be found within f&r.  the best way to do this would be to be able to load different configuration files for each type of search.  for example, the mp3 config file would specify:
  - the location of your mp3 folders,
  - how you want those files rated,
  - and how you want those results displayed.
there has been a great deal of discussion as to how would be the best way to switch between these different configurations.  possibilities include:
  - tabs
  - a button bar
  - commandline
  - a drop down list
obviously, the commandline would be the most non-impact way to accomplish this.  it has the advantage of being accessible from a number of different methods (scripting, shortcuts, 3rd party programs, etc.).  the best use of the commandline is that users could setup an alias with all available configurations.  hence, no additional gui is even necessary.  i think the commandline option currently gets my vote because it is the easiest to implement and would leave more time for "serious" coding.  down the line, alternate methods of switching configurations could be implemented if users request it.

if users use f&r to find files like shortcuts, documents, music, images, videos, etc. then it would be nice to be able to do more than simply launching a single result.  in an example above, i mentioned searching for all music by "Gomez".  f&r can find files quite well but once they are found, your options are limited.  the best way around this is to implement the explorer right-click context menu.  this will allow you to:
  - select all of the results and queue them up in winamp
  - adjust their id3 tags
  - delete that song you just heard
  - open a file in a non-default program
  - rotate an image 90 degrees
honestly, you can do pretty much anything to the file.  it is limited only by the shell extensions you have installed.  this is a confirmed feature so it will be implemented.  this ability to manipulate search results will make f&r very powerful.

what has already been discussed above should be top priority before worrying about the rest of what i am going to say.

okay, as we've already mentioned, the configuration files specify what to display in the f&r window.  imagine being able to specify things other than a traditional search.  in my opinion, it would be terribly useful to be able to display a mini file browser in f&r (displaying the contents of a folder).  i am sure everyone who reads this uses directory structure to organize some file collections, whether that be music, documents, images, shortcuts, etc.  sometimes, folder organization is the best way to organize files.  for example, what if i wanted to:
  - see all new files in my "incoming" folder
  - see what was in my "recent documents"
  - access to the control panel
  - show the contents of my mp3 player
  - display my quicklaunch folder
  - organize and delete obsolete shortcuts in my start menu
  - see some photos i placed in my "2004" folder
  - or...  well, you get the idea
the mini file browser would be a great complement to f&r.  it is useful for quick file operations and to have quick access to any type of file that you have organized into folders (traditional searching by keyword would not be adequate).  it would allow users to easily and efficiently delete, rearrange, and drag files into and out
of the minibrowser (like a regular instance of explorer).  this is useful for quick and dirty management of documents, music, and shortcuts.  luckily, this mini file browser is not as difficult to implement as one might imagine because it is possible to tie into the explorer engine for file display and file operations.  the only thing that is needed is a small toolbar for back/forward, parent, and favorites.  since, the minibrowser would only be loaded if specified in a config file, then this again would not impact the traditional user interface of f&r at all.  if you do not use this feature then you will never see it.  please note that this idea is slightly different than the idea of an attached file browser panel...  and in my opinion, preferrable  :)

as an added bonus of using the explorer engine, it would be possible for users to display web pages in f&r as well.  some of you may be shaking your heads as this being unnecessary but i only mention it because the ability would be added automatically simply by virtue of using explorer.  but, if a user wanted, they could create a favorite to their webmail for quick checking.  users could check the local weather or movie listings.  you could even play a quick flash game when the boss isn't looking.  i would be most likely to use a tool like "amazing portal generator" to create a small launch portal to my most frequent sites.  the program is found here:
http://www.rtgsoftware.com/apg/
users could create their own html page which could accomplish virtually anything limited only by their skill.  we could even start a repository of useful html pages created and submitted by users.  even if you don't like the idea, at least it is an added bonus of using explorer to make the minibrowser.

so although this sounds like a big feature, it should not be all that difficult or time consuming to implement.

so, in short, the ideas we have been talking about will have *no* affect on the f&r user interface (except the right-click menu but i think everyone likes that idea).  so for people who like things the way they are, nothing will change but for the more adventuresome power users, there is an *incredible* increase in what you can do with f&r.  so f&r is not being torn between two purposes, it can embrace both.  you would simply be using the searching capabilities that already exist for broader purposes.

i am *king* of long posts!


