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Author Topic: Buzz Folders - Open/Save Dialog Box Extender ( + Free Version )  (Read 12014 times)
DanJak
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« on: June 30, 2010, 10:43:04 PM »

Hi,
        I'm the creator of Buzz Folders. The program started out many years ago as a personal project. Like a lot of people I wanted a better solution to the traditional windows open/save boxes. I felt there had to be an alternative to browsing through folder after folder in search of files. There were a few programs out there but I envisioned something much better.
        The original version appeared in 2005. It was pretty basic but worked really well. It's been in constant development since then and has improved a great deal. The features have evolved considerably with a growing selection of performance and useability options. So read on and find out what it can do for you...

Buzz Folders

What does it do?

Buzz Folders provides quick access to recent files and folders from open/save dialog boxes.

Compatibility

XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

Key Features

  • It keeps track of all the folders you open from and save to.
  • A tabbed interface allows you to view folders by program and by filetype.
  • Save a file in one program and get instant access to it in another

and...

  • You can create a list of favourite folders for each program.
  • It works with "Browse For Folder" dialogs.
  • It also works with Windows Explorer and Directory Opus.

There are 4 different versions available. Click here to find out more or see how they compare.

Here's a screenshot of the Free Version:


Download

Download the Free Version and get started!

Installation is easy.


"Best Open/Save Dialog Box Extenders"

The Donation Coder article Best Open/Save Dialog Box Extenders actually inspired a number of Buzz Folders features and improvements. Thinking "How can I make this better?" the article turned out to be a great resource to help me do just that. There's a list of features that were considered as "most important for a good open/save dialog extender". I took it as a fun challenge to take Buzz Folders to the level where it fulfilled all the criteria! Here's how Buzz Folders [Professional Elite] currently fares:

- Stability - has to work on modern and older dialogs, and not crash any programs; and has to reliably alter the dialogs without switching into inappropriate views. Yes.
- It should adjust folder-only browse dialogs as well. Yes.
- Needs to be able to change default mode (into details for example). Yes.
- Needs to be able to change size of dialog. Yes.
- Should be aesthetically pleasing and not overly obtrusive. Yes. The interface design is guided by function and ease of use. Everything you need is upfront and visible.
- Needs to present list of recent files and folders. Yes.
- Needs to present list of favorite folders, and user should be able to customize this list easily. Yes.
- Should be easy to add current folder to favorites. Yes.
- Ability to specify applications to ignore would be nice. Yes.
- Needs to work in some tricky cases like Microsoft Office. Confirmed as working with Office 2010 on XP and Office 2008 on Vista. Still being fine-tuned and further compatibility testing is in progress. Of course if you want to be sure Buzz Folders works with all your programs try the Free Version first.


As you can see it performs well!

Feel free to share your thoughts and ask any questions you like about the program.

Cheers,

Daniel


The Web Site: www.buzzfolders.com
Download Page: Free Version
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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2010, 11:12:28 PM »

Welcome to the site Daniel  Thmbsup
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tomos
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2010, 03:48:15 AM »

looks very nice smiley

A couple queries:
1) How do you actually bring it up - does it show automatically, or do you use a shortcut, or does it add an icon to the dialogue?
2) Do I understand correctly that the Global tab shows recently accessed folders (from all apps) ?

I find the pricing system a bit top heavy - the extra options in the elite version cost another 18UK£ (making it double the cost of the next version) - to be honest I'm not even sure what some of those options are ('File list', some of the size/resizing options). Maybe some more details there might encourage some people to pay the extra.
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Tom
DanJak
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2010, 05:48:53 AM »

Thanks for the welcome mouser.  smiley

Hi tomos,  smiley

To answer your questions:

1 - It shows up automatically whenever you open or save a file. It can be disabled from the tray-menu if you want to hide it temporarily.
2 - Yes, that's correct.

Thanks for your feedback about the pricing and options. I thought the various options were clearly explained but if you're unsure what they are then I obviously need to present them better. I might give each feature a page of it's own with a more thorough explanation for those who want more details. 

