Clicky

qb
I've got a MacBook Pro with Catalina 10.15.1.

I take lots of digital images and like having these rotate through as by desktop image. But not all of them as there are thousands. The ones I prefer I add "***" to the end of the filename.

I've settled on a nice "background switcher" application which will show images from a selected folder. I do not want to move any images from their own folder (nor duplicated them) to the folder the background switcher uses. Testing has shown the background switcher cannot resolve an Alias but can use symbolic links.

To easily make symlinks I've added SymbolicLinker.service" to my contextual services menu.

My work flow is this:
I view and give specific names to all images
I then select the best images to add the "***" to the end of the filename.
I use Spotlight or Houdaspot to find the images in the folder ending with "***"
Select all these images and right-click picking "Make Symbolic Link" to make the needed symlinks
-heres were the flow glitches. Spotlight does not index symlinks nor are they Aliases. Thus I cannot use Spotlight nor Houdaspot to see these new symlinks. If I could have them show in a Search list I could select them all and move them in mass to the folder used by the background switcher.

Instead I have to look into the image folder and manually gather and move them.
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If I knew scripting or whatever I could maybe write my own Symlink.service that would make the links AND move them to the background switcher's needed folder but I cannot.
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Am I overlooking something in Houdaspot that would allow me to find symlinks?

If not can this be added to your requested additions for future releases please?

thank you
qb
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houdah
HoudahSpot relies on the Spotlight index for file searches.
Spotlight indexing follows symlinks and indexes the original file.

There is nothing HoudahSpot can do about this short of maintaining its own index. This would be a waste of disk space.

Are you using APFS?
APFS has a feature to "copy on write": when you copy a file, no actual copy is created yet. The file appears in both locations but only takes up space once. Only when you modify one of the "copies" an actual copy is created.
I _believe_ the Finder makes use of this feature. AFAIK some command-line tools can also make use of this but need to be passed an option to specify which behavior you want.
Houdah Software s. à r. l.
https://www.houdah.com

HoudahGeo: One-stop photo geocoding
HoudahSpot: Advanced file search utility
Tembo: Easy and effective file search
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qb
Wow - you are so correct to suggest this. This should fool the background switcher just fine and I won't need to make any symlink.

I will check this out and report back.

BTW I did find a reference that symlinks can be search for from the Terminal using but have not tried this as I am GUI type users. :-)
sudo find / -type l -ls
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2583776

thank you
qb
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houdah
The "find" command searches the file system without making use of the Spotlight index. This can be excruciatingly slow.
Houdah Software s. à r. l.
https://www.houdah.com

HoudahGeo: One-stop photo geocoding
HoudahSpot: Advanced file search utility
Tembo: Easy and effective file search
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qb
I did read such a search in the terminal is slow. For me to use I would need learn the command options to limit it to searching only my Photographs folder then pipe the results into a text file. Or add a step after the find to move all the found symlinks into my Desktop Pictures Symlinks folder for the background switcher to use.

I just tested your suggestion of letting the file system do the "not a duplicate copy" (my words) option. The background switcher uses these "copies" as it they are real and even copying 1000 large images the drive free space did not change. Yay for that.

However one complication of my setup I feel sure actually makes this less useable. I did not mentioned this in the original post:

I have a MacPro 2013 and 2x MacBook Pro 2016s. I have my own Synology NAS used as a Cloud Station. I let Cloud Station synchronize my original images (in ~/Documents/Photographs) and the collected symlinks in ~/Documents/Desktop Pictures Symlinks.

When synched the symlinks point to the correct images w/in my user home Documents on any of the 3 macs. I suspect however if I make "copies" into the Desktop Pics folder when Cloud Station goes to Sync them it has no idea these are "copies" and thus on the other 2 computers each image becomes a true space taking duplicate. I can easily test this by watching the sync on a 2nd computer and see if the free space changes.

Anyway - this is all well beyond asking if Houdaspot could somehow help me search for Symlinks. I really appreciate your quick response and the APFS suggestion. Oh and many of your oh-so-useful applications!

thank you
qb
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