[KPhotoAlbum] Picture selection workflow, etc.

Joe josephj at main.nc.us
Wed Dec 28 09:10:28 CET 2011


The following is what I'm doing and why it doesn't work very well.  I'm 
open to suggestions on how to do it better! And I have a few ideas.
I'm not saying this is the way KPA is supposed to work or that there's 
not already a better way.  Just that, if there is one, I don't know what 
it is.

I am selecting some pictures to print from a  large collection (24k 
pictures, a small percentage of which are tagged.  Hopefully, I'll get 
it done someday!)

I create a new keyword "0_select" (so it shows up first on the sorted 
keyword list in search) and I add that tag to each picture I select 
(more than one at a time where possible).

This works, but raises a number of issues.

1) If the picture was untagged, (my keyword for that is "untagged"), 
adding the 0_select tag causes the "untagged" keyword to be 
automatically removed.  (I suppose I could just turn that feature off 
and do it manually.)  When I'm done with this selection, I have two 
choices.  a) Leave the keyword there forever and don't reuse it until I 
have fully tagged all the pictures with that tag or b) remove the tag 
from the pictures and consequently lose the ability to find them as 
untagged in the future.

This problem is an artifact of the larger issue that selecting pictures 
is conceptually disjoint from tagging them and using the same facility 
for both (I forget what this "programming" sin is officially called - 
something about dependencies within variables or improper normalization) 
is flawed design.

Suggestion:  *If* this is the way it's done, then one improvement 
(really a workaround for a conceptual shortcoming) to kpa would be to 
allow the user to select the "untagged" keyword  and have it stick.  
Currently, it deletes itself.  (Also, I sometimes add some tags to a set 
of pictures, but know I need to go back and add more, so I'd like to use 
"untagged" semantically as "not finished tagging".)  So, I'd like to be 
able to add some tags and still have the "untagged" keyword stick.  I 
guess the best of both worlds would be to have every new picture I add 
automatically marked as "untagged", but for KPA to leave that field 
alone from then on and leave it up to me to delete it manually.

2) When I'm selecting-by-tag a lot of pictures (using a tag as above), a 
lot of things can happen to make me lose my place in the large 
collection of pictures - anything from hitting left click or down arrow 
by accident instead of ctrl left click/ctrl down arrow  and  clearing 
all the previously (mouse click) selected pictures; having to quit and 
resume later; hitting ctrl home or end or letting keyboard repeat go 
wild by holding down a positioning key too long ....

When something like this happens, I lose track of where I am and what's 
selected-by-tagand what's not.  I can use search to show me all the 
selected-by-tagpictures.  That works, but disrupts my context because 
once I find the last picture that was selected-by-tag, it's not very 
easy to get back to it once the search is undone.  I have to look for it 
by date or its cryptic file name.  This works, but it's less than 
elegant.  It also doesn't let me see what's not selected-by-tag, but 
should be.

Suggestion: Add a new type of search/filter that finds things exactly 
the way the current search does, but instead of eliminating everything 
else and just showing the new selection, add an attribute to each 
picture like changing the color of its border to a custom color or maybe 
even adding a badge to it like kde does with icons.  If that was done, 
my context would not be disturbed.  I'd still be looking at the same 
selection of pictures I was looking at before the search (without even 
moving anything on my screen!)and I could instantly tell which ones were 
selected-by-tagand which weren't.  This would be even more awesome if it 
could "display" the results of more than one search at a time.  That 
would be "easy" by just using different colors for each selected-by-tag 
search/filterand figuring out what to do when these selections overlap 
or allowing more than one badge per picture.

I can see that enhancements like this might take a considerable amount 
of coding.  Pictures probably don't even have their own borders now.  
But adding a visual search feature like this could potentially make 
tagging and maintaining large collections of pictures much easier and 
more powerful by making it much easier to "see what you're doing."

There is some precedence for such a feature.  A number of text editors 
and word processors have a "Find All" option in their search dialogs 
that usually highlights all occurrences of a pattern throughout the file 
without doing anything else except perhaps positioning to the next 
occurrence.

What do you think?

Joe


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