From the Beginning (a running review)

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Trasd
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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by Trasd » 25 Oct 2011 18:16

From the Beginning - Review (Continued)

I'm Already Sold
For those who are reading only the reviews themselves, please be aware that after only three days of running the trial, I purchased a Lifetime Pro license. I am convinced, but I will continue with my review as if I were still deciding. Not everyone will have the same amount of time available to test drive the program. I am doing this so Don (the XYplorer's powers-that-be) and anyone trying to find a file manager can get a fresh, first-time-user perspective.


The Catalog
With so many features to choose from, I had a little trouble deciding what I wanted to try to learn next, so again I spent some time reading through the site's 'Product->Feature List' and chose the Catalog. This is a feature I had dreamed of, but never expected to find, nor do I think I could have articulated the suggestion. I knew what I wanted, but would have had trouble conveying my wishes. Don has hit this one on the nose.

When I first read about this feature, I expected it to be a convenient directory quick-pick list, a file manager's version of Favorites. It is, but it is also so much more. If you are evaluating XYplorer and have the trial version, I highly suggest you spend some time exploring the Catalog, you will soon wonder how you got along without it.


Ask and Ye May Receive
I give XYplorer full marks for the Catalog, but I did have a problem that I thought couldn't be resolved (thankfully, I was wrong - don't tell my wife I admitted to this!). I wanted the Catalog panel on top of the Tree panel, but couldn't find a setting for this option. Luckily, a one minute search in the forums turned up a solution.

From familiarizing myself with the program's help file when I originally downloaded XYplorer, I remembered a topic called Tweaks. The name caught my interest so I viewed it. XYplorer's tweaks is simply editing its INI file to change settings that do not show up in configuration. There is a tweak mentioned in the Wishes topic of these forums where someone asked for this ability; the ability to place the Catalog panel on top of the Tree panel. It seems enough people requested this feature for Don to add it, though he never got around to adding it to the configuration dialog box. For those wondering, simply change CatalogOnTop=0 to CatalogOnTop=1.


Scripting
As scripting plays a prominent role in many of the advanced customization features of XYplorer, it would be very difficult to test and report on the many tools available without using the program's scripting features. But, because I am not systematically leaning and testing XYplorer Script, I am not yet ready to comment, except to say I have had no trouble with it to date.


Today's Conclusion
Though I am choosing and learning one or two features at a time, I am also using this program daily. I have removed all my other file managers (PowerDesk Pro and FreeCommander) and rely solely on XYplorer. In the last week that I've been using it, and even though I've barely scratched the surface of its abilities, I feel very comfortable with its interface and secure in its stability. I am very happy with my purchase.
(Continued)
Last edited by Trasd on 04 Nov 2011 13:35, edited 1 time in total.
Trasd

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." A.C.C.

"I'll tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." J. M.

admin
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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by admin » 25 Oct 2011 19:20

Tweaking is cool, but there's also a GUI way to get the Catalog on top of the Tree: menu Window | Catalog Above Tree. :)

Trasd
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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by Trasd » 25 Oct 2011 22:17

admin wrote:Tweaking is cool, but there's also a GUI way to get the Catalog on top of the Tree: menu Window | Catalog Above Tree. :)
Ah - thanks Don - I read through the options three times and didn't even think of looking in the menu! I figured it must be in there somewhere because you said you would add it if it beta tested, and that was three years ago (if memory serves, which it usually doesn't).

There will be a time - hopefully in the not too distant future - when I will know where the settings are. I searched "Catalog on top," though, and came up empty. Somehow I missed "Catalog Above Tree: If checked then the Catalog is shown at the top, and the Tree at the bottom." Its in the last item which I didn't make it down to.

I will try to have more patience next time, but I am so used to going into INIs and the registry, sometimes it just seems easier!
Last edited by Trasd on 26 Oct 2011 04:40, edited 1 time in total.
Trasd

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." A.C.C.

