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Keywords: Disk usage utility, Java desktop applications, free software
Title: JDiskReport 1.2URL: http://www.jgoodies.com/freeware/jdiskreport/
Licence: Free software
Platform: Java (requires Java Runtime or JDK)
There is still a wide-spread prejudice against desktop Java applications. Many people equate desktop Java apps with snails pace speed of execution, ugly user interfaces and difficult deployments. And, truth be told, there are some applications like that, just as there are with apps written in VB, C#, Python and anything else. Good examples of desktop Java apps do exist, one need only point to Eclipse, jEdit and the like to see examples of reliable, well-engineered and high-class applications with good performance and excellent visual qualities. But these are programmer applications, so perhaps that doesn't count.
What about desktop apps that are designed for the average end-user. Is there such a beastie in the Java world? Surprisingly, to some at least, desktop applications designed for end-users do exist in the Java. Jalbum, for example, is an excellent photo album application coded in Java. It's fast, packed full of features and looks great - and being Java it's also multi-platform. Most users of it don't know and don't care that what they're using is coded in Java, and that's exactly as it should be. If you've never seen it then take a look, you'll be surprised.
Another great application, and the focus of this review, is JDiskReport. As suggested by the name, JDiskReport is a utility that reports on disk usage. Being Java it's implicitly multi-platform, and it is available for download in a number of formats - as an executable for Windows and Mac OS X, as a Java web start application and as an executable jar file. For Windows it can be added as a desktop icon as well as to the Start menu.
On loading the user is prompted for a file system to scan, selection is via a familiar tree display of all available drives and directories. Once selected the program performs the scan and then offers a display with two panes: on the left is a tree display for the file system that was scanned and on the right is a tabbed display of the results of the scan. Navigating through the file system tree shows the results for that folder/directory in the results pane.
The tabbed display of results has five tabs: size, top 100, size dist, modified and types. Each of these tabs can display in a number of formats, including pie charts, bar charts and plain tabular displays where appropriate. The top 100 tab displays the largest 100 files, and this can be sorted by file size, oldest first or newest first. When trying to track down disk hogs or old stuff for deletion this provides the sort of useful information that is needed.
A nice touch is that the tabular results can be copied to the clipboard and imported in a spreadsheet or document if required.
While it provides a very useful disk utilisation tool, it is worth pointing out that JDiskReport exists in part to show off the underlying JGoodies Java UI libraries. To this end the program has a fairly rich user interface which can be changed by picking a different look and feel from the preferences menu. There are also configuration options to exclude certain directories, control the number of slices in a pie chart and so on.
While not open-source, the software is provided as a binary, is free of charge and is completely ad and nag-free.
All in all JDiskReport provides both a useful disk utility and serves to show that Java does not necessarily mean that end-user applications have to be slow or ugly. Try it if you need convincing.