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Support for wildcards in searches

johnfoland Pro says:

Fully understanding that no development schedule or forecast of upcoming features is or will be available, I propose that the next Pro feature be wildcard searching and smart lists within tasks and their tags.

I think this would be a great forthcoming feature because it is a very simple but profound function that could exponentially increase the RTM muscle. It would be an update to the core of RTM and would make a compelling argument to go Pro for many people.

Feel free to disagree or make your own "next feature" post, but please reserve reply posts for votes to nominate this feature.

Thanks!

Posted at 5:56pm on September 25, 2007

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ranbarton ProPower Poster says:

Jkalvin, for the forum members who don't follow the threads here as closely as some of us, could you please include an example use of this feature, so people can see the value of the idea?

Posted 7 years ago

johnfoland Pro says:

Good idea, ranbarton.

From Whatis / Techtarget :
A wildcard character is a special character that represents one or more other characters. The most commonly used wildcard characters are the asterisk (*), which typically represents zero or more characters in a string of characters, and the questionmark (?), which typically represents any one character.

What this means for RTM
If you prefixed all of your 'project' tags with a certain character, you could make a smart list that searches for any project tagged (or NOT tagged) with ANY project tag.

For example, right now I have a smart list that looks like this :

list:NextActions AND NOT (tag:§neo OR tag:§appt OR tag:§bgd OR tag:§celine OR tag:§dimarchi OR tag:§gifts OR tag:§jethro OR tag:§sites OR tag:§org OR tag:§safer OR tag:§serena OR tag:§socgen)

This is just a small fragment of my project list, so you can imagine how it must be for those who have all of their projects tagged.

Whenever I make a new project tag, I have to update all of the smart lists that involve projects. I have three lists like this, and even more for my 'objectives' tags. If we had wildcard searching, my smart list would be automatically updated every I added a new tag beginning with §, and the query would be much shorter :

list:NextActions AND NOT tag:§*

There are so many more applications you could do with this. You could search within task names, notes, and more. Here was a great idea the other day from bzpilman :

I start all my actions with a caps ACTION VERB, and if I want to set up a smartlist to search for MAIL, or CALL, for example (much more convenient way to use some contexts, instead of adding tag), my search gets caught up with all kinds of entries wich have gmail, hotmail, email, or even mail in their body, but not as the action. Of course wildcards would also solve that, where I would then search for something like name:"mail *"

Posted 7 years ago

bzpilman says:

WIldcards would totally rock.

Besides, RTM already has a wildcard functionality in place, wich is in its autocompletion suggestion for entering tags. So it wouldn't be as hard to extend them to search queries, I guess.

I have MANY situations where I could do things I can't right now, with the help of smartlists. Well, maybe I could, but it would take more work than it would be worth it to add 30+ project tags (every project of mine has a tag, even child ones), like in jkalvin's model.

Just some pointers though, jkalvin:

• Using AND NOT is redundant for rtm. Not that it would improve anything, but using just NOT gives the same results in a cleaner fashion. At least from my experience.

• From various forum brainstormings and many more of my own, I've crafted a system that has two action lists: ProjectActions and LoneActions (these are just the lists that have physical actions in a GTD sense).
They have not only next actions, but on hold, drafted and planned actions. The difference there is that next actions are priority:2, while the others hold no priority marker.
Therefore, my equivalent query to yours simply reads (list:LoneActions AND priority:2), and does not ever require changing.
Of course this may not help you or even make sense to you, because it's part of a big picture gtd system I use on RTM. I'm in the final tweaking phases of the system, so when I'm done I will publish it here and/or blog about it.

Posted 7 years ago

ranbarton ProPower Poster says:

Thank you for the write up, Jkalvin. That's a pretty persuasive demonstration, to my non-programmer's eye.

Posted 7 years ago

angela.randall says:

I suggested this earlier as an easy way to hide my template lists :)

http://www.rememberthemilk.com/forums/help/2725/

Posted 7 years ago

paul.sinclair Pro says:

I vote in support of these changes.

Posted 7 years ago

johnfoland Pro says:

bzpilman - Thanks! I didn't know that the "AND" wasn't necessary. It even works throughout the query:

list:Inbox NOT tag:joe NOT tag:dave

I can't wait to read about your system!

Posted 7 years ago

brady747 says:

Please make wildcards happen. Its a basic expectation in searches and it would be fabulous. Thanks for all the great work so far.

Matt

Posted 6 years ago

becky.holt says:

i vote for wildcard searching too

Posted 6 years ago

tim.ingalls says:

I vote for adding wildcard searching. It could greatly simplify a lot of things because it would reduce the number of weird gyrations I have to go through to produce just the smart lists I'm looking for.

Also, here's an idea for separating project tasks from other tasks. I have a smart list called "Project List" and it contains the main label for each project. Each main label is simply tagged with "project". I have a second smart list called "Project Tasks" and only project tasks go in there. I label each main project and each project task with a tag in this fashion: "p-" where is a number (or for major projects, a name like p-pbx). Each project task also has a tag of simply "p". That way, I can create a smart list of just project tasks and keep them separate from the list of projects.