"I'll tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." J. M.

j_c_hallgren
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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by j_c_hallgren » 26 Oct 2011 02:09

Trasd wrote:There will be a time - hopefully in the not too distant future - when I will know where the settings are.
I've been using XY since ver 5-ish or something and there are still settings that I'm not always sure if and where they are so don't worry if you can't keep track of them! :lol:
I will try to have more patients next time, but I am so used to going into INIs and the registry, sometimes it just seems easier!
FYI: You are the patient, Don is the Doctor and what what you wanted was patience which is not a XY feature at this time. 8)

BTW, I really enjoyed reading your long review update posting made earlier today! I suspect that Don may wish to incorporate some of your comments into XY website as they would be great for promotional use.
Still spending WAY TOO much time here! But it's such a pleasure helping XY be a treasure!
(XP on laptop with touchpad and thus NO mouse!) Using latest beta vers when possible.

Trasd
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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by Trasd » 26 Oct 2011 04:52

j_c_hallgren wrote:...Don is the Doctor and what what you wanted was patience which is not a XY feature at this time.
Thanks for catching that, I'm surprised I didn't make more mistakes like this. I am originally Louisiana born and raised (hence educated, if you can call it that), so I don't mind a little grammar assistance. The correction has been made.
j_c_hallgren wrote:...I really enjoyed reading your long review update posting made earlier today! I suspect that Don may wish to incorporate some of your comments into XY website as they would be great for promotional use.
Thanks - again! Comments like that will help keep me motivated. Don is more than welcome to use any of my comments as he sees fit. As the subjects get more complicated, the reviews will probably get a bit longer. Even though the last one - to me, anyhow - seems a bit short as it was a couple days worth of learning and testing. My final review will probably be considered long, even by me.

As I was telling Jerry earlier today, I've been programming in C/C++ and Assembly for more than 20 years (30 years if you include other languages), but I could never keep a project this complex organized - kudos to Don.
Trasd

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." A.C.C.

"I'll tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." J. M.

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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by admin » 26 Oct 2011 09:08

j_c_hallgren wrote:BTW, I really enjoyed reading your long review update posting made earlier today! I suspect that Don may wish to incorporate some of your comments into XY website as they would be great for promotional use.
Same here! :D I did not want to interrupt the flow of praise by my "thank you"s but I will surely exploit this stuff on my website! At the same time I'm waiting for the the next chapter of the review that starts "Now we are coming to the dark sides of this apparently interesting so-called file manager...". :wink:

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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by admin » 26 Oct 2011 10:24

Trasd wrote:
admin wrote:Tweaking is cool, but there's also a GUI way to get the Catalog on top of the Tree: menu Window | Catalog Above Tree. :)
Ah - thanks Don - I read through the options three times and didn't even think of looking in the menu! I figured it must be in there somewhere because you said you would add it if it beta tested, and that was three years ago (if memory serves, which it usually doesn't).
Not your fault. The Help file is less than perfect. :roll:

Trasd
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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by Trasd » 26 Oct 2011 16:29

Don wrote:...I'm waiting for the the next chapter of the review that starts "Now we are coming to the dark sides of this apparently interesting so-called file manager...

[and also]

Not your fault. The Help file is less than perfect. :roll:
Ah, now see, you beat me to the punch - so far, that is the darker side, but I was not going to review the help system just yet. Later, when I have to rely on it heavily (or should I say if I have to rely on it heavily), I was going to point out some - how should I put this - less than clear instruction. But, if that's all the negative I find, I can't complain.

I know from personal experience that writing a help file can be more tedious than programming. Personally, I'd rather you spend your time programming - but, you have a very technical, knowledgeable group of followers here, there is nothing wrong with tapping that particular resource. As help files use a simple format, you could easily incorporate other folks' documentation into the CHM. I'm sure if you asked, you would get many volunteers. As I am new to the community, I am hesitant with this suggestion because I don't know the unspoken (and spoken) arrangement you have with your customers.

I can make no promises (again, as I am new to the program and community, I don't want to make any promises I can't keep - that would make for a poor impression and a failure of faith), but I was considering a basic (basic so it does not have to be continuously updated) Quick Start PDF. Unfortunately, that would be in the far future for me. Yea, so far, I like the program that much, and, I would like to see it to reach a much wider audience.

We shall see what the future has to offer.
Trasd

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." A.C.C.

"I'll tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." J. M.

