Yojimbo: a new direction for Bare Bones?

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Giles Turnbull

Giles Turnbull
Jan. 23, 2006 02:06 PM
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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.

Giles Turnbull is a freelance writer and editor. He has been writing on and about the Internet since 1997. He has a web site at http://gilest.org.