C-Command Software Forum

Concern about deleting folders while searching


While in EagleFiler I’ve been caught out a few times, facing empty folders, before realising that I had some text in the search field.

e.g. when clicking on my normally full “insurance” folder, nothing shows up, because I had “mastercard” typed into the search box at the time, and didn’t realise it.

I thought this was just a idiosyncrasy of EagleFiler, and could live with it, until this week, when I’ve been combining lots of my PDFs into single files, and hence cutting down on the total number of PDFs I have in EagleFiler.

Part of this, includes culling a number of folders.

Now, I’ve realised that I may have culled a few folders, while mistakenly thinking they were empty. I thought they were empty because nothing showed up in the file list; but this was only because the search field had some text in them.

In this case when deleting the folder, EF will proceed to move the folder+contents into the trash. The file no longer appears when searched for in EF.

I have backups, so this is not a huge drama. But I think this is a potential reason for undetected data loss.

Personally, where I used to think that EF had an idiosyncratic search interface, I now think that it is quite dangerous. Just as an example, I would be unlikely to make this error in Mail.app – a toolbar appears when a search is active, and the text in the search field is removed when clicking on a different folder.

This has been raised in these threads:

This also highlights one of my principles of file management, which I wish I could apply to real life: “never empty the trash”.

I consider it a feature that EagleFiler doesn’t clear the search field when you click on a different folder. It’s easy to clear the field yourself, and comparatively a pain to keep re-entering the query if you didn’t want it to be auto-cleared. This is also how OmniFocus works.

When a search is active:

  1. EagleFiler indicates this in the title bar.
  2. The search field shows the query.
  3. If the records list is empty, the viewer says “No Matches For Search” in big, bold letters.

Based on your post, this is not sufficient, so what do you suggest? Some possibilities I see are:

  1. A more extreme indicator that a search is active, e.g. color the search field or color the records list when it’s empty due to a search.
  2. A preference to auto-clear the search field.
  3. A preference to warn when deleting a non-empty folder.

I definitely think those 3 are insufficient.

When a search is active, the difference between a true empty folder, and one that is not empty is:

Folder 1
Folder 2 (0 of 10 records)

To be honest, I hardly look at the title bar ever, when using EagleFiler.

If the Viewer is not showing me a PDF/content data, I look at it as “empty”, no matter what is in bold. Not to mention that the Viewer may be closed.

Which leaves the search bar. Which maybe could be bigger, with bigger text. With yellow background when filled in maybe.

What about if a search is active, to not show any empty folders? That would dramatically change the left light blue column, which may remind me that a search is active. Empty folders are superfluous anyway, and their absence means there are less folders to look through to locate a file.

Or a sub-toolbar like in the Finder (or iTunes, sometimes) when a search is active.

EagleFiler 1.4 shows the records list in yellow if it’s empty due to a search that found no matches, and it adds an esoteric preference for clearing the search field when you change sources.