12 December 2007

After Idealist

For years (more than a decade, in fact) I have kept all my notes in a free-form textual database called Idealist. Originally developed by a division of Blackwells, the program was sold on to an outfit called Bekon, which produced an impossibly buggy version before disappearing without trace. At the time, the lack of any upgrade route didn’t matter very much to me since Idealist was for a long time simply the fastest, most flexible and most stable database I could find that actually did the job I needed it to do.

Sadly, Idealist has been showing its age for some time now. While its flexibility (including the ability to modify fields and record types on the fly) and its very efficient automatic keyword indexing remain superb, it suffers from its inability to handle rich text, its lack of Unicode support and its virtual lack in internet connectivity.

So, reluctantly and after a long period of examining possible alternatives, I have finally abandoned it in favour of Ultra Recall by Kinook Software. First impressions are very positive. I have been able to import several hundred story ideas and my entire bibliographical database without much difficulty. The next step is to import more than 20,000 notes and quotations! (If I have read the Ultra Recall manual correctly, it should then be possible to link those notes and quotations with the relevant references in my bibliography much more easily than was the case in Idealist.)

193 comments:

pl said...

I have been using Idealist for Windows (Blackwell Scientific, Sep 93 Version 3.95) since 1994. I currently use it under Win XP, and would feel lost without it!!.

However, I am thinking of changing to Vista 64bit, and it appears that my version will not run under that operating system. I think this might be because I have a 16 bit rather than 32bit variant.

I read with interest your suggestion of changing to Ultrarecall; it looks good, though it is more sophisticated than I need, so was investigating any way of sticking a bit longer with Idealist.

Do you know whether/where I might be able to get a version of Idealist (? 32 bit) that might run under Vista 64bit?

Thanks
Peter

Lawrence said...

Peter

I have the installation files for Idealist and they include the 32 bit version. If you let me know your email address I'll forward them to you.

By the way, after trying out Ultrarecall for several months I gave up and returned to Idealist. It may only be plain text and not support Unicode but it is so much faster and more convenient than UR or any of the other alternatives I have tried.

Johnny said...

I can totally subscribe to comments. Came here in fact because searching for an updated version Idealist with indeed rich text format support. I also would be lost without Idealist. I run a free version (when it was still Blackwell) from yeah must be 1994. It went from 98 to ME to 200 and then XP. Haven't tried it on my Vista PC yet.

I did a Shakespeare database media project with Idealist (see www.shake5.com) and after more than 15 years it is still main program for (mostly) text based data - fast, simple exactly like I need it.

I don't mind the out of date appearance of the program - I can design it to my own taste - but would love to have RTF support.

I also still have the installation software.

If ever a newer version available somewhere (I run version 3 but I think Bekon got to Version 5) please let me know -
moonpub@gmail.com

Thanks,
Johnny

Peter said...

Hi Lawrence,

Thanks for your offer to forward the installation files, including the 32bit version. That would be terrific. Email: lowefamily(at)dsl.pipex.com

I also tried the demo version of Ultrarecall and then InfoSelect, but neither had the simplicity & ease of use of Idealist, and moreover I would have had great difficulty getting an accurate import of my old Idealist file.

Many thanks
Peter

Kyle Smart said...

Hello,

I've got an old .tex database file that I believe was created using the old Blackwell's Idealist software. I need to view the file as it contains some important information. Is there a programme I can use to open the file and then maybe export it for use in a different programme? I only need to be able to view it and do not need to be able to make changes. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Kyle

Lawrence said...

Johnny

I have searched in vain for a newer version of Idealist than v.3. Bekon did produce a v.4 but it was so buggy as to be quite unusable. And before they disappeared they were advertising v.5, but became very vague when I contacted them about buying a copy.

Anonymous said...

I had some dealings with Bekon (Who owned the rights after buying them from Blackwell) in the early 2000s. It was very small company which I think is now no longer trading. They tried to update Idealist but either went bust in the process or could not get satisfactory programming resources. They very kindly let me have the source code to create a slightly more secure version for my organisation's use. It served us well for over a decade I still use it on our network. The last application is being converted to more up-to-date software after 10 years trouble-free use. I have run it on everything from Windows 3.11 to XP. Unless I can track down the original writer of the C++ code, I would say that's the end of the road for Idealist. A pity, because it was so good in its time.

Chris

Anonymous said...

From 1994 or 5 i am using Idealist. in the mean time I spend lots of time to find a new version of Idealist. Instead of finding a new version, I anchored at this website. it is good, very good to me. If i have the code of the Idealist freely, I (not promised) will discuss with an expert to develop for all users.

John Bibby said...

Glad to find this 'Home for Idealist users'. I started using it in 1993 and keep all my admin data on it.

I find it amazing that no-one has done a lookalike. It is soooooooooo good.

Reg Kennedy said...

I've been using a 15yr old idealist with Ubuntu Linux, via Wine, and it works beautifully.
Reg kennedy
Helsinki

Anonymous said...

I've done a little coding to try to produce a prototype of an open-source program which has similar functionality to Idealist. It has no search engine or macro language so there's a lot to do... I took the easy option and wrote it in a free scripting language called Python. I put it on a KDE (Linux) website, but it will also run under Windows if Python 2.6, PyQt4 (Riverbank) and Qt 4.5 (Nokia) are installed. Feel free to try it out.
http://www.kde-apps.org/content/show.php/Knowledge?content=111504

I would like to attract some good coders to the project, maybe I didn't post it in the best place.

Andrew.

Graham T said...

If anyone has what I neeed to help me read my old Idealist files (maybe the 32-bit version), I'd love to get them, as it's a shame to lose a lot of good material I had there. Thanks

Graham

Jan van Steenwijk said...

I'm glad to read that I am not the only one who still uses Idealist.

I purchased (in 1997 I believe) a 16-bit version of Idealist. One could get a 1996 subscription 32-bit version for 149,50 pounds.
I did not want to spend that amount every year. Later Bekon let me download the 32-bit version for free. I still use that version as a PIM every day. I work with XP pro.
Mr. Graham T. may contact me om
j.van.steenwijk(at)hccnet.nl

Jan van Steenwijk

Lawrence said...

Good to know that I’m not the only Idealist user left. I wonder if there are enough of us to form some sort of users’ group?

Ersatz Pinchbeck aka "Uncle Ersatz" said...

They did have a v5. We purchased it where I work (actually the CD-ROM was v.5 and came with a 3.5" floppy with the v.5.5 updates). Had about 53,000 records in the db & it, worked OK for a few years, then the indexing became so unstable that it was useless. Ended up buying Filemaker Developer 6 and imported (very poorly) from Idealist into FM. FM continues to be flawless. Our Idealist v.5.5 was from January, 2001.

Jan van Steenwijk said...

I puchased a 5.5. version too.
It (at least, I) could not import my version 3 files properly, so I stuck to version 3.

Yes, please, can we have a users' group? Who is willing to join?

Jan van Steenwijk

Peter said...

Your Blog has at least created an informal Users Group, and somewhere where "Googlers" can find others still using this super (if old-fashioned) program.

If someone has the time to set up a defined Users group with a Web presence then that might well attract others.

I certainly intend to continue using the program until a suitable alternative appears.

Peter

david longley said...

I have been using idealist since the mid 1990s and have found it very useful. When I switched to Mac six years ago, I contacted Bekon in the hope that they had a Mac version (Blackwells did in the beginning, I believe). Unfortunately this does not exist and I have been running it under Virtual PC. I have recently bought a new Mac, running OSX 10.6.1 and have tried installing parallels and VMFusion solely to continue to use idealist. Unfortunately neither has proved satisfactory. Clearly the best thing would be to find a substitute for idealist that works on a Mac. Any ideas?

Lawrence said...

David

I've never used a Mac so can't recommend an Idealist equivalent. You might find something suitable on this website: https://digitalresearchtools.pbworks.com/. But, before you abandon Idealist altogether, why not try running it under CrossOver Mac (http://www.codeweavers.com/products/cxmac/mac_windows/)? I don't know if this will be any more successful than the methods you've already tried, but Idealist certainly runs alright on Linux using CrossOver Linux.

david longley said...

dear Lawrence,
Thank you for your advice. I have tried crossover now and it is perfect in all respects except one. I have some fields in Idealist typed in Russian. In Windows, when you export them, they come up as a jumble of Latin letters, but all you need do is select, change the font to cyrillic and it comes up in Russian. This does not happen in crossover, nor, to my amazement, on a Mac in general - and I suspect this is where the problem lies. So this is where I stand now. Idealist is working fine for all latin texts, but is illegible for all cyrillic ones, despite the fact that when you define field types and specify a cyrillic font, and this appears fine in the define type window, when I actually type into a field defined as cyrillic all I get is a series of question marks. Old records remain as a jumble of latin letters, and there is no way of deciphering them on a Mac. Am I really going to be forced to keep an old PC going just to keep Idealist on it?
Yours David

david longley said...

