Historical document retrieval arrives with HistoryFS

Thomas Milius has released a new image filing system called HistoryFS that implements a simple document management system. At its most basic level what Thomas’ software does is retain previous copies of a file whenever a new version is saved (or the file is deleted).

When running, you can create a new HistoryFS image file from the program’s main icon, and while it is running you can access those image files as though they’re normal RISC OS directories – just like any other image filing system running on RISC OS. However, there are also ‘virtual’ directories that, when accessed, allow you to see the content in different ways.

For example, the ‘History’ directory gives you access to every file ever stored in the file – every version of every file. The file that appears with the normal filename becomes a directory, and clicking through into the directory shows you all of the previous versions, named according to their internal HistoryFS IDs, assigned to the files by HistoryFS in order to track the different versions.

A simpler way to look at previous versions of files is to apply a filter. Do this, and you are shown the contents – in the normal RISC OS filer way – but as at that point in time. A simple example of where this can be useful, says Thomas, is if you store your web pages inside a HistoryFS image. Over time, you will change the content of your website, overwriting the existing files as you update them – and if at some point you want to see what the content was at a given point in time, simply apply a filter.

The program has been released for free, and can be downloaded either via !Store, or from Thomas’ website.

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