Sunday, September 1, 2002

Organize your handheld with FilePoint Pro

PRODUCT REVIEW

By David Silver

The previous release of FilePoint was already a fantastic program (see the review at http://www.palmpower.com/issues/issue200201/filepoint001.html). Filepoint Pro, by Bachmann Software (at http://www.bachmannsoftware.com/filepointpro.htm) expands on the already great program by adding many new features, most notably desktop support. FilePoint Pro has a desktop conduit that enables you to synchronize your folder tree with the desktop and then edit the folder tree. You can also add files and file them directly on your PC! The Palm OS program itself hasn't changed very much, so I'll only go over it briefly. For a more detailed review, follow the above link.

The FilePoint Conduit and Desktop: a mixture of past, present, and future

The FilePoint Pro Conduit enables you to edit your files on the PC. At each HotSync operation, the Conduit synchronizes your Palm handheld's files with your desktop's folder tree. You can then categorize any file on you Palm handheld. The FilePoint Pro Desktop is shown in Figure A.

FIGURE A

FilePoint Pro Desktop, your home away from home. (click for larger image)

You can specify which program you use to view desktop documents, whether it be WordSmith (at http://www.bluenomad.com), QuickOffice (at http://www.quickoffice.com), Documents to Go (at http://www.dataviz.com), or Adobe Acrobat Reader for Palm OS (at http://www.adobe.com). Then, you can drag those files to the FilePoint window to have them automatically installed. From the desktop you can also delete any file, although that can get dangerous if you delete any important files. It's also dangerous on the Palm handheld, but that's a little more secure.

One of my favorite features of FilePoint Pro is file linking. If you've installed a Microsoft Word file on your Palm handheld using one of the above programs, you can have FilePoint Pro link that icon to that document so that, when you click on the icon, the document will open. You can do it with any icon, although it's more useful on some files than others. Linking a source file, for instance, won't do very much good in most circumstances.

On the Palm handheld

FilePoint on the Palm handheld is even more useful than FilePoint on the desktop. Since the program hasn't changed much since the previous review, this is only going to be a quick one.

If you have a device with expansion capability, at the top of the screen there will be an option to display the files in RAM, the current expansion card, or both.

The FilePoint folder view, shown in Figure B, is a split screen view. On the left is your folder tree. On the right are the contents of the selected folder or filter.

FIGURE B

The Split Screen View allows you to see your folder tree.

The views are changed by a set of icons in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. The second icon shows the files in the current folder or filter (you must select the folder in the split screen view), as well as each file's size and other details, which you can see in Figure C.