Copy action affects following actions

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Copy action affects following actions Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:29 pm • by zkarj
I keep falling into the trap that adding an action after a Copy action causes the following one to act on the copy. I can see this is very Automator-like, but as I say, it keeps tripping me up.

I would like to see a checkbox in the options for Copy to make following actions act on the original which, by definition, is still in the original location. For instance, if my goal is to take a backup copy of the file and then do all sorts of things to the original, this is cumbersome as you have to Move it out to the backup folder, then Copy it back to the original and then act on it, which is counterintuitive.

The latest example was really simple. When a PDF file arrived in a folder, "put a copy in Dropbox and move the original to iCloud Drive". While that sounds perfectly obvious in English, it has to be done in the opposite order to achieve. Otherwise I end up with the original left in place and a copy in iCloud and nothing in Dropbox.
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Re: Copy action affects following actions Mon Mar 30, 2020 11:12 am • by Mr_Noodle
I'll consider it but as a workaround for now, you can try using the Sync action. It will have the same effect but subsequent actions will operate on the original.
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Re: Copy action affects following actions Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:29 pm • by zkarj
Actually, thinking further on this, having an option on the Copy action will not solve it for me because I will simply forget to set that as well. It could be a global option, maybe. Or some way of indicating in the interface that subsequent actions are not acting on the original. I don't have a good answer... I just know it catches me out often.

The core use case is "make a copy before you..." which must be fairly common I would think.

I was not familiar with the sync option so may try to train myself to use that. I wonder if there was a special option to back up the file (that would just be a sync)?
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Re: Copy action affects following actions Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:31 pm • by zkarj
It just occurred to me that Carbon Copy Cloner has a good way of making sure the user understands their choices. It outputs a short description of what it will do in plain text, based on the selections made.

CCC will copy Macintosh HD to C3PO. Only items that have been modified since the last backup task will be copied.
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Re: Copy action affects following actions Sun Apr 19, 2020 4:36 am • by MikeP
I second this request, to me "Following" a copy is counterintuitive.

e.g. If I describe my process in English I would say: I scan a document, make a backup copy, move it to a destination folder, do stuff with it.

In Hazel I have to: move it to my backup folder and copy it to the destination folder.
It's weird. And if my backup folder is on a NAS drive I end up doing a back-and-forth copy across the network and back again.
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Re: Copy action affects following actions Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:50 am • by Mr_Noodle
You should consider using the Sync action instead where subsequent actions operate on the original.

While in your example in doesn't make sense, I can come up with plenty where users expect it the other way. "Copy file X to folder A, rename it and tag it."
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