GridIron Flow has been updated to version 2.0, with an entirely new pricing structure (FREE!), and powerful workgroup features. (For an overview of its main features, read my review of Flow 1.0 in Macworld here.)
At its root, Flow is a “visual workflow manager” that tracks your files and actions so you can discover how your files are related to each other, and even recover older versions of documents you’ve saved over. Flow keeps track of every file placed within every document, and every file exported from a file — and every version!
Amazingly, Flow can even show you every document you’ve placed a file INTO, so you can find every document that uses a specific graphic or font. Flow also tracks the time you spend using each application and file, so it knows how much time your team has spent on an entire project — automatically.
Flow works with every common creative app, including QuarkXPress, Adobe’s Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, video and sound editing applications from Adobe and Apple, 3D apps, text files, and any other file you choose to associate with a project.
Besides seeing a File Map of the relationships between your files, a Project Map lets you see how your team members relate to those files. Flow 2.0 lets you see which team members are online, send them messages, and see all communications between members. You can attach notes to files and even set up Watched folders that automatically synchronize files among members. Team members can see a large preview of any file, even they you don’t have the originating application.
The free “Flow Essentials” version gives you 4GB of storage space and collaboration features, and it tracks time but doesn’t let you see or edit the timetracking data. Additional features are unlocked by purchasing Premium Services at $9.99 each per month or $19.99 for all three.
Flow 2.0 will dramatically improve the way you work. I recommend it to every creative team member.
Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.