How do I make a 3D "folder" displaying its elements and connections between them?
Image credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/422001427581529651/
Povilas S Oct 05, 2020
Picture a transparent cube with dots in it, representing separate elements, and lines between the dots representing connections between those elements (a bit like constellations). I want to be able to make those type of folders (or data matrixes if you like) on my pc and I don't know if there's a simple way to do it (existing programs with similar functions, etc.) or would it be necessary to make a separate program for this?
It would be enough, at least for the start, if you could enter data values (like names of people for example) and link them together - a program would then visualize this by connecting the dots. But it would be even better if you could drop actual files there and visualize connections in the same way (between pictures for example). You could flip the cube in various ways and zoom in and out to reach particular elements. Clicking on a dot would display data value or a file and information about it as well as highlight its connections. A search function would be also necessary.
New data management systems
J. Oct 06, 2020
First, I am impressed with the presented idea and creativity. 3D folders could be very useful in the purposes you mentioned because of their "relaxed" structure. But I am not sure I understand exactly how beneficial would it be compared to the 2D structure of data.
The first association I had were the wires in the old computers which were all over the place, connecting the components and roam around. To make it smaller, visually more appealing, neat, and easier to find damage and repair, wires and components were replaced by motherboards and small 2D configurations. It brought faster and more efficient data processing.
The same I imagine happened with the visualization of the folders and files. Data management systems like MySQL work in a way that they establish connections between database components in order to reach, read, and process the data faster. Although they are shown in 2D on your desktop, they are heavily 3D in their management structure (name, content, timestamps (4D)). The reason why they are shown in 2D is probably the same why PowerPoint is more popular than Prezi - it is faster, easily readable, and more user friendly, for its purposes.
Nevertheless, I agree that Prezi sometimes gives you the ability to describe the problem/solution better, especially if you are creative or handling tons of related data. Therefore, I am sending you some links, hopefully, something helps.
The FSV software is a visualizer of our data, but it lacks the connections.
Same with 3D FIle Explorer.
Although the upper two seem like nice introduction, Cubix 3D FIler on Indiegogo seems more legit. Still, the connections are not visualized.
The real deal could be the winner of the 2003 edition of NSF Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge - Innolab 3D File Manager that organizes contents based on their relationships, rather than their positions on the hard disk.
*Although 3D would have a devastating effect on the performance of the computer, the solution could be, as you suggested, to make the 3D folder optionally available just in folders where 3D-structured files could provoke the creativeness, while maintaining the transparency of the system and config data or the other data we use every day.
Can Python do it?
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 06, 2020
I made something like that using Python a few years back. It was a network of hormones and enzymes and had up-regulation and down-regulation links between them. Python allows you to link files. So, you can replace the hormones with files and have such a cube. Constructing a cube (or for that matter any other shape) is easy. I have some questions to help me better understand the concept: 1) Is this purely for visualization purposes? 2) Why a cube?