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This site is operated by Mike Deem. The opinions expressed here are mine. They are not necessarily my employer's or anybody else's.

No Meta-Data Up My Sleeve

Ken Brubaker and others have asked “What will you do with the metadata when you copy a "file" between file stores?” He suggests that if we preserve the meta-data when an item is copied to a plain old file system (like NTFS) it would be “the cat's meow.“

I agree, and we are working out the details of how this can be done. On NTFS we have alternate streams to work with, and they give us a good place to hide the metadata until the file is copied back into WinFS. We also have to think about FAT and other file systems that do not support alternate streams. There our options are much more limited.

But, WinFS isn't just about file backed items (items that represent an actual file that contains the items “true“ data). We also need to think about items that exist purely in the WinFS store (such as a contact). When an item like this is copied to a non-WinFS store (file system, e-mail attachment, etc.), we need to produce a serialized version of the item that can be used to re-materialize the item when it is copied back into WinFS. Again, we are currently working out the details on how this will be done.

As usual with such things, the devil is in the details....

posted on Monday, November 10, 2003 7:41 AM

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