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Author Topic: xplorer², a powerful windows file manager and explorer replacement / alternative  (Read 57643 times)
Josh
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« Reply #50 on: August 29, 2007, 05:19:06 AM »

I am glad the US Military doesnt work on the "honesty" commitment for my medial care as well. But hey, do what you have to, just remember if something goes wrong then you have no right to complain about it.
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mitzevo
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« Reply #51 on: August 29, 2007, 05:47:38 AM »

Quote
Nice but I've been using Win/TotalCommander http://www.ghisler.com/ for years (since the late 90's) and I find it superior to my needs.

787, did you even try x2? Or did you just see the "file explorer replacement / alternative" and thought you would say how good TC is? At least give x2 a try, before saying how much you like XYZ, ABC, or LMNOP, and not saying a thing about x2 - what this thread is about.

Quote
It's not a big install and won’t splatter files all over your drive like most windows apps so is easy to remove if you don't want it.

x2 is also not a big install, and also easy to remove.

Quote
Also it's free (the nag prompt at start up is nothing to complain about)

x2 has free lite version.. but, it is really free..  unlike your definition of free.

If you've been using TC since the late 90's, why don't you support the author??? I find this hard to understand, but yet you say you use an old version which is free.. this sounds kind of stupid. Sorry, but it does. You can not afford to pay for some thing as essiential (as you say for yourself) as a file manager (in your case TC).. so you use an old version.. may I ask what version you are using?

Quote
I'm sure that after surviving some 10+ years and over 25mil downloads that the developer must have gotten something out of it.

Oh c'mon... That's just like saying "oh Macdonald's is huge, im sure they wont be affected if i just steal one ice cream"

BTW, If any one else wants to shout out for the file manager they use, please try x2 first, instead of just saying "oh this XYZ is better/good/etc.", any one can do that.. and by doing that you populate this thread with general personal opinion like discussion - which is pointless.
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f0dder
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« Reply #52 on: August 29, 2007, 05:51:10 AM »

I played around a bit with TC in the mid/late 90'es, and it sure wasn't free back then... it's always looked as ugly as it does now smiley and had that shareware nag.
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Lashiec
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« Reply #53 on: August 29, 2007, 08:36:42 AM »

The great power of Total Commander lies in its customizability and extensibility. The amount of addons available is staggering, and most are free, a huge plus for it. Basically, you could live inside TC without using other software or the SO (at least its functions, not the API). The good news are that most other file managers can take advantage of some of them, as long as you could define external viewers. Take a look here, to use them you need either Universal Viewer or the same Lister, TC built-in viewer.
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JohnFredC
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« Reply #54 on: August 29, 2007, 09:39:01 AM »

In my use of x², I found its panel layout to be inflexible.  No way to move the preview panel, for instance, or show a tree, then files, then preview or vice versa.  Inflexibility of the toolbars and no customization of the main menu completely turned me off, too.

Also, as a long-time TC user, I have come to depend on TC's content-plugin architecture (user-defined custom column sets / metadata in file list).   The system metadata and user-defined metadata architecture is integrated at the core of the product: into the file display, file filtering, file color-highlighting, file searching, and the file renamer tool (!), too.  No other file manager I know of has such a thing, not even Dopus. 

If your needs are mostly "casual" file management... moving, copying, renaming, etc., then most file managers are reasonably competent (my favorites for casual use are SpeedCommander, Salamander, and Dopus, in that order) and the more configurable the UI, the better.  Also, if you are just now moving from Explorer, then some features shared by most file managers (color-coding of files, for instance) may seem like a big deal to you.  Furthermore, you may not need metadata capabilities beyond the relatively superficial functionality offered by Explorer and recently integrated into most file managers.

But if you need "industrial" strength file management, not just easy drag and drop (and possibly you may not even know yet that you do)... go to the trouble to learn TC.  It is not beautiful and not perfect (the UI is in some ways good, some ways abysmal, I personally have serious nits to pick about TC's folder tree implementation, and the author is un-receptive to certain kinds of GUI innovation), but its extensible architecture via archive, file system, viewer, and metadata (content) plugins allows TC to greatly exceed the functionality of any other file manager.  Don't be deceived by pretty GUIs. There is really no other Windows file manager even close for "technical" file management.

Go to totalcmd.net to see what the very active TC developer community has created for you, free of charge.

