A Better Time Machine

Well, here we are. Finally we released the FileWatcher. If was a very interesting experience about, if the time permits, we’ll blog further.

But what’s most important in this experiment was that we were determined to build a tool for you. For customers. Sounds great, isn’t? But in practice isn’t so straight as it seems to be…

First of all, we spent more time on collaborative design with our customers than coding. We found new usage cases for our engine, usage cases which weren’t planned at the beginning. Perhaps the most important one is the Time Machine. The possibility to revert back in time in a visual manner at any version of any document, thing which is very useful, especially when we speak about source code.

There were enough backup programs on the market but their main problems for us (and for our beta testers) are the lack of Continuous Data Protection while keeping past versions of the files on certain directories together with a easy (visual) navigation between different moments in the past time of a directory, being it source code, documents etc., all of these at an affordable price. Also, another problem was that usually the backup programs ‘stop the world’ while this tool should run smoothly in the background.

A somewhat similar concept is Apple’s Time Machine but there the backups are system-wide and on a hourly basis while here these are real-time and only on the specified directories. Not all directories are created equal.

Another advantage of being user-centered was the diversity and variety of testing. The program was extensively tested and certified to provide real-time Continuous Data Protection and versioning with the following programs:

• Embarcadero RAD Studio
• Microsoft Visual Studio
• SharpDevelop
• Eclipse
• IntelliJ IDEA
• NetBeans
• Zend Studio
• Embarcadero JBuilder
• Lazarus

• Microsoft Word
• Microsoft Excel
• Microsoft Visio
• Microsoft Outlook
• Microsoft PowerPoint
• Microsoft Publisher
• Microsoft Project
• Microsoft OneNote

• OpenOffice.org Draw
• OpenOffice.org Writer
• OpenOffice.org Math
• OpenOffice.org Calc
• OpenOffice.org Impress
• OpenOffice.org Base

• QuarkXPress
• Autodesk AutoCad

• Corel Draw
• Corel PhotoPaint
• Corel Painter
• Corel WordPerfect
• Corel QuattroPro
• Corel Presentations

• Adobe PhotoShop
• Adobe InDesingn
• Adobe Illustrator
• Adobe Acrobat
• Adobe Dreamweaver
• Adobe Flash

• Gimp
• Inkscape
• Blender

• Nuance PDF
• Nitro PDF

• Abby FineReader

• Notepad++

• …and Microsoft Notepad 🙂

Of course, the versioning engine should work with many more programs – the above entries are the brand names on which we (and our users) focused.

Well, I can say more things about it but perhaps is better to give it a try and see for yourself (some of the most important features are noted at the above link). Also you have a concise ‘Getting Results’ documentation available separate as well as in the installer.

You can contact us for almost everything (ok, have mercy guys 🙂 ) using the eMail (link in the sidebar) and / or using the in-page comments which are left open on all pages for you to express your ideas.

5 thoughts on “A Better Time Machine

    • 1. For the almost same price AJC Active Backup matches partially only the point 1.) (Backup) from the FileWatcher’s features (see here). In other words while AJC Active Backup is a backup program only while FileWatcher can be regarded more as a, let’s say, File Control Center.

      2. WRT to Backup part, the main difference is that we provide a Time Machine – ie a visual interface to go back in time and restore a point in time or a time interval. (In fact if you go to Advanced… | Restore… you will have on the right part something which looks like an Explorer window, you can do from there everything which Windows allows through right-click menu (open, copy etc). but that Explorer window shows the files which were on your directory at the specified moment in the past on in a certain interval (settings on the left side of the window). In fact it combines the advantages of AJC’s product with the advantages of Apple’s product. (Ok, we don’t have the Apple’s animations 🙂 )

      3. Again, WRT to Backup part, (because only here we can compare the two products), one can do named snapshots. For ex. you want to refactor the User Interface of your program. A necessary, but a big change. So, before doing this you will go to the Time Machine and ‘freeze’ this moment, restoring the entire repository of your code to a directory called eg. “Before refactoring the UI’.

      HTH

  1. – i`m a ‘weekend’ programmer and SVN is kind of too much to me … but this application seems to solve my problem :). Anyway, yesterday i give it a try. Installation went fine, but i got lost on the UI … i had no idea what to do, how to set it up until i`ve read that pdf file.

    – my opinion is that will be much user-friendly if will be implemented as a wizard. So you have to follow some steps in a specific order for each monitored location, something like: select source > select destination > versioning options > logging options > etc.

    – i haven`t found yet how to restore a “specific” version of a file.

    – the ability to see differences between current file and a specific version will be great (for text files)

    cheers,
    Alin

    • “- my opinion is that will be much user-friendly if will be implemented as a wizard.”
      Cooomiiing!…. 🙂
      FTR, as we talk our graphic wizard just started to work at images after (more or less) setting in stone with our tech wizard the pages for your wizard. 🙂

      – i haven`t found yet how to restore a “specific” version of a file.

      If is one file, you (using Windows Explorer) simply go to the folder where your backup is located (manually or by pressing Show Directory next to the Target Path edit box). And get the file from there (Copy, Open etc.). To choose the right file, perhaps you can do a sort by name (if isn’t already) – the newer files are at top of the list. For example: Main.pas is the actual file mirrored from the source. Main{ZZZA.pas is the previous version, Main{ZZZB.pas is even older and so on… you can freely open them with your program of choice to see what is the file which fits to your purpose. (additionally you can set the Windows Explorer to show the dates if this helps you).
      Another way is Time Machine where you can set any point in time to see how the file looked at that time. I’m thinking that we must do a movie for this.

      – the ability to see differences between current file and a specific version will be great (for text files)
      Yep. We have already the code. Just to polish some things and make it fit… 🙂

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