Updated 2007-11-14 18:21:28 by LV

FILTR - File Inventory for Loading, Transfer and Recovery

SEH 20061111 -- UPDATE: I just released FILTR 4.0 on its sourceforge site [1]. It's a complete rewrite, using the newest vfs's derived from a template virtual filesystem, and replaces SFM with TOXFile as the file manager. It's easier to use and has more features.

I haven't updated the home page for it yet, so ignore the docs found there. Rewritten docs are included in the release files (there's a choice of a starkit, a Win32 starpack or a zip file). If you start the starkit or starpack, you can use TOXFile (which appears on startup) to navigate straight into the wrapped files through the magic of virtual filesystems and copy the doc files out for examination.

SEH 20060110 -- UPDATE: I've polished the code for this program and posted it in .zip and starkit form on Sourceforge: http://filtr.sourceforge.net.

  • 3.0.5 -- Added workaround in templatevfs.tcl to Tclvfs bug in handling of glob command.
  • 3.0.4 -- refined Unix permissions solution.
  • 3.0.3 -- added code to work around Unix permissions problems.
  • -------- can specify alternate backup location with environment variable FILTR_BACKUP.
  • 3.0.2 -- added code to ensure operation when Win32 install volume is different from current volume.
  • 3.0.1 -- added code to remove dependency on starkit package.

SEH 2005May03 -- The FILTR is a program intended to be useful over the course of my lifetime. It combines the features of a backup utility, an archiving/version-control utility and a document management utility to create an effective and simple-to-use personal document management system.

Instead of safeguarding a set of files on an individual computer as most backup programs do, it is designed to manage and maintain a personal virtual filesystem independent of any single computer, all or part of which can be projected onto any of the several computers I use now or may use in the future.

The FILTR allows management of files and directories by project and edit time. I can maintain a subset of my personal filesystem on a particular computer, edit the files there, and then upload the changes back to the master archive. All changes are preserved as file deltas, and any previous state of a single file, a directory, a project spanning several files and directories, or the entire archive can be reconstituted.

I can maintain several subsets of the archive on several different computers over extended periods, then merge everything back into one at my convenience.

I can perform simple procedures via drag-and-drop in the included GUI file manager, or complex selections using wildcards and advanced settings with dynamically-generated configuration files.

I can combine archiving with deployment, for example I can set up a sub-directory so that every time I save a file into it, a copy of the file is uploaded to an FTP site at the same time.

In case some files of interest can't be easily integrated into the personal filesystem tree (like Firefox profile files), I can make OS-independent "symbolic links" from arbitrary locations into the personal filesystem space, and manage changes to them like any other in the archive. I can thus make config information portable across computers and operating systems, so that any computer I sit down to shortly behaves like "my" computer.

This is the program I wish someone had handed to me when I started working with computers twenty years ago, so I could have enjoyed the continuity to organize and polish my work over the whole course of my efforts, rather than spending so much time distracted by trying to prevent catastrophic loss and wondering about lost and abandoned information.

Ooh, Steve! I've wanted this for a looooong time! With options such as a gmail-based FS and encryption, it could be a planetary solution :) -jcw

escargo 10 Jan 2006 - Is this application expected to work on Microsoft Windows? It fails for me.

SEH -- I use Windows myself. What failure do you get?

escargo 10 Jan 2006 - It's really annoying that error message texts are not selectable and copyable - couldn't change working directory to "W:/mnt/vfs/backup": no such file or directory while executing "cd $startDir" (file "C:/Tcl/bin/FILTR-3.0.kit/sfm1.5/sfmwrap.tcl" line 1173) invoked from within "source info script"

SEH -- It looks like it's getting confused about the current volume. Are you starting the starkit stored on C: while W: is the current volume? It should be trying to get to C:/mnt/vfs/backup. I haven't tested a multi-volume scenario, I'll look into it.

escargo - I have the .kit file on C:/Tcl/bin; I just started up a command prompt, and it is reporting that my current directory is W:\. That is a surprise to me. There may be a startup script that changes to that directory (I know that I'm not doing it). If I cd to C:\Tcl\bin and then
 tclsh FILTR-3.0.kit

I get the same error. I don't see any environment variables that specify W:\. If I do a

the answer I get is C:/Tcl/bin. Very curious. (I'm running Windows XP Pro Service Pack 2 and ActiveTcl, just for the record.) fractal.kit and tile05.kit, previously downloaded from the Starkit archive, do not have a problem when I run them from the command prompt. Something is different about them and FILTR-3.0.kit.

SEH -- I just uploaded FILTR 3.0.2 which adds code to ensure proper operation when the current volume is not the install volume.

escargo - The 3.0.2 kit version does successfully start.

AET 12jan06 Just loaded FILTR 3.0.2 .kit for trial on XP. Works Well so far - Well Done! Some very good ideas here! Starts happily from .kit file (in C:\path with spaces\bin\) and from a shortcut to that file from the desktop.

One strange thing. Most often the main window grabs 'always on top' status. Occasionally not - haven't yet worked out why. When it does, it masks pop-up windows, making you think that nothing is happening.

SEH -- I"m not much of a Tk maven... I can"t explain that behavior either. Any suggestions will be gratefully accepted.

2006/01/12 I just tried FILTR 3.0.2 .kit on linux and got the message 'can't create directory "/mnt/vfs": permission denied ...' - does this require I have root permission? If so, do you have any suggestions about how difficult it would be to work around this? Thanks!

SEH -- Uploaded FILTR 3.0.4 which eliminates Unix permission problem.

Bryan Oakley March 3 2007 - FILTR 4.02 doesn't work on the mac; I get "bad cursor spec "sb_h_double_arrow" invoked from within $activator configure -cursor sb_h_double_arrow"

SEH Sorry, I don't have a Mac for testing. This sounds like a problem with the GUI filemanager TOXFile rather than the FILTR system itself. Let's ask some Tk experts why a Tk app that works fine on Win and Unix throws this problem on Mac.