Just to add to my last comment. Crossover have come up with a solution, which is to install the generic microsoft cyrillic font in the Mac font book, as this works in a different way from Mac fonts. I have done this, and, bingo, my Idealist records are now perfectly readable, via crossover.
Thanks again for pointing me in that direction

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I have been given the task of replacing Idealist for a major historical project which has been going sometime. They've been working on it for a while and have some 50,000 records , but increasingly require a program with networking and support which does all that Idealist did.

As I am discovering, it would appear Idealist is something of a lost treasure.

Could anyone recommended me any alternatives to Idealist - even if not perfect - for someone who HAD to change (plus import lots of records from the original Idealist db).

Cheers

Graeme

MadaboutDana said...

We used Idealist as our main administration database for about 10 years (from 1992 or so onwards). A complex set of scripts allowed us to create something resembling a relational database, while the amazingly powerful Idealist search function meant that finding records was always easy. I'd love to find a modern equivalent, but in the meantime, frustrated ex-Idealist users may be interested in the open-source application TreeLine, which is a deceptively powerful outliner (you'll find it at http://treeline.bellz.org) which also supports structured information (and also input of HTML text, which can be used to produce rich-text output).

Anonymous said...

When Bekon bought Idealist from Blackwell, version 4 was unfinished and buggy, but had already been sold to some customers before being withdrawn.

Unfortunately, the source to Idealist 4, along with pre-packaged versions of Idealist 3, was the extent of what Bekon received from Blackwell when the purchase took place. Bekon would have liked nothing more than to release a 'downgrader' for Idealist 4 customers and continue developing Idealist 3, but this wasn't possible.

Instead, Bekon developed Idealist 5, which was essentially a re-branded Idealist 4 with all of the bugs that could be identified fixed. As we all know, this didn't go so well (to the point that a patch had to be distributed on floppy disk along with the v5 CDs).

To make matters worse, although there was a core group of customers who were very happy with Idealist's feature set, Bekon was coming under increasing pressure to build modern networking capabilities into Idealist. In some respects, the biggest competitor to Idealist was Lotus Notes of all things (and indeed, some of Idealist's biggest customers were legal firms, who nowadays are amongst the biggest users of Notes). It really didn't help that many of the things which were fixed by v5 and subsequent releases were barely visible to customers, or only affected a (small, but significant) subset of them.

What probably killed Idealist, though, was that Bekon simply didn’t have the resources to do the ground-up rewrite that was needed along with supporting the existing customer base of v3, v4 and v5 users until it was far too late.

If any of you are programmers looking to write an Idealist clone (web-based or otherwise), I'd start by looking at Xapian (for searching and indexing) and one of the mechanisms for storing schema-less data (either a dedicated schema-less database, or repurposing a SQL database to achieve the same thing). Building a web-based Idealistalike given the tools and software available today wouldn't be that difficult: it's just a great shame this wasn't the case in 2001!

Lawrence said...

Some interesting insights into what went wrong with the development of Idealist in that last comment.

As for migrating to something else, it is certainly possible to export Idealist records to Ultrarecall (which can easily handle 50,000 records). However, I abandoned UR because I didn't like the interface and I found it very clumsy to use.

The possibility I am currently exploring is ConnectedText. Although it is essentially a personal wiki, it has some of the search capabilities of Idealist. It looks as if import of Idealist records could be possible. And it may be possible to retain the structure of the Idealist records.

If your records are primarily bibliographical, Zotero is a real possibility. Export the Idealist records in a bibtex format, and Zotero can take it from there. Unfortunately there seems to be no way of bulk importing non-bibliographical records into Zotero.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the 32 bit version of Idealist will run under Windows 7 64 bit version? There doe snot seem to be anything on the market that does the same sort of thing ...

Lawrence said...

Dear Anonymous

I am still running XP Pro (SP3) and it will be probably be sometime before I move on to Win7. However, I understand Win7 allows you to set backward compatibility on a program by program basis.

Jonathan said...

Lawrence

Thanks very much for being the catalyst for gathering so much info together in one place on Idealist -- an excellent programme that I still use constantly.

You wrote above that "I have the installation files for Idealist and they include the 32 bit version. If you let me know your email address I'll forward them to you."

Please can you email them to me at 'jonathanmoore' and then the at sign and then waitrose.com?

I'm fed up with having the 16-bit version bomb out under XP.

Thanks in advance!

Niall said...

I am another veteran Idealist user who just switched over to Mac. I've downloaded Crossover but can't seem to get Idealist to run. Can anyone walk me through this? It's such a pain that this simple, effective program is now extinct. For an historian it is so very useful!

Lawrence said...

Niall,
I’m afraid I can’t help with Crossover for Mac (my only experience is using it to run Idealist on Linux). If you have no joy with getting Idealist to work, you could try a program like Tinderbox instead.

SSL said...

I work for a software company who's in the process of migrating data from an Idealist system to our own database. Our client has been having some problems with the export which I'm going to try and help with. Does anyone have any tips re: data export. Is there an Idealist manual online that I could look at?

Lawrence said...

Dear SSL

Sorry about the delay in responding. I don't think the Idealist manual is available, but you can find some material about Idealist in the files section of the Idealist Google Group (http://groups.google.co.uk/group/IdealistDB). One of the files deals with printing and exporting, and another is a tutorial about exporting. Hope these help.

mlk said...

Dear Laurence

I started using Idealist for my PhD over 10 years ago. I have recently switched to Access which is a pain but still used Idealist for all other projects. my computer crashed last week loosing all my software as I had to reload Word and Windows and do not have the old files for Idealist which are somewhere in storage. Is there any way that I can download the Idealist files. I think i am on version 5.5

Lawrence said...

Dear mlk

Sorry to hear about your problem. I have the installation files for Idealist 3, but I suspect they will be of little use to you if were using 5.5.

If you do manage to track down your installation files for 5.5, could you perhaps copy them to me? I'd be interested to see if Bekon really did manage to improve on the disastrous version 4.

mlk said...

I have on my laptop the upgrade for the 5 version but need the 3 - can we do a swap and you email me the earlier version and i will send you the upgrade. can i have your email address. not very good at this sort of thing. i seem to recall that some of the versions were not for windows 98 etc.

mlk said...

not sure that my lsat blog has been received. I need the idealist 3 which you say you have. I only have upgrade files for the 3 version which takes it to the 5 version but without the 3 i cant run them. Am happy to email you the files for the upgrade for you to try and for you to email me the idealist 3 files. not sure if you have my email address or how i contact you

Lawrence said...

Dear mlk

I'd be very happy to do a swap. My email address is lawrence[at]lhosborn[dot]co[dot]uk

I now send and receive all my email via gmail for security reasons, so it may be awkward to send the files directly via email. But if you get in touch we can set up something using a filesharing site.

Anonymous said...

After nearly a year of spare-time development I've have come a little nearer to producing an open-source equivalent to Idealist. I have posted the first alpha release today.
http://kde-apps.org/content/show.php/Knowledge?content=111504
It is more colourful than Idealist but incorporates most of its ideas. I developed it on Kubuntu Lucid Linux. It should run on Windows, although several other packages will have to be downloaded and installed.
I'm still hoping to find some 'helpers' - particularly with some of the more advanced programming. Also, the project needs a more distinctive name (suggestions welcome).
Andrew.

mlk said...

Pleased that you are working on an alternative. Best of luck.

Andrew said...

After nearly a year of spare-time development I've have come a little nearer to producing an open-source equivalent to Idealist. I posted the first alpha release yesterday.

http://kde-apps.org/content/show.php/Knowledge?content=111504

Unlike Idealist, it has 'field' buttons (to the left of each field, support for WWW and DOI addresses, and uses colour. Also, record and field definitions are saved in each database, which I think is an improvement over the idealist way of doing things. I developed it on Kubuntu Lucid Linux. It should run on Windows, although several other packages will have to be downloaded and installed. A Windows exe is not yet available so it must be run as a Python script. Searching by integer, float, record-number and date are implemented, but as yet word/phrase searching is not.
Fortunately there are some open source text indexing engines already available (e.g. Xapian) that can be used. Progress is quite slow and so I'm still hoping to find some 'helpers' - particularly with some of the more advanced programming. Also, the project needs a more distinctive name (suggestions welcome).

Lawrence said...

Andrew
Thanks for this information about a possible replacement for Idealist. It looks very promising.

Anonymous said...

Re SSL's query.

I have just exported a large (50k plus)records database into both csv and xml formats. I had two copies of the v3 manual but they have disappeared into my company somewhere! Am trying to locate.

Chris

Anonymous said...

