[Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby CintaNotes Developer » Wed May 11, 2016 2:20 pm

date wrote:I'll be sending over the database with the attachment issue, usbpoweredfridge seems to have a similar issue as well.

Huge thanks for sharing this. It was actually a bug in the feature implementation (rules could "see" attachments only if the information about them was cached in memory), not in your db.

date wrote:I meant the wide arrow for a longer tag list, but the whole CN window is partially cut off from the bottom, and the hidden arrows are just a side-effect. Hiding the taskbar and bringing it back up temporarily fixes this (until next CN start.) (Or auto-hiding in newer Windows versions.)

Ah, I see.

The 'ability to re-apply to selected notes on demand' sounds like the possibilities are expanded (and not dumbed down.)
But if the rule functionality were to come to fruition in a stable version, I would use it mainly to apply rules to all (existing) notes for a consistent experience. Like a saved search.

Well, this will definitely make applying rules more manual. You'll need to not forget about applying them.

Besides this, I think the rules dialog can be made more user-friendly, not sure how though. Perhaps by pre-listing the list of options (not crammed in a drop-down box) and pre-selecting the current section for the section condition.

About pre-selecting section - this is a good idea. I have also more ideas here: after one section is selected, it should be removed from the list in the alternative options. But this might introduce some nasty dependencies and ripple effects (chaning section in one place will require automatic changes in other places).

About list of options instead of dropdown - could you maybe illustrate the idea? Everything what comes to mind requires a lot of space.
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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby date » Thu May 12, 2016 11:00 pm

CintaNotes Developer wrote:
date wrote:The 'ability to re-apply to selected notes on demand' sounds like the possibilities are expanded (and not dumbed down.)
But if the rule functionality were to come to fruition in a stable version, I would use it mainly to apply rules to all (existing) notes for a consistent experience. Like a saved search.

Well, this will definitely make applying rules more manual. You'll need to not forget about applying them.

Maybe I misunderstood, I thought of it more like an option to apply rules on some particular part/section of the .db, with the possibility to select notes outside that range, and right-click and apply that rule to them as well. As an extension to what currently possible in this beta. In Gmail there is a standardly checked checkbox 'Also apply rule to 0 matching conversations.'

If the only way to apply rules is by selecting the notes first, it makes no sense to have a seperate Rules feature, as everything can already be done manually. Just run your search or select your tags and apply the tag. (Except for the 'starting with...' option maybe.)

Besides this, I think the rules dialog can be made more user-friendly, not sure how though. Perhaps by pre-listing the list of options (not crammed in a drop-down box) and pre-selecting the current section for the section condition.

About pre-selecting section - this is a good idea. I have also more ideas here: after one section is selected, it should be removed from the list in the alternative options. But this might introduce some nasty dependencies and ripple effects (chaning section in one place will require automatic changes in other places).
* You need to press the + below the If and the Then for the first time. This can be automated. The Else part is not absolutely necessary.
* There could be a dropdown ABOVE the rule definition, under/beside of the Name, with the option to either apply this rule to the current section, or every section. With current section as default. That way someone will need to consciously select to apply a rule to all sections.
I regard sections as different 'parts' of my .db, just think that applying rules automatically to all sections is prone to have unintended side-effects!

About list of options instead of dropdown - could you maybe illustrate the idea? Everything what comes to mind requires a lot of space.


Like filters in gmail. (link)
Not necessarily better in that particular fashion, it's the overall picture that counts. Removing the need to press excess +'es will already help to make it clearer how one is supposed to use the rules function. Gmail's way will indeed require 8 more lines.

These above are just some thoughts, I could be off the mark!
What I like about Rules is especially the possibility to have 'saved searches' (including attachments) and maybe also tag manipulation. This means I'm not likely to want to use about 90% of its (current) capabilities.
I'm curious as to whether people would actually make complicated rules including 'doesn't start with' and Else-like clauses :mrgreen:
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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby CintaNotes Developer » Fri May 13, 2016 10:02 am

date wrote:Maybe I misunderstood, I thought of it more like an option to apply rules on some particular part/section of the .db, with the possibility to select notes outside that range, and right-click and apply that rule to them as well. As an extension to what currently possible in this beta. In Gmail there is a standardly checked checkbox 'Also apply rule to 0 matching conversations.'
If the only way to apply rules is by selecting the notes first, it makes no sense to have a seperate Rules feature, as everything can already be done manually. Just run your search or select your tags and apply the tag. (Except for the 'starting with...' option maybe.)

