The content of sidecars is independent of the main file, which makes it possible to store information like a hash and other files like images or documents beside the (unchanged) main file. Sidecars are realized using the Alternative Data Streams of NTFS which automatically copies these files with the main file until the NTFS base isn't leaved.
Sidecars are not simple data files, instead I designed them to be like some kind of a “file container” to make them embed a variety of different files of any kind. Because of that they have, like a floppy disc or a USB stick, a directory with entries for each file they contain. You can use the handy Sidecar Explorer to access the files stored inside the sidecar, it features simple drag & drop operations to add any file you like. In the free version of finefiles you can embed three additional files in the sidecar, the professional version lets you add up to 50 files, if you have a reason to do so. People who want to write their own routines to access these files or those who would like to get additional information on how it works will find detailed technical information on the download page at finefiles.com. There is also a C/C++ example on how to access the data.
The Sidecar Explorer
The Sidecar Explorer was designed to let you easily view and modify the content of any sidecar file. Like the Windows Explorer it show the content as icons, classified as images, text, binary, etc.
The timeline function
Music, video and image files can be spread over a variety of hard discs. The timeline function makes it possible to create a catalog of all your files in chronological order and to display this catalog as a list of click-able links for a configurable period of time in the Main- or Tiles window.
One of the key features is that finefiles checks if the files are accessible during display, accessible files are displayed as click-able links while files not currently accessible (the hard disc containing them is not connected for example) are displayed in gray and are not selectable.
Handle various specifications and meta data of the most
commonly used video, audio and image file formats
Audio: finefiles determine the specifications of an audio file such as length and internal meta data like artist and title from ID3 and WMA attributes. The program can currently detect and read out mpeg audio files (mp2,mp3), wave files, files in aac and asf (WMA) format.
Video: the specifications of a video file such as width, height, frame rate and duration are performed. finefiles can currently detect and read out video files using the avi, mp4, flv and wmv (asf) container.
Images: specifications of an image (picture) file, currently the image width and height and Exif meta data are performed. finefiles can detect and read out JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF and BMP files in the current version.
Exchangeable image file format, usually abbreviated as Exif, is a widely used standard that specifies metadata for images recorded by digital cameras (including smartphones), scanners and other devices. The additional Exif metadata is organized by "tags" and stored in the jpg or tiff-file itself. finefiles can read out and perform the following tags:
- CAMERA MAKER - Name of the manufacturer of the recording equipment. This is the manufacturer of the digital camera, scanner or other equipment that generated the image.
- CAMERA MODEL - The model name and/or model number of the equipment used. This is the model name and/or model number of the digital camera, scanner or other equipment that generated the image.
- EXIF CREATION DATE - The date and time when the image was stored as digital data.
- EXIF GPS DATA - A set of tags for recorded GPS information (finefiles Pro only)
The Tiles window
The Tiles window is an alternative display for files that result from a process or a directory operation. It displays files as colored tiles like Windows 8 display applications
(the so called "Metro" style). If a corresponding sidecar for a file is found and this sidecar contains an image, it is displayed as a thumbnail. Double click a tile to start the video, audio, etc. using the associated program. The tiles are displayed in lines as long as enough room for the next tile is found - if not, the output will be feed to the next line.
If the window is resized the tiles are rearranged accordingly on the fly.