Preference to NOT omit article in sorting, PLEASE!

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Preference to NOT omit article in sorting, PLEASE!

Postby Andy » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:02 pm

I find this "feature" to omit articles for title sorting a real pain. It breaks so often it's not worth the trouble...
OK, the "Sort Title" field is supposed to compensate for issues, but I really don't want to edit manually ALL those entries.

Can't we just have a Preference to disable "Omit Articles" (not just Foreign) and be done with it, everyone happy?

Some of the problems when omitting articles:
- The Finder does not omit articles in file names, hence my sorted list in DVDpedia is different than my Finder files listing, a real pain to reconcile Finder with DVDpedia.
- Foreign words can be a English article. For instance, "the" in french means "tea", and I am sure there are countless other examples.
- Even in English, some titles starting with acronyms could easily make confusion between an acronym and an article.
- I cannot easily switch between "Omit" and "Dont' omit" articles" which is quite a sensible thing to desire from time to time.

Again, the "Sort Title" field was a nice design thought, but personally I just don't want to omit articles in sorting, most of the times, so please don't make me work extra just to go around it!
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Re: Preference to NOT omit article in sorting, PLEASE!

Postby Wondercow » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:22 am

Andy wrote:- The Finder does not omit articles in file names, hence my sorted list in DVDpedia is different than my Finder files listing, a real pain to reconcile Finder with DVDpedia.
- Foreign words can be a English article. For instance, "the" in french means "tea", and I am sure there are countless other examples.

The Finder not ordering English articles properly has always bothered me. Blame Apple for not following convention regarding alphabetical sorting :x

The word "the" doesn't mean anything in French; however, the word "thé" does mean "tea". In French, a missing accent is like a mssing lettr in Enlish :wink:

As there are only three English articles , i.e. the, a, and an, it is, in fact, very rare that another language would use these words--especially without accents. I'm a linguist and, off the top of my head as I'm about to turn in (it's the wee hours of the morning here) I can't think of any that would generally cause problems through placement at the beginning of a sentence. I'm sure they're out there, but I'm also sure that they're inconsequential.

I'm not meaning to put down your request, just that these reasons aren't likely to be a problem very often (except for the Finder--but that's in Apple's hands).
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Re: Preference to NOT omit article in sorting, PLEASE!

Postby Conor » Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:24 am

I just wanted to cover the two points that Wondercow did not.

- Even in English, some titles starting with acronyms could easily make confusion between an acronym and an article.

The sort algorithm takes case into account, therefore acronyms are not an issue as they are always capitalized.

- I cannot easily switch between "Omit" and "Dont' omit" articles" which is quite a sensible thing to desire from time to time.

It was so important to us to have a proper sorting we actually replaced the sorting function with our own so that we could sort properly as fast as the regular sort. Ignoring articles in non-English languages is not as standardized and hence we built the foreign article ignore differently to be able to provide a preference without the speed that the English one does. Adapting a preference is technically not as straight forward as it sounds.

We do wish for DVDpedia to provide enough flexibility for users to be able to achieve their ideal workflow. In this case the sort title field is ideal. To not have to copy the titles by hand you do have access to SQL that can update the field for you by following these steps:
1. Quit DVDpedia
2. Make a copy of your database file as a backup, it's located in ~/Library/Application Support/DVDpedia/Database.dvdpd.
3. Open the program named Terminal in /Application/Utilities
4. Copy paste the four following commands:
Code: Select all
sqlite3 ~/Library/Application\ Support/DVDpedia/Database.dvdpd
UPDATE zentry SET zSortTitle = zTitle;
.exit

Since you want to move back and forth between the two options I have updated the DVDpedia beta to be able to receive a reload command. This will let you have an Automator Service under DVDpedia => Services menu that will execute the above commands to flip between the two options.

1. Download the scripts and unzip the two scripts and place them in ~/Library/Services (If you're on Lion or Mountain Lion, the ~/Library folder is hidden by default but you can use the Finder's 'Go' menu and hold down the Option key to make it appear.)
2. Download DVDpedia Beta and rename it "DVDpedia" as the script expects the regular name.
3. Launch the new DVDpedia and use the new service menu commands to fill out the sort title or remove it.

There should be no issue with modifying the data without DVDpedia's knowledge, but since it now means both DVDpedia and the script are accessing the database simultaneously make sure to have regular backups of the DVDpedia database folder, although that should be the case already.
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Re: Preference to NOT omit article in sorting, PLEASE!