Rules already have ability to apply only to a selected set of notes: via rule conditions. If you want the rule to apply only with notes of a particular section or having a particular tag - just add these to the IF section of the rule. We were talking about the moment when rules are re-applied. Now every time a note changes, CN runs it through rules. The question was, if it would make sense to only do this when a note is saved for the first time, and after that - only manually.

Not necessarily better in that particular fashion, it's the overall picture that counts. Removing the need to press excess +'es will already help to make it clearer how one is supposed to use the rules function. Gmail's way will indeed require 8 more lines.

Adding a section condition by default is a good idea. The default action is not that clear though.

What I like about Rules is especially the possibility to have 'saved searches' (including attachments) and maybe also tag manipulation. This means I'm not likely to want to use about 90% of its (current) capabilities.
I'm curious as to whether people would actually make complicated rules including 'doesn't start with' and Else-like clauses :mrgreen:

That's ironic since the "else" block is crucial exacly for these "saved-search" kind of rules! When you want to use the rule as a dynamic tag, there you need to remove the tag in the "else" section.
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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby date » Fri May 13, 2016 8:45 pm

CintaNotes Developer wrote:Rules already have ability to apply only to a selected set of notes: via rule conditions. If you want the rule to apply only with notes of a particular section or having a particular tag - just add these to the IF section of the rule.
I understand that part, but thought of it as only applying the conditions to notes in 'current view.'

We were talking about the moment when rules are re-applied. Now every time a note changes, CN runs it through rules. The question was, if it would make sense to only do this when a note is saved for the first time, and after that - only manually.

Then what about, when 'Active' is unchecked in the first screen, a button that appears 'Apply once,' that does still not activate the rule permanently, but applies them one time to existing notes?
To _only_ do it manually doesn't make sense to me, then the Rules feature would just be a list of chores one needs to perform regularly. In that case the Rules feature can be replaced by a note with a list of actions you want to remember that helps you sort and tag your notes, in other words, nothing really new.
Or am I completely misunderstanding?

Removing the need to press excess +'es will already help to make it clearer how one is supposed to use the rules function.

Adding a section condition by default is a good idea. The default action is not that clear though.
Don't understand that last part :roll:

What I like about Rules is especially the possibility to have 'saved searches' (including attachments) and maybe also tag manipulation. This means I'm not likely to want to use about 90% of its (current) capabilities.
I'm curious as to whether people would actually make complicated rules including 'doesn't start with' and Else-like clauses :mrgreen:

That's ironic since the "else" block is crucial exacly for these "saved-search" kind of rules! When you want to use the rule as a dynamic tag, there you need to remove the tag in the "else" section.
Oh yes of course! Bad example. But I feel that using the rule editing window, with all those options, defining a rule looks like a highly technical skill. (I myself have no problems using it though.)
Here is an UI suggestion that I think will make creating a rule easier. Pointing the cursor in a text box will check the box (I imagine.) Alternatively, like I said, having it as it is currently, and simulate pressing the first 2/3 +'es, and have that as the starting window, would be a reasonable improvement too, I guess.
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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby Ovg » Sat May 14, 2016 4:23 am

IMHO:
I'm sorry, but I do not really like this concept - I would prefer
drop-down lists to select the fields and conditions, as is done now. I think it is more convenient.
It's impossible to lead us astray for we don't care even to choose the way.
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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby usbpoweredfridge » Mon May 16, 2016 11:11 am

Noted a potential unintended change to the Export dialog box in this version from the 3.1.x stream, see here:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2149#p11177

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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby CintaNotes Developer » Wed May 18, 2016 5:40 pm

Hi date,
Sorry for the pause! I'm back here now..

date wrote:I understand that part, but thought of it as only applying the conditions to notes in 'current view.'

But what is 'current view' in the context of rules? Rules need to also work for notes not currently visible, for example notes in other sections which are updated during the sync process.

Then what about, when 'Active' is unchecked in the first screen, a button that appears 'Apply once,' that does still not activate the rule permanently, but applies them one time to existing notes?