-cracksloth



p.s.  mouser, please disregard some of the advanced configuration features i explained in the email.  they are unnecessary if a minibrowser is implemented and would probably just over-complicate things.  if you want, when i have time i will re-edit it a bit to be more clear.

kfitting

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2005, 06:47:45 AM »
Very interesting ideas... FindRun is turning more into FindExplorer!  I dont see this as an inherently bad thing, especially since, as you say, it would have little impact on the current look/feel of the player.  One question, and I'm just trying to clarify something here, cant we already just search mp3 files by typing something like "*Gomez*.mp3"?  This may be limited compared to what you are talking about (minibrowser aside), I'm just trying to understand more what you are trying to add. 

That being said, an idea just jumped into my head: what about adding regular expression support to FindRun?  If we go The Way of the MiniBrowser, we can have multiple search "hits" and do act with all of them so this seems like a great idea... how easy it is to add, I dont know!

Two concerns with the minibrowser.  While I think it is an interesting idea and should definitely be considered, I am a little worried that it would change the GUI of the standard FindRun.  So long as there is a way to turn it off, no problem!  Also, I think that intentions will have to be fleshed out extremely well.  This minibrowser will have some but not all functionality of explorer (unless you are thinking of putting a tree pane and file pane in it).  Also, many people use third party apps for a file browser specifically so they can use cool little things that arent in Win Explorer.  FindRun couldnt emulate these other programs' useful features (and probably shouldnt try to).  I dont believe this is a showstopper, just something that needs to be decided up front so users dont start getting fanciful ideas of all the wonderful and magical things they believe FindRunMiniBrowser will be able to do! 

Let the discussion continue...

Kevin

cracksloth

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2005, 12:47:15 PM »
okay, in a nutshell, the features that have been discussed are:
  - allowing the user to load config files by the commandline (this would require some internal changes to f&rr but would not impact the user experience)
  - allowing a right-click explorer context menu
  - allowing users to load a mini file browser as a configuration.

so these three things are all i mentioned.  most of the bulk was explaining what makes them useful and how they could be implemented.

as you mentioned, kfitting, users can already use f&r to search for other filetypes (like mp3s).  but this is problematic because if you configured f&r to look in *every* folder that you have files of interest in, it would really clutter you results.  for example, if i wanted to load miranda the great IM program, it would also return results for the "miranda child's french cookery" episodes i have recorded.  as well as mp3s of my favorite band, "Miranda's Death Scream"...  these are all fake btw but hopefully you get the point.  :)  by being able to load config files, we can custom tailor config files for different types of searching.  the "music" config will only return relevant results for music.  the documents config will only return results relevant results.  the existing config for searching for programs would also remain uncluttered with irrelevant results.  the great part about it is that no one *has* to create multiple configs if they are happy with things the way they are and f&r will completely remain as it was.

now, let's discuss the mini file browser.  it may be useful to think of configurations as plugins.  i can load a configuration with a search plugin (the traditional method).  or i can choose to load the mini file browser plugin.  who knows, eventually, it may be possible to write your own plugins for showing a simple calendar or a mail checker or whatever.  (mouser, if you made these plugins, you could more easily integrate them into your sidebar idea later on).  the point is that any new configuration plugins (like the minibrowser) do *not* impact the regular search configuration at all.  out of the box, f&r will appear the same way.  *users* create the new configurations and *they* choose whether they want the option to load a mini browser.  so, to recap, the minibrowser is optional and *does not* impact the main GUI (at least the way i have described it).  also, it is important to remember that the mini browser is just that...  mini.  it is not intended to be a full file manager replacement.  it *is* designed to get you quick access to various parts of your directory structure and will allow *some* quick and dirty file management.  but mostly it exists for displaying files that are already nicely organized so that you can load them.  it is more of a feature of file access than file manipulation.

kfittin, you mentioned:
Quote
an idea just jumped into my head: what about adding regular expression support to FindRun?  If we go The Way of the MiniBrowser, we can have multiple search "hits" and do act with all of them so this seems like a great idea... how easy it is to add, I dont know!
i am not sure i fully understand this, could you go into a little more detail?  what do you mean by "regular expression support"?