Postby Andy » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:37 pm

First of all, thanks for having replied!
Wondercow wrote:The Finder not ordering English articles properly has always bothered me. Blame Apple for not following convention regarding alphabetical sorting :x

I will not blame the Finder nor Apple, the Finder is right (for me). Doing otherwise would be a bag of hurts!
File names very often are abstract, they usually are not prose, names can starts with an indexing code that can easily resemble grammatical articles, especially taking all languages of the world (and you can't assume that a user will only use the primary language set in System Preferences, if only because they can receive files from other users).
Omitting articles would imply the software to make horribly subjective assumptions that render the whole idea simply unrealistic.

Wondercow wrote: The word "the" doesn't mean anything in French; however, the word "thé" does mean "tea". In French, a missing accent is like a mssing lettr in Enlish :wink:

As there are only three English articles , i.e. the, a, and an, it is, in fact, very rare that another language would use these words--especially without accents. I'm a linguist and, off the top of my head as I'm about to turn in (it's the wee hours of the morning here) I can't think of any that would generally cause problems through placement at the beginning of a sentence. I'm sure they're out there, but I'm also sure that they're inconsequential.

Well… I know French… I'm French! and I know "Tea" is "Thé", but you are still wrong because "TEA" is "THE" as accents in French are discarded when writing in all capitals, which BTW is common for titles.
But academic points of grammar aside, file names are often non-accented anyway for legacy reason (as much as I hate this state of affairs).

You say "Only 3 articles in English and no problem?" Think again! Only considering French, it happens that all of them are French nouns:
- "THE" means "TEA" (as I said, only when written in capitals, granted)
- "A" means "To" (i.e., this classics French movie: "A l'aventure" - omit the "A" and the title looses its meaning entirely (BTW, I wouldn't know how to translate this tile in English, it is not "The Adventure" for sure!)
- "An" means "Year" - a hypothetical tile such as "Year 50 BC" would be in French "An 50 avant JC"

But omitting articles leads to problem in English as well, because it can alter the meaning. For example, take the movie "The hour". If you know the story, I am sure you will realize that the word The carries as much meaning as the word Hour, it just cannot be omitted, that single article carries by itself the essence of the entire novel!

In summary, my point of view is simply that a title is the work of the author, it is "sacred", and should not be mangled by us mere recipients ;-)

This fundamental consideration, combined with practical issues with titles using acronyms, the complexity of articles in foreign languages(*), titles with mixed languages, expressions, play on words, etc, etc… makes it that the only way to have a sound and consistent sorting in such a database is to respect titles by the letter.

(*) Trying to cater to foreign articles is another bag of hurts! The list is much longer than 3, and grammar can be very peculiar, for instance with that French movie I mentioned above, "A l'aventure"", the article is l' because of a certain grammar rule that says the article gets tied to the noun with its vowel replaced by an apostrophe when the noun starts with a vowel (unless due exceptions to that rule, of course, that would be too easy!).
So if you want to deal with articles in foreign languages, issues will be endless!


Wondercow wrote:I'm not meaning to put down your request, just that these reasons aren't likely to be a problem very often (except for the Finder--but that's in Apple's hands).

I understand what you say, but on the other hand my request is trivial, a simple and obvious Preference. If some users want to sort while omitting articles (despite the countless issues - I guess they don't care), it is really nice for DVDpedia to try and accommodate them, but to make it not only the default, but compulsory(**), I just don't get it!

(**) I know it is not absolutely compulsory, as the "Sort Title" field can be used, but frankly, this is like acrobatics! I am constantly going to forget to fill that that field. And using a terminal command (or making an automator script) to fill it automatically (but after the fact!) is also like acrobatics to me. Just that I have to remember and run the process manually, and very often, is a real pain.
I mean… kudos for implementing that field (sincerely!), as it can serve to accommodate perfectionists for they specific needs, I really admire the intent of implementing this feature, but asking users to resort to this instead of a trivial Preference is not reasonable


I bought DVDpedia years ago, and actually bought it 3 times over the years with new versions, always with the intent to finally sort my collections, but was put out every time because it is a daunting task. You dismiss this sorting issue as exceptional, but now that I am trying DVDpedia again, I was immediately hit by this problem that is making my work much worse than it should be!

I hope I made my case… If writing this long post is not proof that this issue matters to a user like me, I don't know what to do. Please be responsive and implement it.
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Re: Preference to NOT omit article in sorting, PLEASE!

Postby Andy » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:58 pm

Conor wrote:2. Download DVDpedia Beta and rename it "DVDpedia" as the script expects the regular name.

Does the recent DVDpedia 5.1.4 supersede this Beta in the above link, which BTW happens to read 5.1.4 Beta? I guess so, but one never knows... Thanks!
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Re: Preference to NOT omit article in sorting, PLEASE!

