capsule review

RoboBasket

Everyone, over time, accumulates piles of files--a "download" or "sent files" directory is a likely culprit. Documents, images, media...it all piles up. Sorting this mess out can be tedious. RoboBasket promises to make it easier. Does it? It depends.

The interface is simple, and also a bit unfamiliar to those who do not use Macintoshes. Not just a Mac-like interface, it copies the Macintosh look and feel for the controls and window layout. It is, however, reasonably intuitive, passing my key test: can I use the core functionality of the program without reading a help file? There are, ultimately, only a few options and possibilities, and that is RoboBasket 1.1's strength and weakness.

To use RoboBasket, you create "rules," such as "If a file has an extension of .avi, move it to a folder called "Movies". Rules can consist of many conditions, but only one action, and the conditions are joined by either "All" or "Any"--there's no ability to say (A and B) or (C and D). Further, while you can create many rules--for example, one to sort movies into a folder, another to create artist folders for all your MP3s--you cannot load, save, or swap rules. All of your active rules will be applied when you use RoboBasket, so rules need to be deleted and then recreated if you want to apply a different set of rules to a different set of files.

To use RoboBasket, you minimize it to "bucket" form and then drag files into the "bucket". Each file is tested against the rules, and the actions are applied. RoboBasket has some flexibility--it will set you replace or rename identical files, and can make decisions based on some of the properties of MP3 or Office files (such as artist name or creation date), but it's all pretty much hard-coded. If there's a property that's not listed there, you're out of luck. I also experienced a problem when RoboBasket encountered a file name that contained Japanese characters.

The main things RoboBasket has going for it are simplicity and ease of use. It's very easy to create rules and process files. The downside is a lack of flexibility. If the trial doesn't result in you wanting to do things that it cannot do--and you have directories filled with mixed files--RoboBasket may be a useful addition to your utility collection.

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At a Glance
  • RoboBasket's nice sorting interface makes it easy to set up rules, as long as you're careful about folder recursion.

    Pros

    • A slick, simple interface for setting up filters
    • Complex filtering options allowing for fine-grained control

    Cons

    • Path recursion is set on a per-folder basis rather than per-filter, requiring a workaround
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