Posted Jan 30, 2013 13:48 UTC (Wed) by dskoll
In reply to: Seigo: Plasma.next()?
Parent article: Seigo: Plasma.next()?
Let me expand on why hierarchical organization is incredibly useful.
Take a collection of photos. Organizing it with tags assumes that we'll actually take the trouble to tag the photos. Raise your hand if you've ever sat down to 500 holiday snaps and relished the thought of classifying them. Thought so.
On the other hand, I can pretty quickly find the photo I need using my file system hierarchy. I know that it's likely to be in Albums/2012/08-Trip-to-Zurich. I also know that by changing into that directory, I'm not going to see extraneous photos... I can shut out the rest of the world from my visibility, reducing clutter.
In effect, by dumping my holiday snaps in that directory, I have mass-tagged them all at once, without any need for assistance from the UI. Merely copying the files serves to categorize them.
Now, take backups. If I don't know where all my files are, how do I know what needs backing up? Yes, the UI can help with a dedicated backup tool, but suppose some random app drops files in a location the UI tool doesn't know about... what then? If I know where my data is, I can feel confident in my backups. If I don't, then I have no idea.
And suppose I lose a particular file and want to restore it from backup. How do I do that? I don't know where it is, either originally or on the backup volume. I'm drowning in a sea of tags with no location information.
The human brain seems to be hard-wired for hierarchical classification systems. Try to convince biologists to abandon their classification system for species. Sure, there may be disagreements about where on the hierarchy a particular species belongs or even small disagreements about how the hierarchy should be organized, but no-one seriously proposes abandoning it. It has proved incredibly useful. Similar classification systems abound in most human endeavours.
design is hard.
Yes, it is. And if you plan on bucking the trend established by decades of computer science and hundreds of years of human progress, you'd better have a pretty good flame-proof suit. :)
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