More Flexible Activity Search


Right now if I want to search for a specific activity in the activities pane I have to write a valid prefix of that activity name.
For example, ‘readce’ will not return Read Cell activity.

I think we would have a more user-friendly interface if the search was made on string similarities and not on ‘starts with’ idea.

Bogdan Popescu


How it should work?

I think Hamming Distance string matching would be an option, but the developers can think of something better.
In terms of ‘how should it work’, I think that it just has to be a bit more tolerant to human typing errors.

Here are some examples:
‘readce’ should suggest ‘Read Cell’
‘build table’ should suggest ‘Build Data Table’

As far as I can tell, it’s actually .Contains, but it’s inconsistent (well, kind of).
You can search within the tree with a mix of qualifying and direct match of a space-separated string, which is IMHO an odd by-product of a decision to humanize activity names.

What I mean is - you can navigate the tree by qualifying the namespace (or classification in some cases), f.e. searching for “Programming.Data” will show only what’s under Programming -> DataTable (since only this matches the string directly). This leads to conclusion that you can search by qualified names, which is incorrect - for actual activity names, you need a space before all capital letters.
This produces weird valid searches, f.e. “DataTable.Add Data Column”. From consistency perspective, you’d expect “DataTable.AddDataColumn” to also work, as well as any combination of those 2 conventions, while it needs to be an exact match to what is displayed, not to what is the actual name of it.

IMHO Hamming (or more probably Levehnstein, since length can differ) distance is not even needed - typos are a user mistake and it would slow down search functionality.
Just make it tolerant to white space (both ways) and as a second pass, if user query contains spaces, do a contains all words search, so as @Bogdan_Popescu said, ‘build table’ should return Build Data Table, but in my opinion ‘buildtable’ should still fail (as it’s neither a word combination or a part of a proper activity name).

Sidenote - I can’t count how many times I’ve typed ‘add row’ to not get anything displayed…

Other opinions would also be appreciated, maybe from some non-programmers as to what they expect from the search functionality.


I would like to search comment out activities.

  1. Considering comment out activities as unreachable code, I would like the developer to remove them before committing to the source code repository.

  2. Additionally if it is legitimate code reserve for future used, it will be easier for the next developer to understand its purpose by relabeling and adding annotations to comment out activities.