Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Time for development of a new major version?

There has not been any major work done on ESP for a couple of years now. There are a few reasons for this. First off ESP 2.0 is decently polished and fulfills it's purpose rather nicely. In other words, we developers who conceived and built ESP are pretty happy with the feature set. Secondly, we haven't had much success at bringing in revenue. Personally I'm not all too surprised at this because I myself rarely, rarely spend money on software. Thirdly... well, I'm not sure how much this really played into things, the big three (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo) and many other companies have all come out with desktop search solutions (... yes for free of course:) at least from the big boys). Heck, it's even built into XP which is the best solution I've seen to date.

So ESP has hung around filling, I believe, a niche for a particular kind of PC power user. ESP does not stack up well against other desktop search utilities if you just look at the number of features offered in other packages. ESP does not search file contents, there aren't plug-ins, there isn't a server-based solution...

What ESP does that the other's don't is give its users very rapid access to the data they know exists on their systems.

With ESP you don't create shortcuts or surf around in windows explorer, you simply punch in a few characters and ESP presents it to you!

My theory is that ESP fills a need that is missed by the present crop of desktop search utilities and I don't see them changing to what I'm looking for. Is there anybody out there that agrees with me? Recently I've installed windows DT search at work and i find it almost as annoying as the search assist puppy! It's slow (I have about 60K items indexed, but that's the data universe I live in...), the results seem to be ordered simply on whatever it comes across first and the array of data returned is too broad, pictures, music, docs, pdfs, etc etc. Now I admit, I'm probably not using the thing correctly or need to configure this or that to optimize performance but the fact is I don't know and don't care to read the documentation to find out....

Enough ranting. On to the good news... I believe it is time to develop a new version ESP. My vision is summarized below. Please respond with additional ideas and thoughts. Am I right, wrong or mis-guided?

Vision for ESP 3.0

1. Open Source the whole project
2. Support multiple hardware platforms
3. Additional file information (size, date accessed, etc)
4. Incorporate date modified in queries
5. Multiple views of search results (details, grouped by file type, or access date, maybe 3d? etc)
6. Store queries
7. Plug in support. Index email contacts, links, firefox bookmarks etc.
8. Built in file explorer. Innovative browsing of the file system
9. Load/Save search profiles (groups of directories to actively search)
10. User modifiable probability algorithms
11. Enhanced search options (boolean, exact phrase, date ranges)
12. Tag elements for searching
13. Persistent recent access list

This development effort hasn't begun yet, but personally, I'm itching to start. I'm learning wxWidgets for the gui front end and thinking heavy architecture thoughts... It's a start!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Download ESP

We have recently changed web hosts. ESP can be downloaded from here.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Getting Started with ESP

This isn't your typical "Getting Started" guide. That's because ESP isn't a typical application...

Step 1) Download ESP (It's only 700 Kb) and run the installer

Step 2) Double click the "!" icon on your desktop. This launches ESP.

Step 3) Press F-11 to bring ESP up. Type any part of a file name or path to locate it. By default, ESP will search your desktop, startmenu, and My Documents folders.

Step 4) Launch the file by pressing "Enter" or double clicking on it.

(Optional but recommended)
Step 5) Choose "Options->Manage Directories" to have ESP search more directories on your local and network drives.

That's it. You now know just about everything there is to know about ESP. There are other cool things ESP can do for you (read the help file for those details), but you already know the important stuff!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Official ESP Software Blog

Hello all,
This blog exists as a forum for discussion of ESP! which is a very powerful and useful desktop search utility.

As you're surely aware, MSN, Google, Yahoo, and many others offer desktop search. So what makes ESP different (and better)? That's the question this blog exists to explore. What should desktop search be? How should the massive amount of information on your desktop be available to you? How do you want to access it? Shouldn't your computer learn how you use it then adapt to you (instead of you adapting to it)?

ESP has been in existance for a few years. It's the result of 1 great idea followed by a fair amount of programming, tweaking, debugging, and testing. The end product is a revolutionary approach to human-computer interaction.

Ok, that might be overstating it a little, but really, I use ESP every day, it's installed on every computer I regularly use and it has literally become second nature to me to

1) need to open a file
2) press F11, esp's shortcut key
3) type about three letters
4) see the ESP has found the file I need
5) press enter to launch the file

That's it. There's barely any configuing, no updating or managing needed, no tweaking settings. ESP simply exists to serve, and it does a great job.

If you've tried ESP, please leave any feedback here. If you think it's great, let us know, if you think it sucks, tell us why, if you want a new feature, describe how it would work.