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Restoring an Observing List to original order

In Observing List > List Settings > Sort By can you add a choice "Original Order" to sort a list in its original order. I have lists that are ordered for special purposes, e.g., Messier Marathon List optimized for a latitude. If I happen to sort the list another way, I can't get the list back to original order without a tedious edit of the skylist file. I realize it's probably a non-trivial request but since you're thinking about Observing List features...

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Luca Vanzella

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    Bill Tschumy

    Luca,

    Yes, this is non-trivial.  We don't store the original (possibly manually set) order anywhere.  I've been aware of this lack in SkySafari.  I'll put it on my list of things to consider for the next few months.  Thanks for the suggestion.

    One thing that just occurred to me is what is the "original order".  Observing lists can be fluid things.  Do you set the original order when the list is first imported?  Then should it get updated anytime you make a change to it (adding new item or rearranging them manually)?  Does deleting an item reset the "original order"?

    See, it is a sticky problem (which is why I punted on it originally).  Any thoughts you have on this would be appreciated.

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    wtxnitz

    One thing I do with a similar problem of doing sorts in Excel is add a column for record number, set initially in order. I then include this column when I do different sorts on other items. If/when the sort is not to my liking or I want to restore the "original order," just sort on record number. Presto! Order is restored. ;-)

    Edits to the list would have to consider record number as well. But now it is explicit with no special ESP for programming.

     

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    Bill Tschumy

    So if you added an item, the record number would be "list size" + 1.  If you moved an item manually would it reorder the list record numbers (resetting the "original order")?  How do you reset the original order if you decide a sorted order should now be the new "original order"?

    I see how your solution provides an implementation for remembering the original order, but it still doesn't address the question of when the "original order" gets reset to the current order.  I really would rather not have an explicit "make original order" button for this if at all possible.

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    wtxnitz

    Think of record number like another property, such as magnitude, R.A., Dec, etc. Call it "Fred" to distinguish it from your internal record number. When you sort on magnitude, you don't change the other properties. Same with Fred, it is now not in order. Sort on R.A. same thing. To restore original order, sort on Fred. Same with manual sorts. The original Fred value moves with the rest of the record and gets out of order. This doesn't preserve the new manual order, but neither does the current method.

    The "add record" would work as you say.

    Making current order the "original order" should require a "save as.." to new list. and/or warning doing so will destroy the original order if they overwrite the original. Then you can update Fred to the new order.

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    Bill Tschumy

    I will see what I can do.  I would like to avoid the "Save" button but maybe is inevitable.

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    Luca Vanzella

    I was thinking along the same lines as wtxnitz. Definitely non-trivial, but I would really appreciate having the feature. Thanks for considering it.

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    Luca

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    wtxnitz

    This is actually two problems. Sort by original order and saving a modified order.

    Sorting by original order: You already have the mechanism for sorting by a parameter in both iOS and macOS. You would need to add the record number and add it to sort criteria.

    The save new order is a bit more complicated.

    in macOS, you import/export lists. iOS has email, iCloud and iTunes for handling lists. To create a copy, we need to export, rename externally and import. Not a big deal. If we export in csv, we can to the re-order in text or Excel. "original order" numbers could be added on import or added to the export with responsibility to the user.

    All of this is just my suggestions, knowing zero about the internals. Thanks for your consideration and all the tons of work you guys have already done.

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    Bill Tschumy

    Right now I'm leaning towards an automatic solution.  

    The app currently remembers the sorted order if you change it to one of those in the sort list (e.g. "Proper Name").  I'm just going to add a "Default Order" one.  If you import a list, add, delete or manually reorder the list, the resulting order is saved as the default order.  If you are on some other sorted order and chose "Default Order" then the list will be restored to the last saved order.  I'm pretty sure this will cover 90% of the use cases.

    I'm coding this now (for iOS) to see how it feels.

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    wtxnitz

    Sounds good. I think that's what most people want first.

    Thanks!

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    Luca Vanzella

    Bill, your solution sounds good. I can see how it will completely satisfy my request. Thanks!

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    Luca

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    Bill Tschumy

    Just to let you guys know, I now have this implemented on all 3 platforms.

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    Luca Vanzella

    Great! Looking forward to using it.

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    Luca Vanzella

    Bill, I just installed the latest Sky Safari Pro on Android, and checked out this new feature. It works well and is exactly what I expected. Thanks!

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    Bill Tschumy

    Great.  Glad it solves the problem.

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