Sunday, June 26, 2005

A Less Obvious Use of Logging Information

I think a lot of good things could come if applications kept more detailed logging information, as Jon Udell has talked a bit about recently. Imagining the sorts of uses such logging could be put to is difficult, however, I think, and this post is simply about one posisbility.

Temporal organisation of, and access to, of information seems to be pretty powerful. We seem to fairly good at associating things with a time period, or at least a position relative to other temporal items.

I was trying to find some things I'd written somehwere in all my PhD-related files, sometime mid-late last year, but there wasn't any easy way to find them because the temporal information in the system is too meagre.

Windows keeps the date of the last update to a file, but that is not very useful for this purpose. A simplified explanation of why is that even though the majority of the text in a file might have been written back then, I might have made some minor update or change to the file at any time since then, so the date of last update is not really a very good indicator of when text in the file was written.

What I need to be able to do is ask the system when the majortiy of the text (say 70% or more of it) in the file was last updated. Without going into all the sorts of technical issues, if you kept detailed logging information about changes to files, you could do this.

No comments:

Post a Comment