Columns

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aml
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Columns

Post by aml » 2018 Apr 21, 13:33

A) By View-Pane Style-Details you display columns.

Then only (it's hidden when your current style is "List" for example), by "View-Select Columns", you select the columns you want to be displayed, and by arrow buttons, you determine their sort order.

Available columns come with or without an [S] indicator; "S" not being for "system" but for "stock", i.e. for non-system, i.e. for x2's proprietary columns.

For tags or other comments, you will probably use Comment [S] since Alt-z will display a dialog to enter/alter/delete these, and the contents (e.g. tags) of the "Comment" column will be properly displayed within that column.

B) Now for the problems:

1)

When I try to view or edit those proprietary tags by external tools, i.e. when I read or write to the alternate data streams x2 creates for its proprietary "Comment [S]" column, I don't get any useful result, x2 obviously writing to those streams in binary, not text format (why?):

The ADS in question are:

a) [ENQ char]SummaryInformation
Reading this ADS just displays some special chars, for a real length of some 110-130 chars, while most of the time, the allocated ADS size is a whopping 4096 chars (i.e. my hdd sector size); the allocated ADS size remains at a reasonable 120 chars only if the real content remains at below 120 chars - the irony here being that the real text content (i.e. what is visible as content) is just some tags, 1, 2 or up to a dozen a-z/0-9 chars (not even special chars), never more. In other words, the non-text-format storage of this proprietary x2 "Comment [S]" blows the ADS up to some quite crazy degree, all the more so since it seems that the allocated size of 4096 even remains after deleting some of the chars (before: 12 chars, then: 2 chars: size remains at 4096).

and

b) {4c8cc155-6c1e-11d1-8e41-00c04fb9386d}
Reading this ADS brings an empty string, which is not surprising, since the ADS is empty anyway (size: 0) - so why does x2 create these ADS anyway?

2)

Since as said, I can neither read nor write to these proprietary x2 "Comment" column / ADSs by external tools (which is the main problem, the ADS size problem just being an additional one), I tried to use the other, NON-proprietary, columns, e.g. "Tags", "Comments" (but which in Windows would rather be "Comment", not "Comments", "Keywords", etc. - in vain.

a) The columns are properly displayed, but without any content, i.e. the ADSs are not retrieved. I write, and then read, those ADS with external tools, in simple text format, e.g. I write "xxx" to the ADS "Tags", and then that "xxx" appears when reading that ADS, but nothing appears in the x2 "Tags" column.

b) Thus, needs x2 ALL ADS info, in order for it to be displayed within its respective column, in binary format, even for non-proprietary columns? In other words, in order to be any text to be displayed within the x2 columns, would I need a third-party tool which translates simple text into some binary format first, before then storing the string as an ADS?

c) And my assertion is correct that except for the (by Alt-z) editing dialog for its proprietary "Comment [S]" column, x2 does NOT offer any possibility to edit (i.e. create/alter/delete) any column content? (F2 will always just rename the file/folder name, does not work on any column; neither by mouse-rightclick.)

3)

a) In the blog, there is a page https://www.zabkat.com/blog/customize-details-pane.htm - the info there is only for individualisation of which-columns-are-displayed, for different folders, right, but the possible content (!) or those columns should be displayed though automatically (and without fussing around with that html page?) whenever the respective columns (!) are displayed, right?

In other words, if, JUST by my selects in the dialog "View-Select Columns", the wanted columns are displayed, their possible contents should appear in them, too, without my needing to do any other things?

b) If I must use that html file in order to have appear system ADS within the respective x2 columns though, could you bring a simple example, e.g. for making the system ADS "Tags" work in x2, instead of the "Tags" column in x2 remaining empty?

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Re: Columns

Post by nikos » 2018 Apr 21, 14:45

it is hard to have a generic discussion about tags and comments, because each file type is different. So to narrow this down please let me know what kind of files you are talking about

xplorer2 [S]tock columns are the "proprietary", the rest are system columns. xplorer2 only does "proprietary" stuff with the stock comments column, and that only for certain file types that are not handled by windows. For example ADS called SummaryInformation is system; only x2_AFScomment is "special"

as for the details pane, it is completely independent than detailed columns. The procedure to customize it isn't very easy but you shouldn't be doing it often.

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Re: Columns

Post by aml » 2018 Apr 21, 16:13

1) I would like to use the same (i.e. standardized) way for all of my files, by way of ADS, notwithstanding the fact that some file formats offer additional ways to store metadata within the primary datastream of the file itself.

2) I see I mixed up the columns described above by me, and the "detailed pane" you refer to above, so I suppose the link above does not apply to my problem? It's just that in https://www.zabkat.com/extras/stock_columns.txt you list code numbers for certain columns, e.g. 17 for "Comment" and 19 for "Keywords".

If I use the number 19 as ADS name, for writing, then for reading, this works fine, i.e. such a number is allowed as ADS name, but in the x2 column "Keywords" (with number 19 according to your number table, the content is NOT visible.

3) I had thought that all of the possible "system" "columns" - you give a link to some of them https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/librar ... 5(v=vs.85) here: https://www.zabkat.com/extras/stock_columns.txt - were output from ADS (alternate data streams) of the files in question, but that is probably NOT the case.

