Onfolio recently released an updated preview version of the capable information manager and after seeing Marc Orchant’s good review of the utility I decided I had to try it for my own use. The current version of Onfolio has incorporated an RSS feed aggregator into the information management it provides and I knew if it worked well it could really improve the way that I work. I should be honest up front and state that I did not expect it to replace my current system of FeedDemon for RSS aggregation which I have been happy with for a long time and OneNote with the IE2OneNote Power Toy which I use to capture internet information. Boy was I wrong!
Onfolio can be used as a standalone application (Onfolio Deskbar) or integrated in the web browser. Upon installation Onfolio creates some buttons in your browser toolbar that will toggle the program on and off in a browser frame on the left of the window, update your RSS feeds, and capture the current web page. The capture can be either just a link to the current page or you can capture the whole page locally within the Onfolio collection. One thing you will notice about anything you do in Onfolio is that it is very fast. Collecting a web page happens in seconds and can be done without interfering with your work.
The Onfolio collection is well designed in its organization. Your information is collected into a tree view of folders that can be organized any way you want. I have mine organized into folders for future article information, podcast information, etc. It is a simple design that makes it easy to find that nugget of information you know you have somewhere. You can configure the tree view to give you a brief preview of the collected web page which makes it simple to find something without opening the web page most of the time.
The RSS aggregator is presented as another tree view that is selected by clicking the Feeds tab and all of your subscribed feeds are listed. You can configure Onfolio to periodically update your feeds based on a timed interval or to restrict all updating to happen manually when you want it. Updating the feeds is as fast as other programs and the feed tree is laid out so you can see at a glance which feeds have been updated and how many new items there are for viewing. Where Onfolio shines is in the "newspaper" view of your feeds. When you select a particular feed with new information Onfolio creates a newspaper that contains all of the new articles for that feed. This newspaper opens up in the browser and provides a number of ways to deal with that article including adding it to the "My Reading List" which lets you keep an eye on that particular feed in the future, or just save it for returning to later. In addition to generating a newspaper for each feed if you click on the My Feeds folder in the feed tree view Onfolio generates a newspaper that contains all the new articles in all your feeds. This is a very useful way to browse through all your new feed information and is presented in a concise display with options for dealing with each individual article in several ways.
It is probably evident that Onfolio has impressed me in the few weeks I’ve been using it exclusively. The intuitive way that Onfolio works with my information and the multiple ways it lets me interact with both my information and the program makes it fit perfectly in my style of working. Onfolio carries that even further since it works in both Internet Explorer and Firefox. That’s right, Onfolio works in Firefox exactly the same as it functions in IE and that makes it just perfect for me. I use Firefox most of the time but still have to switch over to IE occasionally for those sites that don’t work well in Firefox. Onfolio saves the user’s collection data in a self-contained database that is separate from any browser so that means that you can switch back and forth between the two browsers and have all your information intact in either. Great design choice and the only way Onfolio would work for me.
Onfolio is available as a free preview and even if they charged for the product I would most definitely use it. Onfolio has been such a useful tool for me that it has successfully knocked FeedDemon out of my toolbox and while I still use OneNote’s great note handling functions I no longer use it for content collection and management.