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Author Topic: Proto, another approach to file managing  (Read 9223 times)
Tuxman
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« on: March 28, 2010, 12:06:14 AM »

Basic Info

App NameProto
App URLhttp://miechu.pl/proto/
App Version Reviewed0.6.9 RC1
Test System SpecsWindows Vista on a laptop, 3 GB RAM, no Aero bloat
Supported OSes.NET 3.5 SP1 (thus: recent Windows versions)
Support MethodsTwitter or e-mail
Upgrade PolicyFree upgrades for a lifetime. (That's what he says now.)
Pricing Scheme"Proto is priceless (for any use)", the website claims.
Author Donation LinkDonations are welcome via PayPal
Screencast Video URLhttp://miechu.pl/proto/protoCinema.aspx



Intro:

Proto is a new kind of file manager, following design ideas by Jef Raskin. It is based on type-and-find technologies. While it is surely not the mightiest file manager available, it might still be the most intuitive one.

Who is this app designed for:

The author says, programmers and computer geeks will love it. Myself I guess actual "computer geeks" already have their FM of choice. However, keyboard fanatics like me will love the minimalistic approach once they understood how it all works. Of course, it still takes some time to get to know every single feature, but it is worth the effort IMO.

The Good

Unlike Directory Opus or similar products, Proto has a very lightweight attitude. You won't even notice that it is developed using the .NET bloatframework; running in the background, it takes only ~ 27K of RAM. Proto is ready right after the start, there are no config dialogs or similar things that might pop up first. It's just you and the cursor.

Unless you want to do something exotic, you don't even have to know any special keystrokes besides the usual Ctrl-C and so on. Enter a path (with a closing \), and Proto will open it; type characters, and Proto will hide everything that does not contain them. Simple as that.

Proto also contains things like bookmarks, 7-zip support, a registry browser and a Scintilla-based text editor, so, while it can not "replace" usual file managers completely, it still contains the basics (and some more things). Under the hood, it is a very mighty application, it even has regex support for renaming files. A complete list of features is available on the website.



However, you'll still have to know about these abilities; so we are at:

The needs improvement section

There is no actual documentation. To be actually able to use Proto, you'll have to watch the author's screencasts. I hope there will be a better documentation with a later version, so Proto becomes more attractive for rather lazy users who want to RTFM, not WTFV (watch that fine video).
To me, as a non-native speaker, the author's pronounciation is quite difficult, too. (But hey, it is fun to find out myself how everything works.)

Why I think you should use this product

I don't actually recommend this software to everyone; you'll need to spend some time to figure out how it all works, and you'll need to teach your fingers to press the correct keys at a time, but once you managed to do that, Proto can help you in your daily work because navigating through your folders does not need any special key strokes or even mouse clicks. Effectively you will save some time with it; or maybe even more.

How does it compare to similar apps

There are no actual "similar apps" I would know of; but, given that Proto is just another file manager, working with it is most likely the fastest way of managing your files and folders. Unlike all the other file managers reviewed here, Proto is a file manager, no handyman, and it does its job very well.

Conclusions

Proto is not just another NC clone, Proto is something very special. It might be tricky in a way, but it is, at least, worth a try.
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skwire
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2010, 03:06:32 AM »

To me, as a non-native speaker, the author's pronounciation is quite difficult, too. (But hey, it is fun to find out myself how everything works.)

FWIW, as a native English speaker, I find his accent and pronunciation, combined with the audio quality, hard to understand as well.  Lots of feedback and very bass-y, too.   thumb down
« Last Edit: March 28, 2010, 03:11:21 AM by skwire » Logged

mrainey
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2010, 07:19:31 AM »

His accent isn't a problem for my American ears, but the application doesn't look like something I want to spend any time with.
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nudone
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2010, 02:49:44 PM »

i think this Proto needs some serious testing - looks like it could replace "Everything" for me as it looks similar to that util but on steroids.

or, at the very least, if you are a heavy keyboard user then this program looks really handy.

