Files and Folders: Dinosaurs from the Past
Files and folders are a fairly straightforward metaphorical description for what happens on a hard disk. The inventors of this metaphor took well known objects from real life and used them to explain how files are organized on computers. In retrospect, this approximately forty years old metaphor was problematic right from the start: In reality, the number of items you can store in a folder is limited while computer folders have unlimited capacity (by means of the underlying file system implementation). Another glitch is the possibility to store folders in folders which is not possible in real live.
Notwithstanding these obvious fallacies, the folder metaphor, by the way it mimics the way data is organized on a hard drive, has helped generations of computer users to understand how they can access their precious and important data.
Times, however, have changed. Today, a lot of people need access to their data from multiple devices. At home, they use their own PC and another one at work. While they are on the go, they access data from mobile devices. To put it briefly: We now live in a multi-device world. The amount of data to be stored continues to increase massively and, with it, new questions arise: A 100 GB collection of digital photography? Unthinkable 10 years ago – today, it is the norm. How do you access your data on your mobile phone? How do you find your files at work? Let’s assume your wallet was stolen on your holidays. Do you have a copy of your all-important id-card at hand when organizing your replacement ticket? Where do you save the photo of your kids playing soccer – in folder “sports” or “kids” or maybe “Pete and Paul”?
This is why over two years ago and with all these things in mind, we started to develop the idea behind doctape. We consciously made the decision to use tags instead of folders and other legacy concepts because the latter fail to solve the following problems:
- Order – Traditional folders are based on a rigid and hierarchical structure that limits the possibilities for organizing your content. For example, you either have to resort to copies (and then have to deal with all those synchronising problems resulting from this), or else you are limited to storing your data in only one place, i.e. your respective folder. Tags provide the user with a flexible structure that allows them to sort a single item into several categories – independent from its location
- Search – In a folder system, especially Windows, you can only search for an item by folder and file name. A tagging system like doctape’s not only enables users to search by tag names but also by meta data.
- Sharing – Sharing folders is complicated since their content is stored locally on a single hard drive. Replicating this system in the cloud does not facilitate sharing but rather adds another level of complexity. Cloud-based tagging systems, on the other hand, allow you to easily share the same resources at any time from any device.
Tags: doctape’s Core
The new generation of cloud services have been cautious in their implementation of tags. The ones that have it have only included it in conjunction with folders thus not improving the user experience because they don’t adapt to the change in people’s behavior. But the world is changing fast. For example, fellow German start-up doo is beginning to realize the importance of tagging and has only recently come to the same conclusion we came to more than two years ago: Folders are dinosaurs from the past and don’t meet modern user demands.
In contrast to that, doctape’s mission is to provide our users with effortless file management in real time anytime, anywhere. The clear advantage of a system like doctape is that it has been built from the ground up with tags in mind. Right from the start, our founders and developers have been aware of the crucial importance tagging would play in the future of file management. That’s why the idea of tagging is at the core of doctape’s structure and deeply ingrained in our company philosophy and culture.
If you too want to simplify your personal file management, stay tuned for our upcoming quick guide to tagging and learn how to easily tag, share and search your files in doctape!