For easy reference while tagging project tasks with the correct project ID tag, I created a Firefox bookmark to my "Project List" page on in a folder in my Firefox Bookmarks Toolbar folder and made it load into my Firefox sidebar (right click the bookmark, select "Properties" and check the box next to "Load this bookmark in the sidebar."

Wildcards would make this process much simpler and would make it really easy to sort for sub-projects by just searching for part of a project ID.

Posted 6 years ago

tim.ingalls says:

A few corrections:

I have a regular list called "@Project Center" that contains all main project labels and all project tasks. I also have a "@Lone Tasks" list for non-project-related tasks.

Then I have a smart list called "@Project List" for all main project labels (tag:project) and a "@Project Tasks" smart list filtered for tag:pt instead of tag:p. Using "pt" for project tasks instead of "p" made the autocomplete function work a lot faster.

If anyone has any further ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Posted 6 years ago

geojono says:

I am also greatly in favor of wildcards as described by jkalvin and others here. I would even pay for a pro account for that. It would be extremely useful.
Jono

Posted 6 years ago

webmonarch says:

I second, third and fourth this. After reading throught the GTD suggestions on the RTM blog, I end up with what are essentially sublists: Work, Work - Project 1, Work - Project 2. I'd like to see high priority tasks (or other search criteria) on matching lists.

This could be done by:
list:"Work*"
or a new criteria listContains:"Work" (though I prefer the former)

These features are definitely worth a pro memebership for me. (and keep from having to write my own :) )

cheers,
eric

Posted 6 years ago

hbj654 says:

I agree... Wildcard searching is the last hurdle to making RTM the best GTD tool of all time! (For me of course:-) Maybe not everyone )

Posted 6 years ago

mbrill05 says:

I concur with Eric (webmonarch). I would pay for a pro membership if I was able to get a summarized list of all my next actions stored in my "sub project lists" that are all prefixed with a specific set of characters.

Either option Eric mentioned would work:
"This could be done by:
list:"Work*"
or a new criteria listContains:"Work" (though I prefer the former)" - webmonarch

Matt

Posted 5 years ago

arthurhch Pro says:

You can enter the search critera by hand and e.g. search for "not tagContains:§". This is not exactly a wildcard search but gives all the tasks with tags not containing §.

Arthur

Posted 5 years ago

warwick.symes Pro says:

yes yes please please much much (does that count as 2 votes?)

Posted 5 years ago

sdroid says:

I vote for wildcards too! It's bar-none the most important feature request I can think of. Can I add on, it would be really cool if you went all out and gave us full "Regular Expressions" matching.

Posted 5 years ago

sdroid says:

I need to clarify my last comment -- I know there is essentially wildcard matching for tags already. But I'd love to have it for lists, and every other kind of field that we can search by. It would be a more powerful interface to say "tag: *hello*" rather than having to say "tagContains:hello".

Posted 5 years ago

buckbrody says:

one more vote for wildcards

Posted 5 years ago

davewilliamstx says:

A reply from someone at RTM would be nice here, whats going on guys?

Posted 5 years ago

jsellen says:

Hey davewilliamstx: you're not going to get a response.

See here from Emily on the offical features FAQ:
http://www.rememberthemilk.com/forums/ideas/6972/

Posted 5 years ago

richlin71 says:

+1

Posted 5 years ago

ward.bergmans says:

This wildcard feature would also fulfil the "Add 'listContains' to search operators" request: http://www.rememberthemilk.com/forums/ideas/5704/

I'm also following the wonderful GTD guide from the blog:
http://blog.rememberthemilk.com/2008/05/guest-post-advanced-gtd-with-remember.html

So I also run into the limitation that I have work tasks that don't necessarily need a location tied to them.
And I want to search only my work projects lists, or only my personal projects list, or ...

Posted 3 years ago

rdukat says:

+1

Posted 3 years ago

pefferen Pro says:

++

Posted 2 years ago

gravies says:

I agree with the above comments as I have lists arranged into categories for work and personal using work-listName home-listName etc. It would be very useful to be able to use wildcards or some other method to select lists by category. e.g.

list:work-*
listNameContains:work-

Posted 2 years ago

orth says:

great idea!

Posted 2 years ago

ctobola Pro says:

+1

Posted 2 years ago

kentako Pro says:

++

Posted 1 year ago

rbreton74 Pro says:

++

Posted 1 year ago

mikejd30 Pro says:

Regarding list structures like home-list#, home-list#, work-list#, etc wouldn't it be possible to create main smart lists (with all home or all work) and pull the other lists form that? This seems a much neater way than needing wildcards.

Sometimes these features, as useful as they sound, can also lead to poorer structuring. Just a suggestion, as I don't use such a structure and haven't found a need for wildcards myself.

Posted 1 year ago

pefferen Pro says:

+1

Posted 1 year ago

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