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Author Topic: IDEA: File collection manager  (Read 3260 times)

garbanzo

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IDEA: File collection manager
« on: December 09, 2014, 05:41:01 PM »
I would love to help fund a program lets users a) create "collections" of files which are accessed by a tree-view panel on the left side of the screen, and b) associate metadata with those files by creating and populating user-definable columns of data in the main window.

For example, you could create a collection called "movies" and tell the app to look in two different folders on your computer for files to add to that collection. Once the files are in the collection, they show up in the main window in a view that mirrors Explorer's "details" view. From here, users can right-click the column header and choose "add column". You could add one called "release year" or one called "genre" or one called "director". You could then populate these fields in-line, and the program would associate that data with the appropriate file, storing everything in XML files or some other database. These custom columns would be specific to each collection, so if I chose a collection called "comics" from the tree panel on the left, I would see different custom columns than if I chose "research papers". The columns would all be sortable, and double-clicking a file would open it with the system-defined software.

That's all there is to the interface - a nested tree-view on the left where collections can be sorted into folders, and a file view in the main window with definable columns of data. A simple toolbar or menu could let you add/remove collections, choose folders, add files, etc.

As for similar software, there's stuff out there, but it all specializes in specific kinds of files. Foobar lets you do this for music, and there are apps that do it for comics, for videos, for ebooks, for retro video game roms, and so forth. But they're all specialist programs that also bring in data scrapers and file launchers and cover art and all the rest. This program would forgo all of that in favor of simplicity and flexibility.

I don't know what it would take to create such a thing, but if anyone is interested in giving it a shot, I would be happy to throw some $$ at it. It's something that, if done right, I can imagine myself using on a daily basis.

Thanks for reading!

Ath

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Re: IDEA: File collection manager
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2014, 01:41:04 AM »
I think you should have a look at Data Crow

garbanzo

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Re: IDEA: File collection manager
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2014, 06:09:42 AM »
Thanks for the tip. That looks like it's about 20 different apps mashed together into one - a jack of all trades and master of none. It's precisely the opposite of the simple management system I'm after...

Here's the closest thing I can find to illustrate my idea. It's a simple disk catalog software with a tree view on the left and a list view on the right. The big difference here is that the file details in the list view are provided by the system - in the software requested here, they are provided by the user.

adc_s.gif
« Last Edit: December 10, 2014, 07:33:11 AM by garbanzo »

superboyac

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Re: IDEA: File collection manager
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2014, 09:34:45 AM »
Hey...Data crow is pretty nice!

40hz

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Re: IDEA: File collection manager
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2014, 11:08:53 AM »
That looks like it's about 20 different apps mashed together into one - a jack of all trades and master of none.

Am I missing something? To my mind that seems to be pretty much what you're asking for. Except in this case, you want a single jack-of-all-trades app that's master of none. Truth is, with a database, there's no such thing as a "simple" solution. Or a universal one either. :)

wraith808

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Re: IDEA: File collection manager
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2014, 11:29:02 AM »
That looks like it's about 20 different apps mashed together into one - a jack of all trades and master of none.

Am I missing something? To my mind that seems to be pretty much what you're asking for. Except in this case, you want a single jack-of-all-trades app that's master of none. Truth is, with a database, there's no such thing as a "simple" solution. Or a universal one either. :)

I think the he's looking for the same thing that I've been looking for.  Thankfully, I was able to find something for pdfs.

What he's looking for is something that will attach to the file system and allow you to catalog them in place.

What I use (for pdfs/books) is Alfa eBooks Manager.  Datacrow is *only* for the information- it doesn't seem to link to the file (or at least it didn't when I looked at it).  Others (Calibre) do it.. but insist on managing your files in their structure.

What he'd want is something that allowed you to link to files in place, and then tag them.  I've thought about making my own... but it's decently intensive software to code, and after I found my solution, there was no cause to doing it.

40hz

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Re: IDEA: File collection manager
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2014, 11:53:25 AM »
@ Wraith - Thx. I guess I didn't completely understand. But wouldn't some of the more powerful third-party file managers let you do that?

wraith808

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Re: IDEA: File collection manager
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2014, 11:57:16 AM »
@ Wraith - Thx. I guess I didn't completely understand. But wouldn't some of the more powerful third-party file managers let you do that?

Sort of... but not really.  And they're in a general purpose file manager.  By default, you see everything.  I only want to see those things that I add.  I have DOpus and XYPlorer, and though they have collections, they're just not as easy IMO as what I envision.

from the FAQ for alfa:

Quote
What ebook formats does Alfa Ebooks Manager support?
Please, pay attention, that Alfa Ebook Manager is the software for managing ebooks, but not for reading ebooks. It can link ANY ebook file to a book in the database. It supports ALL ebook formats in Scan operation and can retrieve metadata from PDF, MOBI, AZW, MP3, FB2, LRF, EPUB, DJVU, TXT, CHM, HTML files. It allows to edit metadata in PDF, EPUB, MOBI, AZW, FB2 files.


hamradio

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Re: IDEA: File collection manager
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2014, 12:30:17 PM »
XYplorer has paper folders as of v14.30.0100 and later -> Xyplorer 14.30 notes...