A BIG relief to discover this discussion about Idealist, conceived by Blackwell Scientific (now part of Wiley incidentally). I have the installation CDROM for Idealist 5.0, which I am happy to share. When then based in Zimbabwe I bought the 5.5 upgrade from Bekon but stuck with 5.0, which is in fact stable. I have a major commitment in interlinked databases of scientific literature, which for some records includes the text of the entire paper....totals near on 20 K records.

Use it everyday, and it remains indispensible....

Anyone in need of 5.0 can respond to me and I'll upload the files on to googledocs....[as I mentioned don't bother with 5.5]

The best way to get files from 3.0 into 5.0 (which I also have) is to export in Idealist Natural format to windows clipboard, and then import as is into Ver5.0.

An index of my investment in Idealist is that I started with V3.0 in Win 3.11 for Workgroups, then NT 3.1, 3.51 etc and now run it on Win 7 as well as XP

Truly excellent news that a reincarnation is metamorphosing, and not least as an open source app :-)

Woodyc said...

Re-reading discussion after my last post, and some feedback toward some questions

Yes, Idealist 5.0 runs fine on Win7 64bit. And to reiterate, I am happy to help with installation files for ver 5.0 (also 3.0). Will ZIP and Upload....

Whilst this site has proven a most benevolent venue for this discussion on an invaluable software app, it appears the critical mass exists to set up a google discussion site for Idealist (?)

mlk said...

Never knew that a company had eventually taken over Idealist again after Bekon. Will they answer questions for a fee.

Chris said...

I always thought that the versions after v3.0 were not at all stable but am pleassed to hear the contrary. What features does v5.0 have and is it worth using?

Chris

Anonymous said...

Woodyc -

Yes, please!!! Please upload v5.0 for us all!

Woodyc said...

Okay, uploaded on sendspace:

Idealist 3.0
http://www.sendspace.com/file/0t4qxs

Idealist 5.0
http://www.sendspace.com/file/onqinb

zipped files - hope these work

Woodyc said...

to try and answer recent query. It is now so many years that I last used Ver3.0 that I cannot summarize major differences. key features in 5.0 include RTF support, and more characters/field and in a record.

Se4arch algorithms also major enhancement

Also greater ability to customize formating of records and fields. And also hot buttons etc to set up more sophisticated Forms (visual basic type environment).

These are optional so one can use std "text view" Form.

I have found that >25 Mbyte Tex databases require ReIndexing as autorelational linkages start to degrade....Would appear this is where Idealist reaches its limits (?) as noted by Ersatz in his post on instability of indexing

Woodyc said...

Just to clarify – if I did not make myself clear; no company took over Idealist to best of my knowledge. I recall phoning Bekon over 10 years ago, and also exchanged some emails. One of Bekon's high profile customers was the UK police, in Manchester I think, who were using a networked installation for informer networks etc.

One can only guess at the installed user base and committed databases that grew up around Idealist....
This email correspondence also included a distinctly acerbic wishlist toward improving the software spec. It would be worth revisiting this for the fledgling open source version?

I have also tried Mendeley and EndNote as bibliographic apps, to replace this application of Idealist; Endnote is too inflexible and its output formatting is too flaky. Also grotesquely overpriced for what it is (although I now see a web version linked with ISI databases - Web of Science)

Mendeley could be really powerful, if it worked properly at interrogating PDFs; I find it collapses under moderate volume. http://www.mendeley.com/


Now, would it not be wonderful to have a PIM with the flexibility and searching capacity of Idealist that also "sucked" out key field data from particular suites of documents (even Blobs)? ...exploiting formatting codes etc in a file. Presumably web based biblio packages (notably Mendeley) exploit this avenue to glean metadata, extracting it from files

Lawrence said...

Woodyc,

Thanks for those helpful comments and for uploading the files for v.5.0. I look forward to trying it out.

Lawrence said...

Woodyc

I have now attempted to install v.5.0 and find that (unlike v.3.0) it requires a serial number. I don't suppose you can supply a valid serial number?

By the way, in one your comments today you suggested setting up an Idealist Google Group. In fact, I did this some time ago. If you (and anyone else who doesn't already know about it) would like to join, it can be found at http://groups.google.co.uk/group/IdealistDB?hl=en&pli=1

Woodyc said...

for Idealist 5.0, Licence Number = 15001509881. It should be a txt file amongst those zipped files, named "serial numbers"

Woodyc said...

Hi Lawrence

Just joined your Users group

Thanks :-)

Lawrence said...

Woodyc

Thanks for the serial number. And welcome to the users group

J. van Steenwijk said...

May I assume now that Idealist is in the public domain? I mean: can anyone copy Idealist's files and distribute them?
Nothing legal going wrong?
Or is this a question one should not ask?


Jan van Steenwijk

Lawrence said...

Jan

I think it would be fair to describe Idealist as abandonware. It is not in the public domain, so strictly speaking copying it is a breach of copyright. But Bekon has long since gone out business (as it happens, owing me money or at least a working copy of Idealist v.4.0) and I have been unable to find out who now holds the copyright.

Given the age of the program, I can't believe that many new users will adopt it. Any copying is likely being done by long-term users (like myself) who are primarily interested in continuing to have access to their Idealist data.

Woodyc said...

Lawrence

thank you for your lucid synopsis. Agree 101%. This incident can not be an isolated one, must be screes of abandoned code and apps out there -

I recall a similar saga (of note) getting CP/M 80 Wordstar docs across into DOS Wordperfect. What was at first a huge problem (using Norton Diskdoctor...) to capture and stitch files together on a Win3.11 PC was solved by a nifty little conversion program :-)

Chrisx said...

Anyone had the following problem with Idealist v3? After switching between several databases, dates and numbers lose their format and field fonts can be sized but the colour cannot be specified - you just get black. Automatic fields don't work. Of course, there is no help desk to ask now!

Lawrence said...

Chrisx

I have never experienced a problem of the kind you describe. I wonder if the global field definitions have been corrupted. Have you tried redefining your field and record types?

Anonymous said...

Lawrence

The global definitions file (.DEF) file seems OK.It is as if the .TEX file has been corrupted. Reindexing does not help as the data seems to have gone and claculated fields will no longer produce the correct result. Oh well...

Chrisx

Andrew said...

Here is an article on a prototype of a replacement for Idealist.

http://dot.kde.org/2010/06/29/knowledge-different-approach-database-desktop

My intention is to attract the attention of some experienced developers - it is the idea rather than the code that I am trying to promote. KDE programs should in due course be portable to Windows and OS X. The present program can be made to run under Windows, although this requires a number of packages to be downloaded and installed.

Anonymous said...

Those using KDE and looking for a newer program might want to look at Tellico:
http://tellico-project.org/

I never used any of this tools but planed to try Tellico for quiet some time now. Looks like I could have many uses for it.

Anonymous said...

After many, many years I'm still an avid IdeaList for DOS user and have yet to find software that does the job better e.g. for storing info on the contents of "useful items" boxes, academic bibliographic databases, dialling code lookups, marketing, and as an in-house Oracle database support tool.

In those early years I was frequently in contact with the author regarding bugs and feature requests and wonder if anyone has tried contacting them. The name escapes me, I'm afraid. Is there anyone out there who knows who he is?

Voi

Sabine K McNeill said...

WOW! Thanks to Google, I find an Idealist user group - as an ex-fan, too!

Is there anybody who would volunteer to make an installation version available now for XP and Windows 7?

We want to create a data base of texts and documents relating to victims of financial exploitation and legal oppression. See http://edm1297.ino and http://victims-unite.net

I expect it to be the best software for the job, too, even though I'd love some web and pdf related features, too!

Woodyc said...

Hi Sabine
Idealist 5 runs fine on WInXP and Win7. I use it routinely....

these links should work to download:

Idealist 3.0
http://www.sendspace.com/file/0t4qxs

Idealist 5.0
http://www.sendspace.com/file/onqinb

zipped files - hope these work

enjoy
Woody

Geoffrey Miller said...

Having used Idealist on a daily basis since at least 1993, I was also delighted to find the existence of this blog, and would like to thank whoever is responsible for posting the 32-bit version of Idealist 3. I was in touch with Blackwell Software on a regular basis during 1993-1994 attempting to iron out bugs in the then current build and received a special personalized build from them (on a floppy disk of course!) in November 1995. This seemed to cure most of the bugs I was complaining about, but was only the 16-bit version.

The last correspondence I had with Blackwell was in February 1996 when I was informed that work on version 4 had stopped. I imagine it was soon after this that the program was sold on to Bekon, who then developed version 5, which I tried, and very quickly reverted to version 3.

Since 1995 then, I have used the 16-bit build of version 3, which operated happily under Windows 98, ME, XP and, to a lesser extent, Vista and 7. The program still worked but there was a noticeable lag when opening due, I imagine, to the Windows compatibility option kicking in. To be honest, I had forgotten that there ever was a 32-bit version 3, so I was thrilled to download and install this and find that it now races along in Win 7.

