So after griping yesterday, I have to give some praise today, because I’ve found myself using a Tiger feature I never thought I’d use: smart folders.
Back up: two years, before I worked with O’Reilly, I dismissed the “smart playlists” feature in iTunes because it didn’t seem useful. After all, your music is already pretty self-organizing - by genre, artist, and/or album - in the iTunes interface. Is anyone really creating these “soundtrack music from the 70’s with 4-star or better rating” playlists?
Figure 1 shows my editing folder. Most of the folders are articles I’m working on (these folders contain the original article and a history of edits, but that’s not important right now).
Figure 1. Chris’
My scheme is to append
[jn] to the name to remind myself what site the article is for. I use label colors to indicate state: no color for a new (untouched) article, orange for one that’s been edited and sent back to an author, yellow for a revised article needing my attention, and green for a finished article.
This allows me to see what I need to work on, but a smart folder makes it a lot nicer. Figure 2 shows a smart folder with the following rules:
- Look in the path
- Look for folders that have “[oj” in their names
- …and have color==yellow or color==none
Figure 2. Smart folder showing ONJava articles to be edited
The result is a folder that always shows me what I need to work on for ONJava. And when I finish an article, changing its color label causes it to disappear from the smart folder.
I’ve only been using this for a day, but it seems like a neat trick and well worth continuing. Editor-in-chief Daniel Steinberg and I iChatted this afternoon about what other tricks we could get Tiger to perform, like whether we could create Automators to pull articles and their images out of e-mail and set up folders for us to work with.
Final thought: why do I like smart folders and hate smart playlists? Two factors I can think of: first, as mentioned above, iTunes is already pretty self-organizing, thanks to the tagging of MP3’s and AAC’s. But also, my iTunes collection is pretty static - I’m not gaining and losing content on a regular basis. By comparison, my editing folder is a constant hub of activity, with new articles coming in and finished ones going out. The smart folder is a good way to provide a consistent view of inconsistent data.
How are you using smart folders?