Don't quite get what would it accomplish. Activating the rule, closing the dialog, reopening it and deactivating the rule would have exactly the same effect.
To _only_ do it manually doesn't make sense to me, then the Rules feature would just be a list of chores one needs to perform regularly. In that case the Rules feature can be replaced by a note with a list of actions you want to remember that helps you sort and tag your notes, in other words, nothing really new. Or am I completely misunderstanding?

The rule would still be applied automatically to new notes, when they are saved for the first time.

The default action is not that clear though.
Don't understand that last part :roll:

I meant that pre-selecting some condition is easier to do, while pre-selecting some action can potentially have unexpected side-effects. Although putting a default "Add tag(s)" action to the THEN section, with an empty tag to fill in, is a viable option. ELSE part doesn't need to have any default pre-selection I think.

Oh yes of course! Bad example. But I feel that using the rule editing window, with all those options, defining a rule looks like a highly technical skill. (I myself have no problems using it though.)
Here is an UI suggestion that I think will make creating a rule easier. Pointing the cursor in a text box will check the box (I imagine.) Alternatively, like I said, having it as it is currently, and simulate pressing the first 2/3 +'es, and have that as the starting window, would be a reasonable improvement too, I guess.

That is an interesting concept, thanks! You're right that it might be easier to use for a novice user. But there are some problems here as well:
1) The view is cluttered with all possible fields, even those which you are not using
2) Sometimes you need to define more than one condition on the same field.
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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby CintaNotes Developer » Wed May 18, 2016 5:41 pm

usbpoweredfridge wrote:Noted a potential unintended change to the Export dialog box in this version from the 3.1.x stream, see here:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2149#p11177
Chris


Actually 3.1.4 beta was produced AFTER this beta, despite the higher version number. The beta 2 will have the export dialogs like in 3.1.4.
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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby date » Wed May 18, 2016 8:15 pm

CintaNotes Developer wrote:Hmmm. maybe the rules are fundamentally wrong now? Would simply making all rules apply _only_ to unsaved notes work for you, for example? With ability to re-apply to selected notes on demand?
Thomas Lohrum wrote:I can only speak for myself, but yes, that should fit my needs better. Also it does less harm!

Cintanotes Developer wrote:
date wrote:The 'ability to re-apply to selected notes on demand' sounds like the possibilities are expanded

Well, this will definitely make applying rules more manual. You'll need to not forget about applying them.

date wrote:To _only_ do it manually doesn't make sense to me, then the Rules feature would just be a list of chores one needs to perform regularly.

The rule would still be applied automatically to new notes, when they are saved for the first time.

I guess I'm just not seeing the picture! :D Just two questions:
1. The rules won't apply when a note is modified? This would break 'saved search'!
2. Can this not be solved by adding a checkbox 'Don't immediately apply this rule on existing notes, but only on new or modified notes,' along those lines, to serve for both uses?

The default action is not that clear though.
Don't understand that last part :roll:

I meant that pre-selecting some condition is easier to do, while pre-selecting some action can potentially have unexpected side-effects. Although putting a default "Add tag(s)" action to the THEN section, with an empty tag to fill in, is a viable option. ELSE part doesn't need to have any default pre-selection I think.

That was exactly my suggestion. Just how it is now, but the 2 or 3 +-buttons already clicked. The difference is small, but at least one field for IF and THEN is mandatory anyway.

The default selection in the dropdown-box doesn't matter much, there could even be an empty value, but I think how it is now is already fine.

  • Another slightly different idea is to preselect conditions based on current search, which has some resemblance with the 'Options / Clipping / After Clipping / Assign currently active tags' option.

That is an interesting concept, thanks! You're right that it might be easier to use for a novice user. But there are some problems here as well:
1) The view is cluttered with all possible fields, even those which you are not using

There need to be 8x3x3 lines when nothing is selected, no way around that. If this concept could be perceived as cluttered by some, then by all means disregard!
2) Sometimes you need to define more than one condition on the same field.

That is where the '+' is for, to add an extra line.
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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby CintaNotes Developer » Thu May 19, 2016 11:28 am

date wrote:I guess I'm just not seeing the picture! :D Just two questions:
1. The rules won't apply when a note is modified? This would break 'saved search'!