The File List is a very substantial feature and the price reflects that. I'll work on making the benefits clearer on the website. The File List can actually be used independently from the main program. It displays all recently opened and saved files and can be filtered by program/filename/folder/filetype. It can be used for file management and you can create custom "Copy to" and "Move to" shortcuts on the menus. The help file goes into more detail: Help - File List

Again, thanks for the insights! You've given me plenty to think about. Give the free version a go and let me know how you get on.

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rjbull
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2010, 03:40:45 PM »

At present I use Listary (Pro version).  Its main focus is on making it easier to find files in well-populated folders by improved searching, but it supplies most of my (simple) dialogue box extender needs through its Favorite Folders feature.  A nice advantage is that it's portable.  Is there/will there be a portable version of Buzz Folders?

One irritation I used to have at work was having to keep opening then closing a series of files, in turn, in Acrobat Reader.  I would have dearly liked a dialogue box extender that remembered the last file I used, and when I opened the Open File dialogue next time, would put the cursor on the same file, or, come to think of it, optionally on the next file in sequence.  Does Buzz Folders do anything like that?
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DanJak
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2010, 05:12:22 PM »

Hi rjbull,  smiley

Listary looks very interesting. A great find. I'm going to give it a try.

At first glance I would guess that the way Buzz Folders manages Favourites is much easier and much quicker. Give the free version a go and see how it compares. It's quite possible you could use it alongside of Listary. Let me know what you think.

The Free Version doesn't require installation so could be used as a portable application.

The Professional Elite Version of Buzz Folders remembers your recent files. It has a list of files displayed below the folder buttons and the last file you opened will be at the top of the list. Opening that file is as simple as pressing the "GO" button.

In the screenshot you can see my last opened/saved file is immediately visible and available.



Searching for the file or even opening a folder is no longer needed as you can just press "GO" and the file is opened ( or saved - depending on your situation ).

The Global list will display a list of recent files from all programs. This means you can switch between programs and still have instant access to the last file you used. You can also customize all the tabs after Global. You can set tabs by filetype or program. This gives you further options and a very quick way to get to the right folders and files.

So in the example screenshot the html tab will show all the folders that html files were opened from or saved to ( from any program - not just notepad ). And it will also show all list of html files that have been opened and saved.

I hope that's all clear!  smiley
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2010, 05:47:07 PM »

Thanks for the note about portable use.  Nice that the free version doesn't require an installer smiley  (For folks wanting to use it portably, not defaulting to "Run at Start Up" might be nice.)

On a separate note, I tried to find a way to navigate using only the keyboard but didn't figure anything out.  The links I took a look at to try to determine this included:

  http://www.buzzfolders.com/help_free_folders.html
  http://www.buzzfolders.com/help_free_options.html
  http://www.buzzfolders.com/help_free_stickies.html
  http://www.buzzfolders.com/help_free_tabs.html

These pages suggested to me that the program requires the use of a pointing device.  Is that correct?
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Target
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2010, 05:49:18 PM »

danjak

tried this yesterday (briefly) and while it looked alright it doesn't seem to work with Office dialog boxes???

is this right, or am I missing something here?
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DanJak
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2010, 06:31:02 PM »

Hi ewemoa

 smiley

(For folks wanting to use it portably, not defaulting to "Run at Start Up" might be nice.)

That's a good suggestion. Thanks!

These pages suggested to me that the program requires the use of a pointing device.  Is that correct?

Yes. That's correct. It's on the todo list. I'm also considering adding assignable hotkeys.

Is keyboard navigation essential for you?


Hi Target,  smiley

Thanks for taking the time to try the program.

So far I've tested it and have it working with Office 2010 on XP and Office 2008 on Vista. I can't guarantee it will work with other versions of MS Office. Unfortunately Microsoft Office presents a whole series of challenges. I'm sure you don't want to know about the behind the scenes struggle, you just want a program that works for you, so the more information you give me the better. Then I can resolve any compatibility issues as best I can.

Which version of Office are you using? And what OS?
« Last Edit: July 01, 2010, 06:32:45 PM by DanJak » Logged
ewemoa
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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2010, 06:45:24 PM »

Thanks for the response.