-cracksloth

kfitting

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2005, 01:21:30 PM »
I agree with you about config files, I think they would be useful, but for right now you can simulate searching for things like this.  Obviously, config files allow you to do some cool things, I just wanted to be sure I understood what you meant! 

Regular expressions are similar to wildcards.  Currently, you can use "*" to mean any number of characters in a filename.  In my example above, *Gomez*.mp3 will find any mp3 with the word Gomez in the filename.  *.mp3 would find ALL mp3 files.  Regular expressions allow you to go farther than just * or ? (single character) and allow you to specify a number or group of numbers, one, two, or three characters etc.  Basically just a more feature rich implementation of wildcards.  however, with the power regular expressions bring, they also bring a fair amount of complexity.  For a decent explanation (and a look at how complex things can get) go to http://www.bulkrenam...ms/viewtopic.php?t=5.  The cool thing about regular expressions is you can use them... or not!  Power users can keep their search broad while narrowing it (paradoxical?).  Novices can play around a little, and complete newbies can avoid them altogether.  I personally do not know how to use them, mainly because not many programs support them.  However, if FindRun goes the way of the minibrowser, people will eventually begin looking for more than one match (the current intention of FindRun)to a particular search.  You, for example, may be looking for an entire album of mp3's from Miss Miranda, or all files that match this expression [a-e][ ](Mid)*.rtf, which would match all rich text files about "A Midsummer's Night Dream (I think, as I said, I am a novice to regular expressions... but I would like to learn!). 

As I said, regular expressions are complex and I dont know how easy it would be to implement.  I've only used them to batch rename files (that's how I found the link above) and while I dont use them often even then, they are EXTREMELY handy in the correct circumstances.  Those are my thoughts, have fun

kevin

cracksloth

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2005, 01:51:15 PM »
ahhh...  advanced wildcards.  me likey.

mouser

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2005, 04:57:18 PM »
this is getting interesting..

cracksloth, lol still can't say that name with a straight face :), can you explain a little more how you view the mini file explorer being shown?

i'm confused as to how it would integrate with the current window?  are we saying that we would still have only 1 results window, but now it would be a mini file browser?  how would it show 10 results from different locations?

or are we talking about my idea where you would have a mini file browser docked to the bottom of the main window which would jump to the location of the clicked item?

regeular expressions aren't hard to add, there are some good free libraries for them.. but they would slow down search quite a bit when used.

doesn't it seem like all these ideas are suggesting a separate program, a file searcher? which regex support, support for searching inside files, etc.? aren't there already good free tools for this?  or should this be a separate product?

kfitting

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2005, 07:23:23 PM »
I see it both ways mouser, and personally, I think it's up to you.  On the one hand it does seem somewhat natural to extend FindRun's capabilities with a minibrowser et al.  However, I can also see where this may be going against what you had in mind at the beginning.  Here are my thoughts about some of these features:

- I think it would be kind of neat to see different config files made available (perhaps tabs with shortcuts [alt-1, or something] would be the easiest). 

- Also, I think it would cool to be able to have a list of extensions that are allowed.  Currently, you can say which extensions arent allowed, but this requires tedious entry of the many extensions one has on their computer! 

- Also, It would be handy to have the option to select multiple files to open (rather than the one we have now). 

- And, to extend this further, if you allow multiple selections, regular expressions would be nice, since being able to filter results like that would make up for a fair amount of increased time.

