File collections or "virtual" folders is an area in which SpeedCommander
SpeedCommander is dual panel commander that implements two kinds of tabbed panels: folder tabs and "file containers". The user selects which group of tabs to display from a second level (or row) of tabs that itself contains two tabs (that is: two for each
file panel): "Folders" and "File Containers":
File Managers! Windows Explorer replacement! Come one, come all...
To create a "virtual folder" or File Container, one right-clicks on the "File Containers" tab and selects "New File Container". An empty panel displays. To add files and folders to your new Container, simply drag or "Copy" them from the opposite panel. The action is instantaneous, since the actual file or folder is not copied to the panel, just a reference or pointer to it.
This is so easy to do and so powerful that I am addicted. You can mix and match any files and folders in the SC file containers. I have Containers set up for various projects, various backup sets, it's wonderful. And because Containers are so well integrated into the SC panel/tab metaphor, there are no "extra steps" to display the containers and their contents. They are just file panels like any other (well, almost: naturally, you can't display a folder tree inside a File Container panel). Deleting a file or folder from a Container only deletes the reference, not the original (an important point!).
There are downsides to SC File Containers, though:
1. You cannot navigate into the folder hierarchy of a folder in an SC Container tab.
2. You cannot create new "virtual folders" in a Container to further organize the contents. (Some of the several TC virtual folder plugins support this useful function.)
3. SC Containers do not appear in the Folder Trees as they do in Dopus.
IMHO SpeedCommander has by far the best GUI of any file manager I have encountered (this includes Dopus, the runner-up). Its tab implementation is by far the best (TC's is the runner-up) and it's toolbar implementation competes with the excellent approach that Dopus uses. SC subordinates folder trees to the tabs (tree visibility is linked to the tab, NOT the panel as in Dopus and every other commander I know of). SC exposes a scripting object model within which you can script essentially anything using the built-in VBScript editor (with syntax checking!). Since SC uses VBScript, it has SC object methods, properties, conditional branching, variables, functions, the whole deal. Makes Dopus's simplistic (though useful!) button "scripts" seem quite confining, and TC's pathetic "one internal command per button and no parameters" approach positively abysmal. The latest SC beta (v12) has the best implementation of a breadcrumb bar I have encountered, etc, etc.
SC has no custom column definitions a la TC, though, cannot customize thumbnail captions and tooltips to show EXIF values (for instance) like TC, and the limited number of viewer and packer plugins available for it keep me using TC.
There is no perfect file commander.