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Author Topic: XYplorer File Manager  (Read 116036 times)
zridling
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« on: August 16, 2006, 05:08:43 PM »

App Name:XYplorer File Manager
App URL:http://www.xyplorer.com/index.htm
Direct download URL:http://www.xyplorer.com/download/xyplorer_full.zip
App Version:5.0x
Test System Specs:WinXP-SP2
Supported OSes:Win98/NT/ME/2000/XP/Vista
Support MethodsForum, Email
Upgrade Policy:Lifetime license
Trial Version:21-day trial period. Initial nag screen.
Pricing:€29.95 ($USD 37.95; Β£19.95)
Additional Screenshots:http://www.anova.org/target/xyplorer/


XYplorer: Preview pane open (F12 key, or CTRL+Q)    [Koeln Hohenzollernbruecke pictured]

________________________________________________
INTRODUCTION
So you think you're happy with your current file manager? Wanting to move up with more power, but not wanting a program that invades every part of your system? Donald Lessau of KΓΆln, Deutschland (or Cologne, Germany for we "englisch"-speakers) wants to showcase his XYplorer File Manager, a powerful tool for managing files. The more you dig into XYplorer, the sooner you discover its power to save you time and manage your files in ways no other file manager allows. Like some of you, I'm a huge Directory Opus fan. But the greatest strengths of Directory Opus β€” its complexity and multitude features β€” are in turn its weakness for some (note, I said "for some"). In other words, Directory Opus can be a bit much for the average user. What sets XYplorer apart is its ability to simplify complex layouts. Still XYplorer shares many of the same features of Directory Opus, even though they are implemented in different ways. Both sit at the top of power user file managers.

The official description is that "XYplorer is a multi-tabbed file manager featuring a powerful file search, versatile preview facilities, a highly customizable interface, and an array of unique ways to efficiently automate frequently recurring tasks." Yeah yeah, XYplorer targets power users and computer professionals who are looking for an Explorer replacement that deserves its name. And the more you dig into XYplorer, the more you soon discover its power to save you time and manage your files in ways no other file manager allows. In Directory Opus you can create shortcuts to folders and files on the toolbar and assign them keyboard shortcuts, too. XYplorer, on the other hand, has a feature that catalogs both files and folders according to your needs β€” most often opened, recently opened, categorized in projects β€” and you get to name the catalog categories, even color them for distinction. And this catalog window conveniently is toggled by a keyboard shortcut (F8), just like the Preview Pane/info panel (F12 or CTRL+Q).

XYplorer is marketed as a "Business Class File Manager" which signifies its target: the power user, the admin, the field tech, or anyone who spends their day accessing a wide variety of files rather than futzing around, wasting time. More importantly, XYplorer allows you to discard a full subset of utilities from file renamers to image viewers to file search apps. XYplorer was known as TrackerV3 from 2000-2005 and was freeware during that time. When it evolved to XYplorer it became shareware. Installing and running the program does not change your system or registry. XYplorer keeps all its configuration parameters in an .ini file. In other words: XYplorer is 100% portable. Ideal for your USB memory stick. The installation of XYplorer totals less than a megabyte. No further files are added anywhere to your system, and nothing will be put into the registry but uninstall information. Also, running the program does not change your system or registry. XYplorer can be completely removed by running the included uninstaller, or by simply deleting the install directory. XYplorer goes the extra mile with attention to details you won't live without ever again: by providing direct access to Windows' system folders such as the Control Panel, Recycle Bin, Network drives (mapping, disconnecting, etc.); the Temp folder; a full history; several types of self-defined favorites; selection options, including a keyboard shortcut for inverted file selection. With one-tenth the size and half the cost of Directory Opus, XYplorer will make you say Wow or Hot Damn or Holy Moly or Crapzilla or Whaaaa?!

________________________________________________
WHO IS THIS APP DESIGNED FOR
Power users, and users who spend their day in and out of Windows Explorer, or any file manager, managing files. Anyone could use it to great advantage, as long as they take a little time to set it up to how they work so that they get the full benefit of XYplorer's power and flexibility.