Yes, it will
2. Can this not be solved by adding a checkbox 'Don't immediately apply this rule on existing notes, but only on new or modified notes,' along those lines, to serve for both uses?

It could, but I'm reluctant to pass on the burden of having to choose to the user, if this could be avoided. The best solution so far I think would be just to add a new "[Note] [is new]" condition.

That was exactly my suggestion. Just how it is now, but the 2 or 3 +-buttons already clicked. The difference is small, but at least one field for IF and THEN is mandatory anyway.

Ok, this part is clear then ;)

Another slightly different idea is to preselect conditions based on current search, which has some resemblance with the 'Options / Clipping / After Clipping / Assign currently active tags' option.

That's a nice idea actually! It will also make using rules as saved searched much easier.

There need to be 8x3x3 lines when nothing is selected, no way around that. If this concept could be perceived as cluttered by some, then by all means disregard!

For now, I'd rather stick with the current design. I just think it is a bit cleaner. But nevertheless thanks a lot for your effort!

2) Sometimes you need to define more than one condition on the same field.

That is where the '+' is for, to add an extra line.

Yes, but now you can use different operators (second column) on the same field, and thus mix and match "ands" and "ors" for values (third column), whereas in your design you'd have to choose one operator and stick with it.
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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby date » Thu May 19, 2016 2:12 pm

CintaNotes Developer wrote:
date wrote:I guess I'm just not seeing the picture! :D Just two questions:
1. The rules won't apply when a note is modified? This would break 'saved search'!

Yes, it will

Well then you have my vote against 'rules being applied only to unsaved notes.' This will break auto-tagging attachments too, making Rules much less powerful.

PS I think 'Unsaved' is a confusing term, surely every note has to be saved sometime, or it wouldn't exist as a note ;)

2. Can this not be solved by adding a checkbox 'Don't immediately apply this rule on existing notes, but only on new or modified notes,' along those lines, to serve for both uses?

It could, but I'm reluctant to pass on the burden of having to choose to the user, if this could be avoided. The best solution so far I think would be just to add a new "[Note] [is new]" condition.
Much better IMHO, to make it optional in this way.

2) Sometimes you need to define more than one condition on the same field.

That is where the '+' is for, to add an extra line.

Yes, but now you can use different operators (second column) on the same field, and thus mix and match "ands" and "ors" for values (third column), whereas in your design you'd have to choose one operator and stick with it.
The second-column dropdown-box with the operators is replicated on the new line.

But mixing different 'ands' and 'ors' can't be possible in any simple design?? In a rule 'if a note contains 'bob' or 'richard' and 'tuesday'' where do the parenthesis go? Using 'ALL' on all conditions and excluding things using operators is as far as one can go. Using 'ANY' on all conditions is tricky.

Either way I appreciate you have an eye for cleanliness :)
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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby CintaNotes Developer » Fri May 20, 2016 5:44 am

date wrote:Well then you have my vote against 'rules being applied only to unsaved notes.' This will break auto-tagging attachments too, making Rules much less powerful.

Ok, thanks.

PS I think 'Unsaved' is a confusing term, surely every note has to be saved sometime, or it wouldn't exist as a note ;)

I, too, think that "is new" is better than "is unsaved".

Much better IMHO, to make it optional in this way.

Then let's settle on this option.

But mixing different 'ands' and 'ors' can't be possible in any simple design?? In a rule 'if a note contains 'bob' or 'richard' and 'tuesday'' where do the parenthesis go? Using 'ALL' on all conditions and excluding things using operators is as far as one can go. Using 'ANY' on all conditions is tricky.

It's best explained on the example, I think. In beta 2 you'll be able to do the following:

Code: Select all

IF [ALL] conditions match
   [Title] [starts with any of]  [begin1]
                                       or [begin2]
   [Title] [contains all of] [word1]
                                and [word2]

Note that the appearance of "and"/"or" on the second line is dictated by the choice of the operator (e.g. "contains any" vs "contains all").
As far as I understand, with your design this condition would be impossible to express.
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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby date » Fri May 20, 2016 8:47 am

CintaNotes Developer wrote:As far as I understand, with your design this condition would be impossible to express.

Agree, that would need a seperator of some sort, which would defeat the purpose of my sketch.

