Sunday, July 20, 2008

AccelMan File Manager

AccelMan File Manager

Lifehacker and Freewaregenius both carried an article about AccelMan File Manager. Here is the Freewaregenius article:

Accelman: a file manager with a host of powerful tools and options

Author: Samer

Accelman Screenshot2Description: Accelman is a dual-pane "File Manager" with a wide set of features ranging from multiple file management panes to a full-featured image viewer and editor, archiver with support of 15+ formats, media player and playlist editor, as well as a host of file and folder management tools.

Accelman, which used to be a paid program but just turned freeware, is a so-called dual pane file manager (commonly also referred to as a "Windows Explorer Replacement"). It brings together one of the most thorough and impressive range of features that you can get for a program in this category; however, because of the extensive features, I will resist making this review into a re-iteration of the features list and attempt a more holistic description. Therefore this review will be structured into (a) a PROS section, (b) a CONS section, and (c) a listing of my top 10 favorite features that Accelman provides.

1- PROS:

  • Multiple panes: with the ability to drag-and-drop to arrange them. It also comes with pre-set defaults that emulate the layout of other popular file managers, and will let you save your layout scheme for later use.
  • One stop shop for most file types: Accelman includes a built in image viewer/editor, a zip/archiving program, and a text editor/viewer with syntax highlighting. All of these are above average in their own right and support numerous formats (note: this does not preclude using an external app if you want to). It also incorporates a playlist manager and a surprisingly versatile media player. And, if you have Acrobat Reader or MS Office installed, can be used to view PDF and Office files.
  • Sophisticated file management tools: such as filtering throughout, mass renaming, searching for folders, files, or text, the ability to take directory snapshots for later comparison, folder bookmarking, batch file-attributes editor, files merge/split, folders comparison, changing file associations, etc.

2- CONS: (and wish list)

  • Less might have been more: ironically, this program has so many features as to make you (at times) wish for less. Does a file manager really need a built in media player?
  • Unintuitive design: this program has a learning curve. Unless you are willing to fiddle around with it endlessly you will need to dig into the help section in order to figure out how to perform some operations.

Wish list:

  • The option to supersede Windows explorer. In the sense that you could click on a folder and have it open in Accelman rather than explorer.
  • Filtering: for some reason my filtered file results always included compressed archives (.ZIP, .RAR, etc). Not sure if this is a bug or if I simply couldn’t figure out how to keep those out.
  • Media player: audio files would end abruptly mid-way through. A bug?
  • PDF: native PDF viewing would have been cool, and/or the ability to specify an external PDF viewer aside from Acrobat Reader.
  • One thing that would have been cool is if some of the components (e.g. the media player) came in the form of optional plugins or add-ons.

3-My top 10 Accelman features (in no particular order)

  1. Branch view: is a folder view whereby all files located within a folder and all of its subfolders are pooled together (i.e. the folder structure is ignored). Can be rather useful; however, I would have liked to be able to se the number of levels that this would drill down into.
  2. Store directory state: you can take a (recursive) snapshot of a directory and then come back at a later point to see how it has changed (select new/changed files, non-changed files, or show files that have been removed).
  3. Accelman color groupsTagging: a system of "marking" files and folders is in place. You can add your own tags and it provides a color groups system where different tags display different color background for your icons. Strangely, no filtering infrastructure is in place for your implemented tags (i.e. you cannot filter by all objects tagged "personal", for example). Pity, as this would have made this program much better compared to others in its category.
  4. Bookmarking: you can bookmark files as well as folders, which is cool.
  5. Creating HTML lists: out of folder contents. Useful for instantly creating a browser home page from your bookmarks folders, for example.
  6. Local search: search for folders, files, or text. Powerful options include specifying scope (folders), file masks, and attributes (size, date, etc). Searches can be saved for later use.
  7. Recent files/Recent folders: maintains thorough (and seperate) recent folders and recent files lists.
  8. Image viewing: incorporates image viewing, conversion, and editing functionality that supports a wide range of image types (30+ formats, including PSD, PSP). The image viewer is better than many other image viewing/editing programs out there, imho.
  9. Calculating folder sizes: a must have feature (select folders then press Alt-G, or use the command in the "Manager" menu).
  10. Verify data on removable media: good feature if you need it.

The verdict: if you (a) like your programs to have a lot of features, and (b) are interested in a good, solid, file manager then you will like Accelman. If this is your first experience with a file manager program of this sort (or if you like simple, straightforward software) you might be in over your head. That said this is a powerful program overall that has a lot to offer.

Version Tested: 3.5.0 build 3600

Compatibility: Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista.

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 5.6 megs). Note: you will need to download a free registration key file (on the same download page).

Links:

Lifehacker article

Freewaregenius article

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