Why won't spotlight index nisus?

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soulbarn
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Why won't spotlight index nisus?

Post by soulbarn » 2006-06-16 06:13:00

Hi - I am running 2.7 and am having a real problem: Spotlight will not index any files I've created in Nisus and saved in .doc format. If I create the file in Word and edit it in Nisus, there's no problem.

Not having Spotlight indexing is a real deal-breaker for me. Is anyone else having this problem? Is there any way around it? Please help.

- dan

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joehardy
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Post by joehardy » 2006-06-16 10:05:16

I just tried and Spotlight won't index any .rtf documents. Since I've been converting a lot of my syllabi and other academic documents into NWE it would be nice to be able to locate them using Spotlight.
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joehardy
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Post by joehardy » 2006-06-16 10:10:11

joehardy wrote:I just tried and Spotlight won't index any .rtf documents. Since I've been converting a lot of my syllabi and other academic documents into NWE it would be nice to be able to locate them using Spotlight.
Solved my own problem. Did a Get Info on the Nisus Documents folder. Clicked the lock to unlock the folder. Now Spotlight finds what's in it.
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soulbarn
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Post by soulbarn » 2006-06-16 10:10:37

I find the non-Spotlight functionality rather odd, since the features page for 2.7 states that Nisus is "spotlight aware." That seems a little imprecise; does "aware" mean that Spotlight indexes Nisus, or something else?

SteveSamuels
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Post by SteveSamuels » 2006-06-16 10:32:04

Same problem here with docs created in Nisus.

Identical files, created in NWX, one saved in word format ".doc" with extension, the other as ordinary rtf. Both with read access for everyone. Everyone can read and write to the folder they are in.

Spotlight finds the rtf but not the doc file.

NWX 2.7
OS X 10.4.6
PB G4 1.5 GHz 2 GB memory

Steve

dshan
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Post by dshan » 2006-06-16 17:27:54

My tests show Spotlight won't return any results for either MSWord or AbiWord files created by NWX either, only for RTF files.

The key seems to be how Spotlight indexes the metadata (particularly the file content data) for files output by applications. A good explanation of this can be found in John Siracusa's article on OS X 10.4:http://arstechnica.com/reviews/os/macosx-10.4.ars/9

The key points from this article:

"In Tiger, file metadata is harvested by a set of metadata importer plug-ins, one for each type of file. Tiger ships with importer plug-ins for many common file types: JPEG images, text files, PDFs, etc. Developers are encouraged to write metadata importer plug-ins for their file formats. If there are multiple plug-ins for a particular file type (e.g. a generic image metadata importer and a JPEG metadata importer), the most specific plug-in wins. In other words, only one plug-in gets a shot at each file.

Each metadata importer is responsible for scanning a file and returning all of the metadata it could extract—from the file system metadata structures, the file contents, or anything else it wants to consider. The metadata is returned as a set of key/value pairs, and is added to the Spotlight index entry for the file.

...

Any file i/o that goes through the Tiger kernel will trigger the appropriate metadata importer. This kernel-level integration ensures that the Spotlight indexes are always up to date."

*** end ***

The system-supplied importers are kept in /System/Library/Spotlight and application-supplied importers are in /Library/Spotlight or ~/Library/Spotlight.

As an importer for RTF is supplied by Apple as part of OS X Tiger it seems Nisus automatically get Spotlight support for their RTF files and don't have to do anything to be "Spotlight aware". But other filetypes like MS Word, Wordperfect and AbiWord would need their own metadata importer plugins to work with Spotlight, and Nisus don't supply them so they don't get included in Spotlight.

So far so good. Except that while digging up all this info I found a mystery I can't explain, maybe someone else can. In my /Library/Spotlight folder are .mdimporter plugins for Appleworks, Keynote and Pages - all of which I have installed on my PB so that's not particularly surprising. But I also have a .mdimporter plugin for Microsoft Office (12.0.1) in that folder and that I cannot explain as I've never installed any version of MS Office on my Mac. Where did it come from and, as it exists, why doesn't it seem to update the Spotlight indexes for .doc files output by NWX? The contents of .doc files created by TextEdit are correctly indexed by Spotlight, why not NWX?
Last edited by dshan on 2006-06-16 22:08:01, edited 1 time in total.

Mark XM
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Post by Mark XM » 2006-06-16 17:39:20

dshan wrote:<snip> But I also have a .mdimporter plugin for Microsoft Office (12.0.1) in that folder and that I cannot explain as I've never installed any version of MS Office on my Mac. Where did it come from and, as it exists, why doesn't it seem to update the Spotlight indexes for .doc files output by NWX? The contents of .doc files created by TextEdit are correctly indexed by Spotlight, why not NWX?
Perhaps it's there 'cos your PowerBook shipped with a pre-installed demo of office which you removed :?:
And as the app is no longer there, maybe the plugin is non-functional?

Mark

soulbarn
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Post by soulbarn » 2006-06-16 18:12:44

Well, that's some excellent detective work - I hope that this is leading to a solution. I produce over 2,000 word processing documents a year, and I have to be able to do a Spotlight style search...I've been finding Nisus such a pleasure to use - but since I purchased it, most of the documents I've been working on were ones originally created in Word. Now that my transition to Nisus has hit the sixty day mark, I'm creating most of my docs in Nisus - which makes the problem bigger and bigger.

