C-Command Software Forum

Hierarchical tagging

I’ve been looking for an app like yours for a little while now and am heavily leaning towards EagleFiler for several reasons, not least of which is how responsive you are to requests and questions! It seems like you are working on most of the things I would like to change in the current version, like auto selection of the last library, remembering the zoom level for PDfs etc.

One thing that would be absolutely awesome and would be a key differentiator between your app and the others in the same field like Yojimbo though would be hierarchical tags. This would make organizing my documents etc so much easier and would make searching for them a lot more efficient too I think. Take a look at Keyword Manager for iPhoto. I bought it and absolutely love the way it’s implemented. I think that the website is pretty self-explanatory but if you would like clarifications please let me know. Features like those contained in that app would be killer, specifically hierarchical grouping of tags, auto-completion and the floating windows so that tags can be inspected, added or removed seamlessly.

Thanks for the suggestions. I will have a look at Keyword Manager. As it happens, I’ve already implemented hierarchical tags and tag auto-completion for the next version of EagleFiler.

Holy Smokes, how do you find time to code AND to be so responsive to messages??? :slight_smile: Seriously though, I can’t wait to try out the next release. Thanks for taking the time to look up Keyword Manager also. You may have done as good a job or even better with the hierarchical tags but I think it’s always good to look at other people’s work to see if we can learn anything from it.

Another thing that would be useful, and may even save you some time and effort answering forum messages, would be a sticky thread where you could document what features you were implementing in the next version, and maybe even another sticky chronicling what features had been asked for and which of those you were considering for future releases. I know that I searched the forum for features that I wanted before I started this thread and I’m sure other people have too. I also think it could convince some people who are on the fence about buying your software because of one missing feature to buy it if they realized that feature was coming up fairly soon.

Keep up the good work!

By the way, when do you expect the next release to be out?

While I can see how that might be useful, I’d rather not take on the responsibility of keeping such sticky threads up to date, and I’d prefer to have the forum threads organized by topic rather than into long lists of features.

Also, while I’m happy to comment on general directions for future development and on specific features that I’ve already coded, I don’t want to get into lists of planned features or timeframes for their delivery. Software development is too unpredictable, and I don’t want to make any promises that I might not be able to keep.

When it’s ready. :slight_smile:

EagleFiler 1.1 adds (basic) support for hierarchical tags.

Wow, thanks Michael. Because you didn’t want to be tied down to a specific date and said “When it’s ready” as an answer to when the next release would be coming out, I assumed wrongly that it was probably going to be a while! Thank you for being so productive and responsive!

Hierarchical tags is a big improvment. I’ve got a suggestion. When selecting a tag with children in the Source List, not only list the items with that tag, but also all items tagged with any of the children. That’s at least the way I’m used to have hierarchical tags work.

There’s definitely a lot of logic to that. In the meantime, though, you can always just select the whole group at once.

I agree with thoresson on how searching should work when selecting tags with children.

On top of that, if I assign a tag that has a parent to a file, then the file should be tagged with the child tag as well as the parent tag.

For example if I had the keyword Paris as a child tag to France, then every time I assign Paris to a photo, France should also be assigned to that photo. (Example taken from the Keyword Manager website). Thios would make searching for things a lot easier using these tags.

While I can see how that could be useful, there are also lots of cases where it’s definitely not what you’d want. It depends on the meaning you attach to the tags, which EagleFiler deliberately leaves up to you: they can be like keywords, classifications, or playlists. For 1.1, my theory was that it’s relatively easy to select the children if that’s what you want. Whereas if clicking on a parent automatically showed the records with the child tags, it would not be obvious (a) that it was doing that, and (b) how to make it stop doing that. (This is also consistent with how EagleFiler displays folders, by the way.) Perhaps an option could be added to control this, although I’d like to avoid that if possible. There’s probably a better interface to help you control which part of the hierarchy is displayed.

Michael, my second request works from the same logic as thoresson’s suggestion, and to my way of working would be logical and really useful. Maybe I’m missing something here. Could you give us an example of when a hierarchy wouldn’t function in this way?

