Data Management, collaborative tag
Tabbles are special containers that you can use to organize your files, documents, emails, and Internet addresses. You can then use tabbles to find, sort and share your data in a totally new way.
Organize, group, find, collaborate
Organize: cross-link files and concepts, producing a dynamic file-system.
Tabbles allows you to organize files in a flexible way, without imposing a static folder structure.
How many times, when producing or downloading a new file, have you wondered in which folder it is best to put the file, because there is more than one place where it makes sense to put it? And if you put it in one place, you will not find it if you later look in the other place, or if someone else looks for it in the other place.
Sometimes, for this reason, you ended up duplicating the file in both places. But after some time, forgetting that, you modified one of them. This caused different versions to exist in different places. Then, after some more time, you or someone else modified the old version. You ended up with several coexisting versions, which had to be merged manually. This is time-consuming, and frustrating.
Also, multiple versions can waste a lot of space on disk. Other times, to avoid this problem, you tried to rework your folder structure, so that anything could go in one place only (i.e. a so-called taxonomy). But this is often impossible, and always impractical.
Even when it is possible, you realized that no single folder structure is ideal in all situations: should you organize your folders first by customer, then by year, then by topic? Or first by year, then by customer, then by topic? Or first by topic, then by customer, then by year? Sometimes you need to see all the files in a given topic, regardless of the customer; other times you need to see all the files of a given customer; and when you need to archive old files, you need to see all the files in a given year. There is no way a single, static folder structure can be ideal in all situations.
And what if your folder structure must be used by many people, each with different searching needs? It is impossible to keep them all happy and efficient.
The solution Tabbles puts an end to all that. With Tabbles, each new document can be associated, or cross-linked, with all its relevant topics, all its relevant customers, and all its relevant years, without deciding a folder structure in advance, and without copying or duplicating the file. It is only later, when you actually try to find your files, that Tabbles dynamically creates the folder structure which is most appropriate for your needs.
Here is how it works: if you click a topic first, you will see all the customers with that topic, as dynamically generated subfolders. Conversely, if you click a customer first, you will see all the topics of that customer, once again as dynamic subfolders.
And if you click a year first, you will see all the customers of that year, and all the topics of that year. The key is that subfolders are computed dynamically, depending of what folders you have already opened. Tabbles is therefore a dynamic file-system. Here is a side-by side summary of these two organization systems:
|Before Tabbles: static hierarchies||Tabbles: non-hierarchical, cross-linked structure.|
|The file systems commonly used with Windows, like NTFS, arrange files in a hierarchical way, similar to “Chinese boxes”. Each folder and file can be located inside only one folder (symbolic links do exist but have very limited functionality.)
Once the folder structure is defined, it cannot be easily changed, and all files must then be sorted and searched according to the given scheme. Sometimes there is more than one place where you can put things, and policies cannot be easily be enforced among many coworkers.
Even when there is a single place where to put things, no hierarchical structure fits all situations. And with multiple users collaborating, it is difficult to keep all of them content and efficient. Finally, if the data you are looking for is archived, or is on a disconnected drive, you will have to switch to a totally different user interface to find it.
|With Tabbles, there is no single, predefined folder structure to which everyone must comply. You work by linking each file with the relevant concepts.
This is like creating many folder hierarchies at the same time. The actual hierarchy users will see is created dynamically, according to their needs at that time.
When you cross-link files and tabbles, you are in effect creating all possible structures at the same time, and with the same effort! Finally, with Tabbles you work with the same interface, even when the files you are working with are archived, or are on a disconnected drive.
With Tabbles, you can group together, and operate on, files which are physically located far away from each other, in different disks and folders, as if they were in the same folder.
The disks need not even be currently connected to the computer: Tabbles will tell you what disk to connect or insert, only when needed! In the end, you will no more ask yourself things like: “This .doc is in this customer’s folder. Did I use it in other projects too? Are there other copies of it?”
