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DiviFile from Qnomad - Mini-review

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IainB:
Originally posted:2011-09-19Last updated2014-08-07
Basic Info
App NameDiviFile (File, Bookmark and Note categorisation, tagging and association tool)Thumbs-Up Rating :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:
Still under development. Developer currently focussed on another project. App URLhttp://www.qnomad.com/divifile/App Versions Reviewedv1.0.7 (latest), v1.0.0 (previously)
Test System SpecsWin7-64 Home Premium, Win8.1-64 PROSupported OSesWindowsSupport Methodsemail: [email protected], [email protected] PolicyNot applicable.Trial Version Available?FreewarePricing SchemeNot applicable.
1. Intro and Overview:
This is an update dated 2014-07-20 to finally do DiviFile the justice of a proper review.
I originally did a very quick Mini-Review of DiviFile on 2011-09-19, and then forgot about it as I thought I did not need it.
In that review I wrote:
Sorry, I had thought of using the Mini-review template provided by @Josh, but after looking at that template I put the idea in the "too hard" basket - that was after seeing what a constipated process it was going to be for me.

So this is just a quick heads-up from me in case it is of help/use to anyone:
Yesterday, I came across this reference to DiviFile in my Google reader feed: Organize your files into a virtual structure with DiviFile

I downloaded and installed the proggy (it's version 1.0) and played with it for a while and then uninstalled it.
I caused it to crash once, about 30 seconds after starting it.
It's a curious and potentially very useful item categorisation tool, where "items" are linked to or contained in a database:

* Files. (Linked: it is a bit like a tagging container.)
* Bookmarks. (Linked/copied: I didn't try this out.)
* Outlook items. (Linked: I didn't try this out.)
* Notes created in DivFile. (Text notes.)
I found the text notes a bit kludgy, and the user interface to be rather kludgy and unintuitive.
Despite this, I reckon it could be worth keeping an eye on DiviFile as it develops, because it seems to cut across the domains of PIMs and virtual folders.
I don't really need DiviFile anyway, as I use InfoSelect, OneNotes, Gmail, Google docs and CHS as my PIMs, and I use xplorer² for file management and virtual folders - e.g., reparsed files, Windows 7 "Library" files, virtual folder cabinets for file collections.

--- End quote ---

Since then several things have changed:

* Reducing the legacy technology: I am progressively reducing my dependency on InfoSelect and migrating its contents to OneNote on an as-and-when-needed basis, running OneNote to the Cloud (OneDrive) as a prudent approach to minimising critical database dependency on solely client device-based databases. I can access my database on and off-line.


* I have moved to Win8 PRO. Microsoft have now achieved integration of Win8 PRO with OneDrive and Outlook.com, and the MS Office suite - including Outlook, OneNote, Excel, Access, etc. It is an exceedingly well-designed integration, one of the most useful parts for me being the OneNote integration with OLE (Object Linking and Embedding), which seems to have finally come of age after a history blighted by the shattered hopes and dreams of the "Open" crowd (particularly DEC and HP).


* Google's mucking about: with Gmail,  Google Docs (now Google Drive) and especially with the document type and "labelling" (categorisation) system within the latter, and then shutting down Google Reader and the coercion around forcing Google+ usage and "real names only" has all essentially broken trust and thus helped to discourage me from increasing my dependency on Google Anything. Quite the reverse in fact - I am in the process of migrating away from Google - not an easy task. So I am now moving across to the integration of Win8 PRO with Microsoft Outlook, OneDrive, and the MS Office suite.
__________________________________

Amongst my PIMs (Personal Information Managers) I continue to rely on InfoSelect and CHS and I use xplorer² for file management and virtual folders - e.g., using hard/soft links, reparsed files, "Library" files, virtual folder cabinets for file collections.


2. Description:
Screenshots (from the website):
This is DiviFile's deceptively simple UI, for an example of categorizing information relating to amenities in different cities:




This is an example of categorizing personal software and other data on one's PC:




DiviFile is described here: http://www.qnomad.com/divifile/
(Some text taken from the above webpage.)
Do you maintain a set of folders for organizing your documents? Another set for arranging your Favorites? And yet another set of folders and categories in Microsoft Outlook for notes and emails? What a mess! Wouldn't it be nice to have a tool that can bring together all these otherwise disparate pieces of information and allow you to organize them under one set of categories in one place? DiviFile lets you do just that! It serves as a hub for all information pertinent to your life, and it lets you get maximum mileage from every category you create. Using DiviFile's unique features, you can create your own organizational system that is personally intuitive and then use instant search to find the information you need when you need it.