4) As said, I can write ADS, and I can retrieve (read) ADS, by way of something like

writefile[/readfile], filepath:\...\filename.suffix:nameofads, variable[or_string]_to_contain_the_plaintext_to_write_into[/to_read-from]_that_ads

This works fine for creating those ADS, and for retrieving/editing them, I just need just ONE of such an ADS to be visible within x2, with ANY column name.

For example, I had always thought that the system column "Keywords" (cf. in your MS link "System.Keywords") or then also the system column "Comment" were retrieved (in any file manager) from an ADS of the file in question, not from metadata from within the main file stream.

But finally, I need just ONE such ADS to be retrieved by x2, in text form - as unfortunately, your proprietary ADS "Comment" is in binary format.

5) Isn't there any such plaintext-ADS I could use, and that x2 could retrieve? Or would I just need to NAME the ADS in those files accordingly, so as to enable x2 to retrieve (and possibly also write, but that would NOT be necessary!) their content?

E.g. by preceding the ADS name, like "Tags" (or others), by some special char? (As you do for your proprietary "Comment" ADS.)

EDIT: Your leading ENQ char does not work in order to display other ADS, filename:[ENQ char]Tags for example will not work. But perhaps there is a way with {...} codes for those system columns (if they derive from some ADS and just the correct naming is possibly the problem?)?

EDIT 2: I just tried with filename:System.Comment (like it's called in your MS link), and I also tried with filename:[ENQ char]System.Comment, but whilst all these ADS work well outside x2, none of them is displayed in the x2 "Comments" column, which should represent the system column "System.Comment" though.

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Re: Columns

Post by nikos » 2018 Apr 21, 17:51

there is no way to show an alternate stream as a column in xplorer2. In general you could have a whole file embedded as a stream, so it wouldn't fit in a column

the best you can do is to use the stock comment column, which sometimes is stored as ADS, sometimes it goes in the file (depending on the file type)

keywords (tags) are supported only for a few file types and I believe they are not stored as ADS

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Re: Columns

Post by aml » 2018 Apr 21, 21:03

It's correct that ADS can be quite big, in fact, as far as I know, their size is not limited, as isn't the size of the main data stream either. In spreadsheets and databases, you resolve the size problem in that way that for display reasons, you cut the string after some 12, 256 or whatever chars; it's ironic that your proprietary "Comment" column takes 4096 chars, most of the time, for just some 6 or 10 ascii chars but which in your binary format, then take 120 chars or a little bit more.

With this proprietary, binary format, tags are not "exportable" but stay within x2, and as alleged by me above already, the problem is not with discarding x2 for some other program, but lies in this format's making it impossible to use several tools, x2 among them, concurrently on the same files; for example, renaming tags taken hostage within your proprietary ADS format will be lots of manual work or cannot be scripted in a really reliable way, while for plain-text ADS, this would be easy, an external script just working on those ADS strings directly, not juggling within x2 dialogs, cutting all tags of any file into the clipboard, then searching/replacing the one to be renamed among them, then insert the changed global tag string from clipboard into the dialog again... for hundreds/thousands of x2 to be openend and closed again, that'll take some time, too, which clearly shows the superiority of direct programmatical access to those strings.

Considering that, contrary to what I had assumed before, all those Windows "system" file properties must be embedded in the original file formats, I understand better why I didn't understand the specifics of those properties from the MS list from above: Those are instructions how to embed the properties into proprietary file formats, for developers, and instructions how to get to them then.

I mostly use file formats not having such properties, so I tag with ADS tags, but as said, your proprietary, binary format does not help with that; you could of course add some second, specific column for ADS strings, that one for plain-text format. ;-)

But thank you very much for looking into this matter, and for your answers given!

EDIT: The alt-z dialog allows for multi-file operation: replace (i.e. rename), append, and remove. I did not try these since I need "put before" currently, and "replace" will probably correctly replace, but, of course, will then not sort, but in order to "perceive" different tags as quickly as possible, it's important for them that they are always in alphanumeric order, so renames ask for rearrangement, most of the time; also, what to do with combining 2 tags into 1, for example.

So I wrote a script which, in a loop, analyses every line (path, link-encoding, etc.), opens the dialog, cuts out the possible tags, analyses them, works on them, rearranges them, puts the target string back into the dialog field, closes the dialog again...

That's a lot of fuss and less robust; it's preferable in general that a file manager uses the embedded file meta property whenever it's available, and then systematically (i.e. for any possible meta property) switches to ADS if the embedded property is not available. "DO" pretends to do exactly that, but I didn't try it out yet (would need to install trial), so I don't know if, when it's ADS, it'll be available in plain text and thus accessible programmatically, by robust scripting (and fast execution), outside of that file manager.

Anyway, I'd be happy enough with just ONE dedicated, named ("ADS" would be short enough), plain text ADS column...