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umeca74
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« Reply #55 on: August 29, 2007, 10:23:57 AM »

many times i hear about this "plugin framework" of TC and the innumerable addons available

people do not realize that the modern shell is already plugin-ready and the architecture is available to all programs, not just TC. It is called "shell namespace extensions" and includes columns, context menus, preview, text search, virtual folders and much more.

so which extra functionality exactly you are referring to? Show me a special TC plugin that isn't / can't be dealt with shell architecture -- as long it isn't a calculator or tetris for TC smiley

xplorer2 taps in the modern shell so it doesn't have to reinvent the wheel, it just uses functionality that's already there

nikos
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Lashiec
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« Reply #56 on: August 29, 2007, 10:36:50 AM »

That is true, but most software don't play nice with the shell. And probably you'll have to pay for that software, while most of TC's addons are free, that's a huge plus. But well, you're the developer of xplorer², so you know more than me about interaction of your software with Windows, I'm a mere user.

(Hmmm, and this is turning into a discussion about file managers Wink)
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umeca74
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« Reply #57 on: August 29, 2007, 11:58:59 AM »

Quote
you're the developer of xplorer², so you know more than me about interaction of your software with Windows

guilty as charged!
but i can't sit back and listen to misinformed criticism. Take this other one from another poster:

Quote
The system metadata and user-defined metadata architecture is integrated at the core of the product: into the file display, file filtering, file color-highlighting, file searching, and the file renamer tool (!), too.  No other file manager I know of has such a thing, not even Dopus.


this is plain wrong too. Just press Alt+K in xplorer2 and see what sort of details/metadata are available, and all can be used in searches, color hilighting, the lot -- just read about xplorer2 hyperfilters (not available in the free lite version)

in fact this "all metadata search" feature was in xplorer2 from day 1 and way before TC had it. It is clear who copied who here. But I welcome competition among file manager authors, it's good for the users smiley
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JohnFredC
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« Reply #58 on: August 29, 2007, 12:38:08 PM »

Not to get in a pissing match, but since my post has been impugned, I'll respond with a couple of challenges to any other file manager (not just xplorer2).

The challenge:

Rename a set (ie. more than one) of image files  (*.jpg, for instance) to include the dimensions of the image file in the filename.

To wit:

Original filename:  MyFile.jpg
Output: MyFile.640x480.jpg

Stipulation: No spaces may be included in the resulting file name.

This is a prima facia example of the integration of metadata into TC.  The rename template for the filename portion in TC would be: [N].[=imgsize.x]x[=imgsize.y]

Where:

[N] ...denotes the original filename
[=imgsize. ...denotes a specific (free) TC content plugin implemented by a user
.x] ...denotes one of the plugins calculated metadata values (the x dimension of the image)
.y] ...denotes the other dimension.

Extra credit:

Sort the file display ascending by the Y dimension.

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umeca74
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« Reply #59 on: August 29, 2007, 12:56:56 PM »

well, you did pick the weakest part of xplorer2 (mass rename), but you CAN use metadata in renames. For example, see this demo:
(article) http://www.zabkat.com/blog/15Apr07.htm
(demo) http://www.zabkat.com/blog/wink/id3.htm

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JohnFredC
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« Reply #60 on: August 29, 2007, 01:00:23 PM »

Second challenge:

For folders only (ie the column should be blank for files), show a column in the file display named "Folders/Files" that shows the number of subfolders and "subfiles" in each folder, separated by a slash.

To wit:

12/77

Extra credit:

In the file list, automatically highlight each folder that has > 300 subfiles in red.
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umeca74
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« Reply #61 on: August 30, 2007, 05:58:31 AM »

use Alt+K and select "Contents" stock column. It computes a total number (files+folders) so it isn't exactly what you look for. For your extra credit, define a coloring rule (Customize | Color coding) based on this column, which is active when the number is >=300

we can go on like that for ages smiley

one's favorite file manager is like one's favorite team, the selection involves more fanaticism than reason. All the top-league file managers do more or less the same thing. Even in terms of speed there isn't much to tell them apart, e.g. see:
http://www.zabkat.com/blog/27May07.htm
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mitzevo
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« Reply #62 on: August 30, 2007, 06:14:39 AM »

Ok, great, welcome to the discussion nikos  Grin
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JohnFredC
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« Reply #63 on: August 30, 2007, 12:33:55 PM »

Quote from: umeca74
well, you did pick the weakest part of xplorer2 (mass rename), but you CAN use metadata in renames.
This response to Challenge #1 to use the xplorer2 token ${Column name} to insert image dimensions gets partial credit only.  The token leaves spaces in the resulting filename.  Is it possible to use regular expressions in xplorer2 to remove them?

Quote from: umeca74
use Alt+K and select "Contents" stock column. It computes a total number (files+folders) so it isn't exactly what you look for. For your extra credit, define a coloring rule (Customize | Color coding) based on this column, which is active when the number is >=300
Contents only shows the sum of the files and folders the first level down.  It isn't recursive (which is one of the points of the challenge) and doesn't separate the number of files from the number of folders and at the same time display both values in one column so as to save space. Since the Contents column doesn't show the correct values, no points are earned for displaying the incorrectly identified rows in red.