________________________________________________
THE GOOD
XYplorer has an extremely high level of customizability combined with power. Some users of Directory Opus tend to find this quality maddening, but XYplorer provides a clearer approach to its options. As noted above, all changes can saved on Exit if you want, and are written to an .ini file in the install folder. XYplorer has an intelligent and active forum of users who have made many suggestions. It helps to have a responsive and flexible developer. And when he wants to change or delete an old feature, he announces it in advance and puts many of the changes up for a vote. Also, almost every time I thought, "If only XYplorer could do this," it was already part of the program. XYplorer was built around its file search abilities, which support Regular Expressions, Boolean logic, pattern matching, binary string search, and searching multiple locations. Support-wise, XYplorer benefits from a broad and intelligent user base that participates in the XYplorer forums. The developer is active, but far more often, a fellow user jumps in and solves others problems and answers questions (which is the goal of any forum).


XYplorer: Find Files pane and tabs

Every coding decision must meet a speed criterion, i.e., any new feature must not slow the program down, and if it does, it becomes an option to toggle on/off. XYplorer's file operation speed is noticeably faster than most other file managers.

In the end, it's the little things that make XYplorer stand out. For example, CTRL+-D allows you to "Copy Here With Suffix Number" (duplicate) to a file; CTRL+S allows you to Copy Here As (i.e., "Save As..."); Tabs can be locked. Tabs (for folders, much like a text editor or browser) can be locked or unlocked. A wide variety file information can copied to the clipboard, not just the filename. The "Go" and "Favorites" menus provides access to a history of files and locations, system folders, the application folder, color-coded files or folders, allowing you to work exclusively with either certain type of files or an entirely self-defined project of files and folders. All configuration, layout, and customizations can be saved with two files: xyplorer.ini and catalog.dat, making XYplorer easily portable.

________________________________________________
NEEDS IMPROVEMENT
Two things could use more attention. (1) Customizable keyboard shortcuts is about the only missing feature, but perhaps that will be scheduled for a future version, and if keyboard shortcuts could be assigned to catalogued folders and files, then this would be something indeed. (2) The Help file is mostly context-driven. Pressing F1 gives you an introduction to the Help file, but gaining access to more detailed topics is done contextually.

________________________________________________
WHY I THINK YOU SHOULD USE THIS PRODUCT
As mentioned above, XYplorer is a major time saver; its UI is well-designed for efficient navigation and control at every point. Try the latest XYplorer beta yourself over its entire trial period and see if it doesn't make an impression on you. It takes some getting used to if you're accustomed to another file manager, but the transition is not difficult, and you'll love all the keyboard shortcuts built into the program. XYplorer is shareware, but like WinRAR, comes with a Lifetime license.  If nothing else, it's well worth a try.

________________________________________________
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO SIMILAR APPS
I won't hide the fact that I'm a big Directory Opus fan, but compared to Directory Opus, XYplorer has the advantage of a smaller installation size; a cheaper registration price; speed throughout the program β€” especially all file operations; complete portability to any computer or device; broad configuration and layout options; setup ease and speed; responsive support; active development; and a Lifetime license. I believe XYplorer shares Directory Opus's power, though not its full customizability range in this latest 5.x version. XYplorer is merely customizable in slightly different, and some very unique ways.

In Directory Opus you can create shortcuts to folders and files on the toolbar and assign them keyboard shortcuts, too. XYplorer, on the other hand, has a feature that catalogs both files and folders according to your needs β€” most often opened, recently opened, categorized in projects β€” and you get to name the catalog categories, even color them for distinction. And this catalog window is conveniently toggled by a keyboard shortcut (F8), just like the file viewer/info panel (F12). More importantly, XYplorer allows you to discard a full subset of utilities from file renamers to image viewers to file search apps.

As for apps like ExplorerPlus and Total Commander, I have not made a direct comparison, but XYplorer goes beyond either in usability.

