I get asked this occasionally, and again today. So I decided to write this once and make it a FAQ.
I develop and support IMatch since 1998! It was always fun. Not always easy, but fun. And it was never as much fun as right-now, with the release of IMatch generation 5. So many cool things in this product, and so many awesome things to come. I'm looking forward to many years of continuous development and support. (https://www.photools.com/community/Smileys/photools/sign28.gif)
During the past decade I have seen many image management systems come and go. From small vendors. From big vendors. Other software has been bought by bigger companies and then incorporated more or less successfully into other applications. Some of which then were dropped...
Many users have thus learned the hard way
what proprietary database
or custom metadata storage schemes
mean: They are locked into their old application and cannot get their data out. Or not in a format which is of any use to them. I won't name specific products here, it's just something you have to keep in mind. A general problem. Similar to RAW processors and their proprietary storage schemes. But RAW processors come and go, your file archive must be good for decades.
All this hassle is one of the reasons why I designed IMatch to be an Open System
and to rely on open metadata standards like XMP wherever possible. And why I always stress that point.
IMatch is built on top of open standards like IPTC, EXIF, XMP, ID3 etc. It uses these formats as a platform and bases its advanced features on top. Like, for example, the cool @Keyword category hierarchy and the many related features. This all is based on the keywords stored in your files
Or, consider all the awesome things you can do with metadata in IMatch. File Window, Metadata and Keyword Panel, Variables, Collections, ... Again, IMatch makes all this happen by utilizing the metadata in your files - it copies the metadata into the database, transforms it for fast access and then makes all the magic happen.The key point here is, that the metadata is in your files. Not tucked away into some proprietary database.
You can access the very same metadata with other applications, RAW processors, DAM systems ExifTool and even Windows itself.
In additional to the s many available import features, IMatch also offers export features for all important proprietary data IMatch data: categories, Attributes, your thesaurus etc. In most cases, several export formats are available, including XML and/or text. This allows you to get the IMatch-specific data out of IMatch any time, and to reuse it with other applications, database systems or DAM solutions.I have no intention to lock you into my software.
If you one day decide that you don't like IMatch anymore (https://www.photools.com/community/Smileys/photools/confused66.gif) or I get hit by a bus (https://www.photools.com/community/Smileys/photools/innocent01.gif) or I for whatever other reason don't want to or are unable develop or support IMatch anymore:
- IMatch continues to work. Of course. You have plenty of time to look around to find something new.
- The metadata is stored in the files and thus travels to your new application automatically
- If you want to reuse IMatch-specific data like categories or Attributes or your thesaurus, there are many way to export that data.
- Even if you need a very special output format and none of the standard formats work, you can always create a custom script or App which exports the data from IMatch into whatever format you desire. You can even directly feed database systems like Oracle or MySQL from an IMatch script.
That said, back to work. So much awesome things to add to IMatch, and of course there will always be some open bug reports to look into.