I also tried version 5 again, but still have my doubts. It will not open version 3 databases and refers the user to the program manual for instructions on converting version 3 databases. Is one way around this to export using the Idealist Natural method? Would anyone have any suggestions? If not, I am more than happy to continue with Version 3 for another ten years.

Many thanks again for this blog.

Regards,
Geoffrey

Woodyc said...

Hi Geoffrey

very good news. The best way to transport Ver 3 records into Ver 5 is to export in Natural format to the windows clipboard and then import from memory in Idealist 5.

enjoy

Woody

Geoffrey Miller said...

Woody - many thanks for the suggestion, which I'll try at the first opportunity.

With regard to version 3, the 16-bit program stored an 'ini' file (idealist.ini) in the Windows folder, and which gave some degree of control over various program options (such as the status font), but, as far as I can tell, the 32-bit version does not use a Windows .ini file, though there must be some file stored to contain, for example, the last four files accessed. Would anyone know where the settings file is stored for version 3?

Thanks again,
Geoffrey

Lawrence said...

I’ve just checked and there is an idealist.ini file in my Windows folder both in XP and Vista.

Geoffrey Miller said...

Hello, Lawrence, and many thanks for your reply.

I still have idealist.ini in my Windows folder (Win 7) but it has not been modified since October 2009, and this is the file which should store the last four databases accessed.

According to this .ini file, the last database accessed was:

c:\users\geoffr~1\docume~1\idealist\annexe.tex

(the ~ symbol appears due to the limitations of the 16bit program).

However, if I open the recently installed 32-bit version 3, it correctly lists the last database accessed as:

c:\users\geoffrey miller\documents\idealist32\notes.tex

So the 32-bit program must have a settings file somewhere - I just can't find it !

Regards,
Geoffrey

Gavin Holt said...

My copy of Idealist has been moved from machine to machine following me around for more years than I care to remember. It is not a full RDBMS, nor is it an ideal programming environment, however it is rock solid and out performs any other system for the tasks it can undertake. In this age of firewalls and managed privileges it is a joy to carry a truly portable application offering so much power with such a small footprint.

I have explored merging data into HTML files with great success and would like to share this with you all. I have one HTML document per record type and simply add the record type label as the first line of the file (e.g. :HipReplacement). Within the HTML document fields are inserted within {}, which most WYSIWYG HTML editors will simply ignore. Where there are parent records the data from the parent can be accessed in the normal way with {Age from Parent}. Using a field in the record to store the name of this HTML file we can write a toolbar script so each record can be merged with the correct document, saved and then viewed in a browser:-

Stage one: Use the export function to generate a CMD file - MakeHTML.exp:-

:Hip
CDDatabase()
export(1,,,"exp\\\\{OpExp}","out\\\\{PatLastName}_{PatFirstName}.html",0)
run("PRUN.EXE out\\\\{PatLastName}_{PatFirstName}.html")

Stage two: Run the generated CMD file - MakeHTML.cmd:-

CDDatabase()
export(1,,,"exp\\HipReplacement.htm","out\\patientName.html",0)
run("PRUN.EXE out\\patientName.html")

Toolbar script: To kick it all off

Comfort()
CDDatabase()
CD(cmd)
Quiet(1)
Export(1,,,"MakeHTML.exp","MakeHTML.cmd",0)
Quiet(0)
FileCommand("MakeHTML.cmd")

As you will see there is a considerable amount of working around required to get past the limitations of Idealist, however it is very gratifying when it works!

I would very much like to view the source code for I32 in order to understand how it parses the macro commands, substitution of field contents appears to be variable from one function to another. It would also be very helpful to have access to the "field expressions" in the macro CMD scripts. This aspiration may the spur I need to learn C++.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, a company called Tamesis collects royalties for the use of Idealist.

Lawrence said...

Anon., do you have any further information about Tamesis? I did a quick Google last night, but couldn’t find anything.

stuartc said...

What a godsend! I've been using version 5.0 for over ten years with no glitches, but have recently become concerned about compatability. I've always encouraged my PhD students to use it, but they have been reluctant since Bekon went bust. As far as I can see, the alternatives are not as good. I'm gonna stick with it a bit longer in the hope that someone will bring out a new version.

Anonymous said...

I'd be grateful if some could re-post or send me the version of Idealist 3.0 (I bought it many years ago but have long since lost the floppy). It seems to have been deleted from www.sendspace.com/file/0t4qxs. Many thanks in advance.

Lawrence said...

Anonymous, I have uploaded a copy of Idealist 3 to my public folder on SkyDrive: http://cid-4b5974cafa04f82c.office.live.com/self.aspx/.Public/IDEAL3.EXE

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lawrence, but I'm afraid I can't get this to open, either in vista or XP (am I missing a trick?). Let me fill you in: I'm running 3.0 on XP at work and on my portable, but was concerned that it wouldn't run on my home PC (vista). I lost the installation disks some time ago. I will make the move to 5.0 at some stage, but want to see if 3.0 will run on Vista, giving me a little breathing space.

Thanks for all your advice - these posts have been a massive help.

Lawrence said...

Anonymous,

I have just checked the file on SkyDrive and it seems to be OK. Not sure why you can’t get it to run. It certainly is possible to run Idealist 3.0 on a Vista machine: I had no difficulties installing on my Vista laptop.

Andrew said...

I have two TEX files that were produced using an old DOS version of Idealist. The associated DEF files (and the Idealist software) have long since been lost. Can anyone running the old DOS version help with a data export to TXT?

I'd be most grateful for any help!

Anonymous said...

Dear Lawrence,

it's a relief to know that 3.0 it will run on vista. Your 5.0 version works fine on my vista machine, but I can't open your version of 3.0 on it or on my XP machine either. It seems to lack a SETUP.EXE and so it fails to open just asks me what programmes I want to open the file with. Puzzled.

Anonymous said...

Re: the problems with version 3. It appears to be a zip archive.
If you rename the downloaded file to setup.zip, you can then extract the setup files, and then run setup.exe to install it.

Lawrence said...

Ideal3.exe is a self-extracting executable. Double-clicking the file should make it unzip itself and take you to the setup file.

Anonymous said...

>>Ideal3.exe is a self-extracting executable

Yes it is, but with my XP SP3 + IE8, it removes the .exe file extension when you try to save it. If I rename it to Ideal3.exe (or use Firefox to download it), it runs but with "a Win16 insufficient resources error". This is fixable, but I was lazy, and just renamed it to a .zip file, and used winzip to extract the installation files. Worked for me - your mileage may vary.

Anonymous said...

I suspect he's using IE8 under XP to download it, which is stripping the .exe extension. Either rename or use Firefox, but if you get the Win16 subsystem when you try to extract it, you can rename it as Ideal.zip and use Winzip to unpack it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your help. I now have a version of 3.0 operating on Vista. Now that I have 5.0 too, I'll begin experimenting and let you know how I get on.

Anonymous said...

I am also an avid Idealist user. I have version 5 and as yet have not found a worthwhile replacement.
The searching performace is excellent. I am using it on XP machines and hope to try it out on a couple of machines I have migrated to W7 over the Christmas. I would hate to loose it. I use it instead of a daybook to record titbits of information that I could never hope to find in a diary or any other hardcopy.

metacognitive said...

I've arrived at Devonthinkpro in my search for an idealist replacement. Its very good and very sophisticated if somewhat complex and having a dated interface (rich criticism from an advocate of a 16 year old obsolete product but I guess thats the point)
I liked that idealist offered a consistant structured appearance and acted like a database albeit one very flexible an adaptable cf say the too freeform nested approach of AskSam the only alternative I looked at at the time at the time.
Devonthink and everything else seem more like massive content buckets albeit very useful ones . Onenote Circus Ponies and similar offer the promise of freeform flexibility in an attractive notebook metaphor but dont seem to do it. Filemaker I tried and is very adaptable but only within this is the structure of this record within this file - or something - without building a big complex relational thing

keep the faith

d weber said...

happy to find an Idealist community

Woodyc said 17 may Idealist 5.0 runs on Win 7 64 bits.
Well my Idealist 5.01 (Nov 17 95) does not.

I tried running an installed base from a stick. Should i reinstall from disk?

Please help this illiterate, who loves to use Idealist for our museum in Holland

Woodyc said...

I use the original Idealist 5.0 only. Years back I swore never again to try the 5.01 (ie installed off stiffy disk) as it was bug-riddled. Suggest you reinstall original

this should work on Win 7 64bit and all earlier Windows OS

Eddie said...

To Andrew, who posted a message on 1 December about TEX files produced by Idealist for DOS, I have an installation disk for Idealist for DOS somewhere and may be able to send you the setup files if I can find it. Let me know where I can send them.

I have a hard copy of the Blackwell Idealist User Guide (1995 -- version 3?). What would be the best way to make this available to this resurgent Idealist community? Scan to PDF, perhaps?

Cheers, Eddie

Lawrence said...

