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Old 03-08-2010, 05:03 PM   #1
BookwormDragon
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Lightbulb Feature Wish: Save Search Parameters

I have a large library and I often use complex searches to find what I want.
(tag A, and tag B, but not tag C, etc.)
Most of these take some time to construct, and it would be nice if I could save the ones I use often for quick access in the future.
I know that the search box drop-down list does this in a limited way, but it doesn't fill my needs: what searches are remembered seems to be somewhat arbitrary and not based on usage. Besides, if I start browsing my library by author or series, the old searches are soon lost.
Or, I could simply do the search, select all the results, and apply a tag. But that's still rather clumsy, since I then have to remember to apply that tag to all qualifying new entries, and that could quickly get confusing.

So, a way to save searches would be great.

Sincerely,
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:09 PM   #2
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So, a way to save searches would be great.
Sincerely,
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Make a feature request on the bug tracker.
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:53 AM   #3
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This would be great!
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Old 03-21-2010, 04:33 AM   #4
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Cool

Hey I came up with the same wish today but decided to search before posting and found this

here is a mock up if it helps. I would love, i repeat LOVE this feature and it would also put to rest the often asked 'multiple libraries' request in a neat way.


  • Ability to supply an icon/image would be neat too and very intuitive to find the right one quickly
  • Also allow saving the sort order per saved search.
  • Additional information in tooltip maybe
  • Saved search name should become a tag itself, to easily use it in further searches
  • If a saved search is selected then adding a new book(s) adds to that saved search as well or rather adds that saved search's tag to the book(s)

Last edited by rollercoaster; 03-21-2010 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:09 AM   #5
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@rollercoaster: I am considering implementing some version of saved searches, so I have been thinking about the question.

Some comments on your interesting ideas:

1. It is my impression that someone is working on 'real' multiple libraries, so I hesitate to introduce searches onto the libraries line.
2. A saved search can match books that do not have the special tag, making the use of the tag unreliable. It doesn't seem reasonable either to force a user to ensure that the special tag is attached to every matched book or to automatically add the tag to the result set every time the search is executed.
3. Saved searches will by nature produce overlapping virtual libraries, making it difficult to know which tags must be added during import. This issue would add more unreliability to the implementation.
4. One must be careful with confusing the semantics of library vs search. Libraries have one set of behaviors, searches another. For example, what does it mean to delete a book in a virtual library? Is it deleted from the file system? Is it deleted from the saved search (how?). What happens if the search involves formats and a format is deleted while looking at some other search: how does one know if a tag should be deleted? Can one import from one virtual library to another, and if so, what does it really mean?

These issues lead me to question whether we should intermix libraries and search. Experience with music playlists vs libraries also push me to be skeptical.

My current thought is that saved searches should work like playlists, with the hope that their behavior will be less mysterious. They would appear in the tag/genre/etc browser as names within a new category. This approach would automatically deal with overlapping result sets, new and deleted books, and altered metadata. The search name gives the hint. A method would be provided to manage the saved searches (view, edit, delete). If done carefully, the current +/-/ignored interface used by the tag browser will work, facilitating composition of saved searches with new search terms.
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Old 03-21-2010, 10:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaley View Post
@rollercoaster: I am considering implementing some version of saved searches,
Excellent, I think it's needed improvement.

Quote:
so I have been thinking about the question.
Always a god idea before starting to code

Quote:
1. It is my impression that someone is working on 'real' multiple libraries, so I hesitate to introduce searches onto the libraries line.
I don't like real multiple libraries. Calibre already has support for multiple libraries via 3 methods - command line, Wizard and Preferences. I don't see that anything anyone else will write would interfere with your save search code.

Quote:
2. A saved search can match books that do not have the special tag, making the use of the tag unreliable. It doesn't seem reasonable either to force a user to ensure that the special tag is attached to every matched book or to automatically add the tag to the result set every time the search is executed.
I agree. The idea of adding a special tag to mark search results is problematical. It will also interfere with ereaders that use tags for collections. I'd drop that idea and stick to the idea of storing search parameters, not search results. You can always run the saved search to get the results on whatever library you want, without the need for a special tag. If you want the special tag, just run the saved search, select "e" to edit the bulk metadata and add the desired special tag.

Quote:
3. Saved searches will by nature produce overlapping virtual libraries, making it difficult to know which tags must be added during import. This issue would add more unreliability to the implementation.
Agreed - see above.
Quote:
4. One must be careful with confusing the semantics of library vs search. Libraries have one set of behaviors, searches another. For example, what does it mean to delete a book in a virtual library? Is it deleted from the file system? Is it deleted from the saved search (how?). What happens if the search involves formats and a format is deleted while looking at some other search: how does one know if a tag should be deleted? Can one import from one virtual library to another, and if so, what does it really mean?
Stick to saving search parameters, not results. Then these issues disappear.

Quote:
My current thought is that saved searches should work like playlists, with the hope that their behavior will be less mysterious.
This goes back to saving results, not search parameters. Is result saving required? Searches are really fast.
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Old 03-21-2010, 11:52 AM   #7
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First off, thanks for considering..

It is great that someone is working on multiple libraries but. for this, it is important to know if it will be just the ability to switch library locations on the fly or all the library locations will be displayed and searchable as one.

I am not sure that "Smart Playlists" means the same as "Saved Searches". By smart searches I mean the ability to save any query one can enter in the search bar. Hope you mean the same.

to answer some of your questions -

Saved searches should indeed be virtual libraries from outside view. more clearly 'Read-only Virtual libraries'. Inside, they can just be a list of queries with a unique name.