(i'm going to give it a test-ride from tomorrow.)
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Tuxman
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2010, 02:59:06 PM »

Tell us about your experiences then. smiley
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2010, 03:21:18 PM »

hmm, sorry, i jumped the gun.

i've just had a quick play around with Proto and it isn't a replacement for "Everything". I assumed, whilst i was watching the videos, that Proto could identify every file on the system without having to go through specific paths - it can't (unless i'm mistaken).

so, i'll be sticking with a combination of "Everything" and "Farr" for my keyboard requirments. Proto looks like it still has some powerful features but without the ability to do what "Everything" does i'm not really interested in getting to know more about it.

maybe if you have no good reason to use the mouse then Proto would be a perfect file manager for you.

(it might be something i'll come back to and give another try - but i think if you use Farr, Everything and the cmd prompt you'll be able to move quicker around your system than what you can with Proto.)
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mrainey
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2010, 05:30:16 PM »

Trying to go beyond the dozen or so keyboard shortcuts I use constantly in UltraEdit would overtax my aging brain cells in a hurry.  No way could I use them for a file manager, no matter how efficient they might be in the right hands.
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2010, 11:54:08 AM »

I was intrigued into evaluating the tool based on the statement  "running in the background, it takes only ~ 27K of RAM", but was disappointed.   Its kind of mini scripting without running a scripting engine (perl, ruby, etc), quite useful for s/w developers or testers.    There is certainly lot of 'hot keys' to remember which is a deterrent.
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2010, 03:10:52 PM »

Hello everybody

I found this site via the referrers in google analytics. First of all I appriciate everything that I've read here - the good as the bad things.

There is no actual documentation. To be actually able to use Proto, you'll have to watch the author's screencasts. I hope there will be a better documentation with a later version, so Proto becomes more attractive for rather lazy users who want to RTFM, not WTFV (watch that fine video).

Well to be honest I thought that video would be more attractive but it turns out to be a weakness not an advantage... Well I'll just have to sit down and write some documentation.

FWIW, as a native English speaker, I find his accent and pronunciation, combined with the audio quality, hard to understand as well.  Lots of feedback and very bass-y, too.

Yeah... I know... I'll try to redo the screencasts but since I don't have any reasonable mic the quality is shitty...

I assumed, whilst i was watching the videos, that Proto could identify every file on the system without having to go through specific paths - it can't (unless i'm mistaken).

Well if I'm not mistaken you want to search the whole drive for a specific file - for me (no offense) this is just plain stupid. I believe in herarchical order of things so that I know that in my folder Projects I'm searching for a specific project and not a mp3 file or an email. That's just my mindset and I don't want to convince anybody that my approch is the right one.

No way could I use them for a file manager, no matter how efficient they might be in the right hands.

Well I'm trying to do assign them "the most expectable way" - eg: ctrl+t (opens new tab), ctrl+w (closes tab), ctrl+c (copies path), ctrl+shift+c (copies filename), etc. and you can always lookup what you are searching via F1 - there is a searchable list of shortcuts.

cheers
Miechu
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2010, 03:14:04 PM »

Welcome to the site Miechu  thumbs up
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Tuxman
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2010, 03:16:30 PM »

Hi, Miechu.  cheesy Fine to see you here.
I'm glad that you, at least, think about a written documentation.

 Thmbsup

And thanks for your explanation of the actual approach. It might be easier to understand now.  smiley
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2010, 02:16:15 AM »

thanks for commenting, miechu.

i got the impression that Proto was meant to be the ultimate util for people that use the keyboard a lot - which, to me, would mean that Proto would be as good as (if not better) than the excellent "Everything" from www.voidtools.com. the Everything search util does provide instant access to any file on your system - which makes it one of the most powerful keyboard utils available (if not the most powerful).

as Proto looked to be aimed at making file functions as quick and easy as possible i just thought it would automatically do what "Everything" could do. i do appreciate what you mean about working with directory structures though - i see how that would be a benefit for disciplined users and their systems.

i think Proto is a brilliant idea. at the moment though it just seems like i can get the same done without having to remember or think about directories and file locations - perhaps it is simply that i'm not doing the more complicated functions that Proto aims at.
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« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2010, 10:11:55 AM »

Welcome to the site Miechu  thumbs up

Well no offense but I don't have the time to hang out here....