________________________________________________
CONCLUSIONS
More than anything else, XYplorer is a time saving tool, built for speed with ample power and to give you the shortest, quickest access to your files and folders. What it doesn't provide a specific keyboard shortcut to, you can easily configure in a tab (a general keyboard shortcut, CTRL+SHIFT+T), or a catalog list (1-click away). With its small footprint and wealth of unique features, XYplorer sets itself apart with its first use. It won't knock Directory Opus off your list of favorites, but it will make a big impression, even if you decide not to use it.

________________________________________________
LINKS TO OTHER REVIEWS OF THIS APPLICATION
http://www.xyplorer.com/reviews.htm (Full list of reviews on the XYplorer website)
http://www.xyplorer.com/xyfc/viewforum.php?f=6 (XYplorer Reviews from users around the globe, and listed around the web)
http://www.thegsblog.com/?p=109 (The Great Software blog)
« Last Edit: August 18, 2006, 08:49:25 PM by zridling » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2006, 05:26:36 PM »

Great review Zaine. Thanks very much for doing this AND putting so much effort and thought into it!!! It sounds like a wonderful program.

Like you though, Directory Opus is still "King of the Mountain" in my eyes and I can't imagine anything displacing it.

Ken
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2006, 05:30:37 PM »

I can't disagree with you there. When XYplorer gets customizable keyboard shortcuts, however, I'll have to revisit this review vis-a-vis Directory Opus more directly. On the surface, I think you have three areas where XYplorer has the advantage over Directory Opus:
(1) Licensing β€” XYplorer's Lifetime license versus Directory Opus's version license;
(2) Cost β€” XYplorer is almost half the price of Directory Opus; and
(3) Configuration and portability β€” XYplorer's ability to save and carry its configuration anywhere is extremely handy.

Even though I can handle it, Directory Opus's Preferences/Options dialog is just a mess.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2006, 05:47:19 PM by zridling » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2006, 05:59:16 PM »

Zaine,

I went through your review quickly, but didn't notice anything about programming. From my perspective, the programmability (I'm not sure that's a word) is DO's greatest strength. I commonly update files after exiting a program as well as doing other things before starting a program and/or after exiting one. The raw and common commands are both powerful and useful. There are extremely few things I have not been able to do to customize the interface when need arose, such as placing printer buttons on file listers to readily change the default printer or creating layouts and placing buttons on file listers to instantly change the interface. I do all these things with the script language. Does XYPlorer have these features as well?

Thanks, Ken
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2006, 06:17:35 PM »

fantastic review, going to give this one a try.
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« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2006, 09:53:17 PM »

Quote
[KenR]:...I do all these things with the script language. Does XYPlorer have these features as well?
Not that I know of. XYplorer goes about such customizations in a different, somewhat more visual style. At first impression, you might say, 'hmmm,' but then it grows on you when you see what's going on. That's why I can't wait for customizable keyboard shortcuts, even though there's a keyboard shortcut for almost everything right now in XYplorer, I'd like to be able to assign a keyboard shortcut to a specific file or folder, for instance. The only bad thing I can say about DOpus is that it's too powerful. And that's never a bad thing, so I contradict myself! I don't think XYplorer is going to knock DOpus off that top tier, but for anyone looking for alternatives, it's a solid option, assuming you take the time to customize it like anyone would do with Directory Opus.

What is nice is that we have several rock solid options in this category (among others):
 β€” Directory Opus
 β€” XYplorer
 β€” SpeedCommander
 β€” Total Commander
 β€” ExplorerPlus
 β€” xplorer2

PS: Thanks mouser!
« Last Edit: August 16, 2006, 09:56:33 PM by zridling » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2006, 06:26:46 AM »

Quote
(3) Configuration and portability β€” XYplorer's ability to save and carry its configuration anywhere is extremely handy.


Zaine,

You can export all your Directory Opus settings to a file which can be imported into another installation.  Am I missing something?
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2006, 08:49:24 AM »

but you sure cannot put Dopus in an USB drive! GPS wants you to pay for one license per computer, so that kind of portability is precluded.
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2006, 04:39:31 PM »

mrainey, yes, you can, and I'm glad you mentioned it. (For those who don't know him, mrainey is one of the true software geniuses around here β€” his work with and advice to developers is well regarded around the web.)

