[Oberon] filesystem with directories ?

John Drake jmdrake_98 at yahoo.com
Wed May 3 21:52:41 CEST 2006

--- Thomas Frey <thomas.frey at alumni.ethz.ch> wrote:

> > Anyway, that still doesn't cover what I was
> talking
> > about with regards to user permissions.  Unless
> > there's someway in AosHTTPServer to assign
> > certain permissions to any file prefixed
> > with my.folder.structure.
> On Aos/Oberon there is only that much "permissions"
> as is programmed
> into the FTP server (since it is the only program
> that uses
> permissions), so this can be changed trivially.

> > you can have such deeply nested file structures.
> > There have been many times I've "drilled down"
> > many levels deep only to find a single file,
> > or worse an empty folder.
> Then you maybe need to reorganize your folder
> structure (maybe to a
> flat system if that works for you)

I wasn't talking about folders that I made myself
as much as folders created by other installed
programs or shared folders created by other 
people.  I can't go around changing the folder
structure for C:\Program Files\ for instance.
Anyways, just making a point.

> Many people seem to like searching for files or
> browsing for them. I
> prefer to know where they are and have a mental
> log(n) access by an
> organized folder structure. Tastes and work
> environments are
> different.

True about tastes and environments.  And that
brings up another problem with hiearchical
systems.  Tastes are different.  A folder
structure that makes sense for one person
is totally foreign to someone else.  I remember
once the person I work for kept moaning
and complaining about how she "couldn't find
anything" on the shared drive.  So I assigned
a junior programmer to "clean it up".  The
result?  She still moaned and complained, but
then I couldn't find anything either.

> > Remember the example I gave of Leonardo.Text?
> > Someone could structure that as:
> >
> > /Program Files/Leonardo/Documentation/Readme.Text
> >
> > but is that REALLY necessary?
> Nothing is necessary. I never want to read a readme
> file anyways (even
> though it can not always be avoided).

LOL. But I hope you understand my point.
This could easily be Leonardo.Tool replacing
> > Only if you make the user interface look like
> > folders.  I often use "Prefix.*.Suffix" from
> > the Documents.Panel.  It looks nothing like
> > folders (to me anyway).  I find (pardon the
> > pun) this a faster way to find stuff than
> > "drilling down" in folders.  I like the fact
> > that Plugin Oberon shows all the files in
> > the "Directories" list as together in one
> > list.
> When I search for an assignment for some course at
> ETH for example, I
> would have do a search for example for "ETH*"  to
> bringing me all
> files that have to deal with ETH.
> Which in my case results in about 20'000 different
> files. From there I
> have to think of or know the search mask that
> results in the ones I am
> interested in. If I know the search mask then I can
> of course skip any
> searching.
> Otherwise I "quickly" browse the 20'000 results to
> figure out if I
> used "Courses" or "Vorlesungen" or "Lectures". From
> then I want to get
> an overview about the courses (many instances for
> many years and
> search for the newest ones) again browsing - this
> time only a few
> thousand files - and "soon" I have found my desired
> list of files,
> sorted by name they are easy to find because they
> appear grouped
> because of the same prefix...(almost as if they were
> in a folder or
> group or something the like) but then again I should
> not try a sort on
> file dates or size or type, before the mask really
> only contains the
> files I want (otherwise they are no longer grouped,
> because the groups
> and filenames in a "."ed filename are not orthogonal
> but intermingled)
> The same scenario with something like folders takes
> selecting 3-4
> times out of folder lists of maybe 10 items each. I
> dont need to know
> any names, i just need to recognize what i need.
> (all assuming a
> reasonable folder structure)
> Maybe this issue is reduced a bit if one only names
> files in one
> language and has a much better memory than me.
> Myself I want my
> filenames in the "native" language of the respective
> files, be it
> English/German/French/Chinese/...

Or you could simply create a Tool to handle this.

System.Directory ETH.Courses.* ~
System.Directory ETH.Lectures.* ~


And you could put in the Tool all of the tasks
you normally do with ETH.

Lot's of ways to skin a cat.  

Anyway, it's difficult to comment without
seeing your directory, but if that was me
I'd probably name files like:


Where "CSNNN" is the course number.  (Where
I went to school, all computer science course
started with "CS".)  The "namespace" 
requirement is met (unless I've taken courses
with the same prefix at two different schools).
And searching is pretty easy.  Also I've
got greater flexibility.  In "folders" mode
I'd only be able to browse 1 CS course at
a time.  But this way I could browse for all
400 level course assignments at once.  Or
all CS assignments (as opposed to EE 
assignment) at once.

> > Again, from my own experience, many "file folders"
> > could go away with a little forethought.
> Sure, they all can go away but myself I dont want
> them to go away. 

A matter of personal taste, as always.  But we're
talking about "adding what's not there" in the
case of Oberon rather than "making something
go away". ;)

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make, that seems
to be getting missed, is that sometimes the 
ability to "throw some folders" around leads to
a worse organized structure of files than a 
better one.  Hence the point I was making with
Leonardo.Text versus Readme.Text.

I'm not "opposed" to folders.  I just think 
there are a lot of other ways to group without
them.  And I also think they are sometimes

> I
> would rather have "more" grouping features than
> less. 

I'm all for tags.

> Every strict
> hierarchical structure can always be flattened into
> a prefix free code
> (e.g. dotted filenames, but there is no limit in the
> number of
> possible other encodings).
> Personally I think it is better to keep all
> attributes (groupings,
> permissions and even names) and contents orthogonal
> to each other
> instead of compressing everything into the filename.
> The trend on windows/Macintosh of course clearly
> goes away from
> ordered structures with reasonable names towards
> almost anonymous
> entities where file names are just (almost) useless
> formalities. Why
> do we need grouping attributes (folders) or even
> filenames when we can
> just search by content ?

Yeah.  Lots of ways to do stuff.  

> Better separate the system and your data with two
> different
> partitions, it gets confusing otherwise.
> If I include the files on my system partition as
> well into the
> statistics, it looks much worse (there are 38388
> directories and
> 120719 files more on my windows system/program
> partition) I did not
> include any system files because I am from a user's
> point of view not
> interested in the content of my system/program
> partition, I don't
> consider this as my data. I don't need to find
> things there normally
> (unless I want to mess around in the system) and i
> also don't care
> much about the ordering/naming there.
> --Thomas

Ah.  I see.  Well I do mess around with the 
system.  I don't see how that can be totally
avoided under Windows with programs using up
valuable hard disk space storing crap in
places like:

C:/Documents and Settings/username/Local Settings/Temp

But that's a good idea about keeping your
stuff on another partition.


John M. Drake

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around 

More information about the Oberon mailing list