So no credit for Challenge #2!

Quote
we can go on like that for ages smiley
Well yes we could.  I have a "million" of real world examples from my daily use of TC.  But the exercise wouldn't reflect well on most file managers Wink.  Perhaps a separate thread of real-world challenges from forum participants might help everyone.

Quote
All the top-league file managers do more or less the same thing.
Only to the extent that they "manage files". 

Here's an example that matters if you work in thumbnails mode:

In xplorer2, display thumbnails.  Now sort them by date.  To do that, you must either select View>Arrange By>Date or press a 3-key short cut.  Either way, that's three clicks.  Further, there is no obvious way in xplorer2 to make a tool button to perform the sort.

In TC you click once on the column header for date.

I'm not singling xplorer2 out, here.  No other file manager I know of displays the column headers in thumbnail mode.  And this is a really big deal if you need to sort your thumbs by a custom column not accounted for by the menu.

For instance, in xplorer2, how would one sort image thumbs by image dimensions?  Or by age in days?  Or by an EXIF value?  One can do these things, of course (switch to detail mode, sort, switch back to thumbs), but extra steps are involved.

When one file manager takes three steps for another file manager's one step, and the activity represented by those steps is performed repetitively day after day, month after month, year after year, that "two step" Wink difference really begins to add up.

My point is that unless you use each file manager intently for your daily tasks over a period of time, you won't begin to understand how very different they are from each other and how little things that don't seem important at first can make a big difference to your use of the tool in the long haul.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2007, 12:36:23 PM by JohnFredC » Logged
Darwin
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« Reply #64 on: August 30, 2007, 01:45:18 PM »

Hi folks. I've started a thread in the General Sofware forum for a more, well, general discussion of file managers/windows explorer replacements. So if you've been champing at the bit to comment on something peripheral to the subject of Xplorer2, here's your chance!
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urlwolf
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« Reply #65 on: August 30, 2007, 02:40:50 PM »

Congrats JohnFredC, you are making me discover more of TC greatness!
I moved from Dopus to TC, and I'm thrilled!

Please keep posting those challenges! (maybe start a new thread on challenges?). I still remember how I had to dig into the docs, post to forum, wrestle with options etc in Dopus to do things that are obvious in TC. I'm not bothered by TC's looks, BTW.
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787
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« Reply #66 on: August 30, 2007, 03:56:20 PM »

Gee, I certainly brought WinCommander in to the Spotlight.
I feel glad to have added positively to this topic.
Now you see just how useful that app is.
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Josh
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« Reply #67 on: August 30, 2007, 03:58:52 PM »

I still say if you find it so useful that you should pay the author for his work, but hey, thats just my opinion.
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Darwin
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« Reply #68 on: August 30, 2007, 04:22:22 PM »

I still say if you find it so useful that you should pay the author for his work, but hey, thats just my opinion.

I really don't want this to degenerate into a flame war so I'm not saying a thing... (Josh - you are so right! Did I say that out loud?).
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787
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« Reply #69 on: August 30, 2007, 04:33:49 PM »

Here's a challenge:
Be able to place leading "0's" (zeros) when batch naming a large number of files so you get,
001.jpg .... 567.jpg instead of 1.jpg ..... 567.jpg.
That gives all the file names the same number of characters in list view.
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f0dder
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« Reply #70 on: August 31, 2007, 04:45:31 AM »

Ugh, recursive size calculation? That's a thing to avoid like the plague.
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umeca74
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« Reply #71 on: August 31, 2007, 08:04:48 AM »

well i did say that the aforementioned Contents column doesn't do exactly what you're after, no? Why don't I turn the table round and ask you to present us with a TC column that does a summary/non-recursive column like x2 does it? smiley

or perhaps TC's "mini-scrap" pane (View menu) equivalent that can be used for bookmarks, drop stack, even regular file management?
http://www.zabkat.com/pic/s2a.png

there's ups and downs in all programs and your end choise is a compromise. You may be 100% satisfied with TC but that doesn't mean that it is objectively superior to xplorer2. I urge you to have a look at the tour and the various demo videos:
www.zabkat.com/tour1.htm
www.zabkat.com/x2facts.htm

i rest my case!
nikos
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JohnFredC
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« Reply #72 on: August 31, 2007, 11:13:10 AM »

Quote
You may be 100% satisfied with TC
Lordy I am incredibly not... you should read my posts over there sometime.  My problem with switching from TC is that it offers some specific things I cannot live without.