Eddie, it would be great to have a copy of the user guide available. If you could scan it to pdf, it could then be posted on the Idealist Google Group.

Terry said...

Lawrence - thank you very much for setting up this really useful blog. The company I work for have been using Idealist v3 for years and love it. However, we are now moving to the 64bit version of Win7 and need to upgrade to v5 if we are going to continue to use it. The links to version 5 no longer work so if anyone has a copy of it could this share pls?

Thanks in advance.

Terry

Stuartc said...

I've just started using v5 for a new database. Since I lack a manual, I'd be grateful if someone could tell me the correct format for inputting dates. (As a historian, I need to display different years and be able to sort by date). I've tried various options, but to no avail.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Thought it would be useful for all to know that I have the following in old floppy form but do have a reader for these which I assume means that I can write to CD from them on my IBM Thinkpad.I also have the Idealist manual. I live in central London.

Idealist V3 (2 floppy)
Idealist Vn 4 Beta Test (1 of 1)
Idealist Version 3 for Windows
95/NT(1 only)
Idealist Microsoft Win 32s (1 of 1)
Idealist V5(1 of 1)

Anonymous said...

After my computer crashed and i needed to reinstall the old database, I still am unable to get the database to show the fields on any of the files. I can see that the reason is when I create a new database, I am somehow not creating a .def file. Any ideas anyone please

Terry said...

Anonymous (13 January, 2011 11:36) - any chance you could upload the software and manual to a site for sharing?

Terry

Anonymous said...

i am not really sure how to do this with the soft ware though i think laurence once told me how to do it so if he can email me again that would be great - if not i can try to save to a disk for you

wont be able to post the manual though

Terry said...

That would be great. If you can get the manual to me I'll scan it for upload on the blog.

Terry

Andrew said...

Some time ago I posted to say that I started a project to write an open source replacement to Idealist. The latest release, now renamed 'Qercus' is here:
http://kde-apps.org/content/show.php/Qercus?content=111504
The interface is very similar to Idealist, but the vital feature - the indexing/ searching engine - is still not there. I have tried to enlist other developers, but it's actually quite difficult to get people who have not used Idealist to understand why it is so useful.

Eddie said...

To Lawrence/Terry: Apologies for not having done anything about scanning the Idealist User Manual (1995) mentioned in my post of 4 January. If a PDF of the manual is still not available and either of you would like to volunteer to do the scanning, I'd be happy to send you my copy of the manual. Just let me have a postal address. I'm eddie at euclidean dot co dot uk. Cheers.

Eddie said...

To Terry (10 January): If you still require the setup disk/files for Idealist version 5, I can send them to you. Let me know. Cheers, Eddie

Lawrence said...

Eddie,

Thanks for offering to send the manual. I'm afraid I have scanner problems at the moment. Perhaps Terry would be prepared to do the scanning.

Eddie said...

To Anonymous (13 January): In Idealist, field definitions can be global (in which case they are stored in the file idealist.def in main Idealist folder) or local (in which case they are stored in the databasename.def file in your database folder, if you have one). By default, idealist creates global field definitions. If you want local field definitions, you should go to File > Options and check the box "Create Local Field and Record Definitions". (I myself prefer local definitions.) If, after your crash, you are not able to retrieve either idealist.def or databasename.def, then you may have to recreate the field definitions. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

thanks so much - i will try this asap. i did find this week an old backup including a .def file. it worked on one version that i had created but not on another. it might be that the file was not in the right folder or i moved it which made it not universal. for some reason under program files - bekon - idelealist - I now have folders called also idealist 3 and idealist 5. i need to check this all out again. i do remember though that the help desk talked me through exporting and then importing the database under a new name to get the field names to appear on the left hand side

Anonymous said...

thanks so much - i will try this asap. i did find this week an old backup including a .def file. it worked on one version that i had created but not on another. it might be that the file was not in the right folder or i moved it which made it not universal. for some reason under program files - bekon - idelealist - I now have folders called also idealist 3 and idealist 5. i need to check this all out again. i do remember though that the help desk talked me through exporting and then importing the database under a new name to get the field names to appear on the left hand side

Eddie said...

To Stuartc (13 January): This is what you do in version 3; version 5 may differ slightly. If you need to search and sort by date, first make sure the relevant field is of the Date type. (You can still enter a date in a text field, but it will be treated as text and sorted alphabetically, so that, e.g., 31/01/10 will come after 29/12/11!) The date you enter in the field consists of three numbers separated by a non-numeric character. Idealist then intereprets the three numbers as representing day, month, year in the order (DMY, MDY, YMD) specified in your Regional Options settings in Windows Control Panel. This is also where the non-numeric separator is specified (the default is /). As a historian, you will almost certainly require a 4-digit year. You can specify this in Regional Options, but I haven't had occasion to check how reliably Idealist handles these. Hope this helps. Cheers.

Eddie said...

PS to Stuartc (13 January): If you need to display the year only, it would probably be best to enter it in a Number field. You could then distinguish BC and AD (if you need to) with - and +. Again, the precise format will be determined by the way the Numbers format is defined in your Regional Options settings in Windows Control Panel. Cheers.

Eddie said...

PPS to Stuartc (13 January): For displaying years only, an "Integer" type field may be better than "Number" type field. Try them both and see what suits... Cheers.

Terry said...

Idealist v5 Manual.

Eddie kindly sent me his manual for scanning. I have created a searchable PDF which can be downloaded from:

http://www.sendspace.com/file/ey55j0

It's 14MB but well worth the download!

Terry

Lawrence said...

Terry, thanks for all your hard work. Just one thing -- this appears to be the manual for version 3 rather than version 5 (e.g. v.5 would have been Bekon Idealist rather than Blackwell Idealist).

Terry said...

Well spotted Lawrence! I've made a correction at the download site.

Terry

Terry said...

The new download link is http://www.sendspace.com/file/kwjgo2

Eddie said...

Yes -- thanks very much, Terry. I don't think Bekon ever produced a printed manual for version 5. They may have updated the Help files though.

Richard said...

Like others, thrilled to find an Idealist group going strong. I was a great fan but sadly abandoned Idealist some years ago, moved text stuff to AskSam (which I like) and everything else eventually to Access -- all data migration pretty straightforward once you have dealt with the problem of having multiple instances of a field in a record.

I bought the DOS version in Feb 1992 and still have the 1992 ringbinder manual, and possibly the discs. And some really helpful correspondence with Blackwell, specifically a man named Peter Kibby. Then the 1995 Users Guide.

As many people have pointed out, under Bekon the product sadly reached the end of the road. But I was amazed a few years ago to discover that a DB application called DS CALM (http://www.axiell.co.uk) was a "closed" application built in Idealist. The organisation I worked for (a museum) bought it (v expensive) and I was curious that although the application didn't give access to help files, there were help files in the installation. To my astonishment they were the Idealist help files, with the word "Calm" substituted for "Idealist" -- but of course they weren't any use because Calm had been locked down to a single application. I even looked at a data file and found that the file header was identical to the Idealist header. The irony was that guess where we had migrated the files from? -- Idealist! Both DS and Bekon professed ignorance about this, so I guess there were confidentiality issues. Also, a lot of work had been put into giving the system relational-type features, and of course it was usable on a network (I never discovered -- can Idealist be used on a Network?)

Richard

Richard said...

Answered my own question -- v3.95, which I still have installed, has network record locking capability, so I assume all other Windows versions do too.

Richard

David said...

Just had a great read through all the comments - Long time since, I have a bought copy of v3 and a demo of v5 plus the v5.5 upgrade - but no v5.5 help file, does anyone have it? or the full v5 or v5.5 installation files? would be much appreciated.

Ulrich said...

dear Lawrence
I have been searching high and low and at last found your website and blogs. I nearly changed to MAC but didn't because it would not run Idealist. Now I have Windows 7 and need at least the I-32 version; will this work? If so I will be forever grateful if you could send it. email uel@ednet.co.uk

I have used Idealist ever since I read about its initial launch, (in DAS) in New Scientist. I've repeatedly encouraged students to use it, but instead they continued to type out their references. It still seems to be the only convenient programm with open unlimited text fields.

Ulrich said...

I forgot to add, that yes, it would be splendid if somone coordinated an Idealist group! I would be an active member, but am the world's worst administrator, so if someone is keen to start this, many of us would be most grateful.

Woodyc said...

There is a google users group, mentioned in this blog

https://groups.google.com/group/IdealistDB?hl=en&pli=1

There should be a zipped version of i32 on the web, as it has been uploaded in response to earlier requests on this Blog. Search the blog and get back if that fails....

With respect to databases to archive academic literature, there are several versions, including EndNote. Mendeley is great and also free. It holds great promise to extract biblio fields from a pdf. One can also input records from ISI etc directly into these contemporary packages.

