Expedition abstracts and encapsulates file system metadata and operations

Expedition is an extension for Windows Explorer that provides file system cataloging with file type itemization. A recursive snapshot of any file system can be saved as a data structure for browsing and searching. File system auditing is implemented to record the history of file backup copies. File system objects may be assigned to an item with a description and keywords. The item entity type controls the metadata profile contained in data table. Items support hierarchal categorization and may have one or more associated files. Categories are defined by a static node tree and are linked with items. Item entity types provide the logic to import, update and render each item in the interface.

User Interface

Expedition consists of three main navigation items. A tree view is provided on the left for node navigation. A list view in a tab control is on the right to display the linked items. An item editor is dock able below to edit one or more selected items and their respective entity details. The tree view contains special root nodes. Each root node type may be enabled or disabled in the configuration settings and saved as browsing styles. Base nodes dynamically load all node children on demand. Preload can be enabled to postpone the population of child nodes until the node is expanded. Additional list views may be opened for multiple simultaneous item browsing. The selected tree node controls the items in the active list view. The list view displays the linked item list for the selected node and may also contain the associated child nodes at the beginning and an optional parent node link at the top. Filters are provided to limit the items displayed based on property values. The item view lists the items associated with the selected category node. Recursion is supported to display all offspring items from selected node. Multiple item views are supported based on the selected node entity type. Each item view provides small icon, large icon, detail and thumbnail display modes. The item editor is dynamically configured based on the selected item(s) in the list view. Itemizations are renormalized whenever created or updated. Identical itemization records will be consolidated based on entity type to single item record with all associated file records. Selecting multiple items allows for batch edit of the common properties including categories.

Tree Navigation

Category Tree displays each category tree recursively using the node name and details columns. The entity type defaults to a category node but can be overridden to provide customized entity behavior. Tree nodes and list view items contain the category id in the name property and use the node name and details columns for data binding. The entity type id is assigned to the node tag property to override the style definition. Dynamic Items displays a base node for each entity having a dynamic tree node. The base node entity type is used to determine the child item entity filter. The child node entity types are used to determine the available recursive queries. A node with no children will return a list of items. A node with a single child will return a list of items related to the current node. A node with multiple children will contain another base node for each child node entity type. My Computer displays a live file system for read only browsing with each internal disk is enumerated as base nodes (Internal, External, Network, Optical). Child folders and files are dynamically cached when a node is selected. Each child node is loaded from the file system and synchronized to the offline cache to validate data integrity. Itemized Media displays base nodes for each type of offline media (CD, DVD, External, Network, Remote) loaded from the root table records. Child folders and files are loaded from cache. Data integrity is validated if the file system is online. Tree nodes and list view items contain the entity id in the name property and use the entity record schema for data binding. Only Root, Path and File entity types are allowed as children.

Entity Behavior

A typed data set used as a static cache for all instances of Expedition. Data may be loaded or merged from any supported data store. All changes are cached until persistence is requested. Each entity type defines the type of data itemized in the system. The entity object controls how to import, update and render a type of item in the system. Items may be related to a database table and share a common primary key. Additional entity types may be created to provide custom import, update and render operations. The base entity class defines the required logic for common data navigation and itemization. This class is used to create the root tree nodes for the tree view. It is also responsible for creating the base tree nodes for any given root tree node. The category tree and item profile logic is also implemented here for simplicity. Each custom entity class is inherited from the base entity class to preserve the object interface. A custom entity class is created for each type of node that is supported. Custom entities based on a typed data table require additional logic to populate and synchronize the metadata details. A custom entity class exists to handle file system related objects. A single class contains the logic for browsing both offline and online file system data. Each drive node created will be checked against the root table for serial number and device name matches. Folders and files will be queried from the file system and matches will be made with the path and file tables. Matches will be associated with a node using a temporary item record. Each node may have child nodes and items. A static node will render the list of child nodes associated by the tree column and a list of items associated by the link table. These nodes represent a fixed tree structure used for categorization and navigation. The node name and details columns are used to display the node properly while the entity type controls the node style. Dynamic nodes can provide automated foreign key filtering to create child nodes and items. Each child node represents related late bound child data tables. The child entity type is used to dynamically create the data relationship to return items.

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