To dump or not to dump?

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Spotlight Search

You all know Spotlight, right1? And ceratainly, some of my valuable readers (There are at least 5 I know of :)) might have read Brent Simmons post on “More Spotlight”. Well, these two things make me happy in one way but deeply worry me in another way:

To dump PulpFiction or not to dump it?

The situation is obvious: Spotlight will index individual files and as John Gruber emphasizes in Spotlight on Spotlight:

One implication of Spotlight’s file-centricity is that its ability to search “email” might not apply to clients other than Apple Mail — it’s the fact that the new Tiger version of Mail stores each message as a separate file that allows Spotlight to effectively return individual mail messages as search results. No other major mail client uses a one-message-per-file storage format.

Well, PulpFiction neither uses file based storage of the articles, instead it relies on the wonderful SQLite database engine. (Which already became very useful to me) The implication of this is, that Spotlight will fail to search that database per article. Ouch!

I don’t think that Erik from Freshly Squeezed Software will dump the heart of its product, and I wouldn’t do so either in his place – the relational database at the heart of this product is one of its biggest assets.

So, the question essentially boils down to dump or not to dump PulpFiction in the not so near future.

The alternative is simple – yet powerful on its own: Use Mail.app for News. It will inherently support Spotlight because it will use a one-file-per-message storage. With the help of Aaron Schwartz’ excellent rss2email, I could easily read all news this way. Setting up filters that put the news per subscription into folders should not be a problem and maybe someday someone will program a viable port of Popfile that seamlessly integrates into Mail.app (Aka “native” plugin). And with Spotlight indexing all messages, I would get an instant access to all the information stored in these news articles. Information at my fingertips.

Luckily, I still have some time to ponder the question before the “Tiger”2 will be unleashed. Maybe some of you readers have 2 cents to say?



  1. It’s the new Mac OS X 10.4 (“Tiger”) search technology that delivers Information at your fingertips – because we can! ↩︎

  2. Did you ever wonder what cat of prey will be the codename for Mac OS X 10.5? We got “Puma”, “Cheetah”, “Jaguar”, “Panther” and soon will get “Tiger” – there won’t be many left after these, don’t you think so, too? ↩︎

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