tagsistant: Tagging with a different approach

After my great delight at trying tmsu, I was willing to try out tagsistant on Eric Davis‘s suggestion. And between the two of them, I think Eric is right: tmsu might be a better fit for me too.


I can see similarities between tmsu and tagsistant; both use directory trees to arrange tags, and to show combinations between them. tagsistant seems very intuitive when it comes to finding mixed tags, with a simple plus sign showing combinations, and so forth.

tagistant “tags” files by “copying” them into a tag folder, which means adding an entire subfolder is a lot easier than tmsu was. And you can tag a directory itself, without necessarily applying the tag to files inside it. I can see where that might be preferable, and the home page suggests that will keep the database slim.

tagsistant is also file-manager friendly, and I suppose the same thing could be said about tmsu. Once I had a few files tagged and cross-tagged, I could work my way through the directory tree with Midnight Commander, and see how files were arranged between tags.

Probably the best part of tagsistant was the setup. The home page shows you in simple steps how to create a tag system, tag individual files and work the query process. It’s a very comfortable introduction.

My complaints against tagsistant are also simple and fairly straightforward: Perhaps biggest, there’s no way I could see to query the tag system without working through the folder tree.

With tmsu I could just ask it outright what tags were applied to a file, but I don’t see an analogue for that in tagsistant. Please point it out to me, if I’m just being dense.

Second, I see no expedient way to apply multiple tags at a time. The copy-file-to-tag motif is an interesting approach, but it doesn’t lend itself to adding three or four tags at once. I prefer tmsu’s approach, of just listing tags in quick succession.

That might go back to my first, and this last point, just that the tree structure for tagsistant is a useful format, but can be very cumbersome without a file manager. Tab completion helps, but each query up or down the tree is going to require some backspacing, correction and possibly even retyping. My advice? Pick a quick file manager. :\

(Of course, maybe if you could combine this with something like commacd, you might have a very powerful combination. … 😐 )

tagsistant is by no means an unusable tool, and depending on your files and tags, you may prefer this over other options. Definitely look through the advanced documentation, because it will help you with a lot of tagsistant’s finer points.

As for myself, I’ll stick with tmsu, unless one of Eric’s other recommendations wins me over. … πŸ˜‰

6 thoughts on “tagsistant: Tagging with a different approach

  1. Tx0

    Hi, I’m Tx0, author of Tagsistant. Thank you for evaluating it. I’ve read with interest both this article and the one on TMSU.

    I would just like to add to your review that with Tagsistant you get the list of tags applied to “black_market.mp3” by reading the pseudo-file named “black_market.mp3.tags”, where “.tags” is a configurable conventional suffix. The pseudo file can be accessed wherever the referred file can be, like in “store/jazz/@/black_market.mp3.tags”, if you know at least one tag, or “store/ALL/@/black_market.mp3.tags”, if you don’t.

    You can also apply more than one tag to a file in one single command by:

    $ cp black_market.mp3 store/music/jazz/weather_report/@/

    This would be equivalent to:

    $ cp black_market.mp3 store/weather_report/music/jazz/@/

    or any other permutation. You can also manage tags by moving a file from a path to another, like in:

    $ mv store/sax/@/concert.mp3 store/piano/guitar/@

    This will remove the tag “sax” and add both “piano” and “guitar”.

    And if you don’t like the idea of moving your files inside Tagsistant, maybe because you have terabytes of stuff and don’t want to wait the copy to be completed, you can just tag symbolic links to original files to achieve a scenario very close to TMSU. Tagsistant will apply autotagging to symlinks too.

    I hope this will raise your appreciation in Tagsistant. I was wondering if the “unusable” adjective you used in the end was a typo or your real opinion. Despite you wrote that Tagsistant has its strong traits, I can of course understand if you nevertheless prefer TMSU over it. But “unusable” seems to contradict the overall opinion you’re expressing on Tagsistant.

    Thank you for your attention.

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Hi Tx0. Thanks for the note, and thanks for your help with the multi-tagging lines. I hope my notes about tagsistant weren’t too harsh; I try to be honest but positive, and in this case I just felt more comfortable with tmsu. I did particularly like the setup pages, but I am probably guilty of not looking hard enough to solve my difficulties. 😳 Thanks for helping me out.

      I used the phrase “by no means unusable” to suggest that tagsistant was in fact very usable. I double-checked with some native English speakers and they all agreed this was a positive thing to say, and I meant it as a point of praise. I enjoyed tinkering with tagsistant and I hope that comes through in my note. Cheers! πŸ™‚

  2. Tx0

    You’re right, it was my fault. I’m not a native English speaker and I’ve totally misunderstood the expression “by no means unusable” taking it for the opposite of its real meaning. Thank you for clarifying.

    By the way, I’ve released today Tagsistant 0.8.1 which adds some new features (like the ‘exclude’ and ‘requires’ relations) and fixes a lot of bugs on deduplication, autotagging and interoperability with other packages, like Samba. I hope you’ll try it too.


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  4. marwenlahmar

    I just found out about tagsistant, and i think that it’s absolutly amazing. I’ve been looking for something similar for a long time . This will come handy with my ever growing multimedia collection. But i think that it’s going to take some time getting used to it, since we have been stuck with the tradional hierarchical system for years.

    Big support for the developers πŸ˜‰

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      I’m glad you enjoy it; it’s a very useful tool. Personally I preferred tmsu, but there are enough options that something will appeal to anyone looking for a tagging system. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

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