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Path Finder 5 - The Finder, greatly enriched again
Authored by: mario_grgic on Nov 12, '08 06:50:02AM

I just don't get it. If I need to do serious file manipulation, open terminal and do it. Otherwise Finder (or it's replacements) are not really needed, since we have spotlight.

Please don't tell me you navigate the file system to open a document or application?

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Path Finder 5 - The Finder, greatly enriched again
Authored by: dal20402 on Nov 12, '08 07:38:17PM

I'm so sorry that a weakling such as myself who does not have the entire filesystem memorized pollutes your world.

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Path Finder 5 - The Finder, greatly enriched again
Authored by: mario_grgic on Nov 13, '08 06:08:54AM

That's exactly my point. Don't you know how to use spotlight (one of THE best features of OS X)?

Why do you ever have to navigate the file system or memorize the file system? That is the whole point of spotlight.

Mind you spotlight is not a new or revolutionary idea. People have been doing the same for ever in terminal, but the nice thing of spotlight is that it extends this idea to GUI, making GUI user more empowered.

The basic idea is this:

find me all files that match some complex criteria and then execute a series of commands on files that match.

In UNIX you do that by doing something like

command $(find / <some_file_meta_data_criteria> | xargs <options> grep -i -l -s "regualr_expression_file_content_needs_to_match" "{}"

so for example edit all text files in current directory with vi

vi $(find . -name "*.txt")

or edit all text files that contain the words "edit me"

vi $(find . -name "*.txt" | xargs -L 1 grep -i -l -s "edit me" "{}")


You can do something similar in Spotlight

CMD+space and type

kind:txt edit me

that finds you all text files (everywhere) that contain words "edit me". You can restrict the search to the directory as well.

Now you have your selection of files, so select them all and execute a command on them.

The point of spotlight and UNIX search commands is that you don't have to know the file system structure. You get to your data fast and easy.

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Path Finder 5 - The Finder, greatly enriched again
Authored by: Anonymous on Aug 19, '09 07:10:50AM
vi? Why not sed? If the files all match some basic criterion, then it's highly likely you're going to be doing the same edit. So more like this then:
find /var/www -iname "*.html" -iname "*.php" -exec sed -i.$(date +%Y%m%d) -e 's/Copyright 2009/Copyright 2010/g' {} ;
mkdir -p ~/old_files
find /var/www -iname "*.$(date +%Y%m%d) -e mv {} ~/old_files ;
I agree on that point: If you're doing something complex, use the appropriate tool.

But I disagree on using Spotlight. If you're doing something simple, then you don't need anything more than the straight Finder. If your documents are cluttered or named inappropriately, then it's time you devoted a day to housekeeping. Spotlight could help out there, but it's of no practical use in a well-ordered filesystem.

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Path Finder 5 - The Finder, greatly enriched again
Authored by: tedw on Aug 19, '09 12:52:07PM
well, what can I say - I have oodles of script files hanging around on my machine (php, javascript, ruby, etc.). many I've made myself, many I've downloaded as self-tutoring examples. I just love the fact that if I forget the right syntax for (say) createElement(), I can type createElement in spotlight and have a shortlist of all the files on my machine where that function is used. It takes me 20-30 seconds to find an example, rather than the 5 frustrating minutes or so I'd need if I had to dig through the file system (or god help me if I tried it using unix - and yes, I'm pretty good with unix). Spotlight has its flaws, no question, but sometimes (as Churchill so aptly put it) it's the worst system available except for all the others.

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Path Finder 5 - The Finder, greatly enriched again
Authored by: vykor on Nov 14, '08 03:33:06PM

You can't generalize personal information organization habits. The "everything is miscellaneous" model of information organization does not work for everyone under every context. For example, I have a very precise hierarchical classification for work-critical documents. In some instances, even spatial arrangement in a directory has significance.

Some pay the time-cost of information organization up front so that the cost of retrieval is O(1). Some people take the opposite choice - put information in miscellaneous pile and execute a full query every time, so pay nothing for organization and a bit every time for retrieval.

The point of a file browser is to provide an interface for those kind of people who value classification. The point of Spotlight is to provide an interface for people who otherwise would have dumped all their files in a directory or two (or dear god, directly onto the Desktop).

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Path Finder 5 - The Finder, greatly enriched again
Authored by: mario_grgic on Nov 15, '08 05:50:17AM

I'm actually like you in that regard. When I'm archiving data for the first time I pay great attention to where it goes and how it is stored, and I even customize the views of individual folders.

But 99% of the time later on when I use that data, I don't actually navigate the file system to get to it. I use spotlight.

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I dont get the superior sounding tone of this comment..
Authored by: alexmathew on May 03, '09 09:44:07PM

I work on about a dozen projects at the same time - mostly exchanging information through e-mail and attachments. I have documents used in different projects that I receive from others with identical file names, perhaps forwarded in response to another unrelated e-mail. Invariably, I need to store these documents in a hierarchical structure, but retain the same name so that the sender does not get confused. Spotlight almost never finds such documents- and what if the document has been referred to in more than 20 e-mails and also stored in more than 20 other places in my folder structure? Spotlight only shows the first 5 or 10.

Unless we get away from file naming conventions enforced upon us from accountants and sales people who seem to think that by naming anything "Report" or "Presentation" - the recipient will figure out what report or presentation they are talking about, the Finder remains invaluable in creating some sense from the chaos. Spotlight is some help - but not much.

So if we - mere mortals - are to do everything from Terminal and from Spotlight - why I would just use Linux!

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I dont get the superior sounding tone of this comment..
Authored by: Anonymous on Aug 19, '09 07:18:43AM

"Invariably, I need to store these documents in a hierarchical structure,"

So why is this a problem? You're already doing it right. Don't get all passive-aggressive on us because you feel eclipsed by those who've bothered to learn the more powerful tools.

As for using Linux, yes you could do that, but you wouldn't have Mac applications available to you. That's kinda the point of the Mac: it's Unix, *and* it's a Mac. You really didn't make any sense there -- unless it was showing us how much of a big baby you are. Sheesh.

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Many different ways of thinking about files and data
Authored by: SeanAhern on Aug 28, '09 09:40:06AM

I use whatever makes the most sense for the job. Spotlight is great for some things, but woefully inadequate for others. For example, I often want to look at a group of files that are related to each other (by project, generallY). Spotlight is fine for finding one thing in particular, but not showing the relationship of multiple files to each other.

UNIX command line tools are what I cut my teeth on in the early 90s. I know find backward and forward, use regexes to manipulate documents, and love xargs. But even those tools suck for things like batch renaming. There is a place for other tools.

Path Finder allows me to think about my data in a visual way, similar to how the Finder does, but provides much of the power of other modes of operation. I can stay in Path Finder, but also use UNIX tools and search using Spotlight. I love having Cover Flow available in any view when I'm working on a graphics project. Being able to see the metadata associated with a file with a single click is way faster than using a command line tool.

So use the appropriate tool for the job. And "appropriate" is defined separately for each person.

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