Search functionality improvement

I would like to see DT search functionality improved in a few aspects especially search scope control and tag.

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Search field in main window: it is now possible to choose between search in all open databases and “in selection”. I would add a third “Current database” choice

  2. Search window: here the control over search scope is even more difficult and I miss the possibility to select multiple location (groups) for my search.
    DT could give the possibility to refine the search based on location after the search is done i.e. you always search in all open databases and you are then presented with a hierarchical tree structure on the left side displaying only the groups that contain results.
    You can then collapse/expand the structure and select the location(s) where you want to restrict the search.
    This method is quick, efficient and sometimes lets you discover files that are not located where you expect them to be.
    If you then save the search your selection(s) are translated into the usual advanced bar criteria (not so usual since now it is not possible to have multiple locations).

  3. Tags in search window: how about adding a tag cloud/list and a field to quick build a search criteria for multiple tags (a predicate using logic operators)? To be clear, something like the solution implemented by Ammonite.

  4. Please remove the huge limitation requiring that all terms in a search must be in the same “field” (i.e. all in the file name, all in metadata, all in content, ect).

By “Search field in main window” do you mind the Find (command-F) box? This:

This searches only in the current database – nowhere else. The “All/Database” means “search all fields in this database”. To search multiple databases, use Tools > Search, which you mention in your point #2.

This “limitation” applies only to the Find box mentioned in my first comment. The Tools > Search panel has much more flexibility, including the possibility in the Advanced subpanel of creating complex smart group-like predicates across multiple attributes.

Yes! +1

Hi Korm, thanks for your reply!

A few thoughts:

  1. Find (command-F) box: you’re right, apologies for the confusion. What is missing is not the “current database” scope but the “all open databases” scope. I think it could be useful (I have 5 databases related to my job and I’m not always sure where to search) and simple to add (maybe someone at DevonTechnologies will no agree :smiley:).

  2. “Limitation” in the search window: I know I can use the advanced sub-panel for complex queries but I would like to improve the power of a straight simple search; it could then be sufficient for 90% of the cases and I could use the advanced sub-panel for the remaining 10%.
    For instance, say I have to search for a doc about calculation of steel structures: “calculation” and “steel” would be my search terms but most of the times I cannot remember if they are present in the file name or among tags so I I should start trying several possibilities (“steel” as tag and “calculation” in file name, etc).
    Even setting up a single search using the advanced panel is not fast and if the terms are 3 (or more) and I cannot remember if they are used a name, tags, keywords, content, other metadata, etc the exploration of all combinations can quickly become a nightmare.
    What I’m asking is that DT perform the exploration of all these combinations for me behind the curtain and put together the results.

If you ask a person to search in a box full of papers and find an article related to calculation of steel structures you would probably not very happy if the person comes back with nothing because “steel” was in the title of the article but “calculation” was only handwritten (maybe in red) near the title. We’re looking for AI, aren’t we?

Moreover the advanced sub-panel doesn’t allow to search in multiple locations (see #2 in my original post).

Just a clarification about my previous post (point #4).

I didn’t mean that you have to set-up all combination/permutation of possibilities as separate searches; it is always possible to use logic constrict with All/Any and build up a single query that returns the expected result.
Anyway the substance doesn’t change: it’s a long way prone to error (and then you have to modify the query and it gets even longer).

I see the point.

Something like this in the entry field in the Search panel might be a useful UI for your suggestion – basically treating the existing attributes as predicates when suffixed with a colon. Which is what Spotlight does.

tags:"steel OR aluminum" OR name:steel

korm, your suggestion could be for sure an improvement (at least for low-medium complexity queries).
It reduces the time to set up the search but unfortunately I’m not sure it can reduce the difficulty of structuring a comprehensive query (that’s why I’m saying that for very complex queries it will be still difficult to use it; and moreover you’re loosing the aid of graphical structure given by advanced sub-panel and must rely on a lot of parenthesis/operators, somewhat like writing formulas in Excel formula bar).

I’m getting convinced that all these presetting done before a search is time consuming and can hide some possibilities you’re not even aware of.
Maybe the best way to search is through anything you have (i.e. searching terms) to the search engine and let it find all possible combinations of results.
You can then narrow down the results using dedicated panes (see point #2 in my original post).

My actual reference for searching is FoxTrot; have a look at how they manage the search refinement.
I hope people at DEVONtechnologies will not consider unfair my reference to another app; taking inspiration from someone else’s work is not a crime (well, except for Apple…) and I’'m sure that the proposed philosophy could be even better with a touch of “DEVONness”.

Couldn’t agree more on the searching covering TAGS as one part of a multi-criteria search. Indeed, I found this post searching for how to do this (newbie), so was a little shocked that it doesn’t.

My main use case is using FOLDER/GROUP TAGS as aliases, such that I do not have to put the alias (traditional sense of the word) into all the documents…

E.g. Folder is ACME BREWING COMPANY. Has a tag “ABC”
I would like to be able to search in normal search field as “ABC AND costs”
The optimum result here would be that it returns:
(1) All documents in ACME BREWING COMPANY group with costs in it.
(2) All documents in other places that have ABC and costs in the content, title etc (may not be a tag).