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What I Sent Him...
Authored by: Anonymous on Dec 08, '01 03:15:53PM

Here's the feedback I sent to him:
John,
I'm sure you've gotten a lot of feedback on this subject, but regardless, here's how I feel about MacOS X metadata handling in OS X:
First, some background; I'm an oldschool Mac user since my parents got a IIcx running System 6.0.4, I believe, back in 1989. I was 10 at the time. I grew up using Macs, and am very attached to them as a computing platform, despite (or thanks to) a lot of exposure to other platforms in high school, college, and by acquaintance. I am currently using a G4/466 running 10.1.1, and would consider myself a very advanced user.
I have always had a problem with the metadata of the Classic MacOS, trying to remember and edit type and creator codes, which was a pain in the arse. I just had to use ResEdit too often for my taste. Don't get me wrong, I love mucking around with ResEdit as much as the next guy, but it shouldn't be constantly located in my recent apps folder. I've created a bunch of scripts to deal with typing files, but there's always something new to deal with, and it's a pain to do that all the time before opening files.
When OS X came along, it changed everything, and for the better, I think. I share a lot of files with friends and on the internet, and I am of the feeling that file extensions should be encouraged, just so they can read them. OS X doesn't force you to use them, and there are other methods to type files. The "Open with Application" setting in the Show Info window provides a convenient and proper method for setting the creator of a file. I really like the "Change All" option, that allows me to open all files with that extension to open with a certain app. This was always a problem for me in the past. One particular problem is that I use Stuffit Deluxe. When I downloaded files with the .sit ending, I wanted them to open with Stuffit Expander, not Deluxe, but a significant portion always seemed to slip through and launch Stuffit Deluxe.
Now, with OS X, it opens all files with .sit with Expander, and I am happy. The same goes with all the media files I download. I can just name them .rm, .asf and .mov, and I know they'll open with the right player. Before, I had to launch an applescript to set the creator. If I don't want them to open with that player, I can NOT put a file ending, and just use its metadata. Then, any particular files I want to open with an app of my choosing, I can set the Open With choice with the Show Info window, regardless of extension, and it will disregard the extension.
This is truly the best of both worlds, and the only problem is maybe the warning that displays when you change an extension. It is good, however, that MacOS X warns the user that this will have an impact on the app it will open with, but there should have been an option to turn off the warning somewhere in the System or Finder prefs. The implementation is very good, though, and I feel this is the best way to handle it. File extensions are a practical way of making a class of files that will be dealt with using a particular application. They are used in the Windows world, and so must be adopted by everyone else, at least for the kinds of files that are exchanged across platforms, such as documents and multimedia. There is no obligation for the user to put extensions on their files, although it is, and should be, encouraged for most types of files.
peace,
WiseWeasel



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