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Re: Columns

Post by nikos » 2018 Apr 22, 06:07

if you are good with programming you can write either a shell extension (column handler) to expose whatever file property you need in xplorer2. An easier alternative is to write a WDX plugin (borrowed from total commander) that is probably easier to master than shell COM

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Re: Columns

Post by aml » 2018 Jun 07, 10:25

I made a remark upon this elsewhere in this forum, and had been cited over there with: "by namsupo » Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:14 am

because of its brilliant "Comment" column; DO's "Comments" aren't processable from the outside either, and are (as far as I have seen in my recent trial of that) just visible one-by-one, which is a similar problem of hiding "valid adjacent" information from the viewer"., nuamsupo to continue:

"What does that mean? Of course DO has a Comment column".

I have probably been wrong in the second assertion in this citation of mine though (cf. my "(as far as I have seen in my recent trial of that)"), hence:

a) DO does NOT allow for external (i.e. outside of DO) management of its "Comment" "column" by "household" means, i.e. the same criticism I address to x2 above applies to DO, and I'm positive about that (so perhaps your citation was too extensive?), and there does NOT seem (!) to be any alternative "column" in DO either, at this point in time where external processing of some (!) column (always by "household" means) is possible;

no "writeto the ADS column abc (any given name allowed here and determined by the respective developer) of file xyz : somestring" by your (superior, like AHK) macro program possible; NO current filemanager seems to allow this at this moment; very probably the 2 hints that Nikos thankfully gave above, also apply to DO, for whomever who's able to follow them, which unfortunately isn't the case for me, so before (and if ever) Nikos introduces such a "column", I'll have to do it all by external macros, "playing" "from the outside" onto x2's "Comment" column (any other "column" would be "ok" for me, for my tags, assuredly, but the chance to create a tag "from the outside of x2" in that "column" would mean I could avoid possible inconsistency between what "tags" I have got in that (whatever) "column", and the respective symlinks, for that file appearing in other contexts, too (I do the symlinks outside of x2; for the time being, I cannot do the corresponding tags outside of x2, too, OR they wouldn't be visible from within x2)

b) We must differentiate between "column" and "column", the first term meaning "attribute" in fact, and the second term meaning "an attribute which the file manager in question allows for being visible all the time together with the file name in question". My DO trial just allowed me - but that has possibly been my fault, and my fault alone? - to see the "Comment" attribute

(you may call it "column", but it's an attribute, and nothing more, just the visible (!) collection of those same attributes could be called a "column", as in databases where there are visible/"listable" indeed, according to the interface / printed output)

one-by-one, i.e. for any selected (!) item (file/folder), I THEN could automatically have had displayed also the "Comment" ADS, without need to enter some additional command them, BUT in x2, I am able to display the "name" AND the "comment" concurrently, which means that for the whole list of entries, I (immediately, concurrently) see the name AND the comment, which makes a big difference.

Thus, what you're implying, is, that I could have got that concurrent display of the list of names AND of all the respective comments (like in x2), in DO, too: You're possibly right, but then I didn't discover that functionality over there in my trial.

Fact is, though: Whenever I had trialed DO in the past - about 3 or 4 times within the last 15 years or so, on (necessarily) different pc's over that time - I have NEVER discovered ANY real advantage of DO over x2 (or XY), except for the fact that x2's speed of pic display has always been sub-standard indeed, but I use FastStone Image Viewer for pic viewing anyway, so that doesn't matter for me (anymore) (and alternatively, XY's pic display is on par with DO's if you insist)

So please would / could you confirm that DO can concurrently (!) display all (!) respective "Comment" tags (or whatever the "Comment" "column" = attribute content is) together with all currently-displayed file names ? (= e.g. 60 file names, together with their 60 "Comment" strings, be them empty, in case, or with their real content, i.e. NOT just one-by-one)?

If you can confirm that, that'd prove that DO isn't inferior at least to x2 in this respect, but it's not superior either then (see my point a: hint to x2 to make it very superior indeed, but just some lines of code! ;-) ), and whilst then, x2 isn't superior in this respect, again DO is just on par with reasonably-priced contenders, x2 in this occurrence

(except for its incredible fan base of course, only Apple does better in this respect indeed: just today in the press: their $18,000 gold wristwatch will not get any software update, but who cares, hahaha? and indeed, it's just peanuts for those, living on others' work and who'd bought that crap),

but to say it all, on my system (W10 Prof 7700), DO looks like a 1995 program, so WHAT's the premium for, after all? (Not speaking of SpeedCommander here, of course, the "specialist" for people who want "more than FC has on offer" while not speaking English (and thus needing a help file in German), hahaha!

This being said, this has been a rant against DO's unjustified "superb", not against yours, namsupo's, correction of my error, if error of mine had been made: to put facts straight's always been a VERY good thing.

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Re: Columns

Post by aml » 2018 Jun 10, 10:17

So what, namsupo?

Does DO show the respective contents of the "Comment" "column" of ALL currently visible items (files/folders, e.g. about 60 if that's the available "height" of your screen), together with the file names, as x2 does, OR does is only show that additional content for the currently-selected item (i.e. 1-by-1), as my (now-being-over) trial of DO seemed to indicate?

Since you seem to know DO better than I got it to know, and since your terminology, when you corrected me, was ambiguous, would you kindly answer this always-open question?

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