[Wasabi Proposal] XML desktop query language

Mikkel Kamstrup Erlandsen mikkel.kamstrup at gmail.com
Wed Jan 17 23:46:18 PST 2007

2007/1/18, Jean-Francois Dockes <jean-francois.dockes at wanadoo.fr>:
> Fabrice Colin writes:
> > On 1/17/07, Mikkel Kamstrup Erlandsen <mikkel.kamstrup at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > Regarding the user-level language now. Perhaps "flying Dutchman" would
> > > mean the unstemmed phrase (if supported), and 'flying Dutchman'
> > > (single quotes) could allow for stemming. This is not completely
> > > standard, but it doesn't break user expectation in horrible ways (as
> > > far as I can see).
> > >
> > I think it does. Double quotes usually express a phrase search.  My
> > opinion is we'd better leave stemming (and diacritic sensitivity) out
> > and let each back-end play its specific strengths as it likes to find
> > the best matches.
> When the user is searching for a specific form of a word (typically for a
> proper noun), he usually knows it. This is an important and basic piece of
> meta-information which the simple query language should be able to express
> as it can vastly improve results.
> The natural thing to do is to use capitalization (capitalized terms are
> searched as is), but this conflicts with case-sensitive searches if we
> really want them.
> I do not like the single quote solution that much, one reason being that
> single quotes sometimes make sense in words (O'Donnell).
> Spotlight allows adding search modifiers as letters after a double-quoted
> expression, like: "someword"cdw where c, d, w control case/diacritic
> sensitivity and whole word matching. This seems like a good solution. Is
> there a risk that this might be patented and does anyone know how to do a
> patent check ?

I'm not a total fan of the spotlight language. It has several drawbacks:
 - Case sensitive by default
 - Non-google-like (uses fx. "property == value")
 - Wildcards allowed anywhere within a string (can we match that?)
 - Diacritics sensibility switch allowed by default

Good things:
 - A "known standard"
 - Predefined values like time.today and time.now
 - Allows ==, >=, >, <, and <= comparisons on attributes (which is unnatural
with the google-like syntax "attribute:value")
 - Phrase postfixes like "Paris"c to control case sensitivity and such.
 - Apple must believe it is a good syntax

Spotlight Query syntax reference:

Is there a syntax ref for the windows vista search tool?

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