Yes. That's correct. It's on the todo list. I'm also considering adding assignable hotkeys.

Is keyboard navigation essential for you?
Not sure if I would describe it that way, but I very much prefer having the option of keyboard navigation.

May be it's not worth the effort to implement this if there are few requests for it though smiley
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DanJak
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« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2010, 07:02:23 PM »

You can be sure it will be implemented at some point. It's certainly a worthwhile feature.
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Target
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« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2010, 07:04:25 PM »

So far I've tested it and have it working with Office 2010 on XP and Office 2008 on Vista. I can't guarantee it will work with other versions of MS Office. Unfortunately Microsoft Office presents a whole series of challenges. I'm sure you don't want to know about the behind the scenes struggle, you just want a program that works for you, so the more information you give me the better. Then I can resolve any compatibility issues as best I can.

Which version of Office are you using? And what OS?

currently working with XP, and office 2003...

FWIW, i understand this issue is common to other app's of this ilk, so it's clearly not an easy nut to crack  Thmbsup
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DanJak
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« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2010, 07:29:23 PM »

You're right about that!

OK! XP and Office 2003.

It may take some time obviously but I'll see what I can do.  smiley
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« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2010, 07:39:42 PM »

You're right about that!

OK! XP and Office 2003.

It may take some time obviously but I'll see what I can do.  smiley

no drama, many thanks!!
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ewemoa
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« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2010, 08:37:12 PM »

You can be sure it will be implemented at some point. It's certainly a worthwhile feature.
Thanks for your consideration!
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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2010, 08:41:15 PM »

I have yet to try your program, DanJak, so forgive me for diving in here so quickly, but I have a strong feeling that keyboard navigation would be something that the kind of person who buys dialog box extenders would expect as a minimum. It's a small niche market, and keyboard fanatics form a significant part of that market (dialog box extenders and avoiding using the mouse are both all about efficiency).

I use a combination of File-Ex and the AHK script Folder Menu. Folder Menu overcomes some of the clunkiness of File-Ex, and one of its essential features is that it allows me to assign keyboard shortcuts to whatever folders I choose. The two work well in combination.
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DanJak
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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2010, 09:39:12 PM »

Dive right in johnk!  smiley

I really appreciate getting this kind of feedback. Keyboard navigation is on the cards I promise. And as mentioned assignable hotkeys for folders may well be added.

I don't agree that the market for a dialog box extender is small or in any way a niche. Perhaps a niche market in terms of "people who use computers regularly" but that's a very large and varied market. I started Buzz Folders as a way to help me make music more efficiently when I was opening and saving samples in different programs. The guys who were using early versions of Buzz Folders were mostly computer musicians and they found it incredibly useful. So there are a lot of people in all kinds of areas who will benefit from using some kind of dialog box extender.

You make a great point when you say "dialog box extenders and avoiding using the mouse are both all about efficiency" and that's really what I'm aiming for with the program. I want to make it as quick and easy to get open and save files as possible. So perhaps I underestimated the need for keyboard navigation!

If there is a strong demand for it I'll make it a high priority and integrate it soon. I do like the idea of assignable hotkeys.


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rjbull
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« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2010, 03:02:59 PM »

Listary looks very interesting. A great find. I'm going to give it a try.

I found it on discount at Bits du Jour.  This is a hint.  smiley  I also bought a number of software licenses via DonationCoder discounts.  This is another hint.  smiley

Quote
The Free Version doesn't require installation so could be used as a portable application.

It would be nice if all versions could be portable; I realise this may not be possible.

Quote
The Professional Elite Version of Buzz Folders remembers your recent files.

I'm English, and unemployed.  The Professional Elite Version of Buzz Folders costs £36, which is too much, the more so if the licence is per-computer, which is how I read your EULA.  If it were portable and the license allowed home computer plus portable, that would be nice.

