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loading different config files


by mouser's request, i am going to start a thread on this.  feel free to move it to feature requests if you want, administrators -- because it is a bigger issue, i thought it deserved it's own thread.  here is my original email to mouser.

i was thinking of a few ideas that would make find & run robot a bit more customizable (and would increase it's uses).  it would be ideal if i could use f&rr to find music, videos, and documents as well as a program launcher.  technically, it can already do this but so many search folders would really clutter results.  the best solution i can think of to this would be the ability to create new tabs that have separate configuration files.  so you could setup a tab tailored to finding music, programs, documents, folders, videos, images, source code, etc.  this would really expand f&rr for me (and i am sure others would benefit as well).  what do you think about this idea?

there may be many suggestions on how to switch between different configuration files.  above, i had suggested tabs.  it would be possible to do this a number of other ways (drop down lists, keyword prefixes, etc.).  ultimately, it all comes down to each user's preferences (each method is beneficial depending on circumstances).  so, eventually, it would not be a bad idea to implement multiple methods of switching config files (to be toggled in preferences).  but for a first version, i am in favor of tabs because they are the quickest visual method to select the seach type you want.  of course, i would eventually like to be able to have an option to keep tabs "on top" while the rest of the window can be hidden by other windows (or to "autohide" the main window).  that way, the window would stay out of the way until you clicked on a tab.  :)

also, i think it is important to have completely different configuration files for each type of search.  this will provide the most customizability and may become more important as features are added to f&rr.

what do you think about this as a simple way to get some of the same functionality with less drastic user interface changes.

what if we added a row of buttons on the top or bottom, that would be for like F1-F10.

each one of these would correspond to a different config file.  you could either push the button or hit F1-F10 (or alt- F1-F10 whatever),
and it would switch to highlight that button and load that config file.  you could also customize the labels of the buttons, so F1 could be music, F2 StartMenu, etc.  the currently selected slot would be colored differently so you could see which search you were currently on.

this would make it easy to select where to search using only keyboard, make it easy to identify what you were searching, and give you 10 slots or so for different config files you could alternate between. 

i agree with previous suggestion that we can kill the help button, since it shows up in options.

i'm kind of a fan of docking windows, but i'd like to skip it in F&R for now, just because i have some ideas of combining f&R with a docking launch bar and i'd rather not waste time on half-hearted measure to try to add docking to F&R.

i do think this idea of switching configuration files is more complicated than we are currently giving it credit for though.
the thing is, things like aliases are stored in the config file, so if you had some alias like "games", then you have to keep repeat it for all 10 config files if you wanted it to work in all 10 slots :(

thats the downside of having dif config files. and i think its a serious one.

alternatively we could use a single config file, but 10 difference  directory search lists; this would mean that the only thing you could customize differently for the different searches would be the directory and order of search, not search and scoring patterns.  im inclined to think thats better though.. do we really need separate pattern scoring?

having 10 different directory search lists would also probably be the easiest to implement, and the clearest in terms of usability/configurability.

there are def. tradeoffs whatever choice is made.

How about a simple commznd line switch, ie; ffr.exe/m to load a config file for music searches, or ffr.exe /j for jpegs, or whatever. You all must know by now That I'm no coder but  it may be possible to have a main config that doesn't change and append a certain search criteria at run time. or drag and drop support, drag a file type onto the window, and program searches for that type of file.

i think it would be best to be able to load separate config files.  things like pattern sorting *are* important especially when we start dealing with other filetypes like music, documents, shortcuts, images, etc.  for a quick example, in a music configuration, you would want to give *.mp3 a high score because you just want the music displayed (not album art or ather trash that may be lurking in forgotten folders).  giving *.mp3 a high score for other configurations would be a nuisance if you ever had a stray mp3 laying around.  i also think a separate config file would allow for the most upgradeability for future unforseen features.  aliases should be universal and apply to all configurations.  in other words, aliases should be customized in the general program options not the configuration options.

i can live with using a button bar rather than tabs.  in fact, that would work just fine  :)

i like the idea of loading config files by commandline.  in fact, the button bar could be a separate prog entirely that just passes on commandlines to F&RR and shows a "depressed" button for the actively loaded config file.  i think the F&RR titlebar should also show the currently loaded config name for easy identification.  the button bar may even have other possibilities if it were written to be non-specific.  for example, the options for button 1 would be:

name: programs
hotkey: F1
commandline: C:\Program Files\Find and Run Robot\FindAndRunRobot.exe -Programconfig.ini
depressed trigger:  windowname "Programconfig" (if a window exists with name "Programconfig" then the button will appear depressed)

the button bar would at least be potentially functional for another use...  and it would leave the F&RR code a little cleaner.  i guess the tradeoff is ease of use.

I think it's a cool idea, I'm just a little leary about using "hotkeys" to load the different configs... right now, I use the function keys for my media player and they are global.  So long as the hotkeys are customizable I dont think there would be any problem!



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