Thoughts about Categories Management

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Olivier_G
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Thoughts about Categories Management

Post by Olivier_G »

I'll try to explain - as short as I can (Helmut's special request) :D - the ideal organization system I dreamed of last night...*

Main ideas:
- Folders define a 'physical' hierarchical structure
- Categories define a 'virtual' hierarchical structure (+you can add several categories to an image)
- You can use 'Folder', 'Category' and any information field (Image and File characteristics, EXIF, IPTC, etc...) to build Searches [+using the logical: AND, OR, NOT, and () ]
- You can save and re-use 'Searches' (edit, add, combine, etc...)
- For the hierarchical structures, you can choose to show images in that particular Folder/Category alone, or to include images from all sub-folders/categories.
- The interface should be intuitive and efficient (extensive drag 'n drop + LMB/RMB options)
- You should be able to associate 'behaviours' to Folders, Categories and Searches (such as: colour of border, colour of text, icone showed on thumbnails, etc...)

Now, about the interface:
- The 'Folders' View would also be used for 'Categories', 'Searches' and File/Image Information (+EXIF, IPTC, etc...) (with tab).
- The 'Preview' would also be used to see/edit 'Searches'.
- The main Window would be used to show the result (=images found).

When selecting one Folder/Category, you would see images in that Folder/Category alone. If you hold the left button for 1s, you would see a small pop-up list: "*=this Folder/Category only" OR "+=include all sub-folders/categories" (and the */+ symbol would remain near the category name while selected). You could also drag and drop Categories to move or copy them (same for Folders).

You could directly select multiple Categories, Folders, Searches and Information (with Ctrl & shift keys) and see the syntax of the resulting search in the 'Preview/Search' area. You could also add conditions just by dragging and dropping them directly in the window. You would be able to edit directly the syntax in the 'Preview/Search' area: change AND/OR, add ()/NOT, move objects, change conditions (=, <, > for Information fields), change inclusion (Folder/Category only or include sub-levels), etc...


Some examples:
I have the categories:
- Animal
- - Cat
- - Dog
- Country
- - France
If I select Animal (* will appear), I will see images in the category Animal only. If I hold the left button and select (+ include sub-categories), I will see all images for Animal and below (ie: Cat and Dog included). If I multi-select (Ctrl) to add France, I will be able to look for images of Animals in France.
If I want to look for those kind of pictures in some specific Folders, I will go to the Folder View and drag and drop them (using () + OR). I could even decide to use some EXIF data (ex: date > 2001), IPTC (author=me), Image Information (X>640 AND Y>200) and File information (Type=JPG) to do exactly what I want.
By using special colors and icones, I will be able to immediately see the corresponding images while browsing (example: by projects, best images, to-do actions, priority, etc...)


:arrow: The system would be extremely flexible and efficient. It could really become a very powerful tool to manage images (I could continue on and on for a while about a lot of details, menus, options... but I said "short")

Comments ?

Olivier

*...and the nights before :mrgreen:
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Re: Thoughts about Categories Management

Post by Lostclown »

Olivier_G wrote::arrow: The system would be extremely flexible and efficient. It could really become a very powerful tool to manage images
This all sounds very nice.
But "extremely flexible and powerful features" are usually not easy to implement (even for a skilled developer as Pierre).

When I read this post I thought that because the complexity of such a feature it would probably first be available in the "Deluxe" version only.
So I looked it up and aparently "XnView Deluxe" has:

*Album management, category management

See: http://newsgroup.xnview.com/viewtopic.php?t=1478
I have not tried this, but I would be interested to hear from you Olivier if this is close to what you have been thinking up.

Regards,
Lostclown
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Olivier_G
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Re: Thoughts about Categories Management

Post by Olivier_G »

Lostclown wrote:"extremely flexible and powerful features" are usually not easy to implement (even for a skilled developer as Pierre).

When I read this post I thought that because the complexity of such a feature it would probably first be available in the "Deluxe" version only.
So I looked it up and aparently "XnView Deluxe" has:
*Album management, category management
I have not tried this, but I would be interested to hear from you Olivier if this is close to what you have been thinking up.
Well: I tried XnView Deluxe to check that feature: the job is done... but it could be improved.
I also tried iView Pro, iMatch (help-file only, as the program crashed :-( )... and although those softwares are specialized in Image Management (and seen as good ones...), I was very disappointed: a lot of bells & whistles, interface can be improved and they are not that efficient...

The logic to organize pictures is not that complex. However, the proper way to implement it (=simple, efficient, flexible) is a challenge (and I believe that it has not been done properly, yet...)

I agree that it could be a feature of the Deluxe version. In fact, the main 'Categories' management could be implemented in the free version... and the 'Complex Search' feature could be part of the Deluxe version (ie: "you like the basic Organization thing? Get advantage of it in the Deluxe version"). And it would be easier to implement it by stages...

It could be interesting to put several backgrounds/experiences into this topic, in order to refine the organization, the interface, etc... and come up with something good. Well: that's why I started this thread... :-D.

Olivier
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Post by Xyzzy »

Hello!

I use everyday XnView and I also have iMatch. They are 2 different kinds of programs- graphics browser and graphics organizer.
For long I tried to find a program that is good enough for me in both fields, but failed to find any.
When it comes to organizing, iMatch is immediate winner for a private person, amateur and professional alike, especially considering its price.
As for browsing, I have chosen XnView for its logic layout, comfortable operations, configurability and number of supported formats. Unfortunately, so far I have had problems with fast startup.

To sum it up- personally I do not need any organizing features in XnView, I just want it to be fast and reliable browser.