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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by j_c_hallgren » 26 Oct 2011 17:12

Trasd wrote: - but, you have a very technical, knowledgeable group of followers here, there is nothing wrong with tapping that particular resource. As help files use a simple format, you could easily incorporate other folks' documentation into the CHM. I'm sure if you asked, you would get many volunteers. As I am new to the community, I am hesitant with this suggestion because I don't know the unspoken (and spoken) arrangement you have with your customers.
FYI: For quite some time here, we had a user maintained wiki but since most of the work ended up being done by jacky (who created it), it fell behind (he couldn't keep up with Don!) and when jacky needed to spend his time elsewhere, it got so obsolete that was more of a problem than help so it was discontinued.

I think it's better that when/if we find a specific item/issue that Help doesn't cover to solve our need, we maybe use this forum to give possible text to improve it using a generic "Help file update" thread.
Still spending WAY TOO much time here! But it's such a pleasure helping XY be a treasure!
(XP on laptop with touchpad and thus NO mouse!) Using latest beta vers when possible.

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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by admin » 26 Oct 2011 20:36

Trasd wrote:I can make no promises (again, as I am new to the program and community, I don't want to make any promises I can't keep - that would make for a poor impression and a failure of faith), but I was considering a basic (basic so it does not have to be continuously updated) Quick Start PDF.
A generous offer, but be warned. This program tends to develop quickly, and it will be hard to cover even the basics in a way that lasts for a while. Especially screenshots age fast. (sigh!)

OTOH, what I would really like to see is a personal perspective on XY: "How I use XY, my most-used functions, my favorite setup, my best usage tricks." Nobody, incl. me, will use all functions available. Most users will probably do with 20 or 30% depending on their personal tasks, whether they are photographers, musicians, scientists, web designers, administrators, etc. Such reports could become bridges for future users.

Trasd
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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by Trasd » 26 Oct 2011 20:53

j_c_hallgren wrote:I think it's better that when/if we find a specific item/issue that Help doesn't cover to solve our need, we maybe use this forum to give possible text to improve it using a generic "Help file update" thread.
This does not preclude my suggestion. I'm not sure what you mean by "it's better that...," because I wasn't suggesting a system, but pointing out what I see as a possible problem with XYplorer (again, I will need to spend more time with the help file).

As I say, a CHM file is really a simple format. If Help File thread posts are written properly, as you say, Don could simply copy and paste. I am using the term "documentation" as a generic text container, not suggesting a method. A Help File thread may indeed be the proper vehicle for something like this suggestion. That would be totally up to Don - it may be changing so fast none of this would work, I just don't know yet.

Don wrote:A generous offer, but be warned. This program tends to develop quickly, and it will be hard to cover even the basics in a way that lasts for a while. Especially screenshots age fast. (sigh!)
Oh trust me, I got that impression after spending only a couple of days in this forum! In truth, I have no idea exactly how much the basics of the program change and would not even consider this if it changed too rapidly. Somewhere in the forums I read something almost just like these last few posts. This is one of the reasons I hesitated to say anything! But, unfortunately, programs are judged on the quality of the documentation too. Please, don't take this the wrong way, I am in no way bashing your help file - I'm only saying, so far, this has been the weakest link in the XYplorer chain.

Maybe I really should have waited for a review before I mentioned it. :oops:

Oh, and BTW Don, a "What Can be Done with XYplorer" is a fantastic idea - I'm viewing parts of my file management from a completely different perspective, now that I know some of what this program is capable of accomplishing. I'm sure I'm in for many more surprises.
Trasd

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." A.C.C.

"I'll tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." J. M.

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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by j_c_hallgren » 26 Oct 2011 21:10

Trasd wrote: In truth, I have no idea exactly how much the basics of the program change and would not even consider this if it changed too rapidly. Somewhere in the forums I read something almost just like these last few posts. This is one of the reasons I hesitated to say anything! But, unfortunately, programs are judged on the quality of the documentation too. Please, don't take this the wrong way, I am in no way bashing your help file - I'm only saying, so far, this has been the weakest link in the XYplorer chain.