However, is it worth putting a whole filebrowser on?  Dont know!  I can see benefits, I can see your arguments.  Personally, FindRun, in its latest variation, has reached usability for me.  Any further enhancements are merely icing on the cake (so long as no major bugs are added, heh heh!).  Sure there are tweaks here and there that would be nice but... it's a slick, unbloated, handy, fast, cheap, and an awesome little program all in one!  Your program, your features,

Kevin

mouser

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2005, 08:42:58 PM »
as for extensions, i think you should be able to type .mp3 in search window to restrict search to those with .mp3 extensions.

it would be relatively easy (and easy to toggle on and off) the use of a panel under main window which was a mini file brower with full right click menu, drag and drop, etc. and i think that approach might yield the biggest pay off in functionality for the least amount of work, and the least impact on main gui...


cracksloth

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2005, 10:04:18 PM »
okay, i have attached two mock screenshots.  the first one should be familiar.  it reflects how f&r could look after these changes we talked about.  there is no difference except that i took the liberty of changing the titlebar to reflect the currently loaded config file (called "Document Search.frr").  the config file is telling the f&r window to display the search "plugin" (the search plugin is good for launching programs or finding documents or listing music just depending on how it is configured).  the second mock screenshot is how f&r would look if a config file called "Minibrowser.frr" is loaded.  this config file tells f&r to load the mini browser plugin.  by virtue of being explorer, it would also be possible for the mini browser plugin to also show a website (if any users find this useful).

i think this method of displaying the minibrowser is much better than attaching it to the bottom of f&r.  by pressing home, users would visit the folder containing the config files (*.frr).  by double clicking one, the user could switch back to any other configuration.

like i said, this way would create minimal impact on f&r yet it would increase its usability.  it is important to keep in mind that f&r is *already* a search utility.  multiple configs would just allow users to search for filetypes other than shortcuts.  i really hope that it is maintained within the same tool rather than splitting it up because there is so much overlap between the functions, i would hate to have two programs loaded.

anyway, just my 2 cents... err..  buck fifty


-cracksloth

mouser

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2005, 11:38:59 PM »
first let me say how much i appreciate the work put into making mock screenshots, it really does help..

but from the mini browser screenshot, im a little confused how it would be used.
it just shows a window showing contents of a specific directory? and you can select directories from the dropdown combo box? there is no search functionality in this mode?

in other words, so if you launch f&r in minibrowser mode, is there ANY functionality from the normal f&r?  aliases etc? there is no place to type any search as i understand it.. im just a bit confused as to how this mini browser has any functionality related to f&r..
« Last Edit: June 12, 2005, 11:41:16 PM by mouser »

mouser

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2005, 11:42:56 PM »
maybe you are saying that the minibrowser is really a completely different kind of thing than f&r but it shares the same idea of quickly popping up to help you view/locate stuff you want.. so in your minibrowser you really are interested in having a list of "favorite" locations or html files that can easily be selected for further operation?

mouser

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2005, 11:48:40 PM »
Quote
- Also, I think it would cool to be able to have a list of extensions that are allowed.  Currently, you can say which extensions arent allowed, but this requires tedious entry of the many extensions one has on their computer! 


you can set scores for patterns, either positive or negative.  by putting a high positive score on *.mp3, you will basically get all mp3 files listed at top

cracksloth

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2005, 12:34:53 AM »
you are correct, the minibrowser has no search functions (the normal search plugin is best suited for that).  the minibrowser is simply for displaying files that are already well organized using folders (documents, music, images, shortcuts, etc.).  this would make f&r a central location for gaining access to files of any type (either by searching by keyword or if you already know the location by using the minibrowser).  so the ideas of searching and browsing are not completely unrelated.  they both are for reaching into your harddrive and pulling something out - finding some files is best achieved by searching by keyword, other files are more easily found by directly browsing to them.  f&r would become the one stop location for accessing files.  and like i said, the minibrowser is very simple so it is easier to implement than having all those search functions built in.  however, it would be nice to be able to call an alias.

