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TUAW review: DomainBrain

I'm not much of a collector, but I do have an inordinate number of websites and domains to my name. How did that happen? You get an idea, buy a domain, and set up a site. Repeat that process a few times, and you find yourself in my situation.

What's worse is that I've been storing the login creds, database details, registrar information, and so much more in text files. Trying to find any bit of data is a real hassle, not to mention a security risk. Thank goodness for DomainBrain. This super piece of software from Anthony Piraino of One Button Mouse has relieved me of my stacks of text files, organized all of that information, and made anything I'm after instantly retrievable. Here's our review of DomainBrain.

Click for more on the next page, and check out the gallery of images below.


Version 2

Version 2 is a complete re-write that leapfrogs the original. Its UI should be instantly familiar to anyone who has used iTunes or iPhoto in the last few years. On the left you'll see a sidebar, which holds your domains in the familiar (and a tiny bit creepy) "brain jar." Each is labeled with the title of your choice and can be sorted into folders ("personal," "work," etc.). It's convenient and tidy.

In the center we find the heart of DomaiinBrain - your info. At the top is the domain's title and URL. Below you'll find five sections for storing information:
  • FTP/WebDAV
  • Database
  • Content Management
  • Hosting
  • Registrar
The best part is you can show or hide any of the above on a per-domaiin basis. For example, if all of your domains share a registrar, there's no need to type it over and over. The same with hosting. Let's look at each option.

FTP/WebDav

Store the URL, directory, username and password. You've got an option to hide or display the password. I keep it hidden. Fortunately, I can click it to copy it to the clipboard without revealing the characters. An audible "swish" confirms a successful copy. Also, clicking the URL will open it in your FTP client of choice. By default, it finds the available options on your machine. In my case, I can choose from Firefox, Google Chrome, Transmit, or the Finder.

Database

How ridiculously easy is it to forget database information? I excel at it. DomainBrain offers a field to store the hostname, database name, username, and password. No more logging into your host or pulling up config files to jog your memory.

Content Management

I run WordPress on all of my sites, and DomainBrain stores their admin URL, username, and password. A click will open the admin page in a browser.

Hosting

Most people use a single host but definitely not all. Add the company name, URL, username, and password for quick access.

Registrar

In addition to storing the company name, URL, username, and password, DomainBrain can remember when your WHOIS information will expire and list any name servers. Best of all, it will populate those fields for you. Simply click the "Get WHOIS info" button, and DomainBrain will pull in the expiration date and name servers. Awesome.

Speaking of your expiry dates, DomainBrain can sync them with iCal and even create reminder alarms for you. Nice, eh?

On the far right, you'll find the information window, which you can hide or reveal with a click. A large notes field let's you record domain-specific information that is more narrative or not supported by the available fields.

That brings us to my favorite feature of DomainBrain: the Category Manager. You can use it to create custom categories and even custom fields within that category. Perhaps a certain domain has several users, with varying levels of access. You can keep them all straight with this customization.

At the end of the day, what have we got? A simple and extremely useful way to keep track of all that important but easily-forgotten information. Setup is simple, and little touches like iCal alarms, custom fields, and the WHOIS button make DomainBrain a winner. You can buy a license for US$29.95. Version 1.x users can enter their serial number here to see if they qualify for upgrade pricing.

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Software

I'm not much of a collector, but I do have an inordinate number of websites and domains to my name. How did that happen? You get an idea,...