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Author Topic: NoteFrog Pro (clipboard information manager) - Mini-Review  (Read 30776 times)
IainB
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« on: December 28, 2011, 02:28:32 AM »

Originally posted:2011-12-28
Last updated2013-12-16

Basic Info
App NameNoteFrog PRO Information Assistant("NFP")
Thumbs-Up Rating Thmbsup Thmbsup Thmbsup Thmbsup Thmbsup
App URLhttp://notefrog.com/indexgo.html
App Version Reviewedv2.5.5 beta
Test System SpecsOS=Windows 7-64 Home Premium
Supported OSesAll current versions of Windows.
Support MethodsI have used email. Very responsive.
The user forum is excellent: http://notefrog.com/forum/index.php
Upgrade PolicySee pricing scheme below. Periodic releases, and ß releases.
Trial Version Available?Yes.
Pricing SchemePRO licence with one year of updates for $19.95.
Lifetime/lifecycle licence for$49.95. There are occasional special offers discounts on these.
Price to bona fide students - $5.00
Screencast Video URLThere is a sort of online trial version to give some idea of some of the features.
Screenshots for GUI and then each menu item:
 
   
   

Alternative ways of accessing the Stacks:


Note: The user interface can be customised to a fair extent - see under "Options". This includes default settings, colours and hotkeys. So, if you want something different to the standard settings, then that is easily done.

Intro:
NoteFrog Pro is a clipboard data capture/management tool that has the potential to become a PIM (Personal Information Manager).
It is apparently written in PureBasic and may use the hypertext/hypercard approach (it uses "stacks" instead of "files" for databases).
It is quite feature-rich - e.g., includes RTF (Rich Text Format) editing capability, and spell-checker.
The search functionality is very simple, fast and powerful. (See FAQ for more on this and other aspects.)
The latest version has some interesting and rather nifty features (taken from the Stack menu item):
  • Select and open a different Stack...
  • Create a new empty Stack...
  • Rename the Active Stack...
  • Edit stack password...
  • Reload/refresh the Active Stack list from NoteFrog Library.
  • Export/Save a copy of the Active Stack...
  • Import/Load contents of an external Stack into the Active Stack...
  • Save Active Stack contents as a plain text file...
  • Save Active Stack contents as individual items...
  • Save Active Stack contents in a publishable browser-search able format...
  • Save Active Stack contents as a self-decrypting HTML archive...
  • Import all text items from a directory...
  • Import text items from a delimited file...
  • Delete all items in the Active Stack...
  • Delete an entire Stack and its contents...

Notes from the User Forum at the start of the ß test for v2.4.0:
  • NoteFrog version 2.4 is available for testing. Notable changes include a new method to select the active stack and the inclusion of a "FrogTea" self-decrypting stack output option. (See the forum). There are also some improved window management features. Additionally, the "maxStackItems" variable which controls the maximum number of items permitted in a stack has been reinstated after having been inadvertently removed while removing items associated with the HTML support test. :oops:

  • We originally planned on including an improved stack search capability in this release, however, the associated changes are extensive and will require additional time to finish, so we decided to release this update. This update was also developed on an extensively updated development platform, which is an additional reason to limit the scope of our program changes until we've had an opportunity for external beta testing.

Who this app is designed for, or likely to appeal to:
  • People who want a fast, flexible, reliable and easily searchable clipboard information management tool.
  • People who want to capture text and/or image data.
  • Users who might want something similar to Clipboard Help & Spell in several ways, but simpler to use and not as fully-featured.
  • Users looking for a potential PIM with automatic clipboard capture/management built-in.

The Good:
  • Fast, simple and stable.
  • Seems to do what it is designed for, and rather well too.
  • Scrolling down viewing the items in a stack gives a relatively very fast response, with negligible delay.
  • Changing stacks and transferring items between stacks has been made easy.
  • Update  2013-12-16 - check out the xTea en/de-cryption:
    Go to the Menu | Stack | Save Active Stack contents as a self-decrypting HTML archive.
    I had not previously trialled this. It looks like a very handy encryption feature, unique to NF. It employs built-in encryption of clip text into self-decrypting HTML files. You need to try it out to understand what it is doing. It is a very nifty feature, and could be an excellent way of communicating notes in highly secure form.
    This feature uses the xTea encryption method - available also from HT Consulting in a FREE standalone program, refer FrogTea.
    If you have already downloaded that program from there, download it again as the file has been updated 2013-01-30 (now a smaller size of 133Kb), though it bears the same version number.

