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Metadata across platforms
Update: uploaded a new version of metAPI that includes a MacOS X implementation.
By now, most developers of operating systems have realized that what users really need to keep their files organized aren't folder hierarchies, but rather metadata. Little bits of data you can attach to a file to later retrieve it again more easily.
Metadata is also very handy when it comes to caching data related to a particular file. You can attach a small, pre-generated preview image to your 13MB Photoshop map of Nunavut, and thus make it easy to speedily browse your image collection.
However, there's one thing that hasn't been addressed yet: Portability of metadata. With every platform having their own way to handle metadata, from BeFS to Spotlight to whatever Longhorn's metadata will be called when it ships in 2020, how will users be able to migrate their metadata along with their files?
To offer a solution for this problem, I've created metAPI. metAPI is a simple API specification for attaching metadata to files. I've also included a reference implementation for Unixes, and another for MacOS X that takes advantage of Mac-native APIs behind the scenes, while offering the same API to the outside. metAPI has the following goals:
Now, this is the very first iteration of metAPI. As such, it probably still has faults, and could probably use some modifications to work better with some of the more esoteric platforms. If you have any suggestions how I could improve metAPI, let me know.
And if you know anyone working on a Linux distro's file system or file manager, or on anything else that can use metadata, please point them at metAPI.
Created: 2004-12-13 @851 Last change: 2004-12-27 @037 | Home | Admin | Edit|
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