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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

add a library feature to OS X


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snowshed

 
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OS X 10.8.3

Microsoft added a feature to Windows 7 called Libraries. It doesn't work the way I want, but I was able to come up with a work around to get it to do what I wanted.

Is there a utility out there that will add a similar function to Mountain Lion?

Thanks.
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Check out "TotalFinder" ($18.00) at this LINK.
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Originally Posted by chscag View Post
Check out "TotalFinder" ($18.00) at this LINK.
Thanks, but this does not have any feature that mimics the Win 7/8 Libraries feature.

Neither does XtraFinder or Path Finder 6.

Given what I've learned about Windows Libraries online, most advice givers for Libraries don't understand libraries, and Microsoft doesn't understand the definition of the word library, either.

This post goes hand in hand with my Tree view post, btw.

I'm hesitant to do a long post on how Windows Libraries work and what I want in a Mac forum, but I don't mind if you think that would help.
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I think it would. Especially of you focus on the features that you are trying to duplicate.

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Originally Posted by Slydude View Post
I think it would. Especially of you focus on the features that you are trying to duplicate.
I'll write this as if the reader has no knowledge of Windows. And I'll try to use both the Windows and OS X terms for the same/similar item.

In Windows XP, when you opened an Explorer/Finder window, an optional Navigation Pane/Sidebar was displayed on the left. https://www.dropbox.com/s/ntnfsn50b0...49.32%20AM.png In earlier versions, there were actually lines showing the structure, similar to the lines you'll see in some threaded views of forums, emails, and newsgroups. The screen shot is the default XP view, but there are ways of getting the lines back. This threaded view idea goes all the way back into DOS.

With Vista, MS changed the view, and in Win7, they added a feature called Libraries. https://www.dropbox.com/s/4vutvfnkpm...11.26%20PM.png This view is the same in Win8.

The idea behind libraries is to let the user have "pointers" to various folders on the hard drive. You can consider those pointers as shortcuts/aliases to various locations. For many, it can eliminate any need for any kind of hard drive organization.

When I saw the word "Libraries", I expected the feature to function similarly to a real library. Unfortunately, they don't.

An analogy of what I want to accomplish:

You have to view your hard drive(s), thumb drive(s), or specific folders, as being a real library in the aggregate. The folders represent the different Dewey Decimal classifications. And the files in the folders are the books in the library. The Libraries section of the Explorer/Finder window is the card file in the library. (Think the old fashioned 3X5 cards for this.) The sub-libraries are the category tabs of the card file.

This is how it would work: You go down the street and walk into the library (Open the Explorer/Finder window). You go to the card file (expand the Library tree to show the sub-libraries). Select a category/topic, such as buildings in the card file (open a sub-library called buildings). In the card file, you find all the books about buildings, regardless of where the books are in the library (the sub-library buildings lists all the files about buildings, regardless of where they are and regardless of the other contents of any folder).

Windows Libraries can't do that, as usually implemented. I expected a sub-library to be able to contain only the files I wanted. But, as designed, they won't. You can only have complete folders in a sub-library, not specific files.

That is not what I wanted. After spending considerable time, I did find a workaround in Win7 to get what I want. And what I want is the ability to show specific files in a library. Interestingly, after finding the workaround, I realized you do the basic Libraries function in Windows all the way back to, and including, Windows for Workgroups.

I'm trying to find a way to create the same functionality in OS X.

Ideally, there would be a utility out there that hooks into OS X, shows up in the sidebar, and works as I would like, not the way Windows works. Or, offers the user either way of working. If not, I can implement my Windows workaround in OS X if I can change the view of the sidebar to a tree view structure. That's the reason for my other post about changing the view of the sidebar.

For those that sit and cogitate on this, you'll realize I'm creating a very simple relational database using the operating system.

Ken
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Thanks for posting that. Quite helpful since I use Windows at work but haven't really mucked with those features. At home I try yo muck with Windows as little as possible.

I'm not sure of the best way to do what you are suggesting. The home/user folder (house) has subfolders for Movies Documents etc. Unfortunately moving that folder to the sidebar creates a shortcut that basically opens the folder. It does not show only specific files that you might be interested in. Moving the folder to the doc causes similar behavior.

I am not aware of any app that does exactly what you want though there may be one. The closest Finder based solution I can think of is Smart Folders though getting the level of detail/control that you want would require adding appropriate keywords when the file is saved. Adding keywords to existing files is possible but would likely be time consuming.

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Originally Posted by Slydude View Post
Thanks for posting that. Quite helpful since I use Windows at work but haven't really mucked with those features. At home I try yo muck with Windows as little as possible.

I'm not sure of the best way to do what you are suggesting. The home/user folder (house) has subfolders for Movies Documents etc. Unfortunately moving that folder to the sidebar creates a shortcut that basically opens the folder. It does not show only specific files that you might be interested in. Moving the folder to the doc causes similar behavior.

I am not aware of any app that does exactly what you want though there may be one. The closest Finder based solution I can think of is Smart Folders though getting the level of detail/control that you want would require adding appropriate keywords when the file is saved. Adding keywords to existing files is possible but would likely be time consuming.
For me, the mucking is all hobby fun. I like to see what I can make the computer do for me, not just what the creators of any OS says can be done.

If there's no app/program that will hook into the OS, then a person is stuck with relational database, and tags for files. The problem with tags is, if the correct tag is not there, you're screwed. I can offer a perfect example of this using the Denver Public Library.

And, once you have to use a database program, you've added a level of complexity that isn't needed for something this simple.

At the moment, for this ability, have to give Windows the nod as being more capable.

Ken
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Agreed on all counts. I don't mind mucking around with things to get something different (usually unintended by the supplier) but hate mucking with Windows.

