Make merged OR filter expandable


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AndreasP
AndreasP
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Hi Toby,

today I analyzed a more complicated case where I had to simultaneously look at log files from different sources. So I merged them to one log.
However since the number of log entries was so large that I had to pick out several messages in different combinations to narrow down the problem. For this I intensively used the merged filters (OR). However since I had to merge sometimes up to 6 different filters in different combinations (and since existing OR filters cannot be modified), things got a bit confusing temporarily. This brought up a wish I had for some time now.

It would be very nice to see also the single elements of the merged OR filter in the "Log Files & Filters" tree. What came to my mind is to make the OR filtered view expandable and collapsible. When expanding it, it lists the filters that are combined in the OR filter. This would also allow the modification of the filters, which is something that is also currently not possible. And even further (think that would be a new feature) one could also combine AND and OR filters to from expressions like "F1 OR F2 OR (F3 AND F4)" (The rule would be that the OR filter sums up the leaf nodes of each of it's subtrees.)

I tried to make a small illustration to show the idea.


What do you think?

Thanks
Andreas

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Hi Andreas,

Thanks for the feedback! 

I think this is a very good idea and I agree that a solution is needed to allow the creation of more complex merge filters.

There is a lot to like about your proposed solution.  I think it is an intuitive way to work with 'or' filters.  However, I don't think it will work well with 'and' filters.  I am also concerned about usability given that the 'filters' below the merge will not actually be filters (they don't have the same patent child relationship).

Also, I want the solution we implement to be able to grow over time.  I think the solution suggested would be fairly easy to implement, but I am not sure how it would adapt.

As alternative solutions, I am also considering a SQL like query language or a new GUI that allows you to build merge queries.

I also think it may make sense to follow an approach similar to the one described, but in the toolbox rather than the filter tree.

So, I would like to give this more thought.  However, I think a solution is needed and I hope to get a v1.0 solution out soon. 

Thanks again,

Toby

AndreasP
AndreasP
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Hi Toby,

thanks for the positive feedback. I'm aware of the little inconsistence ORing AND filters and that the approach would not allow arbitrary logical expressions. And I like the idea of a general query language. I would favor the following approach.

First, I would implement the OR filter to be expandable as shown in the picture. However not adding AND filters as subtrees to the OR filter. So the same filter functionality as is now. The big advantage I see is, that the OR filters can then easily be modified this way (deleting parts of the filter, adding new filters, modifying current filters, using drag and drop). This should cover at least 90% of the standard use cases in an easy, intuitive manner. You would have on one side the classical AND filters to filter the log entries starting from all filters and narrowing down the messages step by step from top to bottom. And you have the classical OR filters to start bottom up by single messages and adding them up. This would be the first release.

Second, I would later implement the general query language filter you suggested. Very powerful, but probably not so easy to use as the normal filters and drag and drop. This would be used only for special cases. And additionally this new filter could be used inside the classical AND or OR expressions. This would then be a future release.

Thanks for listening,
Andreas

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Thanks for the clarification.

This is something I am still thinking about.  I think the best solution would be something like the DevExpress filter builder:
https://documentation.devexpress.com/WindowsForms/114645/Controls-and-Libraries/Data-Grid/Getting-Started-With-Data-Grid-and-Views/Walkthroughs/Filter-and-Search/Tutorial-Filter-Editor

Obviously, everything would need to be custom, so the link above is just to give you an example of the user experience I am thinking about.  This solution would be available when you "edit" a merged filter.  I like the idea of a SQL language, but I can't think of a good way for users to type the filter names.  I think DevEx handles this very nicely with drop-downs and place holders.

Right now, I think the filter tree has a clear purpose.  I don't really want to muddy the water by making it do different tasks depending on the user action.  

I am still thinking about this solution, but I do want to prioritize this work.  I think having this kind of complex filtering is definitely something the product should support.

Hope that makes sense.

Thanks again,

Toby
AndreasP
AndreasP
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Hi Toby,

that filter builder looks like a powerful solution. Would be nice to have something like this in the future.

I was also thinking again about your feedback. Sure, if you want to keep the simple rule of the filter tree that each tree element further filters down the log entries, then the proposed OR filter tree will violate that rule.

Then I would vote for a suggestion from your first reply. To display the "OR"-Subtree in the "Toolbox Tabs". This way one could easily see and modify the structure or details of the currently selected merged filter. Also my hope would be that this works in combination with the drag and drop of the filter tree. That is, that I can add already existing filters from the filter tree as new elements to the OR-filter or vice versa. And the possibility to delete parts of an existing OR-filter.

Remember, my original post was mainly to make the current OR-filter more easy to use. Currently I don't need more complex filters like it would be possible with the filter builder. If I have such cases I could also write my custom filter. However what I can't do with custom filters is the easy usage with drag and drop.

Don't get me wrong, sure a more powerful filter builder would be great to have in the future. But currently my focus is more on usability of the current filter possibilities.

Thanks,
Andreas
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Thanks for the feedback Andreas.

I understand your concerns and see the benefit of easy merges and filter editing.  I think this maybe an issue that is resolved over multiple releases. 

The first problem is to make it possible to edit merge filters.  I understand that this functionality isn't quite what you are looking for, but I believe it will help as editing addresses part of the solution. 

After this work is complete, it may make sense to look into a "filter editor" tab which should really work across all filter types.  I would not want to add a tab with a very limited use case.  "Edit filter" makes more sense as a common feature then "edit merge filter". 

Hope that makes sense. 

Thanks,

Toby
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Hi Andreas,

Apologies for the slow followup.  I just wanted to let you know that the latest version of LogViewPlus (v2.3.21) supports editing merge filters as well as the ability to create and edit complex merge filters.

Please let me know if you have any further thoughts or suggestions.

Thanks,

Toby
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