One more remark: it's easy to make a mistake when using 'ANY' on all conditions. For example, you have a list of keywords that you would like to assign the tag 'important' to, but limit the rule to one section. Fairly easy to inadvertently include all notes in a whole section this way.
This particular rule is probably easy to make in how you described beta 2, or one could just think their rule through and test them first, but the point I'd like to make is that this is one more reason that a 'rule log' or 'undo function' is probably not an unnecessary luxury. I hope this would not add too much bloat, perhaps seperate the log from the .db, or make it possible to delete the log.
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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby CintaNotes Developer » Sat May 21, 2016 8:16 am

date wrote:One more remark: it's easy to make a mistake when using 'ANY' on all conditions. For example, you have a list of keywords that you would like to assign the tag 'important' to, but limit the rule to one section. Fairly easy to inadvertently include all notes in a whole section this way.
This particular rule is probably easy to make in how you described beta 2, or one could just think their rule through and test them first, but the point I'd like to make is that this is one more reason that a 'rule log' or 'undo function' is probably not an unnecessary luxury. I hope this would not add too much bloat, perhaps seperate the log from the .db, or make it possible to delete the log.


This is an extremely valid concern. I'm now starting to come to the conclusion that the rule condition needs to be separated into two parts - the first part will always use "ALL" and would define the area the rule should operate on (set of sections and tags + perharps the infamous "note is new" condition), the second part would be used for defining other rule conditions and there you'll be able to choose between ALL and ANY.

However, it is certainly a major complication of an already overloaded UI, and I don't like that.

Another option would be to prohibit using ANY on the top level at all, but adding ability to define second level condition groups (the rule engine already supports aribtrarily nested condition groups, but the UI does not).

And rule undo is not an option for sure. It just has to be, and I'm working on it already.
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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby date » Sat May 21, 2016 10:41 am

CintaNotes Developer wrote:This is an extremely valid concern. I'm now starting to come to the conclusion that the rule condition needs to be separated into two parts - the first part will always use "ALL" and would define the area the rule should operate on (set of sections and tags + perharps the infamous "note is new" condition), the second part would be used for defining other rule conditions and there you'll be able to choose between ALL and ANY.
Another option would be to prohibit using ANY on the top level at all, but adding ability to define second level condition groups (the rule engine already supports aribtrarily nested condition groups, but the UI does not).

I think to forego the option to use ANY on the top-level is a better choice, especially if one could use 'or...' in one kind of condition group.
This means one can't use 'or...' that span multiple kinds of condition groups, like:
'If note contains ... OR has an attachment,' or 'If section is ... OR note contains...,' or 'If note contains... OR is before a certain date.'
won't be possible.
But... what is the likelihood someone needs that? One can easily create 2 rules, if that is what is wanted. Using 'or' in just one kind of condition group (only in Title, or only in Section etc.) will cover 99% of what one could practically want to use. Unless I'm missing something (which I sometimes do ;) )


However, it is certainly a major complication of an already overloaded UI, and I don't like that.
I don't think any part of the UI is 'already' overloaded ;)
But making a rule history log while still keeping CN clean sounds difficult to me, but I guess it will turn out ok!
Many developers nowadays keep "improving" till things no longer are usable (microsoft is a good example), but CN is just not one of them! Every addition to CN fuctionality until this day has made it better, but not heavier, IMO!
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Re: [Ann] CintaNotes 3.2 Beta 1 (Autotagging Rules Early Preview)

Postby CintaNotes Developer » Mon May 23, 2016 10:16 am

date wrote:I think to forego the option to use ANY on the top-level is a better choice, especially if one could use 'or...' in one kind of condition group.


One can easily create 2 rules, if that is what is wanted. Using 'or' in just one kind of condition group (only in Title, or only in Section etc.) will cover 99% of what one could practically want to use. Unless I'm missing something (which I sometimes do ;) )


I tend to agree here. Probably we can get away with the top-level ALL/ANY switch.

Hey people who want the switch to stay - now is the time to speak up! :)

But making a rule history log while still keeping CN clean sounds difficult to me, but I guess it will turn out ok!
Many developers nowadays keep "improving" till things no longer are usable (microsoft is a good example), but CN is just not one of them! Every addition to CN fuctionality until this day has made it better, but not heavier, IMO!


Thanks for the kind words, but I tend to think there's A LOT of room for improvement in CN UX :)
Alex

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