-cracksloth

mouser

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2005, 01:03:30 AM »
ok i think i see where you are coming from now..
i use a file explorer replacement (directory opus) which has a favorites menu, and i guess i would be inclined to use such a full featured file explorer replacement for viewing favorite folders.. that's my only problem.  f&r is never going to be able to compete with such tools..

i can see that what you are wanting makes some sense.. i'm just trying to figure out how to make sense of it as part of f&r..  i definitely here the argument that you want to be able to search for different things..
i'm resisting the idea of different configuration files just because some things dont seem to make sense to be separate (ie aliases - you really dont want to have different alias sets, and keeping them all in sync accross 10 config files would be a nightmare).  i suppose i could use like a main config and a search config..

this is tricky.

mouser

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2005, 01:28:43 AM »
one thing you can do that is a bit closer to what you want regarding the mini browser is..
you can already specify folders in an alias.
drag and drop recurses folders so its not helpfull (i could fix this)
but if you specify a list of folders in an alias, and then type that alias,
you will get your list of folders, and clicking any of them will open them in windows explorer.

this is kind of close to what you are suggestings with the minibrowser, except it launches windows explorer.
one thing we could do is add a tab called "custom openers"
which would let you specify a program to use to open each type of file/folder, regardless of the default program you have registered for each file extension.  this would let you specify a custom file browser, html viewer, etc...

i see also that the new re-capture behavior is causing some annoying behavior when you try to launch something or view help.. f&r insists or recapturing focus... perhaps this re-capture behavior should be disabled in certain cases..

cracksloth

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2005, 03:53:24 AM »
the minibrowser would *not* be used as a file manager replacement.  it is simply so that you can have quick access to files that you deal with everyday without having to launch a file manager.  it is not designed to compete with full-fledged file managers.  just like it is nice to have quick access to files on the desktop, it is helpful to have access to files in other locations and, if necessary, perform some quick file manipulations (launch, delete, rename, etc.).  all of these functions would be available from explorer's right-click context menu.

as for configuration files...  it would be necessary to have some general program options that are separate from the configuration files (such as aliases).  aliases should be kept in the general program options so that they apply to all configurations.  one of the original emails i sent broke down what type of features would be found in a config file and which features would be found in general program options.  it is a little outdated now but should still be helpful - originally, i wanted to combine folder based navigation into the existing results window but now i believe a minibrowser would be easier to implement, easier to understand by users, and would open up more applications of f&r.

-cracksloth

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2005, 12:23:06 AM »
just to keep everyone updated - i haven't started work on the new features of f&r - i'm still working on cheat sheeter, and i'm cogitating on all these ideas in preparation for a round of serious work on f&r.

mouser

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2005, 04:13:41 AM »
i'd like to hear suggestions for adding "commands" to F&R.

here is one way we could do it that would be really flexible.
we could have a tab called "Commands"
where you could specify a regular expression, and then a program (or script) to execute based on a match.

so for example you could do like this:

"go (www\.*)" -> "firefox.exe http://$1"

something like that, which would say, if user ever types anything like "go www.google.com" or "go www.amazong.com" it would load the page in the browser.

regular expression support would make it quite flexible i think, and not very difficult to implement.

any other ideas?

nudone

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2005, 04:34:25 AM »
good idea.

just wondering if you could implement it so that you wouldn't have to type in the www. and the .com bit?

in other words, it would behave like the address bar features found in browsers when you can simple type "google" and then hit 'ctrl+enter' and the www. and the .com are added automatically.

maybe an override feature would prevent the www. and the .com automatically being added, say, if you typed "go www.google.co.uk" instead of simply "go google".

how lazy am i?

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Re: Feature Request Thread
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2005, 04:55:00 AM »
well this was my point about regex
you could easily customize it any way you wanted, right?

although it might be easier to add a special function to help correct urls.