Suggestion: Smart Collections

I think it would be a killer new feature (one that I would certainly pay to upgrade in a major release) to have a "Smart Collection" that dynamically builds file lists on the fly, based on wildcards.

For example, if you created a smart collection that looked in a wide ranging set of locations for cars, you could glue together all of your car and truck photos and videos easily.

I've mocked up an example of a simple creation dialog to illustrate what I'm suggesting:


Hope it will be considered. Directory Opus already has 1 billion fantastic features. Why not add another....

You can basically do that now with a stored query (provided you can work out the arcane Windows query language).

As an alternative to Jon's suggestion, you could also do it using the Find panel/command, if you don't mind needing to push a button to re-run the Find/filter and re-generate the collection.

Jon's suggestion of a stored query would re-evaluate the query automatically without requiring a button, so may work better if you can work out the right Windows Search syntax to make it work. My alternative of using Opus's own Find/filters is easier to set up, but requires a button/hotkey to make it re-generate the results.

I think a key element would be to cache the results (or build an actual collection) so that you don't have to re-run a query (which is time consuming over many volumes.) It would then act just like a collection does now.

For people who deal with the file system a lot over a wide variety of drives, it would be convenient to cultivate a variety of cross volume views of the data.

If you use the Find panel method, it will cache the results in a collection. They won't be regenerated until you tell it to.

If you use the Stored Query method then you have the choice of automatic or manual refreshes, as explained near the bottom of that page.

So it looks like everything you want is already there.

I played with this and got it to work pretty well. I found a small discrepancy between the windows search and the opus find. Opus find found a few more than the windows search for reasons I cannot explain. Out of 206 results the windows search only returned 197 of them. The ones missing were viable candidates for the search provided.

My windows search is:

car OR auto OR truck OR Path:automobile

This gets any file with the word car, auto or truck in any of the paths i specify. It also returns all files when the path has the word automobile.

I didn't have much luck in getting the stored search to utilize the saved find. I presume that's not possible? I tried using the command with a parameter for my saved search, but it didn't return any results.

I think it would be nice to have a way to set up Stored Queries based on the built-in Opus Find functionality. My Opus lister layout is already cluttered with buttons, so I would rather not include more if it were possible to use a front-end GUI like the one already provided for Stored Queries. It would also be way easier to refresh a collection: just push F5, instead of having to locate the correct button).

You could replace F5 with a script that runs the refresh command normally, but runs the Find command with a saved filter if you're in a particular collection.

Correct. Still does not work very well for me, because then I would have to hard-code the name/path of the collection. I move and rename folders too often, so it can easily become a unbearable chore to have to update paths in multiple places. That is one reason why I don't use Favorites and almost don't use path based folder formats. By the way, it would be great to have folder formats associated to folder using an ADS, like Opus already does for labels.

I'm not sure how a Smart Collection would work if you renamed the folder it was set to find things in. You'd need to update something, either way. Unless that was an unstated part of your request for the collection to automatically update itself when the folder was renamed, but not everyone would want that and it would introduce performance overheads and only work if the rename happened while Opus was running, etc.

Using aliases is a good solution if you reference folders you may rename in a lot of different places. Then only one place needs to be updated.

Guess my lack of clarity caused a bit of confusion. I was referring to renaming the collection itself. Yes, there is almost no way to escape the chore of updating paths every now and them, but I would rather keep it down to a minimum.

EDIT: I guess using some aliases/links would help a lot, yes. It is on my list. Thanks for the remainder.