Yojimbo: a new direction for Bare Bones?

by Giles Turnbull

Bare Bones, maker of BBEdit, has released Yojimbo, an information manager for OS X that indicates something of a new direction for the software company.

For starters, this app looks like a modern Cocoa application should. It has the kind of toolbar you'd expect to see, with clear, modern icons. Very unlike the old-school, and sometimes criticized, BBEdit document toolbar.

And it costs $39 for a single-user license, a nice, low price point that will appeal to people accustomed to good-value applications from competitors like Omni Group or Macromates.

Yojimbo (hmm, I'm really not convinced about that name) combines many day-to-day functions. It stores notes, bookmarks, and secure information. The layout reminds me a little of DEVONthink, but is much simpler. The essence is is that it stores data, any kind of data - text, images, PDFs, web pages, passwords and serial numbers (and any other kind of Sekrit Stuff) in encrypted notes.

Document control in Yojimbo
Control-click options on a stored note in Yojimbo

One of Yojimbo's key features is the ease with which you can get data into it. I dragged a folder full of text files right in; you can also drag stuff to a floating tab called the Drop Dock, or invoke something called the Quick Input Panel. This last device pops open with whatever you last copied to the clipboard already pasted in the correct field; in most cases you just need to add some metadata, if you wish, and click the Create button. Very slick.

If you've used apps like DEVONthink and Mori (formerly Hog Bay Notebook), the whole approach will feel very familiar. Indeed, the app itself is incredibly easy to get used to. Bare Bones is right to say "there's no learning curve".

It's been a long time since we saw anything really new from Bare Bones. Yojimbo is a radical new step forward for the BB coders, and I hope the first in a series of smaller, cheaper, more nimble applications from them.

I shall spend some more time with Yojimbo in the coming days and come back with a more detailed review later this week.

Is this the start of a new era at Bare Bones?


2006-01-23 14:41:43
Yokimbo means "Bodyguard" so I think the name makes some kind of sense. I like it.
2006-01-23 15:27:11
What does Yojimbo offer over StickyBrain 4?
2006-01-23 15:30:26
Right now, I can't say (I've only been playing with Yojimbo for a few hours and I've not played with StickyBrain for a long time). But my initial reaction is that Yojimbo offers a simpler approach; simplicity seems to be a crucial feature.
2006-01-23 15:36:22
Actually I'd say that StickyBrain 4 was simpler and more powerful after having a play with Yojimbo earlier today.


2006-01-23 16:06:27
No, if you look into it more thoroughly, you'll see that the literal translation of "Yojimbo" is "A Fistful of Dollars."
2006-01-23 16:31:22
I may have to take that back. The Drop Dock window is very easy to use.


2006-01-23 16:37:31
That's a transliteration, not a translation.
2006-01-23 17:34:04
I guess it's a matter of operating style
I suppose it depends on how you work, whether something like Yojimbo is good for you. I much prefer the Quicksilver style where I can use it to find anything I want when I want without the need for a separate app to interact with. QS is always indexing what I've got and keeps my hands on the keyboard and off the mouse.

Like I said, I suppose it depends on how you work.

2006-01-23 18:01:02
StickyBrain can synchronize with a PalmPilot.
StickyBrain can synchronize with a PalmPilot.

I'm curious to know how QuicKeys is used to duplicate what these apps do.

2006-01-23 19:38:17
A spaghetti eastern, as it were.
2006-01-23 20:18:15
It looks like Yojimbo can work with iSync on .Mac, whereas StickyBrain only backs-up/restores from .Mac.

It can sync with Palms & iPods.

It looks like StickyBrain's big brother, SOHO Notes, can sync with .Mac, though.

Personally, after playing with the demo, I think I'll stick with Stickybrain, if only for the nested folders (comes in handy for iPod syncing). On the other, being able to drag something into the dock icon is pretty handy.

2006-01-24 04:53:57
Yojimbo is doing what the Finder is supposed to do: give easy access to all the files/snippets that I want to store. By focusing on a subset of my stored data it becomes easier to navigate through it. This is a much better paradigm than the dock as a shelf for frequently accessed items and I can imagine a tabbed version of the finder window which has this as one of the tabs. It gives a glimpse of how a future Finder could work.
2006-01-24 06:13:20
I recently tried Stickybrain 4 and decided to stick with 3 and save the upgrade fee. No problem I thought. I backed up to .Mac in addition to having my last 10 backups locally on disk.

I uninstalled 4, reinstalled 3 and tried to restore from the backup. No luck. Every one causes Stickybrain to lock up. The thing I don't like about Stickybrain is that it uses Openbase to store it's data and your data is not stored in your own directory.

I'm looking forward to trying Yojimbo. Does anyone know where it stores it's data? Anyone also use DevonNotes for comparison? I'm also considering switching to that.

2006-01-24 09:31:16
It uses a SQLite database and stores the database file in the Library\Application Support\Yojimbo folder.
2006-01-24 15:44:11
BB discovers Cocoa! How long did that take? Their first offering that doesnt look like it was designed for OS 8.
2006-01-27 01:04:09
I'm really disappointed that Yojimbo isn't scriptable. If I could send stuff to it using Quicksilver, I'd be dropping my $40 in a flash - the .Mac syncing kills Stickybrain's - but until I can do that, I can't justify the switch. : (
2006-01-29 20:24:58

I've been sending stuff to Yojimbo via QS since I started using it. Yojimbo has a "Import Text" service that it installs for OS X apps- and QS is able to use that.

But yeah, this app really needs Applescript support.

// Jay

2006-01-30 10:06:10
Nice for 1.0, but unfortunately no support for nested folders which sucks if you have lots of projects. A snippet keeper also should integrate nicely with the rest of the system via AppleScript.
2006-03-11 10:25:08
I tested the demo and bought the software after 10 minutes. i love it, but it DESPERATELY needs to include an rss reader to make it stand out even more. If it does this, it really will be the killer app in this genre.