Postby Andy » Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:05 pm

Conor wrote:We do wish for DVDpedia to provide enough flexibility for users to be able to achieve their ideal workflow. In this case the sort title field is ideal. To not have to copy the titles by hand you do have access to SQL that can update the field for you by following these steps:
1. Quit DVDpedia
2. Make a copy of your database file as a backup, it's located in ~/Library/Application Support/DVDpedia/Database.dvdpd.
3. Open the program named Terminal in /Application/Utilities
4. Copy paste the four following commands:
Code: Select all
sqlite3 ~/Library/Application\ Support/DVDpedia/Database.dvdpd
UPDATE zentry SET zSortTitle = zTitle;
.exit

Since you want to move back and forth between the two options I have updated the DVDpedia beta to be able to receive a reload command. This will let you have an Automator Service under DVDpedia => Services menu that will execute the above commands to flip between the two options.

1. Download the scripts and unzip the two scripts and place them in ~/Library/Services (If you're on Lion or Mountain Lion, the ~/Library folder is hidden by default but you can use the Finder's 'Go' menu and hold down the Option key to make it appear.)
2. Download DVDpedia Beta and rename it "DVDpedia" as the script expects the regular name.
3. Launch the new DVDpedia and use the new service menu commands to fill out the sort title or remove it.

There should be no issue with modifying the data without DVDpedia's knowledge, but since it now means both DVDpedia and the script are accessing the database simultaneously make sure to have regular backups of the DVDpedia database folder, although that should be the case already.


Those instructions do not work, they are not universal as they hard-code the default location of the DVDpedia database. I have mine in my Dropbox folder, I had to edit them.
So it's working now, thanks, but as I said earlier, this is doing acrobatics while it should be something trivial. With age, I am sure some people are unable to perform acrobatics. Myself, I don't fancy them daily... ;-)

But thank to try and provide help for the short term!
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Re: Preference to NOT omit article in sorting, PLEASE!

Postby Conor » Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:55 pm

The new 5.1.4 includes the changes, so the beta is not necessary.
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Re: Preference to NOT omit article in sorting, PLEASE!

Postby Rigido » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:57 pm

Looks like I'm not the only one "fighting" against odd articles management. :twisted:
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Re: Preference to NOT omit article in sorting, PLEASE!

Postby Wondercow » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:06 pm

Andy wrote:Well… I know French… I'm French! and I know "Tea" is "Thé", but you are still wrong because "TEA" is "THE" as accents in French are discarded when writing in all capitals, which BTW is common for titles.
But academic points of grammar aside, file names are often non-accented anyway for legacy reason (as much as I hate this state of affairs).

This is a common fallacy--there is no rule of French grammar that dictates that accents are not used when writing in capitals. It is a style choice, but if you've been taught that it must be done you've been done a disservice. In fact, many publications, businesses, and even universities are now requiring the use of accents in majuscule to ease confusion of meaning. My favourite example: Which would you rather BISCUITS SALES or BISCUITS SALÉS? :D

I'm not French, but it is one of my first (i.e. native) languages and one of my foci in linguistics.

You say "Only 3 articles in English and no problem?" Think again! Only considering French, it happens that all of them are French nouns:
- "THE" means "TEA" (as I said, only when written in capitals, granted)
- "A" means "To" (i.e., this classics French movie: "A l'aventure" - omit the "A" and the title looses its meaning entirely (BTW, I wouldn't know how to translate this tile in English, it is not "The Adventure" for sure!)
- "An" means "Year" - a hypothetical tile such as "Year 50 BC" would be in French "An 50 avant JC"

Even when using the convention of dropping accents they are still supposed to be used if confusion could result without them; so, in these examples it would still be appropriate to use accents, unless, I suppose, one had only French movie titles in one's database. (Perhaps The Awakening of Sandrine, but The Adventure still works; after all, isn't discovering one's self and sexuality an adventure? :wink: )

But omitting articles leads to problem in English as well, because it can alter the meaning. For example, take the movie "The hour". If you know the story, I am sure you will realize that the word The carries as much meaning as the word Hour, it just cannot be omitted, that single article carries by itself the essence of the entire novel!

Still, under English rules of alphabetical ordering, it would be "Hour, The"

In summary, my point of view is simply that a title is the work of the author, it is "sacred", and should not be mangled by us mere recipients ;-)

I understand what you're saying and, to some extent, I agree--but then isn't translating a title into local language sacrilege? :wink:

You dismiss this sorting issue as exceptional, but now that I am trying DVDpedia again, I was immediately hit by this problem that is making my work much worse than it should be!


I don't mean to dismiss the issue, but I do see it as exceptional :)

My main point of this reply was to point out that there's no rule of French grammar that requires one to remove accents from majuscules--it's simply an option, so you can keep to the rules of proper French and avoid the issue by adding the accents.
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