My experience with export/import in version 8.x of Directory Opus has not been entirely accurate in that both my toolbars and listers were not fully imported. The difference between the two is that with XYplorer you don't have the "big install" routine. Run the little 751k .exe file (the install folder only adds up to 2M), import the .ini, restart, and voila! Done in about a minute. For anyone in the field, this is a delight.

Here is what XYplorer's author (Donald Lessau) wrote in response:
"- You'll get [keyboard] shortcuts for destinations [folders, files]... after I've done a couple of other fantastic things;
- Scripting is on my list as well (frankly, I use XY scripting already for automated backups β€” but for now it's only available in my personal special developer edition).
"

_______________________
For anyone reading this, each change you make in Directory Opus, I urge the user to backup and export all its settings asap so you don't have to reconstruct them. Directory Opus allows you to save all or part of your current setup, including any keyboard shortcuts you created (although that's not listed in the export/import settings). I say that because I'm the fool who backs up incessantly, making a backup of the backup.

I frankly cannot say a bad word about Directory Opus because it does every single thing I want. I just think the only caveat is its complexity (which is not a bad thing because it is the ultimate power user's tool, unlike xplorer2, for instance). But it's that very complexity that ensures its customizability, which in turn ensures its mass appeal. In other words, there's a reason everyone swears by Directory Opus β€” it works.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2006, 06:50:06 AM by zridling » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2006, 06:38:02 PM »

Great review zaine! Must say, I had looked at this before when I was looking at DOpus, but I decided against it since DOPus has alot more customizability. But a great MR none-the-less.
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« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2006, 06:51:18 AM »

Thanks Josh, I appreciate the kind words.
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« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2006, 12:46:35 PM »

Quote
As for apps like ExplorerPlus and Total Commander, I have not made a direct comparison, but XYplorer goes beyond either in usability.
What do you mean by usability?
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« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2006, 08:41:51 PM »

Usability: Ease of use, configurability, or to be more specific, the ability to tailor the program to the way you work to meet your needs. XYplorer can be mimic almost any other file manager layout. My screenshots provide only a very few of its possible layouts.
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« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2006, 02:42:58 AM »

Hi,
It has been quite some months ago when I tried Explorer replacement applications, for what I can still recall right now:

1) DO is relatively weak in handling archive files (compare to Total Commander)
2) Total Commander is the ugliest among all. (But lifetime license)
3) xPlorer2 has the best help document but it fails me in searching PDF files

I am a programmer (since the DOS time) but I find DO search difficult to learn, particularly its regular expression syntax (which is also used in renaming files), and there seems to have no detail documentation on this.

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« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2006, 03:58:54 PM »

Usability: Ease of use, configurability, or to be more specific, the ability to tailor the program to the way you work to meet your needs.
Hmm... I've tailored Total Commander to do exactly what I want it to, it's easy to use and highly configurable, so I just didn't quite understand what you meant with this remark:
Quote
As for apps like ExplorerPlus and Total Commander, I have not made a direct comparison, but XYplorer goes beyond either in usability.
But to each his/her own Wink
Quote from: tslim
2) Total Commander is the ugliest among all. (But lifetime license)
Even though I'm a huge fan of TC, I'd have to agree with you, although most of it can be configured, the default look and screenshots from the official site can (and probably have) turned quite a few users away.

A great review, though, zridling, even with my complaints. It's always great to see good file managers around, not just to be far superior alternatives to Windows Explorer, but also to keep up the competition! I'm sure all of the great file managers have borrowed quite a few features from the others, so good to see them push each other's boundaries thumbs up
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2006, 07:07:06 PM »

Thanks Tuck, I appreciate the feedback! We both agree it is great to have several solid choices in this category, which means it's a toss-up β€” pick one and you'll be happy with your favorite. Of the ones I listed, Total Commander took me the longest to customize, but that's just me, and once I did, I was comfortable. Setting up XYplorer took less time than any other except for xplorer2. But then I customize the crap out of every app I use (nod to SuperboyAC).

