Baseline: There’s Nothing Baseline About This App

LogoHave you ever wondered why one day you have 132 GBs free, and the next day you only have 32 GBs free? With Baseline you can see what files are taking up all that space in a nice and easy-to-use interface. You may ask, “What makes Baseline different from the rest?” Well, there are many features that make Baseline better than OmniDiskSweeper and WhatSize.

One feature of Baseline that really got me to like it the most is the TreeMap feature. Yes, WhatSize has a graphical display too, but I don’t think it is nearly as cool as Baseline’s. Baseline shows you a picture with a rectangle for each file, so you can see what huge files are eating up space. The many different colors it uses in the graphical display make it look even better. When you highlight a rectangle, it will tell you the file’s name and how large or small it is. If you look closely, you will see that there are yellow boxes around some other rectangles; those are the files that share the same directory of the root of your drive as the one you have highlighted. I don’t really see how this is that useful, though. This graphical display looks cool, but can get pretty complicated, and look cluttered sometimes, which is why some people like WhatSize’s TreeMap view more; it looks simpler.

Screenshot

Another killer feature of Baseline is its ability to save scans. This lets you compare a scan from yesterday with one from today to see why you lost so much space. You can do this by (in either Column or List view) selecting “Changed” instead of “All” for “Show:”. this will only show you the files that have changed since your last scan. Always (at least in List view) next to the name of the file it shows how a folder or file has changed, like “-2.5 GB” or “+1.0 MB”. This can also help when looking for changed files or folders, or where data has been added. You can also turn this on in Column view by selecting “Changes” instead of “Sizes” at the top. I like this feature a lot, but would like to have the ability to turn it off in list view; sometimes you just want to see the size of a file.

Screenshot

Another feature of Baseline is color-coding. In both Column and List view Baseline color-codes all files so you can see, without paying much attention, what files are the biggest. It also color-codes the text where it says the size of the file. Red files are big, purple files are medium, and green files are small. It would be nice if they color-coded the TreeMap view this way too, but then again, the TreeMap looks better with the shades of grey. It even color-codes the changes in size when you have that switched off. The color-coding is part of most of these disk sweeping apps; some even use the same colors!

One very useful thing that Baseline does is it saves whichever folder you are looking at when you switch views, so you can see the contents of that folder in all of the views without having to find it again.

As I said above, you can save Baseline scans to compare them to the next time you scan. You can save a Baseline by clicking the “Save Baseline” in the toolbar, and manage them by clicking the “Manage Baselines”. Managing Baselines just shows you all the scans that you have saved for a hard drive. You name the scans, so if you name them by date you can easily find which scan you are looking for. It would be nice if you could double-click on one of those managed scans and compare to it, though. You can do this easily, though, by just selecting a scan in the popup box in the upper-left hand corner. Another thing that would be very useful would be, when you open Baseline, to load the last scan made so you can see what it looked like.

Another amazing feature of Baseline is the ability to archive and compress files with the click of a button. Just press “Archive” in the toolbar (when you have already scanned), and it will take that file and compress it in .gzip, and put the original file in the trash. If you choose to archive the file, it will compress it with .tgz and trash the original. It would be nice if they asked you whether you wanted to have the original trashed.

Baseline is well worth the ~$5 more you pay than for OmniDiskSweeper or WhatSize because of all the features listed above. Not all of them are perfect, but no one expects them to be. The final most important thing that makes it even more worth the money is the interface. Its interface is so much more Mac-like than all the rest. I absolutely love the interface, and think that it is so much easier to use than those of the others. It just looks better, which in my opinion is worth the $5 alone.

Baseline retails for $20 from MildMannered Industries and you can download a 14-day trial with full functionality from that same site. The developer has told me that there are many new features in store for Baseline, including Time Machine support, Quicklook and duplicate detections! I hope you try it out, because, as I did, you might end up switching.

Comments

8 Responses to “Baseline: There’s Nothing Baseline About This App”

  1. Baseline: There's Nothing Baseline About This App « want @ bite? on April 22nd, 2008 7:06 am

    [...] 22, 2008 Baseline: There's Nothing Baseline About This App: “s you all the scans that you have saved for a hard drive. You name the scans, so if you [...]

  2. Alex P on April 22nd, 2008 7:17 am

    May not have all the features, and is a bit older, but Disk Inventory X still works and is free:

    http://www.derlien.com/

    (Universal version in sidebar on the left)

  3. Martin Redington on April 22nd, 2008 8:59 am

    “Another feature of Baseline is color-coding. In both Column and List view Baseline color-codes all files so you can see, without paying much attention, what files are the biggest.”

    Actually, the color coding of the filenames indicates whether a file is part of a installed package or not (purple if it is, black if its not). All system files, and most Apple stuff will be. Hint – you might now want to delete these files?

    You can see what package the files belongs to by looking at the tooltip in list view (this should work in the columns/browser view too, but we’re working on that one).

  4. Lucky on April 22nd, 2008 9:20 am

    GrandPerspective is free

    http://grandperspectiv.sourceforge.net/

  5. Chriswan on April 22nd, 2008 10:33 am

    This has more features when compared with WhatSize

    Overall I prefer Baseline over WhatSize

    But WhatSize gives more accurate file size count (a lot closer to Finder’s Get Info measurement). Baseline measurements usually like 2-10MB smaller than Finder measurements

  6. Martin Redington on April 22nd, 2008 10:40 am

    Hi Chriswan – yep – I keep meaning to look at that – I think they might have changed something, as I think Baseline did match to them originally.

    They might be including directory sizes or something (typically the actual directory file is a few k).

  7. Chriswan on April 22nd, 2008 10:46 am

    Oh, and you can improve the GUI, especially the lower part of the app, to be more ‘Leopard-ish’

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