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Leap 1.0: a peek under the hood

Some applications remind me of cars. For example, most Java based applications are Volkswagen Things as they're useful in certain situations, but horrifying (or hilarious) to look at. But once in a while you get a Jaguar XJS: a beautiful exterior that doesn't bely its underlying power. That, and you frequently have to spend some time at the mechanic. Leap by Ironic Software – makers of Yep – just hit 1.0 after a long stint in beta. It's my current Jag.

We covered the beta, but here's a quick review. Leap is a Spotlight interface which, once you get used to it, causes a fundamental shift in the current paradigm of file management. Prior to finding Leap, I had already been using a homegrown, Spotlight-based file management system. The strategy – based on a tagging system – requires a far smaller folder hierarchy and allows for much faster location of related files in a project. Leap both complements my system and elegantly replaces a lot of its kludgier functionality.

By combining full Spotlight search capabilities with a tagging system (that writes to Spotlight comments), Leap makes file location a breeze and allows for easy association of files within a project. It can function like Finder, showing all files in a single directory, if that's what you need at the moment. The "Go Deep" search can display every file in every sub-folder of a project. The results can be filtered by criteria such as file type, location, date, keywords and other metadata, allowing for quick searching and tagging. It can also display a traditional list format, but the icon view with Loupe function and Quick Look integration makes browsing as elegant as any program I've tried. And, of course, a tag cloud view – and the ability to choose tags from a sidebar to narrow the search – makes all that tagging work worthwhile.

All of that being said, Leap still has some bugs despite its 1.0 status. I've been subjected to freezes fairly frequently, but the random crashing that plagued the beta seems to be cured. As far as features go, I wish there were an easy way to exclude parameters from a query. I'm also wishing for the ability to select multiple file types during a search using a ???-click rather than defining custom file type groups. But the interface, as it stands, is friendly and elegant once you get the basic concepts down. And nitpicking aside, it does elegantly accomplish everything I've been doing in a more manual fashion.

Leap is now selling for $59. You can buy Leap and Yep as a bundle for $69, and previous owners of Yep can get Leap for $39. That works for people who got Yep in a bundle as well. You can download a trial copy from Ironic Software and take it for a spin.

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