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Why cant we just have folders?

colemancoleman OS Professional Posts: 244 ✭✭✭
Im not opposed to the new tag system.....I would however like the ability to nest the tags.  

I am just curious- why cant we just have folders?  Is there some limitation to the way onshape designed that prevents the use of folders? 

Folders have been around since the invention of the personal computer....they seem to work pretty well for organizing digital documents.  



  • _Ðave__Ðave_ Member, Developers Posts: 712 ✭✭✭✭
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,467 PRO
    -1 Tags are much more versatile as you get used to them.

    But I understand your point of view, many people ask for standalone installed version of Onshape and many people think that files living in folders in their own personal computer is the best and the most secure place on earth for data. I'm not saying there's nothing bad if someone likes the file system over database but file system is past, not future. IMHO
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor, User Group Leader Posts: 2,121 PRO
    I think we also need to think about the way data is stored in Onshape when considering folders. To me in some way the document itself is the folder, the place where I store all my project related file's. Therefore a folder structure at the top level is less important however there still need to be a way to sort and search all the documents. I find the biggest limitation is not folder structure but a decent search tool, the Labelling (tagging) system will go some of the way but a lot the time I just want to type a key word to search with, but search with in the filters

    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • colemancoleman OS Professional Posts: 244 ✭✭✭
    I am not looking for files to live on my local computer.....I am just wondering why we can have an organization system like folders.  
    Dropbox- folders 
    Google Drive- folders

    None of these files live on my local HD but I can create folders to store data in.  

    I keep hearing "onshape is not a file based system."  Ok fine but what does that mean?  

    @brucebartlett you are spot on regarding a decent search tool. 
  • tom_scarincetom_scarince Member, Developers Posts: 47 ✭✭
    Ok, so if folders are no good, can we have "hierarchal tags" instead? 
  • lonnie_1lonnie_1 Member Posts: 36 ✭✭
    edited August 2016
    I would agree that tags are better.  I would think the biggest reason is that you can assign multiple tags to the same part.  You can't put the exact same part in multiple folders each one would only be copy.

    To me Tags create type of drill down sorting that you just can't get with folders.  I understand google drive, dropbox etc...... have folders but that is also partly because they are designed to be in constant sync with your local copies in many cases and your local copies are in folder structures that much be mimicked.  Now take Gmail on the other hand it works much better with labels since I can assign multiple labels to a singe email.

    I could have pictures with tages "Summer" "Winter" "Rocky Mountains" etc...  If I want pictures of Rocky mountains I can select that tag and will get photos of summer or winter, then I can drill down to the specific season if I want to.  In a folder structure the picture would have be be nested into one single folder and I would have to search both places for the photos.

  • robert_morrisrobert_morris OS Professional, Developers Posts: 156 PRO
    Perhaps you guys can give an example where they would help and be better than multiple tags?
    I am not sure why you'd need nested tags when you can just add multiple tags to a document and filter the list that way.

    There really isn't much of a difference between tags and a folder except the icon and how it is presented to the user.

    A folder is just another form of a tag. In fact, that is pretty close to how it actually works on your desktop hard drive as well.
    The files are stored all over the place and a folder is just a piece of metadata used to group (or "tag") them to be presented to the user. There are a lot of details I'm glossing over, but you get the point.

    I think hierarchical tags would be difficult to do from a UI/UX perspective. If you were to go that route, it would probably be better to just present them to the user as folders.

    Personally, I think that tags plus a decent search tool is the right combination to go. With those two things, I don't think I would need nested folders (or tags).

  • colemancoleman OS Professional Posts: 244 ✭✭✭
    There should be folders with the ability to assign tags to folders.  

  • colemancoleman OS Professional Posts: 244 ✭✭✭
    For those of you against folders- do you use folders on your computer?
    Both windows operating systems and Mac OS have tags.  

    Do you completely forgo folders?  

    Consider this statement:  "I have professional CAD software....I cant organize my documents into folders...but it is a professional CAD software."
    Scratching my head.  
  • lemon1324lemon1324 Member, Developers Posts: 216 EDU
    Of course I use folders, but I think the gist here is that better search is currently more important than adding folders. 