The needs improvement section:
Nothing particularly annoying about it as it stands.
ß testing by myself and others (e.g., @rjbull in the DC Forum has probably helped the software to get more exposure and developed up to to a very satisfactory state. All issues are generally addressed in newer releases.

Why I think you should use this product
It is an excellent clipboard manager.
Could be worth trying out for comparison as a simpler and less sophisticated clipboard information management tool than (say) Clipboard Help & Spell - the latter being, in may ways, almost a PIM.

How does it compare to similar apps.:
I would say very well indeed.
Its user interface when scrolling the database is very fast/responsive, without the slightly "laggy" response I have generally seen in other clipboard managers.
I think it is the fastest clipboard manager in that regard that I have come across.
In general, I would say it could be a close 2nd to CHS - which latter I regard having been the most useful that I have come across so far.
I prefer the ergonomics of the two-pane view of NFP, probably because I got used to that in InfoSelect, but NF does not offer a hierarchical view like IS. NF is different to CHS.

Conclusions:
An excellent clipboard manager.
Probably well worth your time for a suck-it-and-see trial. I suspect that most people who trial it will probably end up buying a licence.

Links to other reviews of this application:
You can find other reviews if you google "Review NoteFrog".
There are references to NoteFrog in the DC forum, but I could not find a past review.

Historical note:
I originally came across NFP quite by chance whilst doing some sleuthing to find out who developed the ClipGuru clipbard manager, and why that was taken off the air. In the html page source for ClipGuru, I found reference to HT consulting, and when I did a search on that, I eventually found NFP (authors are HT Consulting). I would guess that ClipGuru was incorporated into NFS, and then discontinued in stand-alone form.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 10:34:18 PM by IainB; Reason: UPDATE 2013-12-16. » Logged
rjbull
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2011, 10:29:46 AM »

I bought a licence when it was on Bits du Jour, but have never really used it.  I find the "stacks" model a bit odd, not being used to it, but the main reason is that it doesn't have a way of importing files in bulk.  I asked about this.  "Oh, you can drag and drop."  That's no use at all if you want to import lots of text from lots of files.  That stops it being a way of importing some of the many plain text files I have and turning them into a simple and easy to search "database."  Notice how tranglos included this very import in his Ethervane Echo, if only as a way to get you started.  Having said that, NoteFrog might be the most sensible alternative to the good but apparently abandoned AZZ Cardfile.
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IainB
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2011, 09:14:46 PM »

Attention! Lifetime licence now $14.95 to people who buy before 10 Jan. 2012 and mention this mini-review.
Please see update at end of the Opening Post - re special offer!    smiley
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 09:24:40 PM by IainB » Logged
rjbull
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2011, 03:21:39 PM »

I know you're on a mission to make CHS the über-PIM, but I wonder if it's correct to see NoteFrog as primarily a clipboard-based program.  That's because I came at it from another direction, it looks to me superficially like AZZ Cardfile, so I was thinking of it similarly as a flat, single-dimensional notekeeper.  I know NoteFrog has two panes, but the left pane is titles only, no tree structure.
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daddydave
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2011, 03:32:20 PM »

I took this as a BBCode editor from the screenshot, but that is just what you happened to be editing, right?
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rjbull
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2011, 03:37:59 PM »

I took this as a BBCode editor from the screenshot, but that is just what you happened to be editing, right?
That's right, see screenshot from a "presidents" file HT Consulting gave me to play with.


* Screenshot - 29_12_2011 , 21_34_28.png (108.22 KB, 800x570 - viewed 308 times.)
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worstje
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2011, 09:12:48 PM »

I realize it has skins, but geez... that bright yellow-green background has to be one of the worser advertisements one can make for oneself through a screenshot alone. Due to it, I'm not even giving the trial a try.