My main Idealist database holds nearly 15 000 records that began in 1988 on a DOS based package Notebook! Then it was migrated to Idealist 3 and now 5. I maintain both Mendeley and Idealist. And the latter also manages project specific genotyping projects where I can track specimens back and fro between museum collections to actual DNA sequences. So yes, for me too Idealist is indispensible :-)

Woodyc said...

Idealist 5 files are available: http://www.sendspace.com/file/jx33y5


BTW don't bother with V5.5, as it's bug ridden

Ulrich said...

Thank you ,Woodyc. I tried to download Idealist 5, but the setup demands a serial number, which of course I don't have. Any suggestions? or alternatives?
thanks

Lawrence said...

Ulrich, if you look inside the Idealist5 zip file you will find a txt file containing the license number.

Chris said...

I too have been using Idealist for many years and have found it robust and very flexible. This year I got a new computer with Windows 7 and it works just as well.

I was interested in the comments made about version 5 and running it on a 64 bit machine. My new boss has just got a 64 bit laptop and version 3 would not load.

We bought Idealist 5 upgrade(not sure of exact version) a number of years ago and had to revert to version 3 because of the password protection.

We have the networked version of Idealist on our server and users have the 'Iread' part of the software so they can read but not change anything. I manage the database so have full access. The 5 version we bought, allowed me to password the database but shut off everyone else from opening it!

I would dearly love to resolve the 64 bit problem and postpone looking for replacement software. Can anyone tell me whether it would be worth my while trying to get hold of version 5.0?
Thanks
Chris
PS I am not an IT person just a user.

Woodyc said...

Chris

download V5.0 here - the serial # is in the zipped file.

Idealist 5 files are available: http://www.sendspace.com/file/jx33y5

In my experience, since earlier posts to this effect, V5.0 runs fine on 64bit Win7. To migrate your V3 database export in Natural format to clipboard and then import direct into V5 - Obviously, running on a 32bit win that can run both versions....

There has been previous discussion on uselessness of the upgrade to V5.0 in this forum

there is also a google group for Idealist.

enjoy :-)

Chris said...

Many thanks Woodyc, I'll give it a go.

Chris

akm said...

Definitely software worth replacing, preferably with a GPL'd application.

akm said...

http://www.gnu.org/software/mifluz/ is a text inverted index. It may be worth looking at.

Chris said...

Just a question for Woodyc or anyone else who might be able to help. I installed Idealist 5 as instructed but it would not run. All seemed fine until I tried to open the program. I got an error message "The procedure entry point IdleAddPairFailed could not be located in the dynamic link library idle.dll" Any ideas about what could be wrong?

Thanks
Chris

CK said...

I was delighted to discover this blog recently and to realise that I am not the only person left in the world still using Idealist. In fact, from Lawrence’s very first post it would appear that I am not even the only person in Glasgow who still uses it!

I have been somewhat surprised by the recent posts from Chris about his problems in using Idealist on machine using Windows 7 64-bit. While I mainly use Idealist on a desktop computer running XP, I have within the last year loaded it successfully onto a laptop running Windows 7 64-bit. This applies both to Idealist 3 and the version of Idealist 5 which I have downloaded from the link on this blog.

That having been said, I noticed on one of the setup screens when I was installing Idealist 5 that there is a warning that this is beta software and that it should not be used in a real-world situation. For that reason while I have played around a little with the downloaded copy of version 5, I eventually deleted it and have continued using version 3. I have not noticed any problems with version 3 in the 64-bit environment, but I would have to admit that I do not use it on the laptop very often, my main use being under Windows XP.

Whether it makes any difference or not, I should say that the build of Idealist 3 that I am using is a build which was issued under the Bekon name after they had taken over from Blackwell and is dated January 1999. It was given away free on a CD in PC Plus magazine together with a demo version of Idealist 5. The demo copy of version 5 was limited to 128 records, but the copy of version 3 was fully functional.

While I really like Idealist and will probably continue to use it for some things as long as I can, over the years my use of it has got less and less, because it is not adapted to more up-to-date computing habits. Like Lawrence I have tried to find alternatives. Like him I have tried Ultra Recall, and, like him, while I have found it useful to a degree, it is not the perfect answer. Probably the closest thing to Idealist which I know of is askSam which I have been using for many years along with Idealist. It has the obvious advantage of being more up-to-date; version 7 was released in 2008, and I have been informed that version 8 is in development. In some other ways askSam is better than Idealist, for example, it can produce very flexible reports. It is also very good for importing word processing documents without having to paste the contents into a field. On the other hand it can be slightly buggy at times. Also it has no direct support for a hierarchical structure of records.

Anyway, I’m glad to see that Idealist is not dead yet.

Anonymous said...

About six months ago I tracked down the developer who was given the task by Bekon of creating v5 and higher. He told me that the IPR of Idealist might be held a businessman who owned a stake in Bekon. If anyone is interested I could try locating this guy and ask him about the rights to the software. Or should we let sleeping dogs lie?

Lawrence said...

I suspect that, unless some of us actually want to do something about further development of Idealist, it would be better to let sleeping dogs lie. But thanks for looking into the IPR situation.

Anonymous said...

Previously I reported on this page that I have been developing an open-source program that offers similar facilities to Idealist. The latest release of this project (now called Qercus) will import and index Idealist natural-format files. While it does not have all of Idealist facilities it works quite well, and I was able to import and index 2000 records. Searching is quite fast. Qercus will run on windows, but you have to install several packages.

http://kde-apps.org/content/show.php/Qercus?content=111504

Andrew.

Jan van Steenwijk said...

Sleeping dogs

Mr. Christopher Hurrey has de source code for I32.exe.
I suppose he may use that for his own purposes but
that is it.

I understand "anonymous" believes he can contact the owner of the
legal rights to Idealist.

Why don 't we ask the owner to part with his legal rights?
We than can try to find a C++ programmer to update
Idealist to our wishes. Yes of course, that would mean that
we had to spend some money. So what, we love Idealist
don't we?
So, let us wake up the dog!

Or do we have a reason to be afraid of the dog?
I am not. I have paid for Idealist and I would like it to be developed
further.

Jan van Steenwijk

HeliR said...

I am happy to hear that people got idealist working 64bit Win7 !!

I was not aware about a 32bit version, having just installed the 16bit version. I have 2 Packages with v5 and 5.5 in basement which was identical to 4.0

Is there the 32bit version? I have no floppy any longer available, anyone can upload me the 32bit idealist?

whoever wants: I have written a MS-ACCESS Idealist simmilar clone but prefer the fast loading idealist.

Since sony vaios are only 64bit windows I will otherwise loose my idealist DB, Id love a similar DB as little standalone product, without having to install frameworks or Office-Packages.

tx heli.retzek [at] homeopathy.at

HeliR said...

looked into basement - when cleaning up i threw both packages of idealist 4.5 and 5.0 away (because I had my installed and greatly working setting on several computers).
so I urgently need the idealist 32bit version please, please mail me directly the download link

heli.retzek AT homeopathy.at

tx

woodyc said...

The install files are downloadable

http://ifile.it/49g5c2o/Idealist%205.0.rar

http://ifile.it/k9gjxp7/Idst_Win30.zip

serial no therein as Textfile

HeliR said...

now I know why I couldnt use Idealist 5.0 --> it cant handle "UMLAUTE" (german font 'รค')

I would need the NOV95 Idealist Version which is befor the RTF-Support.

(32 bit)I32.EXE
(32 bit)IREAD32.EXE
(32 bit)INET32.EXE


anyone has these files available?

what is with the source, further up in the blog Theo wrote that he could get a hand on the source. I am convinced that we would be able to bugfix the source and recompile it, we do not need to extend majorly if no professional programmer is on this team, but bugfixing and minor programming tasks someone can do (e.g. me).

tx

Andrew said...

In case anyone would like to try the new beta release of open source program Qercus, I've produced installation instructions for Windows users. The most important functions of Idealist, including text searching and efficient indexing of data as it is entered, are implemented.

HeliR said...

Querkus: will a Windows Version be available?

Andrew said...

Qercus does run under Windows XP and Windows 7. There is no .exe build at present, so you have to install an interpreter for the computer language used (Python 2.6 or 2.7), plus some other packages. Believe me - it is do-able.

Anonymous said...

Hi - You helped a while back. I had my laptop stolen and I am trying to download Idealist again from my original discs and remember that i always had a problem getting it to start up. Any ideas please. mlkorn@compuserve.com

J. van Steenwijk said...

To Anonymus Sept 12 2011

I32.exe and Inet32.exe run without installing om my XP 32bit from any directory or even an USB-stick.
So what is the real problem?
Do you have a original disk? Is it corrupted? What version ?

Jan van Steenwijk

mlkorn said...

no idea as i still cant work it out

Chris L said...

