Extensis Portfolio 4.0

The Extensis Portfolio 4.0 user interface provides different views of the information stored to locate resources, manage the content, and input data easily and efficiently.

Yes, when you can't find that file, and you forget the file name, don't just get angry, and voice an expletive, put the latest computer acronym in your vocabulary. DAM stands for Digital Asset Management, and is one of the hottest software topics this season. It doesn't take long collecting image files once you start doing digital photography to develop a need for DAM. The old business of storing snapshots in a shoe box doesn't work, because the "appearance" of the picture is not what you see when you go looking for a digital image, all you have is a bunch of file names on a digital storage media, or listed in a folder on your hard drive. What DAM does is connect a visual likeness and the file names, as well as a record of its location, and whatever other information you want to associate with the image to make it easy to find.

Extensis Portfolio 4.0 is a computer application which makes organizing, associating a thumbnail image, and associating keyword classification with computer files easy and efficient. In this latest edition, Portfolio has a long history of development and use as a thumbnail database utility providing the computer user with the means to organize and easily locate not just image files, but all of the related files one might use to create and service a web site, for instance. Some of the features which make Extensis Portfolio attractive to serious digital photographers include:
· It has support for the Windows PC platforms as well as the Macintosh.
· There are both server and web editions so the organization and search functions can be accessible and shared over networks.
· It has scripting which supports automating functions for ease of use and efficiency.
· It can extract keyword and other text information attached to content files.
· It has an extremely inclusive support for all media and file types.
· It includes web publishing support so resource information can be made available through a web site.
· The database has unlimited support for custom fields, making any kind of criteria search possible.
· It has an import function to acquire data from other sources (databases).
· Multiple views of stored information are provided.
· Export and create custom galleries in HTML for use in web pages.
· You can customize thumbnail appearance.
· Building slide shows is fully supported.

Working With Extensis Portfolio 4.0. In the past I have had several opportunities to use and work with Portfolio and its predecessor Fetch. I never adopted it for my own use because I found it demanded too great an investment in setup and learning, as well as regular, complex, data entry to justify its advantages. In this latest version however, the initial setup is easy and data entry is drag and drop simple. Once the application is installed which is a quick and simple procedure, starting a gallery to create thumbnails and store information involves just a few clicks of the mouse. For instance if you're storing image files on CDR discs, you can have the gallery preset to record the file name, folder name, and CDR disc name (volume title), automatically. Then to put a CDR's content into a portfolio gallery just put the CD in your computer, and once it is showing on the desktop click and drag the entire content onto the open gallery. Portfolio automatically generates thumbnails and files the location identification information. The essentials are done. You can add keywords, classes, and image related data immediately or later.

Evaluation And Recommendation. There are many thumbnail utilities that are often included with applications bundled with many hardware products and imaging applications. So, why not use these? Unfortunately, most have very limited database support, and cannot readily organize and store a large, complex library of images--something that is increasingly easy to acquire with just a little activity in digital photography. Portfolio 4.0 has the ability to start simple and is sufficiently flexible, powerful, and has the depth to grow with you. Regardless of where your digital photography and computer darkroom takes you, Portfolio has the capacity to keep up and provide your growing need for organization. Although at $199 the initial cost may seem steep for the single user edition, I believe from long experience over time it will be found worthwhile. It is one of the few things in computing these days which has an enduring value, and through regular upgrades Extensis will keep Portfolio current. For more information on Portfolio 4.0, contact Extensis at (800) 796-9798, or visit their web site at: www.extensis.com.

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