DiviFile is a:

* File-tagging utility
* Bookmark manager
* Note-taking tool

* Research Assistant
* Peripheral Brain
* Tracker of random bits of information
--- End quote ---

3. The Good:

* This software now seems somewhat improved.
* It also seems more stable, though I today made it crash (sorry @Qnomad, there was no error message other than that "DiviFile has stopped responding").
* Faceted Classification
I had not known that there was a correct term for this kind of classification method. I got used to using the method in a DOS-based PIM database system called Lotus Agenda, in about 1989. There was at the time, and has been since, nothing else quite like it.
From: Qnomad - Power of Facets
DiviFile is an information management tool that offers you a whole new way to conceptualize your research topics and organize your information resources. DiviFile is the only general reference filing system that let's you file a single item into multiple categories. This allows you to create your own organizational system, using a technique known as Faceted Classification, which is more natural and intuitive than using the single-facted hierarchical system found in Windows Explorer or in your browser's built-in bookmark manager.
A facet is a top-level category, the descendants of which describe and divide a particular aspect of the information you are organizing. DiviFile gives you the power to organize your files, bookmarks, and notes into multiple facets. (See link for detailed illustrative examples and to get a hang of how Faceted Classification could work for you, in practice.)

--- End quote ---

* Potentially an incredibly useful program, and it apparently integrates with the file and bookmark systems via Windows Explorer and IE, and with the Notes in Outlook (though I have not tested these yet).
4. Needs Improvement:
As it stand, it could seem a deceptively simple application, but there's quite a lot of smarts under the hood. I think there could potentially be a great deal more to come for this application, given @Qnomad's comment below:
When you wrote that DiviFile "cuts across the domains of PIMs and virtual folders" I was very happy to see you can sense the original vision I had for DiviFile, which is much grander than what it is now.  It is actually intended to include GTD functionality (it's probably not obvious how it fits together, but it does).  It already has this to-do list management model under the covers, but I haven't yet taken it to that next level.
-Qnomad (September 20, 2011, 07:35 PM)
--- End quote ---
That gives me quite a bit to look forward to!
UPDATE 2014-08-07: A recent email from @Qnomad indicates that he has been focussed on a new project. I would thus not expect more updates to DiviFile until he has the time.

5. Why I think you should use this product:
If you are interested in dragging yourself out of and above the Windows hierarchical file structured regime to a new level of PIM, then you are likely to be interested in this software.
However, do bear in mind the potential lack of updates per the note of 2014-08-07 above. This may not really be a finished product, though it seems to work OK AS-IS.
Extract from: http://www.qnomad.com/divifile/
In Windows Explorer, a file is shackled to one folder and one folder only. Set your files free by dropping them into DiviFile! After doing so you can tag a file in as many categories as you want, and see for each one which other categories are related through owning the same file. Interact with the file in both DiviFile and Windows Explorer as you normally would. You can move files around in Windows Explorer even after adding them to DiviFile. This awesome app taps into file location changes and so knows where your file actually is! You can also drag a file from DiviFile and drop it back into Windows Explorer at a new location, or into another application such as attaching it to an email message.

--- End quote ---

6. How it compares to similar products:
I know of nothing similar to DiviFile, though I had been trialling Tabbles (offering potential Faceted Classification, but not by name):

* but not without some major problems Help please! - Unable to install MS SQL Express 2012 on laptop..
* See also: Organize files using virtual folders
*
7. Conclusions:

* This seems to me to be a brilliant and simple implementation of the concept of Faceted Classification for data files on a file system.
* If you are interested in dragging yourself out of and above the Windows hierarchical file structured regime to a new level of PIM, then it could well be worth your while giving DeviFile a trial.
* If Faceted Classification is something new to you, then give it a whirl and prepare to be surprised at what the implications are for this fast, simple and easy approach to data retrieval to meet your needs.

Qnomad:
I am the author of DiviFile and am thrilled to see it getting its first reviews!  I have been a software developer for many years but this is the first freeware application that I have put out there.  The extent of future development depends largely on the encouragement I get from communities like this one, so please keep the feedback flowing!

Regarding your specific comments... first, the crash.  I did significant testing prior to this initial release, including fixing some obscure bugs.  I thought I did a thorough job, but it seems you unearthed another bug.  PLEASE send me the error information that was displayed after the crash!  Also, let me know in as much detail as possible what action(s) you took leading up to the crash.  Screenshots and/or the actual database may help in diagnosing the problem as well.  Send this information to [email protected]

You mentioned the "the user-interface to be rather kludgy and unintuitive".  From those words alone, I'm not sure what to change or improve upon.  Please make more specific/detailed suggestions.  It also may help if you read DiviFile's full description.

When you wrote that DiviFile "cuts across the domains of PIMs and virtual folders" I was very happy to see you can sense the original vision I had for DiviFile, which is much grander than what it is now.  It is actually intended to include GTD functionality (it's probably not obvious how it fits together, but it does).  It already has this to-do list management model under the covers, but I haven't yet taken it to that next level.

cranioscopical:
Nice to see you here Qnomad. Good to see that you're hot on responding to comments about your progeny  :up:

IainB:
2014-07-20 - Major update to review (in the opening post).

tomos:
2014-07-20 - Major update to review (in the opening post).
-IainB (July 20, 2014, 03:18 AM)
--- End quote ---

it sounds very interesting :up:

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