Extensis' Portfolio suite turns a disk full of photos into a readily searchable archive with extensive metadata capabilities.
Extensis Portfolio suite for digital asset management combines intuitive media storage and retrieval with cross-platform flexibility and enterprise-scale database handling.
For Windows and Mac OS users, the $199.95 Portfolio client turns a disk full of photos into a readily searchable archive with extensive metadata capabilities. The 7.0.4 update, released last month, keeps the product abreast of the latest professional-grade digital cameras with vendor-specific raw file formats.
Enterprise users will find significant enhancements in the $3,499.95 Portfolio Server 7.0.4, also released last month, including improved connectivity to Microsoft SQL, Microsoft MSDE, MySQL and Oracle databases.
My first test of Portfolio was driven by my everyday needs: Without cracking the manual, could I search an entire years worth of photos in a multilevel folder structure, cataloging only the ones that Id found to be worth processing and naming with something other than the default name given by the camera?
Portfolios fill-in options screens allowed me to seek only the files that didnt match the patterns of camera-generated file names, surfacing only the photos that I had processed and saved with more descriptive labels. The product scanned about 5,000 files on an external FireWire hard drive in less than 5 minutes, showing 350 "good ones" in a thumbnail-browser environment with extensive customization options.
Entering search terms at the top of the resulting light-table display gave me nearly instantaneous filtering of my collection.
Portfolios ease of use on a single desktop is complemented by its multiuser features, including sharing catalogs, server-side processing of folder synchronization, SQL database integration and transparent access to files even as theyre migrated from online to offline storage.
Multiplatform shops will appreciate the ability to store a Portfolio catalog on a device such as an external FireWire drive and access that catalog from either a Windows or Mac OS workstationalthough I did encounter a few glitches due to inconsistent handling of the file-name paths on those different platforms. Most users wont find this to be a serious problem.
A more likely issue is the need to keep pace with new file formats, especially the idiosyncratic raw image formats of individual camera models in the semipro and professional categories. With my initial installation registered on the Extensis site, I enjoyed access to the latest updates.
More information is at www.extensis.com.
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Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at salesforce.com, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter company's first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.