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Summary:

I’ve written at great length about using Metadata to keep track of your files, even going so far as an alternative to folder hierarchies. But amongst the barriers to entry is the difficulty in actually tagging those files and subsequently keeping track of those tags that […]

I’ve written at great length about using Metadata to keep track of your files, even going so far as an alternative to folder hierarchies. But amongst the barriers to entry is the difficulty in actually tagging those files and subsequently keeping track of those tags that are being used.

While there are a number of pieces of software that work toward this functionality, I tend to be picky and have only suggested a small handful. Amongst those is a relatively new offering from Big Robot, called TagBot (which just got a bump to a 1.1 release). Today’s screencast covers the simplicity this app offers to fulfill all your tagging needs.

A TagBot Walkthrough (mov)
6mins / 24mb

An item I forgot to mention in the screencast, is TagBot’s ability to tag Address Book entries as well as Safari Bookmarks. Tagging’s not just for files anymore!

By Nick Santilli

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  1. How do you back up the metadata? Spotlight databases don’t seem amenable to that. Even if your files are backed up losing the metadata if your disk crashes could be very painful.

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  2. Hi Bob,

    Let me preface the rest of what I’m about to say by saying that I’m by no means an expert at backup technology. ;)

    That said, I do know that most metadata is stored in a special system-wide database file, but Spotlight Comments, which is where TagBot stores tags, are stored in the .DS_Store files located in every directory. Those .DS_Store files act as a distributed database for the Finder, and if you delete a .DS_Store file for a given directory, then the tags for the files in that directory will be lost.

    So it seems to me that the only way to effectively backup your tags right now would be to use a backup solution that uses the Finder to perform its copy activities. This appears to be the only way to ensure that the .DS_Stores for the copies would be updated correctly with the tag info stored in the Spotlight Comments field for each file.

    So where do you find such a backup solution? I’m sorry to say that I don’t know. I’m not sure that there is one.

    What I do know is that Pete and I are aware of this issue and are working on coming up with an effective, elegant solution, probably as an update to TagBot. In the meantime, hang in there.

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  3. Isn’t it the case that if you backup your (tagged) files then the spotlight comments are retained in the backed up files?

    Looks like a good update to 1.1 & looks like it’s a great tool for managing tags (removing a tag from all files is one which would come in really handy for me now & then). There’s the odd feature I’d like in there, but I still think I’ll end up buying this eventually :)

    It seems to me that if you invoke TagBot, start typing the name of the the tag then hitting Return to to open a search for those files seems more intuative then Open (Command +O). Maybe it’s just me? :)

    It’s good that you can change the hotkey to invoke TagBot but I’d still prefer to specify my own (Something like CTRL, Shift +T or Command +F1).

    Would be good if you right clicked on a file, selected Add Tag & you could specify a new tag as well as selecting current ones.

    Would be good if you could drag the favicon from the Safari address bar on to a tag in TagBot (the same way you can with Punakea)

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  4. Meh, I’m not sure that TagBot does enough that Punakea doesn’t to warrant the $20 price, er, tag. Although it does look nice, with the translucent windows’n’all.

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  5. Dude, have a cup of coffee before recording a screencast. You are so boring and unenthusiastic. Seriously…

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  6. [...] comments of the files for searching, etc. Nick Santilli over at The Apple Blog has a nice little screencast that gives a good sense of how it [...]

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  7. Good stuff, Nick. I was wondering if your background image is available on the web somewhere? I rather like it.

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  8. I really enjoy you thinking.

    Is there a utility that creates a tag cloud based on the tags in the spotlight comments?

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  9. That guy is very boring!

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  10. What are you talking about?
    What do you want him to sound like, some overexcited kids tv presenter?

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