Thanks for the review tho, I'm sure someone will have found the app of their dreams today! smiley
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daddydave
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2011, 11:10:21 PM »

I took this as a BBCode editor from the screenshot, but that is just what you happened to be editing, right?
That's right, see screenshot from a "presidents" file HT Consulting gave me to play with.

Thanks for that.
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rjbull
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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2011, 02:51:14 PM »

that bright yellow-green background has to be one of the worser advertisements one can make for oneself through a screenshot alone.

It's nice if software is "fun," but I've thought the same as you, the colour scheme and the frog are maybe doing it a disservice in marketing terms.
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berry
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2011, 05:37:16 PM »

that bright yellow-green background has to be one of the worser advertisements one can make for oneself through a screenshot alone.

It's nice if software is "fun," but I've thought the same as you, the colour scheme and the frog are maybe doing it a disservice in marketing terms.

Perhaps something like -



Or maybe




cheers,
« Last Edit: December 30, 2011, 09:02:02 PM by berry » Logged
IainB
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2011, 07:45:17 PM »

@rjbull and @worstje: Re: Colours of the NoteFrog user interface.
@berry: Thanks for posting an alternative colour setting example.

My apologies, I omitted to mention this in my Opening Post, so I have added it in:
Quote
The user interface can be customised to a fair extent - see under "Options". This includes default settings, colours and hotkeys. So, if you want something different to the standard settings, then that is easily done.
Do bear in mind that this may differ to what will be in the forthcoming ß version.

(That's all @berry would have needed to have done to show you the screenshot with the different colours.)

Try it yourself and experiment!
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rjbull
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« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2011, 03:32:43 PM »

Well, after e-mailing Berry, I've upgraded my Version 1 license from a Bits du Jour offer, to a lifetime license, using the DC discount!  Thanks, Berry!

My point about the colours is not that you can't change them, more that a more, er, sober (aka standard, dull, boring?) colour scheme out of the box and in screenshots might make NoteFrog look more "professional."

I'm also slightly puzzled about the program's focus.  I was imagining something like AZZ Cardfile, a one-dimensional notekeeper, much like EverNote and CintaNotes too.  NoteFrog's home page indicates that's indeed so.  It also has clipboard enhancement functions - yet it doesn't have some of the clipboard features that I expect to see in a respectable clipboard extender.  Those include:
  • Ability to ignore clips from given programs, particularly password programs like KeePass, for security
  • Automatic purging of old clips by date (or number of clips)
  • Permanent clips.  I realise one can have multiple stacks, but in that case I'd like to have a hotkey to navigate between stacks.
  • Not so important - ability to ignore clips above/below given sizes
Maybe some of these will make it into the imminent Version 2 series?

[Edit at UK time 2011-12-31, 22:07:-]
Addendum:  I see Berry has changed the colour scheme on the NoteFrog home page  smiley

I also see that an example use is "Accounts, passwords, PIN numbers."  Well, I'd need it to be encrypted for those uses, presumably by having stacks encryptable individually.
 [/Edit]

[Edit at UK time 2011-12-31, 22:35:-]
Oops, just found "Edit stack password" and the "New/Edit stack" screen with password entry on it  embarassed
[/Edit]
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 04:38:55 PM by rjbull » Logged
rjbull
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« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2011, 04:47:03 PM »

Using 1.9.0, an oddity?  If I'm in the left pane of note titles, and do a "live search" that takes me to a different note, or press Home or End, the note pane stays on the old note, even if I then press Enter.  But if I navigate up and down the title list with the arrow keys, the note changes with the title the cursor is on.  I expected the body text of the note to always match the note title the cursor is on.
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IainB
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« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2011, 07:40:41 PM »

@rjbull:
Quote
Using 1.9.0, an oddity?
Version:
  • Your version is v1.9.0?
  • I think the latest version is v1.9.1 - I tried an earlier version - v1.8.0.
  • I don't think I ever had a v1.9.0 - I would have kept the install file if I had, as a possible backup if the latest version did not work.
There was something in the blog about which version to use.
Quote
But if I navigate up and down the title list with the arrow keys, the note changes with the title the cursor is on.  I expected the body text of the note to always match the note title the cursor is on.

