OS-specific behavior

Differences in operating systems can lead to Supertag doing fundamentally different things under the hood in order to provide a similar user experience. We will attempt to document those differences here.



Linking in MacOS is a complicated ordeal, made complicated by the fact that it is actually not possible drag-and-drop a symlink in Finder. Although you can drag-and-drop a link, by holding the option and command keys (⌥ + ⌘), this link is not a symlink—it is an alias file.

Long story short, an alias file is very similar to a symlink, except it is implemented at a higher level in MacOS than a symlink. This has some benefits and some drawbacks. On the commandline, an alias file appears as a normal file, not as the target it points to. Its contents, contained in resource forks, help MacOS determine how

What Supertag does with alias files is complicated. On one hand, we want the self-healing properties of an alias file. On the other hand, we want the referential transparency of a symlink on the commandline. So we do both: when you tag a file in Supertag, we create an alias record to the file, but we present a symlink to the file that the alias record resolves to.

The alias record itself is stored in a managed_files directory in your collection’s data folder. So when you move the target of the file, the alias record (which we have created) self-heals, and the symlink that we present always points to the alias record’s target, so the symlink is never broken.