Apple's new tags in Mavericks and OpenMeta

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Rob Lewis

Jun 11, 2013, 4:20:54 PM6/11/13
The big question, of course, is whether the tagging facility Apple announced yesterday for their upcoming Mavericks release of OS X will be compatible with OpenMeta tags. 

Given Apple's propensity toward Not Invented Here syndrome, I'm not optimistic. But we can hope. 

Has anybody looked at the Developer Preview and figured this out? 

Jonathan Johnnidis

Jun 11, 2013, 4:22:49 PM6/11/13
great question!  if anyone knows please do share.

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St. Clair Software

Jun 11, 2013, 4:46:09 PM6/11/13
The Apple tags are implemented in the same way that OpenMeta tags are - as extended attributes attached to the files in the filesystem. The only difference is that the attribute name is _kMDItemUserTags instead of kMDItemOMUserTags (the "OM" in the latter tag is for "OpenMeta"). The tag data for both Mavericks tags and OpenMeta tags are property lists, but I didn't look at the internal format of the plists so I don't know if they're exactly the same or not. I also don't know what, if any, auxiliary storage or alternate methods are used for non-HFS+ disk formats - I know Apple's hype said you could tag files on iCloud too, so there may be some issue there.

The long and the short of it, however, is that at least on local Mac disks, the OpenMeta tag data will need to be migrated to the new _kMDItemUserTags attribute in order to be seen natively by Maverick. Not a big deal, but someone needs to write a utility to do that.

- Jon

St. Clair Software

Tom Andersen

Jun 11, 2013, 6:31:37 PM6/11/13
I think that its quite easy to implement:

We don't have to worry about where apple puts those tags, although xattrs seem like the 'only way'. (I wonder if spotlight comments are still stored in the .DS_Store files?).

When some one sets tags we can set the new Apple tags on OS 9.

I will of course patch all my stuff in the coming months to be ready for OS 10.9. Running any of the apps would auto - upgrade to maverick tags. It looks pretty compatible. An NSArray of tag names...

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