A Better Finder Series

A Better Finder Series
Author: Frank Reiff
Estimated Price: $44.95

In October of 1998, MyMac.com (then My Mac Magazine) reviewed A Better Finder Rename, a nifty batch rename utility activated via a contextual menu plug in. Since then, A Better Finder Rename has not only grown and developed into version 3.8, but it has also picked up four siblings who are all labeled by the affectionate “A Better Finder” title. Together, all five plug-ins create a very powerful plug in suite for the Mac OS finder that is sure to satisfy any Macintosh user of any level.

A Better Finder Rename
A Better Finder Rename, or ABFR, allows you to rename large batches of files in a very short amount of time. It will allow renaming of files not only in the root folder, but also sub folders, and you can rename files in a host of different fashions. ABFR allows you to replace, add, or remove characters virtually anywhere within the file name, and you can also truncate, strip vowels, and produce numerical and alphanumerical lists. ABFR came in handy for this year’s Macworld New York coverage, allowing me to name the photos 01-16.jpg for each gallery. What’s more, in combination with my Adobe Photoshop scripts, ABFR completed a virtually automated system of posting photograph coverage.

ABFR also allows you to create droplet applications instead of having to control-click on the selected files. Much like Adobe Photoshop droplets, once a droplet is created, you can drag and drop all of your files onto the droplet application and allow ABFR to work it’s magic!

The Nitty Gritty
Three of the four remaining ABF utilities allow you to be a power user in every sense of the word. A Better Finder Creators & Types, my favorite ABF utility, allows you to change the application creator and type code for documents. With ABFCT, you can specify which application you want to open which file. For example, if I use Dreamweaver on a HTML document, it will, by default, set Dreamweaver as the application to open the file when double-clicked. However, I normally use BBEdit to do HTML, and I don’t want to have to drag and drop the file on BBEdit every time I want to open it. Enter ABFCT! Simply select BBEdit from it’s pull-down menu, and ABFCT will change the creator and type to RC*H and TEXT, respectively. This will, in turn, allow the file to be opened with BBEdit by default. ABFCT will rename batches of files, and like each ABF utility, launches it’s own application when selected via contextual menu.

A Better Finder Info and A Better Finder Attributes enable you to identify and change creator dates, modification dates, and a host of bit properties such as name locked bit, alias bit, and bundle bit. You can also create stationary pad documents. Though many of these options are only for advanced users, those of us that do need them will appreciate the fact that just like all other ABF utilities, ABF Info and Attributes will both allow batch replacement.

And to tie it together…
The last ABF utility is A Better Finder Select, which allows you to select a host of files based on properties such as file extensions, what they contain, creator type, and creation and modification dates. Once you use ABF Select to select the files you want, you can easily switch to A Better Finder Rename, Creators & Types, or Attributes to perform functions on the selected files. Moreover, many of the A Better Finder utilities have buttons to switch between the other ABF utilities, which can certainly be useful when manipulating large batches of files in different ways.

System Requirements and Pricing Information
The ABF series will work on all Macintosh computers that support the contextual-menu enabled Mac OS, i.e. Mac OS 8 – 9.21. As of the time of publication, Mr. Reiff has also released preview versions of A Better Finder Rename for Mac OS X, which is a very good sign! The entire A Better Finder series can be purchased for $44.95, or each utility can be purchased separately. A Better Finder rename will only set you back $14.95, while the other four utilities will cost you a measly $9.95 each.

The Summary
The A Better Finder Series is an ingenious product that will make the lives of webmasters, multimedia professionals, graphic designers, print production managers, IT professionals, and even SOHO users easier. Though they are integrated into the Finder via contextual menu plug-ins, they all offer application level functionality because each plug in launches an application. Frank Reiff is one of the many Macintosh shareware authors who creates incredible products with incredible quality, something that cannot be said about many commercial companies today. What’s more, Mr. Reiff allows you to purchase the utilities separate from each other if desired, so you are not forced to pay for a utility that you are never going to use.

Though the usefulness of some of the ABF utilities can be brought into question, they are certainly there if you ever need to use them. And who knows, with Mac OS X on the horizon, I may need to use A Better Finder Attributes to change the bundle bit in some of my files! And for those who work with foreign documents such as PC and Unix files, these seeming useless utilities can prove invaluable. I use the A Better Finder series because it works, and works well. That alone warrants a very high recommendation from MyMac.com.

MacMice Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Adam Karneboge

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