Saved searches should be further searchable. That unique name can be included, as a tag, in the list of tags such that it behaves like a tag for further searches. or even better, as a new search term. something like playlist:="my saved search 1"

Even if the multiple libraries function is implemented, I still think smart playlists/saved searches should appear in the libraries bar in addition to the side pane/tag browser. Because saved searches would look like libraries from outside and because 'finding stuff fast' is a primary function. What we can have is a sleek tabbed thing with, 'Libraries' listing the multiple physical library locations(potentially clicking on one lists books from that location only) and 'Searches' listing the saved searches with icons.

Quote:
If a saved search is selected then adding a new book(s) adds to that saved search as well or rather adds that saved search's tag to the book(s)
I agree with you that saved searches should not be added as tags to books. I didnt think this one thru. May be if a user drops books on a virtual library, then insted of modifying the book's meta, we can add those book's unique ID to the saved search query itself. like Current Query? becomes (Current Query?) OR (bookid=<newbook's ID>). Just thinking out loud. if it seems flimsy, lets not do it and just add books normally

in the end. what ever you do. just add saved search/smart playlists function

Here are another couple of mockups





If appropriate forward these to the people working on multiple libraries.

Thanks

Last edited by rollercoaster; 03-21-2010 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:39 PM   #8
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I agree that results should not be saved. may be for a session/in-memory when a search is accessed first time but not on the disk.

Would be more worthwhile to implement in the search function itself. such that all searches are saved for the session until a change is applied.

Last edited by rollercoaster; 03-21-2010 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:21 PM   #9
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Multiple libraries open so many cans of worms

You could store the path to the library it was created for like a "m3u" file does, leaving the option of "./" (for whatevers current).
Being able to delete obsolete (or defective) saved queries is important :^)
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Starson17 View Post
I don't like real multiple libraries. Calibre already has support for multiple libraries via 3 methods - command line, Wizard and Preferences. I don't see that anything anyone else will write would interfere with your save search code.
The idea raised was to put saved searches (virtual libraries) on the library bar. I would rather not do this because libraries behave very differently from search subsets and the visual intermixing confuses the semantics. As for having multiple libraries, I could use them, but not enough at the moment for me to implement them.

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I'd drop that idea and stick to the idea of storing search parameters, not search results.
and
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Originally Posted by Starson17 View Post
Stick to saving search parameters, not results. Then these issues disappear.
and
Quote:
Originally Posted by Starson17 View Post
This goes back to saving results, not search parameters. Is result saving required? Searches are really fast.
I fully agree with you. I confused things by mentioning playlists. I was not thinking of saving results, although that understanding is an obvious consequence of my choice of the word. What I was trying to nail down was 'subset of library' behavior; a relational projection/view if you will, similar to auto_playlists in MediaMonkey (and undoubtedly others).

I should point out that generation of search results will be 'search on demand', not 'search on metadata change', because that is how searches behave today. For example, if you search for books tagged X, then edit the metadata of one of the books found, that book will not disappear from the screen. In addition, newly added books appear, even if they do not match the search criteria. One must reapply the search to correct the results. This behavior makes using saved searches as virtual libraries a bit problematic, because what one sees may not be what the search would return. This behavior doesn't bother me (in fact I prefer it), but I can easily imagine contrary opinions.
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:48 PM   #11
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At the risk of hijacking the thread ...
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Multiple libraries open so many cans of worms
You are right, but unfortunately that can has already been opened wide.

The libraries on my devices are separate from the 'main' library, but both appear. I can manipulate them separately, copy between them, search on them, etc. I want to be able to compare and synchronize them. I want to be able to manipulate their metadata. I fully understand that the two libraries are separate (that is the point, after all), and that manipulations in one don't necessarily affect the other.

I don't see how having additional 'main' libraries complicate the situation any more than it already is.
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:06 PM   #12
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The libraries on my devices are separate from the 'main' library, but both appear. I can manipulate them separately, copy between them, search on them, etc. I want to be able to compare and synchronize them. I want to be able to manipulate their metadata. I fully understand that the two libraries are separate (that is the point, after all), and that manipulations in one don't necessarily affect the other.

I don't see how having additional 'main' libraries complicate the situation any more than it already is.
I wondered why there was so much space on the library line. Not having an official ereader, while trying to write code that impacts the ereader code is fraught with peril. I had no idea that Calibre considered the ereaders to have a separate library!
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:35 PM   #13
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I wondered why there was so much space on the library line. Not having an official ereader, while trying to write code that impacts the ereader code is fraught with peril. I had no idea that Calibre considered the ereaders to have a separate library!
Worse
Each reader storage device is treated separately:
My PEz has Main and SD Card when attached.
The libraries are not quite the same in details available, either.
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Old 03-21-2010, 06:34 PM   #14
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Worse
Each reader storage device is treated separately:
My PEz has Main and SD Card when attached.
The libraries are not quite the same in details available, either.
According to the code I've been looking at, there are 3 possible views/libraries for devices, corresponding to the main menu and two possible cards. I have no idea what devices use these 3 views.
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:11 PM   #15
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According to the code I've been looking at, there are 3 possible views/libraries for devices, corresponding to the main menu and two possible cards. I have no idea what devices use these 3 views.
Device driver dependent (some device must have 2 SD cards or we would not have a provision for it).
I wonder what Calibre would do if i plugged a second reader (that I don't have) in???
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