    I'm with @brucebartlett, I treat each individual Onshape document as a folder because it can have many related part studios.  With the UI showing the tag list as functionally equivalent to top-level folders, I personally don't have a pressing need for more hierarchy depth, given that dynamic searching is easier.
    Arul Suresh
    PhD, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University
  • colemancoleman OS Professional Posts: 244 ✭✭✭
    @lemon1324 I am with you on search being more important than folders. 
  • HakroHakro Member Posts: 67 ✭✭✭
    edited August 2016

    I don`t need Windows-like folders. For me the document is a kind of folder and with tags and search I am more flexible.

  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,467 PRO
    Intuitive search is what we need whether we have tags or folders, but to stay on topic 'why can't we just have folders?':

    Let's assume I design furniture in many different categories for many different customers and I also design manufacturing machines and have some other projects.
    With folders it would be something like:
    - Furniture
    -- Tv-stands
    --- Customer1
    --- Customer2
    -- Closets
    --- Customer1
    --- Customer2
    - Machines
    -- Robots
    --- ABB
    -- Conveyors
    - Other
    -- Other 1
    -- Other 2

    It would be difficult to see all documents made for customer1 and I wouldn't know where to place production line with robots and conveyors. Maybe it's just me but I've had many times difficulties creating fast, scalable, perfectly organized folder structure.

    With tags I can add all related labels for each doc and it always filters all related docs for me. You can also have label 'HOT' for things you currently work on and simply remove after finished, this way you have quick access to all unfinished work.
    This is why I prefer tags/labels over folder structure.

    And for some yet unknown reason folders tend to grow subfolders called temp which contain a lot of data you remember you have created but can't find anywhere =)
  • colemancoleman OS Professional Posts: 244 ✭✭✭
    edited August 2016
    Seems to me like the solution is folders with the ability to apply tags to the folders.  
    See: dropbox, google drive, salesforce.com our email services.....

    Maybe hierarchical tags are the solution. 

  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,467 PRO
    At first I was thinking parent-child tags too, but how would filter treat those? If it only shows results from certain level tags then it has same limitation as folders do.
    Maybe we need folders for tags, like customers, products, etc. to categorize tags into groups so that tag list doesn't grow too much =)

    I don't have clear vision how it should be, I wan't to give the new labels a decent try before asking for more.

  • lni64lni64 OS Professional Posts: 38 ✭✭
    Tags are better than the flat document list we had until now, but as they are implemented at the moment they only add ONE additional level for structuring data. I.e. instead of a flat list of documents I now have a flat list of tags. It won't take l long and this tag-list is the same mess as the flat document list was. 
    I simply do not understand whats wrong with folders? The concept is extremely flexible, it is as old as computers are, and you can structure your data as deep as you like. 

    I do understand the "multiple tags for one document argument". I personally don't need that feature but I can imagine that somebody prefers it over folders. My suggestion therefore is: 
    • Let us have tags plus folders. 
    • Those who prefer folders can use them as usual, those who prefer tags simply store their documents in the root folder and use tags for structuring. You can also use both worlds if you want. Pretty much the same as any MP3 Player works. 
    On the other hand OnShape seems to be very fond of flat lists:
    • Flat list of documents, 
    • flat list of tabs, 
    • flat list of features 
    • flat list of parts 
    • flat list of tags
    I do see that the GUI looks nice and simple with all that flat lists but as soon as  projects get more complicated flat lists tend to get messy and unusable. 

    Just my thoughts. 
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,467 PRO
    edited August 2016
    Now that I have gave this a second thought, we don't need folders, we don't need hierarchical tags - we need filtering when clicking tags and some more tools to organize tags.

    Example, doc1 has tags mainTag, subTag and subSubTag

    When I click 'mainTag' from tag list, system should show me all docs that have this label but also narrow down (or have another list) tag list to show only tags that exist together with selected tag (in this case subTag and subSubTag). You got the idea?

