Search as User Interface

5th January 2021 at 8:28am

Tools like Alfred, Finda or even the Gnome shell GUI let you type what you are searching for and find it extremely fast.

I've been using these kind of tools for a while now and I can't imagine myself without them. It is so much easier that trying to browse your folders for what you are looking for. I also find myself using the search feature of Visual Studio Code (Ctrl + P) to open a file by his name (fuzzy search) rather than searching in the directory where it is.

However, search is not useful when you are not exactly sure what you are looking for. For example, if you are searching for a paper about "music" but the title is actually "sound" then you will not find it.

But it can easily be solve if the tool also categorize your documents for you. For example, when you save the paper about music, the tool (or OS) will also add the tags "audio", "sound", etc. automatically for you.

Another time when these tools are not useful is when I want to go down a rabbit hole. I might want to explore which papers I have with the "music" tag (or related).

But folders/directories are not so useful anymore. Tags are a lot more powerful as long as there are correct abstractions around them. For example, it should be painless to see all my documents related to "music" & "tools", or all documents related to "music" but not "tools".

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