The arrow keys move the highlighted selector (cursor) to the next item, and the display shows the item contents. I think that's what it's supposed to do. It's sometimes a bit "laggy".

Encryption and other settings: Yes, there are some interesting/nifty settings buried away in NoteFrog - I have experimented with most of the items in the menu for Library, Stack, Item, Options, Exit.
I also learned quite a bit from reading the FAQ on the website (I think I suggested to Berry at some stage that the FAQ be incorporated as a Stack in the install, so it could be referenced as a user guide).
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« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2011, 08:00:19 PM »

Good points all.

Being new here, I'm unfamiliar with normal protocols and am a bit wary of hijacking DonationCoder resources for a NoteFrog question/answer discussion.

But I do want to discuss the questions/issues you have raised - and yes, some are certain to be included in a Version 2.x release.

Is it best to contact you each via email or may we continue the discussion here? I'd be happy to discuss either way and sincerely appreciate your input.

cheers,
berry
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IainB
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« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2012, 02:48:01 AM »

@berry:
I'm not sure what the "rules" might be about this. The admins could give you pointers on this.
We could continue to give our feedback here, I guess. I mean, I did the review in the first place, using the standard DC template, and people have already started to give their feedback - which is what this discussion thread is for.

If you did it in email, then we would not be able to see each other's requirements, and you'd get all sorts of overlap/duplication, so I'd not recommend that.

Or, you could open up your website for discussion/feedback, and collect it there.

Whatever approach you take, if you could involve us (those of us who are interested - like me, for example) in ß testing, then that would be great.
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« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2012, 02:07:24 PM »

Your version is v1.9.0?
I think the latest version is v1.9.1 - I tried an earlier version - v1.8.0.
I don't think I ever had a v1.9.0 [...]

There was something in the blog about which version to use.
It's here: Release 1.9.1 and says:
Quote
We’ve made a change to Tooltips in an attempt to fix the occasional “non display” of tooltips a few users have experienced.

If you have not had any tooltip issues, there is no need for you to install this release.
I hadn't noticed any problems - to be honest, I hadn't noticed any tooltips embarassed though I have now, so didn't see a need to upgrade.

The arrow keys move the highlighted selector (cursor) to the next item, and the display shows the item contents. I think that's what it's supposed to do. It's sometimes a bit "laggy".
It's worse than sluggish, on my system, navigating by "walking down" (aka live search) the title list leaves title and note out of synch.  Viz. screenshot attached; loaded the "Presidents" database, F6 to go to title list, typed "A", "B" to go to Abraham Lincoln, body text of note stays on James Knox Polk, the first entry in the database.

I also learned quite a bit from reading the FAQ on the website (I think I suggested to Berry at some stage that the FAQ be incorporated as a Stack in the install, so it could be referenced as a user guide).
A FAQ is now built into NoteFrog - click the top right button, the one with the spanner and frog's eye, and you get the NoteFrog (TM) Help, Tools & Utilities window popping up.  The first entry under "Online or Offline - Open in This Window" is "NoteFrog FAQ."


* Screenshot - 02_01_2012 , 19_55_31.png (108.32 KB, 800x570 - viewed 232 times.)
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 02:13:06 PM by rjbull » Logged
rjbull
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« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2012, 02:11:51 PM »

Is it best to contact you each via email or may we continue the discussion here?

In the past you've said - if I remember correctly - that you offered support by e-mail rather than by forum, but it's your program, it's up to you.  As NoteFrog grows in popularity, you might find a forum helpful because then you have more experienced users to field questions, and you have all the queries, suggestions, bug reports etc. in one place rather than (as IainB points out) in a whole lot of separate sealed boxes.
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« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2012, 03:56:52 PM »

Thanks to you both for your comments. I will look into opening a NoteFrog forum as soon as I get V2 into beta. I'll re-extend my offer to become a beta tester, if you wish Mr Bull.  smiley

I sincerely appreciate your comments as they make me aware of a disconnect between NoteFrog and some other notekeepers. For example, the "Home" and "End" keys are not activated in NoteFrog at present (I was thinking of using them for certain program functions), however, the way windows highlights an item in default mode can be confusing to the user. The same for a "search" by entering characters directly when positioned in the list. The NoteFrog "Search" function is via the "search" command area, but, once again, the windows behavior of highlighting the item introduces confusion because an item appears to be seleted, when, in fact, it's not. (Want to be even more confused, try a uparrow/downarrow key from one of those "selection" conditions.)