I really think this needs to be an immediate priority for Nisus developers. There's arguably no application folks create data in more than word processing, with the possible exception of email. That means indexing is critical.

- Dan

dshan
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Post by dshan » 2006-06-16 18:41:51

Mark XM wrote:
dshan wrote:<snip> But I also have a .mdimporter plugin for Microsoft Office (12.0.1) in that folder and that I cannot explain as I've never installed any version of MS Office on my Mac. Where did it come from and, as it exists, why doesn't it seem to update the Spotlight indexes for .doc files output by NWX? The contents of .doc files created by TextEdit are correctly indexed by Spotlight, why not NWX?
Perhaps it's there 'cos your PowerBook shipped with a pre-installed demo of office which you removed :?:
And as the app is no longer there, maybe the plugin is non-functional?

Mark
I don't think so, the PB is > 2.5 yrs old, long before 10.4 and Spotlight were around. The dates on the plugin: Created 25 Mar 2005, Modified 4 Apr 2006 indicate a more recent origin, perhaps it originally came with 10.4 and was updated with 10.4.6 (or maybe it came with Pages, I'm still using Pages 1.0.2.). The Version string says "12.0.1 (060113), (c) 2006 Microsoft Corporation". It looks like Apple must be distributing it under license from MS and updating it with 10.4.x updates too.

dshan
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Spotlight Indexing of Nisus Writer Express Word Files

Post by dshan » 2006-06-17 01:46:12

I've been talking to the wonderful Nisus support people about this issue. They're filing a bug for NWX Word files not being indexed by Spotlight. Hopefully a fix will emerge in due course.

I've confirmed that the content of Word files created by both TextEdit and Pages 1.0.2 are indexed by Spotlight.

robertb
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Why won't spotlight index nisus

Post by robertb » 2006-06-17 05:03:38

Interesting. But my experience was just the opposite--totally seamless. On my 12" ibook with 10.4.6 using Nisus 2.7, Spotlight indexes all my Nisus files as well as Word files and everything else.

Since I'm leaving Word and going full-time with Nisus, here's one thing I've done that may or may not be related. I made Nisus the default app to open Word docs (select a Word file, do a "get info," go to "open with," selected Nisus, and click the box that says "all similiar files"). This way, the Nisus icon is on all my Word files and Nisus opens them with a click.

soulbarn
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Post by soulbarn » 2006-06-17 06:33:06

Robert, are you creating files in Nisus and saving them as genuine Word docs - or are you saving them as Nisus or RTF files? The bug only appears with the former option.

robertb
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Why won't spotlight index

Post by robertb » 2006-06-17 08:25:55

Duh... You're exactly right. Spotlight does not index my Nisus files that I save as Word docs. Thanks for pointing it out.

dshan
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Post by dshan » 2006-06-17 12:57:33

D'oh!! I think I know what's going on here.

As I mentioned earlier .doc files output by both TextEdit and Pages do get indexed by Spotlight, it's only Nisus .doc files that don't. What's different about .doc files output by NWX compared to TextEdit/Pages/MS Word, etc.? They're not Word binary files, they're actually plain old rtf files with a .doc file extension (and an HFS file type of "W8BN"; regular NWX RTF files get a "RTF" file-type and a .rtf extension). This, as Nisus always point out, is quite okay for MS Word, it happily accepts such disguised rtf files and processes them with no problems. But I'll bet the MS Office .mdimporter plug-in (written by MS) doesn't like them, it probably expects real Office binary file formats - .xls, .pps and binary .doc - not rtf in disguise like NWX produces. So it doesn't index the data from these files, it just ignores it.

I'm not sure how OS X figures out which .mdimporter to use for a given file, but I assume it uses file-type info (either the HFS file-type or the file extension info) supplied when the file is opened and looks for a .mdimporter plug-in that handles that file type. NWX Word files appear to be regular Word binary files - they have HFS file-type of "W8BN" and an ext of .doc - so the MS Office .mdimporter presumably wins.

The solution would seem to be to somehow override this mechanism and force the regular Apple RTF .mdimporter plug-in to be invoked when NWX opens a Word file for output. Maybe just changing the HFS file-type to "RTF" would work, though that might cause other problems for MS Word users.

soulbarn
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Post by soulbarn » 2006-06-17 15:26:57

Not sure I'm reading your post right, dshan, but I'm not certain - if I am - that that's the core of the problem.

I just created a standard Nisus document, saved as an RTF on my desktop.
I then duplicated the document in the Finder, giving it a DOC extension.

Spotlight found the first - but not the second! So, I duplicated the DOC file, renamed it to RTF, and now Spotlight finds the original RTF, the duplicate RTF, but still not the doc.

I used X-Ray - a shareware file typing program - and the DOC file has NISX as the creator, and RTF ("Rich Text Format (RTF) (Preffered.)) as the type.
X-Ray also allows you to change both the type and creator. I tried all the combinations: NISX as creator, W8BN as type; I've also tried change type to Word and Text Edit, as well as using Word's earlier version - W6BN - as type.

Nothing seems to work once a Nisus-created file gets the DOC extension (even one that was saved as a Nisus RTF file, then had the extension changed outside of Nisus in the finder.)

X-Ray has lots more options, if anyone else cares to play with types/creators/etc. I've spent most of the day...sigh...and it's Saturday!!!!

http://www.brockerhoff.net/xray.

- dan

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