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It's a bit of a PITA doing a side by side. Where I'm headed is, in fact, doing a live side by side of several products.
Only because I love pain as I can think of no other reason for going through this experience . . . except to keep my eyes open for new developments, who is improving what and how, . .
I guess I'm prepared to argue for the idea that it makes sense to play with perhaps 2-4 flavors to truly guage what works best for any one of us. The cost is relatively cheap, at least compared to the value one may place on their time, and if any one version of script proves to save an extra hour or two in a month that script just might end up paying for itself in the first month or two - compared to the clunkier "free" or cheaper script.
My read suggests that the largest cost of any directory script is the time spent customizing it, updating it, etc. So, I'm inclined to not focus too much on cost - at least for the first few installations. ;)