From the link I gave...

"Paper Folders can be used just like normal folders in virtually all contexts in XYplorer: You can bookmark them, search them, filter them, branch view them, tag their items, generate reports on them, copy their stuff, paste stuff into them, drag stuff into them, color their contents, customize their icons, cache their thumbnails, show custom columns for them, save their folder view settings, etc."
Carroll - HamRadioUSA.net

garbanzo

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Re: IDEA: File collection manager
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2014, 12:43:43 PM »
wraith808 gets it  :)

I do use a powerful file manager already (Directory Opus) and it does have a "collections" feature much like Windows' "libraries", but it doesn't have the level of metadata support that I need.

Think of a library-based music player like foobar, Music Bee, Media Monkey, or any other. They catalog your files, keep track of metadata, and act as a front-end to your collection. The proposed app would do the same thing, but for any files on your computer. Create collections, add metadata, browse/sort/launch.

But I've realized this project is probably too big for this site, so I've put a request up at a freelance site and am already getting proposals. Which isn't to say someone here can't take this on - I'm happy to work with anyone who is enthusiastic about the project! I'm just anxious to fund the project see it through to completion.

Thanks!

wraith808

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Re: IDEA: File collection manager
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2014, 02:07:23 PM »
XYplorer has paper folders as of v14.30.0100 and later -> Xyplorer 14.30 notes...

From the link I gave...

"Paper Folders can be used just like normal folders in virtually all contexts in XYplorer: You can bookmark them, search them, filter them, branch view them, tag their items, generate reports on them, copy their stuff, paste stuff into them, drag stuff into them, color their contents, customize their icons, cache their thumbnails, show custom columns for them, save their folder view settings, etc."

I know about these, and talked about them above.  It just doesn't give the level of ease or functionality something devoted to the job does.

But I've realized this project is probably too big for this site, so I've put a request up at a freelance site and am already getting proposals. Which isn't to say someone here can't take this on - I'm happy to work with anyone who is enthusiastic about the project! I'm just anxious to fund the project see it through to completion.

Not necessarily too big- but you have to really get it and be driven to do it- or be paid for it.

Out of curiosity, what freelance site did you use?

garbanzo

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Re: IDEA: File collection manager
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2014, 04:21:27 PM »
I posted it on Elance. I plan to leave it up at least through the weekend until I decide which developer to work with.

wraith808

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Re: IDEA: File collection manager
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2014, 04:38:32 PM »
I posted it on Elance. I plan to leave it up at least through the weekend until I decide which developer to work with.

I'd be... careful.  Having done work at similar sites, their procedures for escrow and payment and management of the project can leave a little to be desired.  And in general, you don't find out until you're in the project.  But I haven't worked on that one in particular, so I can't give first hand experience with it.

garbanzo

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Re: IDEA: File collection manager
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2014, 04:49:35 PM »
Thanks for the warning. I'm aware that I'll have to put the money in escrow, and they accept PayPal so I have protection.

I would rather someone from here dive in, but if I don't get any takers, then that's that :)

IainB

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Re: IDEA: File collection manager
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2014, 09:40:02 PM »
Interesting request in the OP.
I just happened to stumble upon something called WildReplace only yesterday that I thought looked rather nifty but I couldn't see that I would necessarily have a need for it. Then I saw this post today and wondered whether WildReplace might fit the bill:
CyLog Software - WildReplace
Quote
WildReplace v0.99d (beta)
©2003-2008 CyLog Software

WildReplace is a search & replace tool that lets you searh for files on your disks and presents the results in a folder tree highlighting the folders and files that have been found. Most programs of its kind display a plain list of results; WildReplace presents the information by mainting the folder structure of your disk, and highlighting the folders that contain files that have matched your search criteria.

You can search for files using many different search options (file attributes, size, date/time, contents). For example, you can search for files that are read/only and contain a matching phrase (works with both Text and Binary files), or for files that have been modified in the last few days and they have a certain size. Any combination of search terms is allowed.

WildReplace can also replace text on files, a feature that is really very powerful but should be treated with care. WildReplace can create backups of modified files, delete files that match your search criteria or move all matching files to a new location while preserving the same folder structure.

WildReplace is now in public beta but is in fully working condition.
__________________________________
Undeveloped since 2008? It's maybe a bit old.
Today I decided that I shall just have to download it and put it through its paces to see for myself - from wrep099d.zip

UPDATE 2014-12-17 0613hrs: Not bad. It shows a useful nested directory structure of only those files that meet the search criteria. However, it doesn't do what the OP wants - e.g., provide a details type of view with selected columns.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2014, 11:22:13 AM by IainB, Reason: Update. »