Is there any app that older than Total Commander that has as many users today, viz., from the DOS days? You can't throw a rock through a window without hitting a Total Commander user, ha!  Grin
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« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2006, 01:29:29 PM »

Is there any app that older than Total Commander that has as many users today, viz., from the DOS days? You can't throw a rock through a window without hitting a Total Commander user, ha!  Grin
Thmbsup We're all over the place!!  Cool
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« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2006, 01:39:35 PM »

zaine,

How is the search function compared to locate?
Does it do continuous indexing like google bar, copernic etc?
Thanks a lot
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« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2006, 04:56:12 AM »

1) DO is relatively weak in handling archive files (compare to Total Commander)
[...] I am a programmer (since the DOS time) but I find DO search difficult to learn, particularly its regular expression syntax (which is also used in renaming files), and there seems to have no detail documentation on this.

Somebody on DC pointed out that if you started computing in the DOS days, you probably used Norton Commander, and you like TC because it's closest to it.  If on the other hand you started with Windows, and used Windows Explorer, you prefer DO.

BTW, TC's archive handling is helped using the multi-arc plug-in.

I've never used DO, but here is a man page on Regular Expressions in general.

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« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2006, 08:42:43 AM »

Hi rjbull,

Even nowadays, I still use MultiEdit for DOS programming and it uses regular expression intensively for its search and replace function. However the syntax is definitely diff from the DO's. I am not sure whether there exist an international standard of regular expression which supposed to be used by everyone. I can pick up very quickly if there is a reference of the regular expression syntax used by DO, unfortunately I couldn't find one when I evaluate DO.

Another thing I can still remember is about the "rename" function, TC has the most intuitive and easiest to use interface. When I first try renaming files with it, I spontaneously know how to use it - and it is powerful. Unlike TC, DO allows regular expression which I supposed can do more than TC, but what is the point if newcomer find no way or very hard to learn the syntax of regular expression?
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« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2006, 09:34:39 AM »

Unlike TC, DO allows regular expression which I supposed can do more than TC, but what is the point if newcomer find no way or very hard to learn the syntax of regular expression?
TC allows regex for renaming files.
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« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2006, 10:59:42 AM »

regular expression intensively for its search and replace function. However the syntax is definitely diff from the DO's. I am not sure whether there exist an international standard of regular expression which supposed to be used by everyone.

I'm not sure there ever was.  For example, grep has shorthand lile [:alpha:], [:space:] etc. - but these seem not to be used at all in AWK.  Weird.

Quote
Another thing I can still remember is about the "rename" function, TC has the most intuitive and easiest to use interface.

It's very good, and quite visual.  You can see what you're going to do before you do it.  And there's even an Undo feature smiley

Quote
what is the point if newcomer find no way or very hard to learn the syntax of regular expression?

It's probably hard to "sell" the idea of regular expressions to newbies.  You don't realise how useful they are until you've sued them seriously.  But TucknDar's right, TC's renamer has regular expressions, and even has a  section on them in the help file.



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« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2006, 08:04:55 PM »

But TucknDar's right, TC's renamer has regular expressions, and even has a  section on them in the help file.
I must have missed this one, may be I should try it again.
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« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2006, 10:28:45 PM »

Quote
[urlwolf]: How is the search function compared to locate? Does it do continuous indexing like google bar, copernic etc?

It can cache a scan if you like or you can save complex find operations as a template to be used again and again. It scanned my 400G HD (with 262G of data) and found 96 files with the term "keyboard shortcuts" in 25.410 seconds. XYplorer doesn't index your drive. I asked the dev about this and he thought tools like Locate and Copernic do that function better and he doesn't want to bloat the program with sub-par features. He wants to keep XYplorer fast, and churning the HD slows everything down. File Search, however, is XYplorer's strongest feature. RegEx is supported, too.
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« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2006, 06:04:45 PM »

Here's another neat feature.

Every other week or so I need a feature which will copy directory structures in all Windows environments (drives and folders mainly). The ability to copy a whole folder structure, including all subfolders, to a different location, without copying the files inside those folders is a great time-saver.

Right-click on any folder and drag-n-drop to its new location. And then select the "Create Branch(es) Here" option. It also gives you options to move or create a link to the folder/s.
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