These items will be addressed, since frankly I hadn't really noticed them since I have never used them. I'm pretty sure they won't make it into V2.0, unless they can be implemented with little or no code changes, but they will be addressed in an early 2.x release.

I'll let you know when the forum is active. In addition to V2, I also have to prepare for the BTJ promotion. If you have additional questions/comments/issues you may post here or send an email.

Your input is appreaciated.


cheers
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« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2012, 11:56:31 PM »

@rjbull:
Quote
I hadn't noticed any problems - to be honest, I hadn't noticed any tooltips embarassed though I have now, so didn't see a need to upgrade.
I hadn't noticed any problem either. I think I had to select and switch ON the tooltips first, as well.

Quote
It's worse than sluggish, on my system...
What is your system (in summary)?

Quote
A FAQ is now built into NoteFrog...
Sorry, I meant built-in to a stack (so you can edit/copy bits of it on an ad/hoc basis) - which I don't think it is at present.
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« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2012, 12:17:02 PM »

Using 1.9.0, an oddity?  If I'm in the left pane of note titles, and do a "live search" that takes me to a different note, or press Home or End, the note pane stays on the old note, even if I then press Enter.  But if I navigate up and down the title list with the arrow keys, the note changes with the title the cursor is on.  I expected the body text of the note to always match the note title the cursor is on.

These issues have been resolved for V2.0

cheers
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« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2012, 03:50:36 PM »

I sincerely appreciate your comments as they make me aware of a disconnect between NoteFrog and some other notekeepers.
This is true, but I'm a little concerned at encouraging you down the well-trodden path, in the sense that if everybody's doing everything the same way, nobody's doing anything better.  Perhaps that's just Windows imposing standard ways of doing things that one can't really escape from.

For example, the "Home" and "End" keys are not activated in NoteFrog at present
The move the cursor to top/bottom of the list, which added to my confusion.

Thanks for the clarification!
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« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2012, 03:57:50 PM »

Quote
It's worse than sluggish, on my system...
What is your system (in summary)?
Vista Home Premium, UAC On, user account, but that seems irrelevant since Berry's post explaining NoteFrog's disjunction with the standard Windows way of doing things.

Quote
A FAQ is now built into NoteFrog...
Sorry, I meant built-in to a stack (so you can edit/copy bits of it on an ad/hoc basis) - which I don't think it is at present.
No, I haven't seen one either.  You mean like the Help file for Horst Schaeffer's MemPad, which is itself a MemPad file.

A helpful idea with AZZ Cardfile and ListPro; their Web sites have selections of free sample files to get you started.  Berry kindly sent me a "presidents.dbs" as a sample, and it would be nice to see sample files for NoteFrog, perhaps user-contributed ones.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 04:19:36 PM by rjbull » Logged
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« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2012, 04:23:00 PM »

@berry:
  • Do you have any intention of individually "locking" notes in some way, so that they can't be inadvertently edited or deleted?
  • Do you intend to offer something like EverNote does, so that one can paste part of a Web page into NoteFrog and have it look reasonably like the original, in particular, with links intact?
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« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2012, 06:32:05 PM »

@berry:
  • Do you have any intention of individually "locking" notes in some way, so that they can't be inadvertently edited or deleted?

This should not be too difficult to implement, depending on the specifics of the requirement, so would definitely be considered for inclusion.

@berry:

Do you intend to offer something like EverNote does, so that one can paste part of a Web page into NoteFrog and have it look reasonably like the original, in particular, with links intact?

We tried this with ClipGuru. It was problematic primarily due to the different methods each of the various browsers utilize to render the content - Firefox renders as an approximation of HTML, IE as rich text, etc.

The maintenance of the capability across the browser base was impeding our ability to improve the base functionality of the core program. It's not currently on our implementation schedule, but we will revisit it.

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