Just to say thanks very much to you all for all this info. I was feeling alone with my ageing database. I have the Win 32 floppy and manual from 1995 but could not load the programme on my new Windows 7 computer. It had worked fine on Vista but now it came up with exe. problems. Anyway, just used Lawrence's setup link and worked no problems. So I am delighted. Thanks very much indeed. I was about to resort to a natural text export and use dtSearch ( a superb programme for text searching) to continue using my research material. Problem solved, Cheers.

J. van Steenwijk said...

To Andrew Sept. 5th

Qercus seems promising.
Maybe a demo could be made based on, for instance, Ubuntu or Puppy Linux?
An ISO of a CD from which it could be run withhout affecting our
"precious" Windows installations?

I just do not kwow enough about Linux to do it myself.

Jan van Steenwijk

Anonymous said...

Hi Jan,

I've just produced an executable build for Windows. I hope that this will be useful to you. To make it work, download the zip and extract the files to a convenient directory. Then set up a shortcut to the Qercus.exe file.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/qercus/

If you want to run it on Linux, the MediaWiki page has some instructions.

http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/qercus/index.php?title=Main_Page


Andrew.

Jan van Steenwijk said...

To Anonymus Andrew
07 November, 2011 22:19

Thank you very much.
I have spent some time with Qercus
and I like it.
I certainly reminds me of Idealist.
Do you intend to develop it further?

Is there any chance that Qercus will ever be able to import a large set of searchable PDF's

I have many questions and comments but I realize that the project is not finished and that I cannot be of any help.

Jan van Steenwijk

Andrew. said...

Jan - I'm not planning to do much work on Qercus in the near future, as it has reached the point of being stable and useful (and I have other priorities for my time). Now that its function can be so well demonstrated it be possible to get other programmers interested.

The facility to add and index PDFs (and extract tags such as title and author) would certainly be useful. We would need to add an import option especially for creating records from a subdirectory of PDFs. The indexing library (Xapian) does support PDFs so it would be possible .. but more than I can commit myself to at present.

If your PDFs are academic papers you might try Mendeley, but this is not so useful as a general purpose database. Mendeley allows PDFs to be added by drag and drop.

The Qercus menu Help has an email address on which I can be contacted for specific problems.

Andrew.

Chris Hurrey said...

Just recently I have been in touch with an outfit called Tamesis which owns the copyright to Idealist as I might need to use the software commercially. If anyone wants the email address, let me know and I will pass it on.

Chris.Hurrey@ntlworld.com

Sara said...

Hello,

Helpful perspectives in this thread -- thank you! I am curious if anyone has tried and/or been successful in exporting a large batch of records from Idealist then importing into either the Reference Manager, EndNote or ProCite databases? I'm evaluating possible commercial products (with support) that have solid db and text retrieval functionality. Thanks in advance!

eardley333@hotmail.com

Chris Hurrey said...

Sara

I did reply. Did you receive it?

Chris

Anonymous said...

Hi all. I've been left a database in Idealist format that has some really useful stuff (for me) - But i have no way to access it. Can anyone who has a copy of the program/user guide/ db format description please repost them - the links above have all expired. If it comes down to it I can program an extractor (anybody know one?) any help with unpicking the format - absolutely anything will be much appreciated. Thanks Steve

Lawrence said...

Steve, I’ve just put a copy of Idealist 3 in my public Dropbox folder. The url is http://dl.dropbox.com/u/62208205/IDEAL3.EXE. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou Lawrence for your prompt consideration of my plight - However The self extracting installation doesnt seem to work on my Vista m/c - first there is some faulty extension attributions then all sorts of Kernel illegal instructions as presumably it tries to execute data. So i repeat my request for a 32-bit (idealist 5.0 ??) version - or perhaps just the plain program as already installed as a zip. Thanks again Lawrence and also TheosBlog for maintaining this unique space. Steve

Lawrence said...

Steve

I'm not sure why this is not working for you. The exe file contains the installation files for both the 16-bit and the 32-bit versions. Once installed you need to go into the compatibility pane of the shortcut properties and set it to run in compatibility mode for Windows98/Windows Me. It should then run happily on 32-bit installations of Vista or Windows7 (I am currently running it on Win7 with no problems). I don't recommend Idealist 5: it crashed my system repeatedly when I tried to instal it and people who have installed it successfully tell me that it is less stable than Idealist 3.

Anonymous said...

Lawrence
Thank you once again for taking the time to help me. I've rerun the install and it first falls over when a file "_INS5176._MP" quote: "doesnt have a program associated with it for performing this action" - Now, i dont know what the proper program is to associate. I would have expected the self extractor to either associate it or run it - perhaps i need something else installed first. Usually the underscore is a place marker for another letter - and i dont know what that would be either. Any help here would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks Again, Steve

Anonymous said...

Lawrence

I've now cracked it (i think/hope) - I had to unzip the Installer program you supplied with Winzip then run the file Setup.exe that was inside it and that seems to have installed the software from the unpacked folder.
Thanks for all your help, Steve.

John Lea said...

I just downloaded Idealist from Lawrence's website and it runs really well under XP running within VirtualBox on my iMac. I used it in the 1990s and there were several databases I forgot to export to text files when I switched to Mac. I'd forgotten how good the record linking and search language was. By the way, if anyone wants an OX X program that does all that Idealist did and more, I'd recommend DevonNote or DevonThink

Anonymous said...

CTRL-Z

I have been using Idealist (32 bit Jan 99) to author some long reports. One drawback is my tendency to hit CTRL-Z when editing. In a modern application this would undo the typing, in Idealist it reverts to the last saved copy of the whole record - loosing all edits!

After some experimentation I have discovered "Resource Hacker" http://www.angusj.com/resourcehacker/ and used it to disable the CTRL-Z keyboard accelerator:

Make a copy of i32.exe
Load in Resouce hacker
Find the Accelerator/11/1033 section in the tree display
Delete the following entry
"^Z", 1101, NOINVERT
Press the compile script button
Save the file

This program can also be used to redesign and resize some of the dialogue boxes. Take it a bit at a time and keep backup copies!

Have fun

G

Lawrence said...

Dear G

Thanks for the tip. I don't use crtl+z so it's not relevant to me, but I'm sure others will find it helpful. And, thanks for the link to Resource Hacker, which looks very useful.

HeliR said...

For my personal needs i have programmed an ms-access database that works for me just as idealist did.
It does not cover stacked searches though it would be very little work to implement that.

All my idealist versions stall when exporting the files unless in idealist natural into clipboard, i have also made n import function for that, though it might need adiption if many different record structures are use, i have just had 2 or 3 structures and was just using idealist as quick note and paasword ... database with simple record structures (header, text, remark)

If you want that file just drop me a note

Unknown said...

I had used DOS and Idealist 3 for many years, and then downloaded Id 5 with Lawrence's help. Thank
you!
But there are awkward lacks in Id 5: the main one is the the hit list is not saved, although the Help shows that there whould be a dialogue in Hitlist Options where save/load hitlist can be set. But there is not such dialogue box Have I done something wrong?
Other problems are e.g., the + and - keys no longer move through records; you have to use mouse and arrows. another is the the search list no longer tells you the number of hits.
So I would really like to change back to Id 3 on Windows 7 but the link you gave, Lawrence, will not install on Windows 7.
Any advice welcomed with thanks
Ulrich

Anonymous said...

I'm new here but have used Bekon v3 for years with Win 98, and Win XP. I tried successfully to install it on Win 7 (Home Edition, 32 bit), no problems at all.

I simply copied all the files in my XP directory to an equivalent in Win 7, from a USB stick. Made a shortcut, everything seems to work fine. Probably Win 7 64 bit could not be so simple.

Mike, Aug 1 2012.

Chris Hurrey said...

Has anyone tried to run Idealist v3 on Windows 8?

Chris Hurrey said...

To answer my own question: yes, i32.exe does run on Windows 8 and will run on the 64 bit version provided you use the compatibility function of Windows. If dates/numbers get suddenly reformatted and you are using the 64 bit version, make sure you run the compatibility routine and all will be well.

Pako Alvarez said...

Dear colleagues, I would like to downdload Idealist V.5
I have tried all links you have suggested none works in my PC. I used to work with Idealist long time ago, now I need for my PHD research. Please any help I will appreciate. Pako (my email: pakoalvarez@hotmail.com)

librarian said...

I've used an old version of Idealist since the mid-90s. I've no idea what version or whether 32-bit. I've recently had to move from XP to Windows 8 which won't recognise Idealist. I've got all the Idealist files on a USB stick and I also transferred them directly from the old hard drive to the new PC. I tried Chris Hurrey's suggestion but no luck.

Even if I can't get Idealist to run on Windows 8 I'd still like to be able to recapture the old data. Does anyone know of a means of doing that, please?

Lawrence Osborn said...

Pako

Personally I would avoid Idealist v.5 if possible (v.3 is available from various places and certainly runs on every Windows system up to Win7 64-bit).

Lawrence Osborn said...

