When I started this thread I was enjoying myself importing lots of pictures from a new camera, and setting them up with caption, keyword and copyright strings in custom attributes. (And then setting up a collection of saved queries as “photo albums” , along with a custom zookeeper that uses the Slizer screensaver to present them as slideshows - but that’s another story …)
But I came across a few frustrations: first, if you edit a picture in ArtPaint then all custom attributes are lost when you save the edited picture.
I guess this is a limitation of the system jpeg translator (and would apply to any graphics program which uses said trasnlator): So, I think the Haiku jpeg translator ought to support and preserve file attributes.
Second is the problem of dovetailing with the rest of the universe, where Photoshop is the king and all that sort of information is carried in the IPTC fields embedded in the file. Can there be some way of automatically synchronising IPTC headers with BeOS attributes when both importing and exporting jpegs? So when you copy a jpeg to your system, the filetype sniffer which identifies it as a jpeg should automatically call on the translator to search the IPTC fields and write suitable attributes; and when attributes already exist, the translator should constuct suitable IPTC fields.
I am less familiar with the way non-BeOS systems handle MP3s but if I understand it correctly, the situation is identical, with ID tags embedded in the file. The same process should apply.
AS for Be queries, I think they have a serious limitation in that each one has to be based on a particular mimetype, so you can create “keywords” as a custom attribute of jpegs, and also “keywords” as a custom attribute of some other filetype - mail, PDFs, Gobe documents, etc - but a Be Query can only act on one base filetype, thus defeating the purpose to some extent. (If there is a way around that, I haven’t heard of it…)
The ability to search all filetypes at once (plus the ability to look for strings inside files) is what makes Spotlight so handy on OSX.
So perhaps Haiku could implement some sort of meta attribute system in which attributes can span multiple filetypes?