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Re: [Orgmode] [OT] recutils

From: Michael Brand
Subject: Re: [Orgmode] [OT] recutils
Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2010 08:17:34 +0100

On Fri, Dec 3, 2010 at 22:16, Jose E. Marchesi <address@hidden> wrote:
> I apologize in advance for the off-topic, but this could be of interest
> to people liking to "organize their life" in plain text.  This is about
> "storing your data" in plain text :D
> I just made the first release of the GNU recutils, a set of tools and
> libraries to access human-editable, text-based databases called
> recfiles.  The data is stored as a sequence of records, each record
> containing an arbitrary number of named fields.  Advanced capabilities
> usually found in other data storage systems are supported by GNU
> recutils: data types, data integrity (keys, mandatory fields, etc) as
> well as the ability of records to refer to other records (sort of
> foreign keys).  Despite its simplicity, recfiles can be used to store
> medium-sized databases.
> I have been using org-mode for years and it rocks.  In some way it
> changed my life.  It is perfect to store all kind of hierarchical data.
> At some point I though about applying a similar philosophy to
> "sequential" repetitive data with relationships.  Data that we would
> store in a relational database.  A nice complement to org.  The recutils
> are the result of those thoughts.
> I would highly appreciate any comment or suggestion on improving the
> format, the utilities, or whatever.

Hi Jose

Wow! The ability to have a _relational_ database with foreign keys in
a simple text file is so great news for me. A dream I had for many
years now. Or is it lack of knowledge from my side about already
existing solutions before recutils? Thank you a lot for your work,
sharing it to the community, posting it also on this list here and for
asking for suggestions which I would like to give at the end.

I was thinking about using sqlite from the command line and together
with shell scripts for stuff like my collection of music with
recordings, MIDI files, scores and so on. Because at least for me
editing a text file is by far simpler, more interactive and more
convenient than editing with SQL I will prefer recutils over sqlite.

But since recfiles, the text files of recutils, are not hierarchically
organized I am still considering to use only Org for the case of my
collection of music. Org would have the advantages of outlining,
hyperlinks, column view, todo, tags, agenda view, export for
publishing and many others.

Thus my wish for the file format would be to somehow keep in mind Org
to potentially
- convert the files bidirectionally between the format of recfiles and
  Org, with or without something like "literate programming" of
- use recutils as a language extension to org-babel, recutils reading
  data streamed to its stdin from org-babel and piping back to into
  org-babel result (no writing by recutils to the file)
- as an imagination: run recutils on a file in the format of Org, only
  reading or even read/write.

I will follow up with an example of what I plan to do for my
collection of music, the database table relations squeezed
hierarchically into Org as a first attempt.


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