Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ferris on the n9: Search by URL, content, and mtime

The n9 libferris app now allows you to search by the URL of the file as before, but also now by the file text content and it's modification time. Query type is selected by a button in the top right corner which unfortunately isn't nearly as easy to read in the video file as it is in real life.

As libferris handles extraction, update, and storage of metadata from disparate locations I have also added a sprinkling of what that means into the video. Notice that the first search by URL shows a comment "REST interface to libferris" in bold. This is simply the "annotation" metadata of the file but is much more interesting to the searcher than it's URL. Likewise in the second query, which finds a Gutenburg text file by searhing on text content, the annotation offers the name of the book that the file contains. Again much more interesting content to the human who is at the helm.

The third query is on the modification time of the files. There are three ways offered to perform a time search, "more recently than this" or "than last" which can have month or day as options for example, and modified >= X months ago which obviously wants a number as the query text. When querying by time like this, libferris happily accepts some human readable terms like "begin this month" as the time you specify. This makes it just as convenient to use search in scripts as in the dedicated front ends like the n9 app.

The plan is as always, to push metadata from being an after thought to being a first class citizen: able to be created, read, written, indexed, and searched on. Any file with metadata should be able to expose that as simply as its mtime or size, which is all currently done via a key-value "Extended Attribute" interface at the lowest level.

If you like libferris or the recent updates ( mounting, these indexing tweaks etc) then please consider making a donation. If you want to use this technology at a corporate level, please feel free to contact me.

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