A Blog Less Ordinary

The blog of Dave Ingram

Insight braindump

Well this is going to be a very random and unstructured post, but I just wanted to note down a few thoughts and ideas before I forget about them… and I’ll probably update this a couple of times before finally giving in and making it a page. This is an evolving post.

  1. Many, many people have tried to do this. Why have they failed?
    1. Is it simply because they try to force this to fit into the framework of a relational database, which I believe is very badly matched to the entire concept?
    2. On this note, nobody seems to have picked up on my idea of structured naming either. Can I really be the first to think of this?
    3. Must find out as much as possible why other attempts have failed or not become mainstream.
    4. Many users (on blogs, etc) are crying out for this…
    5. My approach seems so simple; why has nobody else done it this way?
  2. It would be really nice if the filesystem itself could pick up some metadata about the files without the user having to add them.
    1. The best way I can think of to do this is via a plugin system, providing hooks at file write time which could (possibly) identify a file and then pass it to a list of interested modules, which provide hooks to parse the file and extract relevant metadata.
    2. This means that these modules could simply be written as and when needed (by a competent developer) and it makes the whole FS extensible. It also means that I don’t have to do it 🙂
    3. Example hook: MP3? EXIF?
  3. Need to find a way to get users away from the idea of files having a well-defined “location”, while at the same time providing some sort of URI for them.
  4. IDEA: legacy paths start with the first attribute being a null string (i.e. literally /path/to/file). Bit of a hack, but a null tag doesn’t make sense anyway. So you can still get to your files (if you must) via the path

    instead of

    [uni/year/4 uni/project document/report report/section/introduction]

    or even

    [dbfs report introduction]
  5. Potential name: Insight. Backronym: “Insight: New Semantic Intuitive Grouping Human-friendly Technology”
  6. Samples:
    • Dave’s home directory:
    • Files that Dave is sharing:
      owner/dave public
    • Music:
      type/music !type/music/midi <(artist|"Unknown Artist")/(album|)/(track&" - "|"")(title|"Untitled track").(file/extension)>
  7. Must find academic papers (IEEE and ACM “metadata filesystem ieee” on Google)
  8. Remember: file/extension=”mp3″ == file.extension=”mp3″ == file/extension/mp3 🙂

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