C-Command Software Forum

initial impressions / questions

Michael,

You’ve hit a home run with this one. I use barely any third party software, and when I do there needs to be a really good reason for it. In this case, the reason is that I’ve been wanting something that does what EF does for YEARS now (decades?) and finally had to face the fact that Apple isn’t going to do it themselves. Perhaps they thought they were aiding organization with Spotlight, but that “feature” left me scratching my head.

What you’ve created with EF however is incredibly Mac-like in its usability, simplicity and power. I’ve been working with it for but a few hours, but I can already tell that it does (almost) everything I need, and does it well. A few days ago I gave one of your competing programs a test drive and was left entirely underwhelmed, and worse, with zero confidence in their database structure. This forced me back to the drawing board and I thankfully stumbled across a glowing review of your program, which caused me to re-examine it. (In case it might help you to let you know why I had passed EF by on my first assessment, there were two reasons: 1) From a cursory glance at your product page, it was not readily apparent that a huge advantage to your program is that it allows Mac OS to do the heavy lifting at a file level and as such stores users’ data in a manner that is completely non-proprietary and for all intents and purposes obsolescence-proof. 2) Even though I of course realize that programming skills and web design skills are completely independent of one another, psychologically the very “basic” aesthetics of the page did not trigger an inner confidence of the product. Even a simple value add such as a QuickTime tutorial would help in that regard. I hope you are not offended by this suggestion, I merely wish for you to attract the large user base your fine product deserves!)

I am also much impressed by your interaction with, and caring about, your customers in this forum. I’d like to point out and ask a few things about the program:

For greater ease of use, I would recommend relocating the Tags Area upwards to reside between the Records Browser and the Viewing Area. It would be great to be able to Tab from the record’s Title in the Browser to the Tags Area and quickly enter them in one fell swoop. Currently, doing so requires either a keyboard-mouse move-keyboard action, or the awkward keystroke of command-shift-T to accomplish the same. (Alternately, being able to Tab from the Title field to the Tag Names field in the Browser and enter Tags there would accomplish the same.)

Is there a possibility of adding the ability to change the background color of an RTF record? (Even having it be able to match the Label color will accomplish the color-coordination I seek, though since Finder Labels don’t seem editable that leaves the possibility of other issues.)

The only apparent bug I have come across thus far involves Web Archives. Many times when trying to drag a URL from Safari and/or Camino into EF (same result with Capture Command and Drop Pad) I get the error message: “Could Not Import URL” – There doesn’t seem to be any method to the madness, some pages from the same domain work, some don’t. Pages with many ads and columns both work and don’t, seemingly at random. Thankfully, I have found a workaround wherein I can first save the page as a Web Archive and then import it to EF. So far this has always worked, but I have only tried this alternative five or so times. Do you have any clue what could be causing this? And do you have any idea why the same page captured from both Camino and Safari would be rendered differently? Camino often seems to (thankfully!) strip out the ads.

Last but by no means least, I am wondering about smart folders. I have perused this forum and understand they are on your to-do list, but it seems they have been on what I realize must be a very large list for a couple years already. Is this feature something that could be expected within, say, four to six months? If you don’t want to answer this I of course understand. In fact just knowing that they are coming is enough to get me to buy the program in advance of this (I’m assuming there wouldn’t be an upgrade fee for this feature?) because once EF has smart folders it will be able to do EVERYTHING I need it to do. It’s probably going to take me a few months anyway to import and tag all the files I need to organize, so it’s not like I’m in a huge rush. It’s more of just being able to gauge how soon I will be able to do everything so that I can best plan my workflows.

Sorry for the very long post. I’m verbose – that’s why I need organizational software! :slight_smile:

Best,
Josh

Me, too—that’s why I wrote it. I’m glad you like it, too. :slight_smile:

I’ve certainly tried to get that across on the product page. Do you have any suggestions for how to make it clearer? I thought the most important thing was to explain what EagleFiler does. That in itself is a bit challenging, because it’s mostly about the zen of combining certain features in a certain way, rather than about opening up whole new capabilities. Some people really get this. Others have Spotlight and Quick Look and don’t feel like they’re missing anything. Anyway, the implementation—using the Mac filesystem as much as possible—is important, for sure, but I felt it had to be secondary.

I’m not offended at all. I do plan to make a screencast. If you have further specific suggestions, please let me know.

In what way would that make things easier? Because of the different tab order?

My thinking was that Command-Shift-T is an easy shortcut (only requires the left hand) and that it’s nice to be able to get to the tags with the same keypress, regardless of which area of the window currently has focus. The keyboard shortcuts can all be customized from the Keyboard pane of System Preferences.

