Organize iPad content securely with Yojimbo for iPad

Users of Bare Bones Software’s information organizer Yojimbo 3 have a new way to access their data. Yojimbo for iPad is a new companion product to the Yojimbo Mac software.

An iPad tab in Mac version of Yojimbo allows you to pair the software with a single iPad running Yojimbo for iPad. Your entire library is then copied to the iPad and automatically kept up to date. Encrypted items will retain the same level of protection on the iPad and require the same password to unlock.

The Mac software allows you to organize the contents of your Library into collections, much like iTunes playlists, and the iPad product faithfully retains them. (Sorry iPhone users, this is the iPad’s party.)

The look and feel of Yojimbo for iPad is typical of the iOS. If you can find your way around the Mail app, Yojimbo will be pretty easy to pick up.

Slideshow – The essential elements of protecting personal data

A button at the top left corner of the screen reveals a menu of your collections with a search bar atop. Tap a given collection to see the items it contains. When tapped, the search bar reveals buttons for performing your search against item names, tags, or both.

Unfortunately, item contents are not searchable from the iPad. Tap the item you wish to view and it appears on screen. Most items load from memory, but bookmarks are opened in an integrated browser. Clicking any link within that page, though, and Yojimbo hands it off to Safari. A separate history button lists the 20 most recently view items in your library. I find that approach preferable to Safari’s method of putting bookmarks and history under a single button.

Yojimbo 3 on the Mac keeps the iPad app up to date automatically so long as both programs are running at the same time and on the same local network. While Bare Bones’ documentation stipulates both devices must be on the same Wi-Fi network, I had no issues synchronizing between my wireless iPad and wired MacBook Pro, so long as they were served by the same router.

With Yojimbo for iPad, synchronization is a one-way street. The Mac version updates the iPad and you can’t create or modify library items within Yojimbo for iPad. I asked Bare Bones’ CEO Rich Siegel about this. His response was, “Since Yojimbo for Mac only uses our code and system services, we want to take the same reliability-ensuring approach with Yojimbo for iPad, thus our eyes are locked on iOS developments, available tools, core components and services, hoping that iOS will evolve to such a point that we can employ it to provide the best possible solution, particularly for synchronization.” That’s not to say your information is completely trapped. An action button (or share button if you like) allows you to email the library item you’re viewing at the moment. Also, there’s no AirPrint support yet.

The last button up in the title bar displays metadata about the current item. The default Info tab at the bottom of the menu lists the kind of item it is, its creation and modification timestamps, and the like. A second tab displays a list of all the collections the item appears in–if the item is just loose in the Library the tab displays “No Collections.” The final tab displays any comments you’ve entered for the item.

The read-only nature of Yojimbo for iPad applies to your metadata too. Any changes to the comments, flags, collections, etc. must be executed on the Mac then pushed to the iPad.

Macworld’s buying advice

Yojimbo users who travel with an iPad will want to pick up Yojimbo for iPad–the required Yojimbo 3 for Mac is a free upgrade after all. Those who aren’t invested in Yojimbo should give it serious consideration. Both the iOS and Mac apps are polished and stable.

If you need the flexibility of bi-directional synchronization, you’ll have to either look elsewhere or wait and see if a future revision brings it.

Stuart Gripman is the co-author of FileMaker Pro 11: The Missing Manual and founder of Crooked Arm Consulting.

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