Agent Ransack’s early years

If I’m honest Agent Ransack was an accident. After reading an article by Brian Kernighan (co-father of C and Unix) in 1999 on regular expressions I decided to play around with my own regex engine. However, to really test it out I needed a framework to throw lots of data at it so I created a basic C++ application (initially called FileLocator) that would run through all the source files on my computer and match it against the regex engine. And it worked!

Feeling really pleased with myself I had a look on the Internet for other regex engines and realized that there were some MUCH better implementations. I found one by a guy named Henry Spencer and plugged that into my search framework. It not only worked, it was REALLY fast.

During the process I’d noticed something else, I was using FileLocator to help me navigate through my source code. So, over the next few weekends I polished up the UI, gave it a more exciting name (which I know not everyone appreciates) and finally released it on the Internet (via ZDNet).

It turned out that I was not the only one that needed a fast, easy to use, search program. Agent Ransack was downloaded by thousands of people and over the years thousands more have downloaded it and its big brother FileLocator Pro.

Great, right? Yes, but with one small problem. As a company we know how we use the software, but we are increasingly aware you often use it differently.  We are consistently bowled over by the myriad of ways the software is being used to resolve your problems; ways we never would have thought of, in industries we have little knowledge of.

So, as we finalize features for FileLocator Pro Version 8 release¹ (currently scheduled for September 2015) we are reminded that the best way of improving our products is to make sure we learn from you about how you use them.

If you have any ideas about how we can improve the product to make your life a little bit easier, then drop us a line. By explaining to us how FileLocator Pro and Agent Ransack work for you (and where they could do better) we’ll know how to ease that niggle – and allow you to get on with what you do best.

¹ Any purchases of FileLocator Pro v7 made since Jan 2015 are guaranteed a free upgrade to v8.

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