Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum
I don't believe that Apple wants to reveal the file system on iOS -- they want to reveal less of the file system. For example, ~/Library is hidden in OS X Lion.
Originally Posted by Marvin
I think to some extent that's true but the "All My Files" default in Lion is quite telling and ties in with what you are saying about metadata. I think they understand that files need to exist independently of applications but don't want to impose the burden of file management on the user so they are trying to figure out how to do it cleanly.
An application-centric filesystem won't work forever because it's not something you can bring to a desktop environment and the more that files build up, the harder it is to control.
Apple already has a mini filesystem browser for certain media types, which can be seen in iMovie for the iPad - skip to 3:30:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KL3PslgN4Mw
You can see an issue straight away and that is that when you have so much media, you have to scroll through hundreds of items every single time to open a file. Not only that, you can't reference movie clips by name so you have to search every time. The range-based key wording in FCPX would help here of course but requires you to do tag management i.e pick unique keywords.
A hierarchy gives you some help in that every single file must have a unique location but managing this on a touch device would need planning.
I like the media browser in iOS and if it had a documents area, that would help cover other file types e.g eps vector files. But to stop it getting out of hand, I think they need another layer. Something like 'projects' where you can group multiple data types together. This way if you work on a movie, you can create a project metadata entity on its own independent of an app e.g 'Holiday in Italy'. Then you can tag footage with this project id along with your photos and possibly music that you think will suit.
In iMovie, you'd then be able to narrow down your metadata by project so that it's nowhere near as tedious to search through files. Multiple select would help though so you don't have to tag items one by one and this can be done with tap-hold like in Mail.
Ha! I was going to use FCPX to illustrate that Apple appears to be experimenting with "hiding" the file system...
But my post was getting too long, lunch was ready...
Here're are my unposted comments:
What Apple appears to be doing is repurposing the file system by:
1) identifying files by when they were created -- regardless of what they are, every file has a creation date.
2) organizing files into "smart collections" -- where the files are categorized by metadata (names, keywords, content) -- regardless of where the files are actually stored or which Apps are used to create and manipulate them.
3) providing efficient, intuitive means of locating and accessing the files -- without needing to know or care how the OS's file system handles them
Let's see if an example helps:
If you've used iPhoto, you've, likely, used Events, Places and Faces.
-- Events are based on the date/time the photo was taken (camera metadata), the date the picture file was imported, and/or manual entry of dates, and/or msnusl combining or splitting of events.
-- Places, similarly, are based on metadata (when available) or manual categorization.
-- Face identity is a manual operation with the application assisting -- first by identifying what it think are the faces in a picture, then by suggest that a face in a picture may be a certain person (based on how you have manually categorized previous faces).
This is great within iPhoto --- you can find all the pictures of "Lucy" from "1997" in "Tucson".
Wouldn't it be great if you could just "spotlight search" for that -- well you can... but you won't find anything useful (an XML file, if you're lucky).
The problem is that much of the metadata belongs to the app not the file system -- it is unavailable outside of iPhoto.
Now, FCPX has a richer, more robust example -- though it, too is within the app, rather than within the file system
I also used a video to illustrate using a [potential] file system of the future:
It is totally FCPX, so you have to mentally abstract the video to apply to files, their content, the file system in general -- and, most importantly how do you get to the stuff you want... quickly and easily.
Have a look (I'll show you mine if you show me yours) at:MacBreak Studio: Episode 129 - Projects, Events & Importing in FCPX
I was going to try to find a point to start watching... But the whole thing is worthwhile.
What it shows is that the computer can do some very heaving lifting helping the user categorize files (in this case video) by analyzing them and creating metadata and smart collections -- providing the user easy access.
While you are importing files [video] from a camera:
1) you can start working with them immediately (before they are imported
2) in the background the file system can examine and the files and generate metadata and smart collections
3) things analyzed and identified are:
-- videos needing color adjustment
-- videos needing camera shake or roll adjustment
-- videos needing sound correction (camera hum, wind/background noise)
-- videos containing a person or groups of people
-- close-ups, mediums and wide shots.
Any given clip can appear in all the smart collections above -- and those defined below.
While browsing clips or subclips (think paragraphs in a WP doc, or a slide in a slide show or keynote preso) you can tap a command-key combination to assign the item a keyword and, therefore assign it to a smart collection. You get to assign the command keys and the keywords -- and multiple keywords can be assigned to an item -- without stopping the action.
Later, when other video (files) are imported -- the will be tested against the parameters of a;; existing smart collections -- and included in them accordingly.
A smart collection I can be a living, growing entity
A video clip (file) only exists in one place but can exist (be pointed to) in many smart collections.
You really don't need to know (or care) where a file is -- as long as you can easily get to it.
To me, this capability should be in the OS and generalized to include all apps/file content.
Maybe Apple bought Siri to augment the OS file system as well as Internet search.