Find: describe yours files instead of looking for them
Remembering where your files are is simply impossible, but still you remember what they are about… Even the most organized people often have troubles finding sensible files. Even the simplest folder structures and file naming system can be hard to remember or to understand. Our brains are simply not that efficient when it comes to remembering files’ locations and names, even if we easily remember enough to describe the files we are looking for.
Very often you remember a lot about a file, but you don’t know where it is.
Very often the only way to find a file is by searching for its name or its folder’s name, which you will hardly remember. The disk where the file is stored might very well be disconnected, or detached. You might have hundreds of DVDs, or removable USB drives, where the file could be.
You’ll need to spend time browsing, or asking someone else for help. Searching for a file can be time consuming and frustrating.
Tabbles allows you to find your files, emails, documents and internet addresses by simply describing them in a natural and easy way.
With the Combine function, you can find the files you are looking for by picking the attributes that best describe your files, in a graphical and user-friendly way. Tabbles will then show you all the files that match your description, regardlessy of where they are located, whether or not they are in connected drives. During the search Tabbles will suggest you how refine the search, leading you to the files you’re looking for in a natural way.
Features: tagging, auto-tagging, browsing, sharing.
Here we introduce a few of Tabbles’ key features. For a complete list of features, click here.
Ultra fast tagging for everyone
To “cross-link” files and concepts, you have two ways: you can select a file and then click the relevant concepts, or you can select a concept and then drag a bunch of files into it. These concepts, which can act both like tags and containers, are called “tabbles” (from “tag” and “bubble”).
Since Tabbles is a desktop application, it is well integrated with Microsoft Windows: categorization can be done using the usual explorer functions, such as copy-and-paste, drag-and-drop (keyboard shortcuts and right-button menu included) or using special dialog boxes called “quick-tag” dialogs. And tagging can also be done automatically, via powerful rules you can define.
Auto-tagging, One-Click Tagging, Regular Expressions
Tabbles can tag your files automatically based on your folder structure; it can help you tag a file that you just created or downloaded with just one-click, without forcing you to locate it in the file manager first; or you can define powerful rules to tag files automatically, including Regular Expressions.
The Combine function
As we have seen, tabbles are special containers that can be combined, i.e. intersected or subtracted. Intersecting two tabbles shows the files that are in all the tabbles. (This is like making a logical “and” of two sets of files.) This way you can find the files that are related to all the concepts you have in mind. You can also subtract, i.e. exclude, other tabbles, to refine the search even more.
The combine operation is incremental. This means that, in order to find a file, you work as follows: first, you choose the initial tabble to open. After opening it, you will of course see the list of files in this tabble. This list of files will be typically be very long, too long to locate the file you need at a glance. So you will want to combine some other tabble, in order to narrow down the list of files. Here, Tabbles helps you by displaying a list of the so-called combinable tabbles, i.e. the tabbles that can be intersected with the tabble you have chosen, producing a non-empty intersection. This means that Tabbles is dynamically computing the possible subfolders of an open folder; it is what realizes a dynamic file-system. Then, you will choose a combinable tabble from the list, and that tabble will be combined, i.e. added to the open tabbles; So now you will have two tabbles open, and the file list will be shorter. If the list of files is short enough, you can locate the file at a glance. Otherwise, you will want to combine a third tabble. Once again, you will look in the list of combinable tabbles, which this time will contain only those tabbles that can be combined with both the open tabbles. You will choose a third tabble, and combine it. And you can go on this way, adding tabbles until the file list becomes so short that you can find the file you need at a glance. You can then open the file, or manipulate it like with any file manager. This is how Tabbles solves the complex problem of creating a dynamic file-system.
Tabble sharing is a feature allowing users to tag files socially. The goal is to create a tag cloud with all the files/documents/emails/bookmarks relevant to a certain team or department, and make it available for browsing to all the team members. With tabble sharing:
- you can organize the chaos on your shared drives (P: drive and so on).
- One person can tag, and all the others can benefit from it; or each person can tag his own files and make the tagging available to others.
- You have a powerful users and permission system, to determine who can tag with what tabbles, and who can open what tabbles;