I'm glad that you, at least, think about a written documentation.

It's going to be no to easy to tackle but... well as you guys pointed out - it's inevitable

Everything search util does provide instant access to any file on your system

No offense but believing that is a bit... naive... and personally I don't want ANYTHING to scan my drive. Not to mention the situation when I'd like to type in something like MainForm.cs - and I'd get something like 1k list Wink

which makes it one of the most powerful keyboard utils available (if not the most powerful).

well describe "power"... the most powerful keyboard util is and always will be - console or cmd.exe if you will. Searching is just one thing... for eg. in Proto you can regex rename multiple files at once - that is powerful wouldn't you agree? And if you'd know that if you rename file from image.png to image.jpg, Proto will convert the image file from .png to .jpg - combine that with regex rename function and imo that is just awsome (one must love thyself) Wink

cheers!
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« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2010, 11:55:45 AM »

Everything might not be instant on the nano-second timescale but as it locates files and folders in less than 1 second that seems pretty instant. give the program a try, you might be pleasantly surprised, miechu. instant is also the right word to use as it never needs to index your drives as it rides off the back of the NTFS file table (i think) - so you never have to wait for Everything to scan and create it's own database for newly created files/folders.

i do think Proto is powerful (and a brilliant idea as i said). i just have a set of tools that already suit my needs. i guess i'm not really a keyboard poweruser.
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« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2010, 12:21:25 PM »

Well I gave it a shot and the speed is impressive although it searches through the whole disk the first time & then stores it in memory - that is the reason for the speed and that is really nice. Now check this screenshot: http://i43.tinypic.com/2hs192v.jpg and you'll get why this is not the best idea Wink but hey, if it works for you - that's ok with me, I never wanted to force anyone into using Proto - if you like it, great, if not - oh well, just wait a while and you'll like it Wink

ps.
yeah, Proto was designed with keyboard zealots in mind Wink
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 12:26:14 PM by miechu » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2010, 12:36:36 PM »

miechu: everything is still pretty darn fast on the first search, though, since it reads the MFT directly, as nudone mentioned.
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« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2010, 01:20:58 PM »

 smiley yeah, i see your point about Everything displaying too much info some times (or a lot of the time). that's one reason why i was hoping Proto would be something similar but with extra control. i'm glad you gave it a try though.
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« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2010, 11:45:22 AM »

everything is still pretty darn fast on the first search

it took 1 sec for the results to show up on my laptop... soooo... are you calling me a liar? Wink

Btw. I've created a wiki for Proto (it's coming slowly...)
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« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2010, 11:47:45 AM »

Btw. I've created a wiki for Proto (it's coming slowly...)
... with a shortcut guide. I love you.  Kiss (Not literally, but... alright.)
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« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2010, 11:48:15 AM »

everything is still pretty darn fast on the first search
it took 1 sec for the results to show up on my laptop... soooo... are you calling me a liar? Wink
No, I am not smiley - but compare 1sec partition-wide find to what a normal directory-traversal search would take tongue
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« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2010, 12:17:25 PM »

... with a shortcut guide. I love you.  Kiss (Not literally, but... alright.)

yeah, every plugin will have additional shortcut listing and I love you too :* Wink

No, I am not smiley - but compare 1sec partition-wide find to what a normal directory-traversal search would take tongue

well yes, you're right obviously :p

btw. someone added entry to german wikipedia  (yes I'm excited)
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« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2010, 04:54:33 AM »

it took 1 sec for the results to show up on my laptop... soooo... are you calling me a liar? Wink

damn it, I mean 1 min, not 1 sec
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f0dder
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« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2010, 04:57:09 AM »

it took 1 sec for the results to show up on my laptop... soooo... are you calling me a liar? Wink

damn it, I mean 1 min, not 1 sec
Oh, that sounds a lot slower than I would have expected! Is your MFT heavily fragmented?
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« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2010, 05:39:14 AM »

might be - I've got full disk encryption
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« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2010, 05:41:31 AM »

might be - I've got full disk encryption
Shouldn't affect fragmentation, and shouldn't slow things down much unless it's improperly implemented - ah well smiley
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