Spotlight is sweet

Spotlight, Apple’s new search technology in Mac OS X Tiger, is just sweet. I mean, it’s really a dream come true and if it holds the promise of speed and ease of use, I might – as Steve suggested in his WWDC Keynote – not use the Finder anymore.

As others already pointed out, Spotlight might be the logical successor of the BeFS, with Dominic Giampolo from Be joining forces at Apple.

What interests me, though, is how the metadata will come into the files. Typically, many applications let you tag your documents with metadata already, candidates being the Office plethora, Keynote and the like.

But what with other candidates, images and video footage you get from the internet? Not everyone might share one’s need for metadata and if I have a look at all images I got from SXC, I see little or no metadata associated to these files.

Pixture’s PhotoToolCM, a contextual menu item for the Finder, looks like a good start: It lets you edit at least the EXIF comment in JPEG’s. However, it does not go far enough. First, EXIF comments are not the only metadata available on JPEG’s and JPEG’s are not the only image format available today. Second, comments and a date are not the only metadata one wants to put into images. ([Norman Walsh][]’s [JpegRDF][] makes a good start to embed RDF data into JPEGs.)

So, what’s Tiger’s mechanism to put metadata into images and movies and other files alike? I truly hope the finder does offer some improvements to that respect, and if it does not, I hope for some developers to jump up and add a bunch of tools that will not only let you search with Spotlight but augment Spotlight’s capabilities to a decent level!

Information at your fingertips – because we can!

Sidenote#

I am just wondering if Spotlight in Mail.app means that the underlying mbox file system will change or if Spotlight is just smart enough to being able to parse mbox files.

Update - 2004-07-05Some time ago, I stumbled across [Metadata Hootenanny][], an application intended to augment QuickTime movies with metdata, create menus & sprites and the like. It’s not integrated into Finder (yet?) but it’s an example of what kind of functionality should be available in the OS to make the most out of Spotlight for ordinary files.#

Custom filetypes#

I am wondering if I should subscribe as a Developer to Apple’s just to get hold of the Spotlight SDK? It would be interesting to know how one can add custom file-types, how you specify what “fields” get populated with what data etc. If it’s as easy as I hope, I could imagine to add my own filters for stuff like

  • [Subversion][] metadata (Stored in files along the versioned files)* Specific XML formats like [DocBook][]* [PulpFiction][] RSS articles (If [Erik][] won’t do it himself :))* Blog data from [Ecto][]* …

[JpegRDF]: http://jpegrdf.sf.net[Norman Walsh]: http://norman.walsh.name[Metadata Hootenanny]: http://metahoot.3ivx.com/ [DocBook]: http://www.docbook.org [Subversion]: http://subversion.tigris.org[PulpFiction]: http://freshlysqueezedsoftware.com/products/pulpfiction/ [Erik]: http://nslog.com [Ecto]: http://kung-foo.tv/ecto/

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