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, del.icio.us 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!

26 Comments:

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Start up - Do it!

The other key thing is to keep it as an app that can be installed without having to be a local administrator. A key feature in the corporate environment!

Great app - we love it.

 
At 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic news !!!
I'm waiting for new release.
Good job !
:-)

 
At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to revert to a previous version because 2.0 doesn't index password protected unmountable volumes. Can you change this? Thanks for the great app.

 
At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW. I can't believe I finally found this. After filling the web on various forums with my complaints about the lack of a simple software which instead of content indexing (which can reach and use 2 GB of space on my computer) should just search the file names.
- Ironically, all of these "advanced" software like Copernic, MSN, and Google, can't even find your every file. And on top of that you pay the price of a slow computer, and large amounts of used space for indexing.
- But I'm surprised that no one used the question : But what if I don't want content indexing ? What if I want a good ol' file name search like the majority of people still do it today, with the slow default windows search ?

- All that being said, I have ome (important I think) suggestions for the next version :
The user should be able to :
- chose where the index file should be put (if the index could grow larger than 100 Mb)
- the program should stop indexing if user move the mouse, or the computer resources are low.
- the user should be able to decide how and when the program updates its index.
- boolean if the software doesn't have this (I just installed the software)
- filter the results by size, type..etc
- sebastian___

 
At 11:03 PM, Blogger chadschw said...

Thanks for the input. ESP 3.0 will allow total control over where the index lives, how many there are, ane when it gets updated... I hope to be able to address being very conscious of cpu usage for indexing (I finally un-installed ms search because it chewed alot of resources).

About the unmountable volumes... could you provide a few more details? I'm not sure what you need...

ESP 2.0 is hard-coded for AND logic. It uses spaces to delimit tokens then ANDs them for comparison: "my .doc" will match the file "my_file.doc"

I plan on adding more logic operators: OR, NOT, and maybe "'s to to case sensitive and exact phrase matching...

For sure going to do filter by date modified and size. I've been wanting that a lot lately.

Thanks for the comments,

Chad

 
At 7:57 PM, Blogger Chase said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7:58 PM, Blogger Chase said...

I've never expressed my thanks for esp. I show it to everyone I can, I think it's simply the greatest thing. Mostly, due to its simplicity and all-inclusive programming style.

I have a rather unique feature I'd like to see in the new version. I have a lot of files that contain URL hex codes (%20 for space, and such), but I'd like to be able to search for and see these files in a more human-friendly way.

I know this is an obscure request, but I'd love it if ESP would index a filename such as "My%20DVD%20Collection.txt" as "My DVD Collection.txt". Or, at least it would display it with spaces in the search box. Of course, I'm sure most people wouldn't want/use this feature, so if included in the new version, it'd probably have to be an application preference, or something.

 
At 8:21 PM, Blogger chasedeluca said...

Also, could you turn on the rss feed for this blog? I'd like to keep up with it!

 
At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course I was talking about mountable containers. I'm using drivecrypt and ESP seems to forget about these volumes after unmounted.

Another thing I would like to see is the ability to select multiple files from the result list for mass copying and such.

And to manually abort the automatic indexing process when ESP is restarted.

Sometimes ESP would not let go of newly created files, folders, rar temp files, etc. This is more prevalent after making or moving many files at once. I use Unlocker to get rid of these stubborn files. I'm not sure though there is anything you can do about this behavior.

Anyway, thanks again. ESP is the most handy tool I have ever used, seriously.

 
At 12:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention, this stubborn behavior of ESP causes the infamous -203 error for firefox when attempting to install new extensions.

 
At 8:09 PM, Anonymous drmurdoch said...

chasedeluca told me about ASP - I love it. Everyone I show it to loves it. I have what I would call a killer feature for you - multiple indexes ! Note that all the major search engines do not have multiple indexes. dtsearch does of course. The lack of multiple indexes is a major problem with the major search engines as you get so many hits ! I could really use the date last modified displayed (I see you are thinking of it for version three). I usually like it if the folders (directories) that are hits .. go to the top of the list .. but that's me. I don't really understand the ordering of the files in the ESP window (and the HELP file seems missing). I can't say enough about your program - it's brilliant.

 
At 8:17 PM, Anonymous drmurdoch said...

12. Tag elements for searching - what do you mean by this ?

 
At 11:31 AM, Anonymous drmurdoch said...

Please support control + v for pasting into the search box.

 
At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like have "FOLDERS" (aka directories) as a filter, sometimes I want to create a new file in a specific location .. I'd like to be able to get there quickly.
DRM

 
At 5:22 PM, Anonymous drmurdoch said...

Maybe you guys could form a Google Group to discuss things ?

 
At 6:31 PM, Blogger GS said...

I must say, ESP 2.0 is perfect for me, and when I looked through your wishlist for 3.0, none of the items made me think "Yes, I want that!" In fact, some of them I didn't understand.

One exception, I guess: boolean logic.

Another thing: sometimes I just want to see folders. Another user mentioned this.

OK, just one more: the ability to exclude certain directories from the index, even though a parent directory is included.

BTW I installed launchy today to use just as an application launcher. Sure, ESP can do this fine, but when I want to launch an app, I don't want lots of documents getting in the way. I'm letting launchy do the easy task and leaving the hard work for ESP.

As a teacher who works with hundreds or thousands of documents and a deep set of folders, I find ESP absolutely invaluable.

Some of the things you mentioned may be really important for people with a lot more files than me, but please don't make the interface or configuration more complicated than it needs to be. The simplicity of the software is a great asset.

Regards,
Gavin

 
At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ability to select multiple items from the results just like in windows explorer so we can copy and paste, etc.

 
At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you already started the develop of 3.0 version?

 
At 12:10 PM, Blogger Eric Hewitt said...

Things to add to the probability computation:

* File modification date (files modified more recently should be higher). Be careful, though, or windows temp files will end up at the top of the list!

* When I type a given set of characters, and then select an item, if in the future I type that same set of characters (or part of them), that item should be raised to the top.

Eric

 
At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. I recently discovered this program and I feel great. It's amazing the speed with which conducts searches, much better than other similar programs. Congratulations on this program so wonderful. It has become an imperative for me. One question, how will the development of ESP 3.0?
Thank you.

I do not speak English and I used the google translator.

 
At 7:16 AM, Blogger GS said...

Hi, it's been a while :) Any news?

One more request. Sometimes I want to search for a string that *contains* spaces.

e.g. If I search for Year 7 then obviously that means Year AND 7, whereas I'm looking for files named things like "Test - Year 7 Algebra". The search will find this, of course, but the 7 will also match anything with 2007 in it!

Maybe I should just rename my files...

 
At 3:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No news ? :-(

 
At 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There seems be a similar tool (doesn't look quite as good .. but can sort).

http://www.voidtools.com

 
At 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still love ESP. Hope it works on Windows 7 ! Use it everyday. So fast. So effective.

 
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At 4:26 PM, Anonymous drmurdoch said...

Still use ESP everyday.
My favourite program of all time.
Would love to talk to the author and pay for an update. (DRM). Or at least talk about ESP :) email me at epiphany@cogeco.ca :) Thanks in advance :)

 

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