Friday, April 29, 2005

Google Desktop Search + Java

One of my favorite pieces of software that died while trying the Extreme Sport of transitioning from DOS to Windows was Magellan. It was a file manager for DOS that indexed your hard drive, then showed you the results in a list. Searching for some phrase that was on your drive was instantaneous. Now, you can get the same thing with Google Desktop. My only complaint is that you can't tell it what types of files you want it to index -- it defaults to things like Office documents and emails. But, lo and behold, there is a plug-in API. And someone has written a Google desktop plug-in that indexes Java source files. Plug it in, let it trundle a while to build the index, and you have instant access to interesting stuff you have in your Java files. Great for spelunking around a deep and wide object hierarchy. Because it's indexed, it's as fast as Ctnl-N in IntelliJ for finding classes, but it works over the entire file system, even on really large drives.

It indexes on the fly (it's amazing how fast it picks up new files), waiting on CPU idle time to kick in. The indexes on my machine currently take up about 1.5% of the disk. It changes the way you search for things, though...I'll give up 2% of my hard drive to get instant access to needles in a 30+ GB haystack.


mcknight said...

the Magellan guys live on at x1, and their product has been incorporated in the new yahoo desktop search product.

Fernando (Nerd Gaucho) said...

I guess the real question to be asked is... why is ignoring Java?. If I were Scott Mcnealy or James Gosling I'd be pouring billions into making a Java software development factory.

If you think about it, it's kind of ridiculous to have google code "Google desktop search" for Windows and then have to re-code the same app in MacOS-X, Linux or whatever other OS they want to support.

Why not a 100% java based solution? Swing can make apps look and feel like native apps these days, and there are even hooks that make Java apps "dock to the systray" (in windows) or to the gnome bar (in linux) etc.

Well, just something I've been thinking for the last few months.

I've been (unsuccesfully) campaigning to make Sun open source their Java instant messenger (formerly known as IPlanet Instant Messenger), since "it just makes sense" for Instant Messenger software to be written in cross-platform java...

Just my $0.02

Fernando (Nerd Gaucho) said...

and by the way Neal, could you please check your inbox? I wrote you twice and never got any reply. -thanks. :-D

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sam_24x7 said...

one of u kno where i can get simple desktop search application in java.

i need it as project.