That sounds like a good idea. I’ll look into it. (Unfortunately, the normal tag entry fields don’t work in table views.)

Yes, it works like in TextEdit. Open the Font panel and click on the Document Color button (see below).

I’m not sure why that would be. I haven’t seen that myself. Please e-mail me your log file:

/Users/<username>/Library/Logs/EagleFiler/EagleFiler.log

I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Camino and Safari use different rendering engines (Gecko and Web Kit). I don’t think Camino allows saving Web archives. When you import a URL into EagleFiler, it downloads it and saves a Web archive anew, not using any content or cached data from the browser, so it shouldn’t matter where the URL came from.

I don’t want to say specifically, because I just don’t know. I would expect them to be done in the timeframe you’ve given, but software development is unpredictable. That said, custom smart folders have been part of the plan from the beginning. They will rely on some Leopard technologies, so that’s why they were out of the question until late last year. Secondly, I was working on EagleFiler 1.3, and I think most of the stuff in there was more important than smart folders. (In fact, some of that stuff I originally wanted to be in 1.0.) Now, smart folders are at the top of the to-do list for EagleFiler 1.4, which will be a free upgrade. It would be very helpful if anyone who wants to see smart folders could post (or submit via e-mail) some examples of the types of smart folders they’d like to be able to create. That will help me decide which types of queries to support initially, and also which ones to optimize for speed.

And what is just as valuable as your great program is your active (and incredibly rapid) participation on this forum – thank you!

I’ve certainly tried to get that across on the product page. Do you have any suggestions for how to make it clearer? I thought the most important thing was to explain what EagleFiler does.

Since you don’t seem to have been offended, here is my advice on how best to make your product page say “Buy Me!” or just as important, “TRY Me!” which due to the strength of the program will lead to the former. I won’t talk of design or eye candy, merely distilling the essentials for potential customers based on what I myself saw and inferred when arriving at your site.

Imho, you need to better allocate your screen real estate to convey the key selling points of what sets your product apart from the competition. I first arrived at your page after doing a search for organizational programs and opening the product pages of around 10-12 of them in my browser. I skimmed through them all in order to narrow it down to 3-4 that I would examine closely. Unfortunately, EF didn’t make this original cut, and I’ll tell you precisely why.

Look at all the information that loads into the top of the page (i.e. without the user having to scroll) when you click on About EF. A whopping 50% of it is taken up by quotes by two people who I have no idea who they are. It would be different if they were Steve Jobs and Walt Mossberg, but I frankly couldn’t care less what two guys I don’t know have to say about a product. (No offense if these two are reading this, but would you listen to me if I recommended to you what car you should go buy?) And honestly, although I’ve looked at the space the quotes occupy many times by now, I’ve never actually read them – because my mind equates this space with not being important to my decision about the product. It might as well be blank.

The next thing that catches one’s eye is Growl, due to it having a blue link next to it. Again, I didn’t know what Growl was, I didn’t care what Growl was (because if it was of any great use to me, surely I’d know about it!) and its prominence on the page implied, to me at least, that EF was in some way incomplete without Growl and since I don’t know what Growl is then it’s probably something super-techy and if it is then EF also is and so EF isn’t for me.

So whereas I of course was wrong in my reasoning, the lesson here is that the page as it stands leaves too much open for interpretation. I’d much rather see five BIG BULLET POINTS, bam-bam-bam, of what the program does and a screenshot of the UI (and/or the screencast tour if you do go that route) and then all the rest can be relegated to another page or two, preferably linked to the bullet points. Remember how I praised your software for its Mac-like simplicity and interface? Well the product page has none of that, which are qualities that I projected on the program itself because I had no way of knowing any better at the time and it was, even in retrospect, a logical conclusion.

Again, the selling point that you imho need to be shouting from the rooftops is that, unlike the majority of your competitors, EF is completely non-proprietary and as such users are never “tied in” or “at risk” with their data in any way. Your program is a small, streamlined, standalone data management tool. The competing program I tried before yours, besides being proprietary, is 3x the size, runs 1/3 as fast, has an untold amount of plug-ins, extensions, etc. = BLOAT. Even if people don’t realize the vast advantages of EF upon their first visit to your page, imho you need to leave them with the key ideas to keep in mind when comparing to the other programs out there.

I hope this can help you in some way and that it is not taken with any offense. Obviously I am just one person and you don’t even know me, but the best I can do is describe what my process was in discovering - passing on - coming back to - and subsequently choosing your product, so that if you determine that others might react the same way you can make whatever adjustments you feel are necessary.

Since my including the rest of my post (i.e. discussing the technical questions) within this one made it too long, I will post it separately below.