Maybe I really should have waited for a review before I mentioned it. :oops:
As someone who's been here quite a while, I certainly didn't take your comments as being negative at all...we all know that the help file can sometimes get a bit left behind in the coding dust, esp with the speed at which Don moves...so I think anything that could be done to help that (if approached correctly) would be appreciated!

I was just warning you that a wiki had been tried before and that failed...and another forum member who's not active much now created his own vers of a 'beginners guide' but it wasn't much more than a mashup of existing stuff so wasn't that useful.

I think Don's suggestion is a good one...like give some practical examples of how the Catalog works for you, etc...and the less it's tied to a version level, the better...but...if you really wanted to do something unique, maybe make some very short YouTube videos on various highlited features of XY?
Still spending WAY TOO much time here! But it's such a pleasure helping XY be a treasure!
(XP on laptop with touchpad and thus NO mouse!) Using latest beta vers when possible.

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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by Jerry » 26 Oct 2011 21:45

I was just warning you that a wiki had been tried before and that failed...
I'm curious about that. A complementary function-based cookbook kind of wiki would seem to be a good idea. But of course it can't be maintained by just 1 person. The whole idea of a wiki is for group participation and sharing. At the same time, it can't just become another forum. As a PERL veteran, I always found the PERL Cookbook to be an excellent way of figuring things out easily and effectively. Or also those books on Effective C++, Effective Java, etc. I would envisage a good wiki working just like that. Each topic is essentially a recipe to solve a particular use case. There does seem to be enough dedicated contributors to this forum to make something like this viable. Perhaps it's worth another try.
Running on Windows 10 Pro 64-bit quad-core ASUS G752-VY notebook with 64 GB RAM, 20 or more external USB3 drives attached via 4 powered hubs, totaling 50+ TB.

Trasd
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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by Trasd » 26 Oct 2011 22:02

Now, a question: wow, has the program really, actively gone through that many improvements and additions? I like that. Change with the times and the needs of the users.

I know when I looked at one of the pages on the site, it looked like there was a new revision released nearly monthly, but I though this was just a recent flurry of activity, I didn't look too far back. Glad I got the license I did!

I certainly don't want to rock any boats or come in and mandate sweeping changes (not that I could if I wanted to), the program has been doing quite fine without me! It's just that a file manager is the single most important program on my computer and I figure a fresh perspective would be welcomed, which it has. I'm glad that everyone (OK, well some) appreciate my efforts.
j_c_hallgren wrote:I think Don's suggestion is a good one...like give some practical examples of how the Catalog works for you, etc...and the less it's tied to a version level, the better...but...if you really wanted to do something unique, maybe make some very short YouTube videos on various highlited features of XY?
I too think Don's idea is great. That's one of the things I was trying to evaluate when I was running my trials. A format with this type of information could be a huge success for the program. Jerry's idea may be a way of doing it - it just might work. How long ago was that Wiki page setup?

As far as YouTube - sorry, not a big fan. Just a question here, not a suggestion (want to cover my butt this time): is the XYplorer Script robust enough to actually create an in-program demonstration? Again, I'm just curious, I haven't delved into the scripting near this far yet.
Trasd

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." A.C.C.

"I'll tell you this, no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." J. M.

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Re: From the Beginning (a running review)

Post by Jerry » 26 Oct 2011 22:25

Trasd wrote:Now, a question: wow, has the program really, actively gone through that many improvements and additions? I like that. Change with the times and the needs of the users.
I would also add that Don's changes are typically done quite surgically, with a lot of deliberation, caution and beta trial. (Perhaps a bit too much caution for some of our particular wants. :P ) And you are not faced with UI makeovers all the time that force you into adapting to new ways of doing the same thing that worked just fine the old way -- think Microsoft Office. [Now sadly, it seems, Firefox has caught this crazy virus: I don't know what knuckleheads have gotten control over there at Mozilla, but this quick schedule of major releases they have started is a big mistake, IMO, particularly because of the compatibility catch up issues with add-ons. Consequently, I am still using 3.6x and will continue to delay upgrading for as long as possible --- just like I always do with Windows itself.]
Running on Windows 10 Pro 64-bit quad-core ASUS G752-VY notebook with 64 GB RAM, 20 or more external USB3 drives attached via 4 powered hubs, totaling 50+ TB.

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