Plasma Active Three released
Posted Oct 17, 2012 15:21 UTC (Wed) by lambda
In reply to: Plasma Active Three released
Parent article: Plasma Active Three released
Have you ever used iTunes or an iPod? They each handle the use cases you mention.
In iTunes, I have 4 main columns on my screen. The first is for playlists, which are how you organize ad-hoc lists of songs. Folders are a pretty bad way of managing that use case, unless you use folders full of symlinks and add a number to the beginning of each name to get the sorting right. Trying to set up such a system on a touchscreen device using a generic filesystem explorer seems like it would be a usability nightmare.
The remaining columns form the tag hierarchy. The first is Genres, the next Artists, and then there is a list of songs grouped by Album, then sorted by number within the album. Each of the first two columns has an "All" at the top, and you can select multiple within them. So, for instance, since I have genres that were taken from CDDB, they aren't always consistent; I have both "Alternative & Punk" and "Alternative Rock", but I can select both of those, and I see in the Artists column only those artists who have songs tagged "Alternative & Punk" or "Alternative Rock". I can then narrow the songs down even further by selecting one or more artists, and only see the songs that those artists have done.
If I have any more complex needs than that, I can create a saved search (called "Smart Playlist"), which selects on any attributes that I want. And if I want to find a specific song by name, I just type it into the search box and it filters live down to that song.
This provides a lot more flexibility than a generic hierarchical filesystem browser, and take a lot less work for me to maintain. For the most part, everything is organized automatically by tags that I get from CDDB; all I do is build my playlists, and otherwise I browse or search for songs.
This is one of the many small things that keeps me using Mac OS X as my main OS, even though I refuse to buy anything new from Apple (I bought this laptop around the introduction of the original iPhone; the iPhone was the tipping point that convinced me that Apple was enough of a threat to my freedom that I will no longer support them). I am glad that some people are trying to attack this problem; trying to provide interfaces that are just as easy to use. Since it's free software, there will always be ways to access the underlying filesystem, so people will be able to create more traditional filesystem browsers. But for many of my use cases, I really don't want to bother with trying to sort files into a hierarchy and come up with naming schemes that cause them to sort properly and link them together with symlinks, I want to just be able to search and sort files based on their inherent attributes.
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