Extensis Revs Up Portfolio Suite.

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 workstation—although 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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