    This way we can quickly filter by any tag since there is no hierarchy but can also create folder-like structure where things narrow down click by click.

    Any thoughts? 
  • owen_sparksowen_sparks Member, Developers Posts: 2,660 PRO
    Interesting comments @3dcad I like where you're heading.

    This covers searching for documents. How could we improve adding tags in the first place? 

    A flat list of a hundred previously created tag names is hard to wade through.  I can image a scenario where there is an existing appropriate tag, yet the user can't remember what they called it, so they create a new one, and the list grows and gets out of control...  We need some way of sorting the tags themselves.

    Cheers, Owen S
    Business Systems and Configuration Controller
    HWM-Water Ltd
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,467 PRO
    edited August 2016
    probably similar to creating new discussion on this forum would help finding similar tags (forum does search and suggest already existing similar discussions).. I would also like to have some automatic tags which are generated from TAB names, maybe even save time & location, used material etc. but at first we need to be able to handle million tags flawlessly
  • matthew_menardmatthew_menard Member Posts: 96 ✭✭✭
    Would it be possible to use tags to create a folder-like interface for the user?  Everything displayed in the folders would just be pointers to the master file, so if you wanted, items could exist in multiple folders at once.  Then you could also create new folder rules on the fly and re-display your data in whatever way strikes you at the moment. 

    I feel like there is at least some non-trivial use in browsing folders.  I know I've stumbled onto an idea based on a forgotten project while looking for something completely different a few times.  However, the drawbacks of having actual folders probably outweigh any benefits, but it would be nice to have a system that allowed for the best of both worlds. 

    Stop me if I'm talking gibberish, or just repeating what everybody else is saying, it's early and I'm putting off doing work until my coffee kicks in.
  • andy_morrisandy_morris Moderator, Onshape Employees Posts: 87
    Thank you everyone for the comments, keep them coming. We are listening.

    You will have noticed a trend over the past releases that we are providing solutions for you to organise your documents better, for example tab management and labels. We're not finished yet. We know from talking to you that you need labels and folders and search. We don't believe you should have to make a choice between them as collectively and individually they add considerable value.

    Labels provide a lightweight way of assigning information to documents in a way that is meaningful to the owner. Multiple labels means you can have "Fasteners" and "Purchased" and "Vendor Y" which can be more flexible than just using folders.

    Folders are a great way to give structure to multiple documents in a way that this meaningful to individual owners or companies. You might create a folder called "Fasteners" that you and users within your company would use to put all the screws and nuts into, with sub-folders for "Metric" and "Socket Cap Screws". Using folders should not preclude labelling.

    Some questions for you:
    - Would you want to be able to share a folder?
    - Would you want to be able to have the same document in multiple folders?

    Andy Morris / Head of Product Design / Onshape, Inc.
  • chrisjh777chrisjh777 Member Posts: 198 ✭✭✭
    All this (tags and labels nomenclature) is very confusing for a poor old folders shackled fellow like me.  What is needed for me to understand, is simple, practical examples showing the positive benefits to the user of using tags and labels.
  • owen_sparksowen_sparks Member, Developers Posts: 2,660 PRO

    I too was not convinced with all this tag milarkey.  I've used folders all my life, why do we now need something else?

    This convinced me.

    I've designed a widget. (The LX2 Battery Test jig at the top) Its a bit of test equipment, made with a 3D printer and it's to do with batteries.  With my old system I wouldn't have known whether to put it in the 3D printing folder, the test folder or the battery folder.  I might have put it in one then not be able to find it.  Or in all three, then modify one, come back in 6 months and use an old revision found in a different folder.

    Now with tags...
    The document is in all three folders, without orphaned off duplicates.

    The next bit is to tidy up the structure of the tags listed on the left, and to improve the search tools, which will soon be "awsome" I'm sure.  I have faith.

    Have I sold you on the idea yet?

    Cheers, Owen S

    Business Systems and Configuration Controller
    HWM-Water Ltd
  • brian_bradybrian_brady Member, Developers Posts: 500 EDU
    Thank you everyone for the comments, keep them coming. We are listening.