Librarian

If the Idealist executable is I32.exe you have the 32-bit version and (i'm told) it should run OK in Windows 8. Assuming the directory structure is the same as for Windows 7, the Idealist program files should go in the Windows 'Program Files (x86)' directory. Then all you have to do is create a shortcut, right-click on the shortcut, go into Properties/Compatibility then set 'Run this program in compatibility mode for . . .' and choose something suitably old-fashioned (I have mine set to Win98/Me).

Lawrence Osborn said...

Librarian

I meant to add: if you're version of Idealist is the 16-bit version let me know and I'll send you a link for downloading the 32-bit version.

If all else fails, you should be able to extract the raw data from the Idealist .tex files. Just open them in any text editor and copy and paste what you need.

HeliR said...

Hi, I used Idealist as "little, fast Database" storing every day sthgs like passwords, emails from online-buys ...., at present about 2000 records.

I have programmed myself a little MS-ACCESS database that covers what I need, simple fulltext search through all records and an import-function for idealist-natural file.

For iPad and iPhone I have found a great tool that more than covers my needs "Tap Forms" is a great little fulltext free-record Database having everything that Idealist has including stacked search.
b.r. Heli

librarian said...

Lawrence

Thanks. On further investigation I see it's i16. Nevertheless I tried your suggestion but it doesn't work, presumably because it's nlot the 32-bit version.

Lawrence Osborn said...

Librarian

You'll find the 32-bit version in this self-extracting executable: https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=4B5974CAFA04F82C!1051&authkey=!AJ3OMuMKalcRxEA.

librarian said...

Lawrence

Thanks for that link. However, this 32-bit version is still not accepted.

You're right, of course, I can extract the raw data in a text editor. Three of my four databases have several fields, not all of which are used in every record, and the field names do not appear as such in the .tex files, though I can probably work out the system's codes for them and recognise what text belongs in what field in that way. They are large databases so it will take some time. However, it looks like it's the only way.

Anonymous said...

I got the Idealist 3 exe file to install on my 64-bit Windows system just now, and it all works fine.

Here is what I did, I hope it works for you (and indeed it may have been explained already elsewhere on this blog):

1) change file name of setup.exe to setup.zip

2) extract the files using e.g. Winzip to any folder you choose (you'll get some .cab files, an ini file, a setup.exe file etc.)

3) in this folder replace the setup.exe file with the InstallShield 5.x setup.exe file that is available here:
http://www.reactos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=10988

(you'll find the zip file containing the InstallShield 5.x setup.exe under the section "InstallShield 5.x alternate method" - the file is linked as "Is5Launcher.zip

4) With the InstallShield5.x setup.exe file now replacing the old Idealist 3 setup.exe file in the extracted folder (the one you extracted above with the .cab files etc in it), simply double-click the new setup.exe file and Idealist 3 loads.

Footnote:
I discovered how to do this from this site here:
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/9106825/how-to-execute-16-bit-installer-on-64-bit-win7
(search down for the comment that begins:
"It took me months of googling to find a solution for this issue....."

You'll find it all explained in that comment.

Thanks to this blog, to Lawrence, and to everyone commenting and involved.

Last point: it is strange that there is no modern version of such a simple tool as Idealist, with all its clunkiness.

Anonymous said...

Addendum to my comment above:
Thanks to Theosblog

Pako Alvarez said...

Thank you very much for your advice Mr Osborn. I have got V.3 and works fine.

Librarian said...

Anonymous

Thanks for those very helpful instructions. I've done all that but when I double-clicked the new setup file it came up with Error 105: "Can't find the installation languages in the C:\Users ...\New folder\IS5launcher\SETUP.LID file." That file is in the new folder, so have you any idea what the problem is, please?

Unknown said...

Dear Lawrence,
I am trying to get rid of Idealist 5, which was better than Idealist 5.5,but have failed to load Idealist 3 following your note from Feb 15 2012, which reads "Steve, I’ve just put a copy of Idealist 3 in my public Dropbox folder. The url is http://dl.dropbox.com/u/62208205/IDEAL3.EXE. Hope this helps."
On my Windows 7, trying to run that download just comes up with the error that it's incompatible with my system.
What am I doing wrong?
Thanks
Ulrich

Lawrence Osborn said...

Ulrich

Idealist.exe is a self-unpacking zip file. As you say, it doesn't work on a 64-bit Win7 system. However, if you unpack it using Winzip or 7Zip, you should be able to run setup.exe from among the unpacked files. Let me know if that doesn't work and I'll post a copy of my Idealist folder (which definitely works in Win7 -- just save it in the x86 programs folder, create a shortcut to i32.exe and change the file compatibility settings to something suitable (like Win98)).

Yours
Lawrence

Simon Hird said...

We have used the 16 bit multi-user version for years without any problems. Moving to Windows 7 meant moving to the 32 bit version. However the multi-user version appear incompatible (Inet32 won't open) so we have been opening single user and selecting multi-user at the File Open stage. The problem is that we are unable to re-index and then are unable to open the file using the single user variant to try to reindex. The other error we see is .dir, .occ and .trm files "disappearing". If anyone could send me the manual for v3 I would be grateful. Any advice on using Idealist in multi-user mode would also help. Thanks Simon

Lawrence Osborn said...

Simon

Sorry about the long delay in responding to your request for a copy of the manual. There is a pdf of it in my public Dropbox folder: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/62208205/Idealist%20Manual.pdf

Unknown said...

49Thanks to Lawrence, I have been successfully using Idealist 3 for a while, having thnkfully abandonned 5 and 5.5.

However, I am more and more attracted to the Mac. Is there any way to run Idealist on a Mac?
Thank you for all your help over years.
Ulrich

Lawrence Osborn said...

Ulrich, my immediate reaction to your question is Crossover for Mac. I don't know for certain whether it will run Idealist, but I do know that Idealist runs OK under Wine (which is very similar to Crossover for Linux).

ljj18519 said...

Hi everyone -
I have recently started using my old 32-bit version of Idealist again after a gap of 10 years. All was well until my laptop was upgraded to a new one running Windows 7. I can open the database and the records are still there (phew!) but I have lost the Button bar (it's checked in the View Options) and also the field definitions (each field is called 'Text') although the .bar and Idealist.def files are still there in the Directory.
Any tips?
Many thanks
LJJ

pstanford said...

Hi, I discovered this site yesterday, after finding that my version of Idealist would not load on my new Win XP laptop - I can't find the bit version of it recorded, but it is the professional version. I downloaded your Ideal.exe file, discovered how to extract it, but then failed to get it to run. Apparently there is a failed initialisation. C:\PROGR~1\Symantec\S32EVNT1.DLL. An installable Virtual Device Driver failed Dll initialisation.
As I have a number of files I would like to read, I would dearly like to be able to get at some working version. It worked on my last XP home edition machine, which is now a dead machine, from a original four floppy version direct from Blackwell - I got it initially off a magazine cover, then upgraded, after reading reports in the Guardian!

pstanford said...

Further to yesterday - it was only one disk, the four were a planetarium program with a similar problem. I managed to install from the original disk on my netbook (XP SP2), so file access not a problem. Tried first from a saved copy on a CD-Rom, but it didn't like that. (Not enough memory, apparently! 1.9 gig.) Then tried from the floppy on the new machine, to read the same error as from your file. Chose ignore, but it didn't like that. Last try with your file - chose ignore on the error message, and away it went. Installed and working. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

To: pstanford.

One does not have to install Idealist under XP It runs ok from a USB stick.

Phil said...

Hi,

I'm trying to help my aunt who runs Idealist on her Win XP machine but needs to upgrade to a newer PC running Win 7 or 8. I gather that Idealist 5 runs ok under Win 7 64-bit, so I tried the sendspace download link for it in your blog. Unfortunately the file doesn't seem to be there any more. Is there somewhere else I can download it from?

Thanks in anticipation of your help.

Cheers
Phil

Lawrence Osborn said...

Phil

I've responded to your query on the Idealist Google Group. But for the benefit of others:

I don't recommend v5. I can't get it to install on Win7 and in the past I've found it to be unstable (on XP). Idealist 3 is a different matter. It has been utterly reliable since the days of Windows for Workgroups and I'm currently running it on a Win7/64 set-up.

You can find the installation files at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/62208205/IDEAL3.EXE. And a pdf of the manual can be downloaded from: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/62208205/Idealist%20Manual.pdf

Phil said...

Thanks Lawrence, much obliged.
Phil

Civ_In_The_City said...

Does anyone have any experience or suggestions for an Idealist database that has somehow become corrupt?

Re-indexing fails after 1024 records and starts with a warning that the database 'may be corrupt'.

Records created in last 24 hours aren`t visible now.

Somehow the tex and rot files have got out of step.

Any suggestions welcome.

Remove brackets to write to me at: (gfor)667754@(tiscali).co.(uk)