|App Version Reviewed||2.4.2|
|Test System Specs||Windows XP Pro SP2|
|Supported OSes||Windows XP, Vista|
|Support Methods||Webform, e-mail, forum|
|Upgrade Policy||Not explicitly stated|
|Trial Version Available?||Trial is available at http://www.trietech.com/download.php. Time limited, but no limitations during that time.|
|Pricing Scheme||$39.00 ($15.00 on Bits Du Jour http://www.bitsdujour.com/software/infolayout/)|
From the software site, InfoLayout is supposed to have all of the features of standard disk cataloging software. It states that it organizes by disk, but the catalog is easily rearrangeable, categorized, and searchable, even across multiple disks. Infolayout is supposed to be able to automatically extract information from documents, eBooks, audio and video files. It can generate image thumbnails and video previews, retrieve descriptions, create document snippets, and obtain relevant information from zipped archives.
Who is this app designed for:
This application is designed for anyone who has a large collection of files- be they images, videos, pdfs, etc- in different places, and wants to be able to find them without physically loading all of the media.
The interface seems straightforward enough at first glance- not cluttered, with most of the panes hideable in a standard windows manner. The catalog is stored in a standard windows tree, and the results are shown in a standard explorer view, with multiple tabs. Items can be renamed in the detail view, which creates an alias for the item- the actual item on disk is not touched. In fact, for most operations, nothing on the disk is changed. The indexing functionality is very fast.
This screen shows an example of the indexing progress dialog. It scanned through a pretty complex tree of pdfs with over 2000 documents in less than 30 seconds. I tried with a larger subset of my items (10000+) and it took less than 5 minutes. The size of this catalog when saved was ~6 MiB. Slower than actually adding the documents was categorizing- it took more time to add a category to a subset of the items (the original 2000+) than it took to add the whole set!
The needs improvement section
Even though the version is 2.4.2, the application still seems rather unfinished, and does not deliver on many of the promises. You cannot rearrange items that I found- once you imported items, they stayed in whatever disk they were put in. Virtual folders were not all they were touted to be- they were merely containers for disks, and could only contain the whole disk as shown below.
The search is relatively speedy, though again, I only added part of my local disk, and part of a second disk. By specifying a category, only items from that category were searched and returned. The results are in a separate tab, and each resultset can be returned in a different tab- a nice touch. The search result, however, does not specify *where* the file is- something that I really expected.
What was disconcerting was that double-clicking on a file in the search window repurposed my one location window, taking me to that location in that window. This is why I would like multiple tabs of the regular view- to be able to have more than one location open at a time- but apparently this isn't possible.
Which brings us to the final bad part- there is no help included with the product. There is an entry in the help menu to open it, but it does nothing. There is an entry in the hints screen that pops up when you open the app to take you to a tutorial, but it does nothing. There is a tutorial on the website, but it is half unfinished. And the forums are pretty much unvisited, so I'm not sure how much help they will be. That, and the presentation of grammar on the site was really disconcerting.
How does it compare to similar apps
It does lip service to being a Disk Cataloging system. But it's functionality falls far short of WinCataloger- the cataloger I currently use.
This product looks like it has a lot of potential. And at $15 on BDJ, it's not a large investment. But it is really disappointing for a product that is at version 2.4.2. I'd actually recommend taking a pass on this one- the $15 could be put towards something that's a bit more finished.
Links to other reviews of this application
There is a review on http://3d2f.com/smartrevi...t-all-laid-out-read.shtml linked to from the TrieTech website, but it seems more like a promotion than an impartial review. They also list many awards on their site, but no links to where the awards were given. I did check a couple, and finally found one - softplatz.com. But there is no actual review there: http://softplatz.com/Soft...File-Disk/InfoLayout.html.