File model used in Smart Projects is significantly different from the one used in Classic Projects. All automations offered in Smart Projects rely on additional metadata associated with files in a project (e.g. file category, languages, who added it, with whom it is shared with etc.) A common file system provided by the underlying operating system is incapable of storing all this extra metadata. Thus, the files in Smart Projects are managed solely by XTRF.
This approach has the following benefits:
XTRF can better understand the role of each file within a project and use it to automate various project management tasks.
Each file operation within a project is recorded by XTRF, making the full history of files available when needed.
Project files are secured using the same mechanisms as other XTRF system files, so the probability of unauthorized access or data leak is significantly reduced.
At any moment, users can download or upload files from/to a project or job and work with them locally. Note that most of the metadata associated with the file are lost when it is downloaded (exported) from the project. Full information about the file remains, however, in XTRF. In turn, when a file is uploaded to a Smart Project or Job (via Client Portal, Home Portal or Vendor Portal), XTRF tries to automatically detect and suggest metadata for the file (e.g. category and languages detection is based on file content, while file sharing is automated based on the process configuration).
XTRF offers also three automations that can simplify file upload and download (import and export):
Smart Connectors can be used at the beginning of the process to automatically create a project based on files put into a specific folder (local or FTP).
Automatic File Delivery can be used at the end of the process to send the result files (i.e. delivered in the final step in the process) to the client.
Scripted Jobs can be used at any step of the process to either automatically process the project files (e.g. using an external Web Service via REST API) or add new files to the project.
The emotional motivation is important here, people love to make very gradual changes. At our company, we keep a "Public" folder, where all the client projects are saved in the various stages. It is not amazingly sophisticated, because it is manually done, and there is a lot of work with copying the files, but people know where to find the source files, the delivered files, and the prepared source files - everything else can be more ad hoc. The files are usually also in XTRF, and also in memoQ, but there is no guarantee. For example memoQ is able to save the source file as well automatically, which is a function the system otherwise does not have/need. To move all production to smart projects, we would like to stop using Public. However, we still want to check with a few projects that all the files are actually there and we are not losing the control over our work. So this is why an export could be very useful. And nothing else.
Basically what I am asking you to consider is setting up a folder structure (can be default, one per project), where you are saving most files in most stages, but as a bare minimum the source and the final target. We could mount this as read-only on the network, and everyone could be happy. There is one thing to using the default Windows - it's much better in searching within files than XTRF. While I cannot give you a use case now, this is something people raise.
So: being able to browse the files in e.g. all projects of a customer, with all files in the different workflow stages, or making the internal file system searchable would be an amazing addition. I guess due to the complexity of indexing different file formats, the export is easier.
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