The iFile Project

7 October 2007

iFile is currently on the back burner. I've joined Powerset, Inc. and am currently the Manager of the Semantic Platform. If you haven't heard of Powerset, head over to our website and join Powerset Labs, our public site. I'm very excited about Powerset and the potential of natural language to revolutionize search and information organization.

With the release of Apple's OS X 10.5, Leopard, I will probably spend some time finally moving the codebase over from CodeWarrior to XCode. The reports seem to indicate that XCode on Leopard is good enough now to make the move. This will also give me the opportunity to do a much-needed code review, and to refactor where needed.

I am also pleased to report that I have been awarded Patent Number 7,275,063 for some of the technologies first implemented in iFile. I am interested in licensing these technologies going forward, as well as finally releasing iFile to the public once the source code base has been ported--yet again--to XCode.

If you are reading this, most likely you are on the iFile-Talk mailing list as a future iFile beta-tester. Welcome! If you have stumbled upon this page by accident, but would like to be on the iFile list, please send email to me at, and I will add you.

The rewrite has been progressing, and much of the interface has been recoded to take advantage of Apple's HI Toolbox including HIViews and Carbon Events. PowerPlantX has been a good framework so far and I plan to continue to use and enhance it as iFile progresses. I have had some experience with Spotlight and have determined that it will be a good secondary source for metadata storage, though I will still be using iFile's built-in object-oriented database and metadata catalog for speed and flexibility.

iFile, while still somewhat on the back burner, has been moving forward steadily. I'm still very excited about iFile and its potential, and am looking forward to receiving your feedback and suggestions. If you have any particular ideas or desires for an information organization system, feel free to let me know what you'd like to see in iFile. As soon as there is a version available for testing, I will be contacting everyone on the public beta list.

I attended the New Perspectives in User Computing conference at the IBM Almaden Research Center in the summer of 2004. The lecture track was very impressive: Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive gave a tremendous talk on his work (; Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell talked about their Microsoft Research project, MyLifeBits (, which is very ambitious and somewhat similar to iFile; and my favorite talk was definitely Bonnie DeVarco and Paul Hansen's talk on their geospatial imagery projects (, including the Interactive Earth Project. The other talks were excellent as well, I was told, but I was busy demonstrating iFile in the hall as an invited presenter. IBM Almaden generously provided me very large plasma display for the demo, and I was pleased that there was quite a bit of interest in iFile, especially considering the other conference participants had just seen a demo of Microsoft's MyLifeBits. While MyLifeBits is a large, well-funded project and in some ways has a greater scope than what we are planning with iFile, iFile's modern interface, speed, and flexibility is a real advantage, not to mention the fact that it will become available much sooner, and on the Mac :-) Rest assured that iFile will continue to progress, with your feedback and help.

To learn more about iFile, you can read articles in the New York Times,, TidBITS, MacMinute, and MacThemes.


Bruce Horn

© 2007 Ingenuity Software, Inc.