PART 9: SEARCH AND REJOICE
Finding a way to locate files singly or in groups
Hard-disk space is cheaper than ever, and that means more and more Atari users have big hard drives. And that, of course, means those disks are getting filled with all sorts of stuff. (The phenomenon of Fibber McGee's Closet -- the drive that is always full no matter how big it is -- is worth looking at another time.) All that space is great, but how do you find those odd files you stuck in a folder deep inside some other folder five months ago? How do you ferret out all those strange-looking "*.C" files and ".PRJ" files that you've accumulated with every download of one of those big German applications? And how do you check your entire file system, every drive, every folder, to make a list of all your GIF graphics?
NeoDesk 4 has the answer. In NeoDesk's Search function, you are offered the power to locate any file or combination of files on every drive in your system. And you can even automatically create a Group out of every file search just by choosing the Group option.
NeoDesk 4's Search function offers the old-fashioned set of wildcards that every other search method has -- using the question mark and the asterisk to represent single characters in filenames (the question mark) or any group of characters (the asterisk). The asterisk, as most users may already know, can even denote the absence of characters.
But NeoDesk 4 goes further. Using advanced wildcards common in Unix but largely unknown in TOS, NeoDesk 4 lets you specify a range of characters that should be included or excluded in the search, so that you could, for example, have NeoDesk 4 find all files that begin with "A" or "B" but not "C" or other letters and that have "DOC" or "TXT" as their filename extensions.
Setting up searches this complicated can take a lot of time and keystrokes, so NeoDesk 4 also lets you save the search criteria. The next time you need to do the same kind of search, you simply load the particular Search file.
The addition of the automatic Group creation makes NeoDesk 4's Search method an ideal way to create Group files quickly. After the Group has been set up, you can edit it to take out extraneous files and to add descriptions. Let's look at an example.
Suppose you have a lot of shareware programs, each in their own folders. Most of them come with short "README" files and longer documentation texts, but they never seem to be where you can find them when you need them. You could, of course, make copies of all of them and put the copies in a central folder, but that would be an immense waste of space. You could also print all of them out, but that would be an even bigger waste; after all, you may not need to have more than a few of them handy as printed documents. But you do need to be able to get at any of them.
A Group file is the perfect answer. Just set up a search for all "READ*.* files and all "DOC" and "TXT" files and save the results in a Group. Put that Group file in a convenient location, and all your documentation files will be available for browsing in seconds.
TIP: Make sure you save that Group with the full pathnames displayed so you can tell the difference between one "README" file and another. You may want to save the group with the text-display option rather than iconic display, because text mode will show the locations of the files instantly.