However, it looks like I didn't explain what I meant well enough.  The screenshot below is a common-or-garden File Open dialog in Adobe Reader.  You'll notice that the cursor is on a file.  What I wanted was a dialog box extender that would re-open the File Open dialog with the cursor on the same file, or, optionally, on the next file down (or up) in the list.  I admit I got fixated on this because of a particular task I used to have to do at work.  Now I'm work-free the task has gone away, but the idea is still one I'd like considered (or definitively shot down as completely silly).

Quote
list of files displayed below the folder buttons and the last file you opened will be at the top of the list. Opening that file is as simple as pressing the "GO" button.

Perhaps you could implement what I mean by allowing Up Arrow or Down Arrow to scroll through the list from that file, though it might mean re-reading the file list.

As others have mentioned above, keyboard operation is essential, so I'm pleased to note your commitment to it.


* MWSnap004.gif (54.59 KB, 745x427 - viewed 304 times.)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2010, 03:06:16 PM by rjbull » Logged
DanJak
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« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2010, 07:45:02 PM »

Thanks for the subtle hints!  smiley

Your idea of having the cursor automatically selecting the last opened file is an interesting one. It's actually something I tinkered with in early development stages but then moved on to what I feel are more effective ways to get to the files you want. Of course integrating new methods and new options is always good so the possibility for inclusion is there.

You can of course already use the arrow keys to scroll through the Buzz Folders file list which shows all your recent files.

+ I'm actually working on keyboard navigation and hotkey functions right now and making excellent progress.  smiley
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rjbull
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« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2010, 02:59:52 PM »

Thanks for the subtle hints!  smiley
smiley

Quote
Your idea of having the cursor automatically selecting the last opened file is an interesting one. It's actually something I tinkered with in early development stages but then moved on to what I feel are more effective ways to get to the files you want.

What I'm really suggesting is a quick way of getting the next file from a list.

Quote
I'm actually working on keyboard navigation and hotkey functions right now and making excellent progress.  smiley

Glad to hear it!
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DanJak
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« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2010, 05:14:16 AM »

I've now added a function similar to the one you described, in which the last opened/saved file is automatically selected. It won't be the default action, but you will be able to set it as an option or use a hotkey to trigger it.

It's not ready yet. There's still some fine-tuning and tweaking to be done, but expect it to appear in an upcoming release.

{edit} And this feature is already proving surprisingly useful! I should have added it ages ago.  smiley Your suggestion gets a big thumbs up.  Thmbsup
« Last Edit: July 06, 2010, 07:22:32 AM by DanJak » Logged
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« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2010, 07:57:30 PM »

Nice to see some stuff done in AutoIt3.   Thmbsup

I'm just trying out the free version now.  One thing I do notice, if you click on Remove Missing Links before you've done anything with the program, it pops up an error message(mentions AutoIt3 in the MsgBox.)

I tried it after doing a couple of saves and it popped up a progress bar. I guess it doesn't like to be run dry.  If I had to make a wild guess I'd look for an array that's checked for the number of entries but hasn't yet been dimed since it prolly gets initialized in the open/save dialog calls.  That used to always burn me with _Singleton() smiley

Looks interesting though.  I'll try it out for a bit.
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« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2010, 11:01:29 PM »

Hmmmmm, I noticed some side effects with RocketDock.  I have a shortcut to my download folder.  It was in the (Buzz) list.  I did Control Click to quick download from my browser.  After that when I clicked on the download folder shortcut in RocketDock it asked me what program to use to open it. The folder shortcut right next to it in RocketDock still worked.  I have to assume it's a side effect from the Buzz utility running.

I don't think I've ever tried a utility that added gizmos to the Explorer window that didn't have some unpleasant side-effect that prompted me to remove it.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2010, 11:03:39 PM by MilesAhead » Logged

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DanJak
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« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2010, 12:19:48 AM »

Hi MilesAhead,

Thanks for the bug report.  smiley
The "Remove Missing Links" bug is fixed as of Version 11.20. Update appearing soon.

I'm not familiar with RocketDock but I'll check it out when I get a chance.

It's good to know you've got great taste in music!

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« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2010, 12:20:15 AM »

Looks like a interesting program but I can't install the latest free version on Win7/64 and do get a "install failed #101" error message.  I am running the installer as administrator.   ???
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