I've been using Apple computers consistently since the '80s on various Apple IIs. I've used Windows since 3.11 for Worgroups but not by choice. Not nearly as comfortable mucking with its innards as I am with Macs.

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I'm a little confused - this library analogy isn't working for me and I am willing to admit that (and here comes a reflection of my age) I have no idea how to use the card system at a library. Nevertheless, it sounds like smart folders will accomplish what you want (see here).

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Originally Posted by Slydude View Post
Agreed on all counts. I don't mind mucking around with things to get something different (usually unintended by the supplier) but hate mucking with Windows.

I've been using Apple computers consistently since the '80s on various Apple IIs. I've used Windows since 3.11 for Worgroups but not by choice. Not nearly as comfortable mucking with its innards as I am with Macs.
I have more fun mucking with Windows than with OS X, because MS gives the user more options for doing that. Actually letting the user make his/her computer more personal than Apple does. The downside of Windows is, where Apple may give you 5 ways to do X, Windows may give you 25 ways.

As a result, if you're more to the power user type, you have a far better chance of making Windows work in a manner that "works for you" than you do with OS X. My libraries effort here is a perfect example of that.

Ken
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Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
I'm a little confused - this library analogy isn't working for me and I am willing to admit that (and here comes a reflection of my age) I have no idea how to use the card system at a library. Nevertheless, it sounds like smart folders will accomplish what you want (see here).
vansmith, I'm sorry.

I've written a reply to your post 3 times, trying to explain the card system in a library, and why smart folders won't work.

All three times, MacForums logged me out before I was finished, and when I logged back in, my entire post was lost.

I'm not writing it a 4th time.

Again, sorry for that.

Ken
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I have to admit i don't have a answer for you but 2 things. 1st, that image in the first Dropbox looks so very complicated in a file structure for me. I love the simplicity of where Apple puts your things for you and into what file. I starts to get a bit iffy when you want to start to get down into the root level of OS X but even then, if you have any idea, that to is very simple and logical.

2ndly, why if you like how Windows has a file structure that you like, and Windows makes your PC more Personal and you have 25 ways of doing a certain task rather than 5, why do you have a Mac ??

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I have to admit i don't have a answer for you but 2 things. 1st, that image in the first Dropbox looks so very complicated in a file structure for me. I love the simplicity of where Apple puts your things for you and into what file. I starts to get a bit iffy when you want to start to get down into the root level of OS X but even then, if you have any idea, that to is very simple and logical
We are talking about Windows, remember.

On the serious side...

The screenshot is from a virtual machine on this Mac. So, a few of the folders are not there in the average Windows install. The folders where the names start with a period are hidden folders that got copied from the Mac. When I set up the virtual machine, I didn't have hidden folders on the Mac set to be displayed, so there was no way to know I was copying hidden folders until after the copy process was finished. I just never trashed them.

Much of the structure on Windows is similar to Mac, this one in my original post just looks more complicated because of the way it's displayed. What if I had linked to this screenshot: https://www.dropbox.com/s/67a4cq07c4...27.37%20AM.png?

My Computer is equivalent to having <Username>'s iMac displayed in the sidebar.

The By the Book folder is one that was not removed when I uninstalled a piece of software, and I've not worked at getting rid of it. It's one of those Windows programs that breaks the rules, in this case.

Data files folder... I store data on my computers the old school way, as you used to be taught in the days of Win3 and earlier. IOW, I separate my data out from the boot disk. Something both Win and Apple don't do as the default. Like OS X, when doing a fresh install, the entire hard drive is a single partition, unless you know how to do otherwise. After the install, I copy or download any needed program files to this Data files folder that I created. Then I partition the hard drive. In the screenshot, that is the Data drive. Then move the Data files folder to that Data drive. I just never got that done.

Likewise, I need to do the same for the Software programs folder. It needs to move to Data.

(Just learned this editor can't handle the drive letter identifier properly.)

Partitioning this Mac and putting all my user data on a different partition is one of the first things I learned how to do.

Documents and Settings is equivalent to the Users folder on the Mac.

I used to have a book on DOS 3.x. In the book was a comment by someone from MS that said they'd taken the most complicated OS out there and made it the most popular.

The visual display of something plays a large part in how "simple and clean" things look. That's something book publishers have known for years but computer people ignore. Font size, color combo, line spacing, kerning (letter and word spacing) all play a factor in this. Generally, sans serif fonts, like the default in this forum, are considered harder and more tiring on the eyes. When was the last time you picked up a book to read and found it to be a sans serif font?

When I post this, I'm going to use Century Gothic, to see how it displays. I don't trust previews to be 100% accurate anywhere. Too many variables, from the websites rendering of the font, to the ability of the reader's system to accurately display the text.

Then, you have to consider the individual. What is intuitive and logical to you may not be so to me, or our neighbors. Anyone who says such and such an interface is more intuitive is an idiot. Been around these things and lots of software too long.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TattooedMac View Post
2ndly, why if you like how Windows has a file structure that you like, and Windows makes your PC more Personal and you have 25 ways of doing a certain task rather than 5, why do you have a Mac ??
Basically, the Mac is simpler and just works more reliably.

When my XP Home machine bit the dust due to hardware failure, I was tired of the bi-weekly security updates and patches for OS and all the software, notably Java and Adobe. I'd heard the Mac couldn't be infected. Which we all know is not true. So, went shopping at an Apple store even though, if I had paid any attention to costs, I never would have done. I fell in love with the quality of the display of this iMac, which is an older one with 16:10 aspect ratio. Came home to see if my computer desk opening could be adjusted to fit the iMac, and ordered the iMac configuration I wanted since the store didn't have it.

25 ways of doing something isn't necessarily a good thing. But it does give a knowledgeable user more options to configure the computer to something the user is more comfortable with.


Ken
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