-Josh

Let’s say I just imported 10 Web Archives into EF. What I would do (as I’m assuming most would) is go through them and ascribe a Title (because it is imported with the title of the web page or article and that’s not always the best description) as well as Tags. Logically, it makes sense to do this all at once for each Web Archive. So whereas I can click-pause-click on the title to rename it, my natural tendency is to want to then Tab to the Tags field to fill them in, however as it is currently, if I Tab it puts focus on the Viewer Area. If the Tags section was above the Viewer and thus we could Tab to it directly from the title this would make things much easier from a data entry perspective. Anyone who did not wish to Tag at that time could easily double-Tab through it much like one double-Tabs through CC to get to Subject on emails.

(Note that if the programming aspect of moving the Tags Area north is too cumbersome at this point – I have no clue what is involved with that – then changing the order of the area that hitting Tab will activate would accomplish the same thing, though might be disorienting for some.)

The other idea discussed, being able to Tab from Title to the Tag Names section in the Browser for Tag entry, obviates the need for any of the above. (As long as Tag Names would be an autocomplete field as well.)

My thinking was that Command-Shift-T is an easy shortcut (only requires the left hand) and that it’s nice to be able to get to the tags with the same keypress, regardless of which area of the window currently has focus.

Maybe it’s just me, but I never use shortcuts that require more than two keys to be pressed simultaneously, I find it much easier (and less prone to error) to use the mouse for those. Is there a reason the Tag Area needs three keys to reach? Could it not be, say, Command-G for instance?

The keyboard shortcuts can all be customized from the Keyboard pane of System Preferences.

Wait, you mean I myself can remap the Tag Area keystroke to Command-G for EF on my computer? I know this is obviously not your responsibility, but I don’t see how? I do see an “Application Keyboard Shortcuts” area in that System Preference, but there are no applications listed…

That sounds like a good idea. I’ll look into it. (Unfortunately, the normal tag entry fields don’t work in table views.)

Sorry, I’m not familiar with what “table views” means.

Yes, it works like in TextEdit. Open the Font panel and click on the Document Color button (see below).

AHHHHH!.. I don’t recall this being mentioned in the user manual and since I don’t use TextEdit (except to view ReadMe files) I completely didn’t realize that! THANK YOU!

I guess so now the question becomes, is there any way to apply this background color change globally? (i.e. if I highlight five records and try to make this change to them all at once it does not seem to work – am I only able to change them one by one?)

I’m not sure why that would be. I haven’t seen that myself. Please e-mail me your log file:

/Users/<username>/Library/Logs/EagleFiler/EagleFiler.log

I will do this.

I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Camino and Safari use different rendering engines (Gecko and Web Kit). I don’t think Camino allows saving Web archives. When you import a URL into EagleFiler, it downloads it and saves a Web archive anew, not using any content or cached data from the browser, so it shouldn’t matter where the URL came from.

The version of Camino I have does not save Web Archives – the process I was describing was the different outcome between the two browsers when I would perform one of the following actions:

  1. Use the Capture Key (F1) while the browser was the active window.
  2. Drag the URL from the URL field in the browser to either the Drop Zone or a folder within EF.

Although an interesting anomaly, my Web Archives conundrum was made fairly moot by reading through your forum last night. I stumbled across mention of the MyPage Bookmarklet (thanks for that, TinyApps!) which is an utterly remarkable utility and allows me to strip away whatever extraneous jibber-jabber I don’t want included in the Web Archive before I import it to EF.

To clarify, this still does not always solve the aforementioned URL issue – I would still like to be able to capture directly rather than save then import - so I am still going to send you that Log File.

I don’t want to say specifically, because I just don’t know. I would expect them to be done in the timeframe you’ve given, but software development is unpredictable. That said, custom smart folders have been part of the plan from the beginning. They will rely on some Leopard technologies, so that’s why they were out of the question until late last year. Secondly, I was working on EagleFiler 1.3, and I think most of the stuff in there was more important than smart folders. (In fact, some of that stuff I originally wanted to be in 1.0.) Now, smart folders are at the top of the to-do list for EagleFiler 1.4, which will be a free upgrade. It would be very helpful if anyone who wants to see smart folders could post (or submit via e-mail) some examples of the types of smart folders they’d like to be able to create. That will help me decide which types of queries to support initially, and also which ones to optimize for speed.

That is of course completely understood, and your candor is much appreciated.

