[aur-dev] Removing category field from AUR.

Sebastian Nowicki sebnow at gmail.com
Sun Mar 15 22:53:54 EDT 2009

On 16/03/2009, at 5:22 AM, Loui Chang wrote:

> In light of recent discussions I've been thinking of removing the
> category data from AUR.
> My view is that descriptions should be sufficient for users to  
> search to
> find what they need. If a description isn't sufficient then it  
> should be
> rewritten until it works. The category just adds another search  
> option that
> really only complicates things. Sorting by category is the only
> semi-useful contribution that it makes.
> Any opinions or examples where category actually can exceed a well
> written description is appreciated. Thanks!

I don't particularly like the current "category" field. It's hard- 
coded in the database. I found that it's sometimes difficult to fit a  
package into a particular category. A much better alternative is to  
use a tag style system. The tags would be defined by the PKGBUILD, so  
it's much more flexible, and a single package can have multiple tags.  
I changed categories to tags in AUR2.

The main use case is browsing. It's much easier to select "games" and  
browse all games, rather than searching for "games" and getting false  
positives (just because it's in the description doesn't mean it's a  
game). in addition to that, if packages can have multiple categories/ 
tags, then you can filter more out by selecting more than one category/ 
tag as the criteria. An example of this could be "development" and  
"python" to get a list of development tools for python. A well written  
description would achieve a similar effect, but it would not be as  
accurate, effective, or intuitive.

I'm sure that it would mostly be GUI applications which would take  
advantage of this, so it may not be as applicable to AUR. AUR  
currently doesn't have good support for searching categories. It's  
basically "I want this category." However if the AUR would support  
multiple categories, I think it would make browsing much nicer, when  
browsing for software providing a particular thing, rather than  
searching for a package whose name you know. As far as GUI  
applications go, I'm sure that selecting categories/tags would be more  
intuitive than searching for "python development" (which in pacman's  
case would return packages with "python" OR "development" in the  
pkgname and pkgdesc).

Either way I think removing categories, as they are now, is a good  
idea. They're more annoying than useful.

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