One example is if you just use the hierarchy for organizing tags in the source list, rather than for designing a knowledge classification system. You might set up the hierarchy to display a particular group of tags and hide the rest. Or to organize them such that frequently used tags are grouped together.

Another case is if you use the parent tag to mean something other than “the sum of all the children.” For example, I might use the “mac” tag to refer to items relating to the Mac in general, and put tags like “leopard,” “safari,” and “cocoa” as its children. That doesn’t mean that I want everything tagged as “safari” to be tagged as “mac.”

Also, if it automatically assigns parent tags, what should happen if you re-arrange the hierarchy?

I haven’t had a chance to try out Keyword Manager yet. At present, my sense is that would it make sense for it to help you assign the “france” tag when you assign “paris,” but that it shouldn’t automatically do this all the time.

Hmm, I can see what you’re saying but it seems to me that in your case the parent tag (like “mac” in your example) is not really a tag at all. It’s more of a container/folder for tags. Maybe you could use folders within the tag section specifically for grouping similar tags as per your scenarios. I’ll leave it up to you and all your other customers to decide. I can live with it the way it is but I would prefer the other way.

If you re-arranged the hierarchy, then in an ideal world the tags should change accordingly. Having said that, I realize that might be quite difficult to do. I’ll see how Keyword Manager handles that scenario.

Have you thought about posting polls for potentially contentious issues to see what most people want, or having a core team of people beta testing your application that you could ask for feedback on this kind of issue? I would love to help in any way I can. Of course it may be too much bother to do something like that, and you’re already doing an awesome job of anticipating most people’s needs for this app! :slight_smile:

By the way, I just bought EagleFiler because of how impressed I am with your work and your responsiveness!

My thought was that having a distinction between folders and parent tags would add complexity without really doing much for the user. It’s so much easier if everything is a tag and you just drag around to arrange them how you want.

I may well be wrong about this (and the above), but it just seems wrong to me to have tags behave like that. I think of them as distinct attributes that I specifically assign to a record. So I would lean towards helping you display or search for child tags along with their parents, rather than towards actually assigning the parent tag whenever you assign the child tag.

I love feedback, but I don’t think polls are a good way to solve design problems. I’d rather have people convince me that a particular design is better (or that whatever design I come up with should address a certain issue). I do have a core group of beta testers, which I’m open to expanding. If you’d like to provide thoughtful feedback on pre-release versions of EagleFiler, please e-mail me.

If I understand what I’ve read and after some testing, it seems that hierarchical tags only change the way they are arranged in the Tags source list (well, tree now), and has no influence as to what tags a document has or what documents gets displayed. Is this correct?


I find this fascinating - its like changing all your assumptions to think it through again. - At my age its not easy, bring back CPM.

The point of tags is to find or organise stuff.
Assigning a parent tag as well as a child tag means you are giving redundant information. As long as an item is tagged with the child, and if the hierarchy of tags is still the same, then the information that the item is tagged with the tag of a parent exists.
How that information is used is where the discussion should lie.
If those who want child tagging to force the parent tag also want retagging when the hierarchy of the tags is changed, then you are simply recalculating the effect of the child tagging. Only if you want the parent tag to stick with the item even if the child tag is taken out of the parent tag’s tree would there be any potential gain, and I think it would cause confusion.
My 2p

That’s the point I was trying to make, but you said it more clearly. :slight_smile:

  • but it was your explanation that gave me the ‘Damascus’ moment.

After a few years of tossing lots of PDFs into EagleFiler, I’m now spending a week organising them…

I definitely have more photos in iPhoto (7500) than PDFs in EagleFiler (500, down from 2000). And the shareware iPhoto Keyword Manager makes iPhoto tagging much more useful. In fact, I didn’t bother tagging photos until Keyword Manager.

EF’s “nested tagging” seems to be quite superficial only, compared to Keyword Manager. Which is cool if that’s what the author is going for. But IMHO is not much different from un-nested tags.