In an earlier article, I briefly covered the high level capabilities of the new File Reporter Tree Map along with those of the other Data Analytics tools – the Dashboard and the Pivot Grid. But until now, I really didn’t have the time to give the Tree Map the attention it deserved.
But first, a little bit of history on how the Tree Map in File Reporter came about.
Early work began as a side project from the File Reporter development team who were interested in presenting File Reporter data graphically. They liked the way that tree maps represented data as a collection of squares and set out to develop a utility that would display the content from a File Reporter File System scan as a single graphical view.
Along the way, they learned all kinds of things about tiling algorithms, aspect ratios, and squarifying—yes, that’s a word. Despite the utility not being completely finished and being only a 32-bit application, they named it the “Heat Map” and provided it in a “Technology Preview” folder of the File Reporter 2.5 ISO in October 2014.
Despite its limitations, the utility was very useful and a favorite means of File Reporter administrators to quickly determine information on file extensions, file owners, and when files were last accessed.
Further Developed for File Reporter 3.0
During the development of File Reporter 3.0, the development team took on the task of finishing the Heat Map. Their enhancements included making it a 64-bit application and adding drill-down capabilities. They also renamed it, giving it the more accurate “Tree Map” title.
The more I have worked with the Tree Map, the more cool things I have discovered, which I think are worth sharing. So in no particular order, here are some of the more notable cool things I’ve learned:
The Tree Map accesses the File System scan information directly from the database and places it in memory. Once in memory, viewing all information, including information that is redrawn, drilled down, etc., is very fast. That’s because the scan data stays in memory until you load a new File System scan from the database to view.
The tree view (on the left) will frame the folders or files within the selected folder.
Right-clicking a folder in the file system tree view and selecting Set Scope drill downs in the file system.
Clicking a square quickly provides detailed information on that file in the Properties panel, including file size, owner, and create, modify, and access times.
When displaying contents according to size, the algorithm that is used places the largest files in the upper left corner (depending on the relative size of the rectangle that is available). When there are too many files and folders to be individually represented, they are lumped together in a single square represented by the folder. Lumped squares will still show the relative size of the files in that square.
Modifying the Display
As with all of the Data Analytics tools, each panel can be moved by dragging the title bar. This can provide larger viewable areas for the other panels.
Can Span Across Multiple Monitors
The Tree Map viewable area is not limited to a single monitor. The Tree Map can span across as many monitors as you have for your desktop. The viewable area is limited only to what is available to Windows, which is a theoretical screen resolution maximum of 32,000 x 32,000 pixels.
Taking Corrective Measures
Unlike File Reporter reports—which simply list content according to your inquiries—the Tree Map lets you actually open the parent folder of a file you want to learn more about. Simply right-click a square and select Open Parent Folder to open the parent folder in File Explorer. From there, you can examine, move, or delete the file.
While File Reporter has always been able to generate and report very detailed information about the files being stored on your enterprise, quickly identifying needed information within these reports could be somewhat challenging—especially when examining very large reports.
Being able to now use the Tree Map to quickly view and analyze file data graphically, and even open and examine the files themselves is a real game changer.
To learn about all of the features and capabilities of File Reporter 3.0, visit the product website.