OTOH TC's folder tree implementation is awful (though in one way (only) it's better than xplorer2's:  at least TC will display a second tree in the right panel). Its tab implementation isn't as robust as SpeedCommander's (by the way: how do you lock a tab's root folder in xplorer2? or restrict navigation to only up or down the tabs folder hierarchy?).  I hate TCs unmoveable button bar (mostly), though it is still more functional than xplorer2's.  TC seems to have trouble from time to time with Network shares, especially in more recent versions: very bad in a file manager!  And TC doesn't currently support Unicode (a huge shortcoming in today's world... funny no one has mentioned that!)

Quote
Why don't I turn the table round and ask you to present us with a TC column that does a summary/non-recursive column like x2 does it?
If I get a chance I'll see about using one of the many TC file/folder-count column values (via the column content plugins) to demonstrate that.  However, showing the count of files and folders only one level down (that is: no recursion) seems useless to me.  Why would you want to ignore the subfolders' contents?

The xplorer2 "mini-scrap" is OK... as a replacement for a kind of folder tree (since it appears to link to whatever is the active tab), but seems only "half" implemented.  It acts more like a list of favorite short-cuts than a virtual file container.  It's immovable, too! Why not take that little window and put it in a tab, instead? Then a user could treat it as just another file tab (albeit with "virtual contents").  Indeed why not mulitiple mini-scraps, one in each tab? 

The TC plugin community has created several "scrap" or "virtual" file container plugins that behave like the xplorer2 mini-scrap except you can have as many of them as you want since they appear in their own tabs, you can create new "virtual" folder hierarchies in them, and navigation occurs within the same panel (not in some other panel), there is no need to explicitly save the contents since they persist between sessions automatically (no need for a settings option for this), etc. etc. 

The TC plugin architecture design means a user doesn't have to settle completely for the TC author's personal vision of a usable file manager (thank goodness, because he and I differ considerably on that).  TC is more like Dopus in many regards: both can be viewed as toolkits for creating personalized file managers.  Dopus concentrates on the flexibility of the GUI toolkit whereas TC concentrates on supporting the widest range of file systems, packers, viewers, editors, and metadata engines (via its open plugin design).  The rest of the file managers in the landscape are more about each individual author's personal vision about how to manage files.  Just because xplorer2's GUI does not work the way I personally think a file manager should (and I can back that up with specific examples), does not mean it isn't useful to many others.

There is no perfect file manager, but the less a file manager is implemented toward a specific metaphor of use and the more flexible it is to user configuration (via GUI elements, plugin architecture, what have you), the better chance it will have to approach perfection for any individual user.  Speed of file copying or compatibility with Windows Explorer or a hodge podge of functions, each individually powerful, which nevertheless are not flexibly integrated into a coherent whole,  do not a complete file manager make!

IMHO and with all due respect to all the hard working and talented file manager authors out there, as well as to those users whose file management tasks are more casual by nature.
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gussan
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« Reply #73 on: September 01, 2007, 05:36:34 PM »

I totally agree with JohnFredC, when he says "if you need industrial strength file management, not just easy drag and drop (and possibly you may not even know yet that you do)... go to the trouble to learn TC". In fact to learn the full potential of TC and configure it to your liking takes a while, but the effort is worthwhile. I have used it since version 3, and until now I can't say that I master all features TC offers. TC out of the box may look very simple, but you may try Total Commander PowerPack 1.7 (http://www.softpedia.com/...Commander-PowerPack.shtml), wich comes ready with the best plugins.

With this terrific file manager you can manage almost every aspect of your computer, from task management, uninstall management, registry editing, cd-dvd burning, and the list goes on and on. Its plugin architecture makes it the best option for me, and as JohnFredC explained very well "The TC plugin architecture design means a user doesn't have to settle completely for the TC author's personal vision of a usable file manager".

Its price is terrific, I have not paid for an uppgrade since version 3, and it is portable (no extra price like xplorer2). TC uses a unique .ini file to store its settings, it means you can take your installation or move to another system without any concern about missing configuration registry keys. For this and many more reasons I really recomend TC, as the best.
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f0dder
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« Reply #74 on: September 01, 2007, 05:41:12 PM »

I don't see the point of having a lot of non-file-management functionality crammed into a file manager. I can see how archive handling and ftp support can be useful to some (though I prefer separate applications for that myself), but things like uninstall, registry editing, etc? Why?!

Yeah, it might give bragging rights, but imho it's silly.

EDIT: at least total commander does start relatively fast, even though it's a bloated 2.7meg (uncompressed) executable... but of course it bitches about being modified after I decompressed it with UPX. Silly software author.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2007, 05:44:00 PM by f0dder » Logged

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