Off the top of my head, the Smart Folder search necessities:

Ability to add multiple fields
Ability to toggle IS/IS NOT for each field

Fields:

Title
Keyword
Tag Name
Modify Date
Author/From
To
Rating (Uh oh, did I just create another to-do list item? :wink: )

Example Smart Folder Search:

Keyword IS “ice cream”
Tag IS yummy or chocolate or vanilla
Tag IS NOT strawberry
Modify Date IS MORE RECENT than 05/01/06

Again Michael, I greatly appreciate all your time and attention spent on my and everyone else’s comments, suggestions and questions. I’m sure I speak for all the rest when I say it feels great to be included in the process and know that we are witnessing the birth and growth of a tremendous application.

With gratitude,
Josh

Smart Folder suggestions

It would be very helpful if anyone who wants to see smart folders could post (or submit via e-mail) some examples of the types of smart folders they’d like to be able to create.

1 - date-specific; more granular than ‘Recently’

2 - containing certain strings

3 - containing items in certain (currently deeply nested) folders

4 - inverse/negatives of (some of) those.

Thanks, Michael!

Thanks! Hearing what your first impressions were really does help. I’m too close to the product to be able to see some of those issues.

OK, thanks for explaining. In this type of situation (setting a bunch of metadata at once), you might find it easier to use the Info inspector or the Batch Change dialog.

Virtually all of the single-key shortcuts (including Command-G) are already taken by the OS.

Yes. The interface is a bit confusing. If you click the + button, you can add a new application (EagleFiler). Then just type the name of the menu command whose shortcut you want to change.

I’m referring to the records list, with the rows and columns.

Sorry, there’s not.

Thanks.

Do you mean that you want to be able to select a bunch of folders and view their contents all in one list? Or that you want to be able to search specific folders using other criteria?

Glad it was helpful. Your program has helped me, I am glad to help you!

Speaking of EF, I have gone ahead and purchased it after trying it for only two days. This is a testament to the confidence I have in your product after a very short time – I feel that I’ve put it through its paces and it has performed everything I asked it to without a hitch.* I’ve even already recommended it to a friend.

*Obviously, I realize that Web Archive creation is not really the responsibility of your program – since EF does import all previously-made archives without fail, I don’t have a big problem with the capture issue we’ve been discussing as I realize it must really be due to an irregularity with the way the page is coded rather than with a glitch on your end.

OK, thanks for explaining. In this type of situation (setting a bunch of metadata at once), you might find it easier to use the Info inspector or the Batch Change dialog.

My Web Archives will typically all require different Tags, so batch won’t assist in this at all. Inspector is even more of a mouse move than to the bottom of the screen, as it is one move to the icon, then a click in the Tags field once the window appears.

Though tabbing would be the preferred method, I can certainly get used to doing it via the keystroke I just ascribed it (Command-E) – THANK YOU for letting me know about that capability, I can’t believe I had no idea about this! (And don’t want to think about how long I’ve been able to do this for without knowing…) What else can you teach me about my computer? :slight_smile:

In other news, an update on the URL capture situation… Today I created around 100 Web Archives. On many of the pages I found myself wanting to use MyPage to kill some of the ads, which necessitates my saving the archive outside EF first anyway. The web pages without a lot of busy crap (can I say that on this forum?) going on almost always capture fine. So the URL capture error mystery doesn’t really need to be solved, unless of course you want to for your own curiosity, or if you think this might become more of a problem for more users due to the increase of eye-grabbing methodology being employed by a growing number of websites. For my needs I am fine to Capture Now for the “friendly” pages and go through the save/import step to perform the filtration on the “non-friendly” pages. The only scenario in which this is bad for me is if I operate under the assumption that a page is “friendly” but for some reason it’s not and I don’t wind up capturing something that I thought was. I guess this just means I need Growl.

Lastly, a forum question… It seems to me that only the first paragraph gets quoted with the original poster’s name when one replies - am I missing something? How come in everyone else’s replies the poster is named on every paragraph, but when I highlight the original text in my reply window and press the quote button it only gives the box with no name? Do people seriously cut and paste the quotee’s username in every bracket? Is this the proper etiquette?

Again Michael, I salute you on your handiwork and look forward to benefitting from the conveniences of your product for many years to come.

Your happy customer,
Josh

I believe the problem importing certain URLs was due to a bug in Web Kit, which I’ve worked around in EagleFiler 1.3.1.

Personally, I like to use Capture With Options when importing something that I’ll want to tag at the same time.

Yes, I think the only way to get that is to copy and paste the opening quote tag, e.g.:

[QUOTE=domiprod;5009]

Just to provide closure on this thread regarding what I have already confirmed via email, capturing the previously problematic Web Archives now works like a charm.

Thank you, Michael!

-Josh

EagleFiler 1.4 adds support for user-created smart folders, and all of the above are possible.