Apple gave the first public preview of their next OS upgrade, codenamed Tiger. There are a number of interesting features.
- They’re building much of the core functionality of an application like Photoshop into the OS in Core Image.
- Improving automation with a simple new interface called Automator.
- Adding RSS and Atom support to Safari, along with web archiving.
- adding some new GUI gizmos in Dashboard.
However, by far the most interesting new feature to me is the OS level metadata search support, embodied in Spotlight. This is the BeOS-like functionality that has been rumored for a long time. As Apple says:
The metadata engine is available for developers to enhance their applications with additional searching and organizing capabilities. Developers can build importers, so the metadata engine can understand their custom file formats and include those files in searches.
OK, cool enough, but where is XML, or even RDF, in Apple’s metadata universe? Let’s get rid of RTF as the dumb lingua franca of the OS X text service, and replace it with semantic XML. Let me run queries like “give me all documents with quotes by Jane Smith,” or “find me emails in which I include a link to site XYZ.”
I’m also curious how flexible and powerful the metadata engine is. Would it be feasible to use it as the basis for a bibliographic application, perhaps?