|App Version Reviewed||0.6.9 RC1|
|Test System Specs||Windows Vista on a laptop, 3 GB RAM, no Aero bloat|
|Supported OSes||.NET 3.5 SP1 (thus: recent Windows versions)|
|Support Methods||Twitter or e-mail|
|Upgrade Policy||Free upgrades for a lifetime. (That's what he says now.)|
|Pricing Scheme||"Proto is priceless (for any use)", the website claims.|
|Author Donation Link||Donations are welcome via PayPal|
|Screencast Video URL||http://miechu.pl/proto/protoCinema.aspx|
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
framework; 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.