X.
Last edited by Xyzzy on Tue Jan 25, 2005 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Dreamer »

Xyzzy wrote:...To sum it up- personally I do need any organizing features in XnView, I just want it to be fast and reliable browser.
Yes exactly, maybe "m3u file list support" would be a good compromise, it would be more compatible, universal... more here.
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Post by Olivier_G »

As you say:
Xyzzy wrote:For long I tried to find a program that is good enough for me in both fields, but failed to find any.
I did the same and a lot of people actually expect this... (just see the Categories features in ACDSee, XnView Deluxe and others...)
It is just "natural" to browse one's images and be able to find them easily in the same tool (ie: browsing through categories/searches).
Just imagine a XnView Deluxe on steroids...

It would probably require quite a lot of work... but it could be handeld as a long-term project, maybe...

Olivier
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Post by Xyzzy »

Olivier_G:
You are right, relatively simple categories feature can be enough for many users.
However I would prefer perfecting currently available functions and working on program's speed. There is a lot of room for improvements in these areas.
Also, adding categories would make XnView Deluxe less competitive in comparison to free XnView => less money for Pierre I guess.

X.
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Post by xnview »

Xyzzy wrote:Olivier_G:
You are right, relatively simple categories feature can be enough for many users.
However I would prefer perfecting currently available functions and working on program's speed. There is a lot of room for improvements in these areas.
Also, adding categories would make XnView Deluxe less competitive in comparison to free XnView => less money for Pierre I guess.
The problem is not "less money" ;-) but the contract with Xzeos for the deluxe version.
Pierre.
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Post by Olivier_G »

Pierre, what about:
Myself wrote:I agree that it could be a feature of the Deluxe version. In fact, the basic 'Categories' management could be implemented in the free version... and the 'Complex Search' feature could be part of the Deluxe version (ie: "you like the basic Organization thing? Get advantage of it in the Deluxe version")
Would it make sense ? :idea: :?:

Olivier
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Post by xnview »

Olivier_G wrote:Pierre, what about:
Myself wrote:I agree that it could be a feature of the Deluxe version. In fact, the basic 'Categories' management could be implemented in the free version... and the 'Complex Search' feature could be part of the Deluxe version (ie: "you like the basic Organization thing? Get advantage of it in the Deluxe version")
Would it make sense ? :idea: :?:
Yes, but not for the next version ;-)
Pierre.
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Post by Olivier_G »

xnview wrote:Yes, but not for the next version ;-)
Great... :P
Of course not for the next release (or even the one after, etc...): "On propose, Pierre dispose" :wink: ...And as Xyzzy said, there are more important/urgent areas for improvement.

This being said, I will continue further this topic and provide more detailled ideas about organisation of images. Please all: feel free to contribute...
(just dont expect immediate implementation + even consider the chance of no implementation at all... and keep in mind that those suggestions may appear in the Shareware Deluxe version only - depending on Pierre's decision => I am happy with those constraints and will contribute...)

Olivier
PS: We can consider this topic as a draft where everyone can provide ideas. I may also start threads in other forum specialized in Photography (photo.net, photim, dpreview, etc...) in order to get more feedback/ideas/corrections and improve the concept.
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Post by xnview »

Olivier_G wrote:
xnview wrote:Yes, but not for the next version ;-)
Great... :P
Of course not for the next release (or even the one after, etc...): "On propose, Pierre dispose" :wink: ...And as Xyzzy said, there are more important/urgent areas for improvement.
Oh yes ;-)
PS: We can consider this topic as a draft where everyone can provide ideas. I may also start threads in other forum specialized in Photography (photo.net, photim, dpreview, etc...) in order to get more feedback/ideas/corrections and improve the concept.
Yes, excelent idea ;-)
Pierre.
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Post by Xyzzy »

Me first:
Provide more configuration options for keyboard and mouse actions. Lets say there are a list of actions like "Next picture", "Close picture", "Go from View to Browser" etc etc etc and for every action you can assign your own keyboard accelerator.

A lot of menus/menu options that are displayed exclusively in View make perfectly sense also in Browse mode, fe in Browse mode I can only rotate JPEGs. WHY, oh WHY?

X.
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Post by Dreamer »

Xyzzy wrote:Me first:
Provide more configuration options for keyboard and mouse actions. Lets say there are a list of actions like "Next picture", "Close picture", "Go from View to Browser" etc etc etc and for every action you can assign your own keyboard accelerator.
You mean keybord shortcuts / hotkeys? Then you can support this: More hotkeys, shortcuts... or/and this: Custom hotkeys :wink:
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Post by Olivier_G »

I bring this subject back to the top...

This year, I have seen on this forum several suggestions for managing lists of keywords for IPTC input, some questions about mass tagging (ie: several images, different formats included). ACDSee 8 is now able to handle IPTC as well as proprietary hierarchical categories, IPTC moved from IIM-v4.1 to XMP, people ask about organizing their pictures and IPTC, Photo magazines put emphasize on it, Flickr hints about what you can expect from tagging (IPTC included), etc...

I still believe it is a hot topic and that no efficient solution has been made available so far... :(
My suggestion to use Hierarchical Categories stored as XMP, with IPTC linking (user definable) along with a good and simple interface to efficiently organize pictures would provide that kind of solution.

Imagine that you just drag'n drop selections of pictures into your own hierarchical sets of categories: it could automatically populate IPTC keywords at the same time, while the hierarchical structure would be available for compatible softwares. You could quickly Browse/Organize/Search your pictures in the same tool: by Categories, Priority/Ratings/Workflow, etc...
(all this without adding too much complexity to the interface: I still want a fast and efficient Viewer in the first place - and I believe it is actually possible)

I will describe further this idea in order to come up with a complete and detailled suggestion. Meanwhile, ideas/comments are welcome.

Olivier
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