    Some questions for you:
    - Would you want to be able to share a folder?
    - Would you want to be able to have the same document in multiple folders?

    From my past in the machine tool industry, here are my thoughts. We had lots of customers and generally multiple projects for each customer and very often each project had multiple machines or fixtures. So I see the following type of folder structure.

    Customer X
      - Project 1
         - Machine 1 (document)
         - Machine 2 (document)
         - Gages (document)
         - Material Handling (document)
      - Project 2
      - Project 3
    Customer Y
    Customer Z
    Standard Parts
       - Fasteners
       - 80/20 or Bosch
       - Company specific standards

    I would also want to tag each document with the customer name, customer machine or tool number, and our internally assigned project number and/or drawing number. By the end of a year, I could see our small company adding 100+ tags to the list of existing tags. Therefore, a superb search tool is needed, plus a better way to select tags than from a super long list.

    I would want to share folders. In fact, I would love to be able to share single part studios and single parts within studios. I am not sure I would want to have the same document in multiple folders. Probably not. Just use one folder structure augmented by tags and search.
  • 3dcad3dcad Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 2,467 PRO
    - Would you want to be able to share a folder?
    - Would you want to be able to have the same document in multiple folders?

    Thanks for hopping in, it feels great to know Onshape is interested in our conversations.

    - I would like to be able to share a folder. BUT I need to see better what I'm sharing and for who, not just by clicking one by one. If I share folder with client and forget that I'm sharing it can reveal a lot of unintended information. I would like to have time limited sharing.
    - I would like to have same doc in multiple folders. It is only way to avoid creating copies and still keep everything neatly organized. I would like to add all used common parts in same folder as the doc using them for quick access without bouncing between folders.

    I don't think it's wise to create tags for machine/tool/serial numbers - these should live in document / part descriptions and search needs to see them.

    If we had both (folders and labels) I think I would create folders for product family and probably one temp in each ;) but mainly I would use labels. And even if model descriptions would be searchable I can imagine having easily dozens of labels (at least one for each customer).

    We already have search tool for labels, it's just in wrong position as you can't filter labels but only add/remove from top right label 'menu'.
  • brian_bradybrian_brady Member, Developers Posts: 500 EDU
    Maybe adding machine/tool/serial numbers to tags is not the right method. But search needs to be able to find them quickly if they are in the document information. Maybe custom search tags in the document information requester; i.e. customer, tool number, serial number, project number, project manager, order year, etc. This would be in addition to the 10000 character description and more structured. Just an idea.
  • lemon1324lemon1324 Member, Developers Posts: 216 EDU
    But search needs to be able to find them quickly if they are in the document information.
    +1 searching document metadata
    Arul Suresh
    PhD, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University
  • 3D3D OS Professional Posts: 52 ✭✭
    Labels is a significant improvement! Thank you OS...

    What's the thinking on restricting search by simply enabling "Multi-Label" search (restriction)?

    ie the more labels you select under the search function, the more your list of documents covered by "ALL" the tags selected - will be reduced  - making it easier to find documents  you know are likely to be / or definitely - within a certain range / combination of tags?

  • robert_morrisrobert_morris OS Professional, Developers Posts: 156 PRO
    lemon1324 said:
    But search needs to be able to find them quickly if they are in the document information.
    +1 searching document metadata
    +1 here too.

    I made an improvement request for it here: https://onshape.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/210545607-Advanced-Document-Search
    I know I keep plugging this whenever I can, but it really needs to happen.
  • robert_morrisrobert_morris OS Professional, Developers Posts: 156 PRO
    Some questions for you:
    - Would you want to be able to share a folder?
    - Would you want to be able to have the same document in multiple folders?

    Sharing a folder would be a nice option to have, but not something that I currently have a need for.

    I can see having the same document in multiple folders being useful, but there would need to be a very clear way of determining if it was being used in multiple places. I don't want to accidentally delete the only copy of a document if I decide that I no longer want it in that folder and hit the delete button.

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