File-Transfer Tool Synchronizes over the Net

SAN FRANCISCO (07/05/2000) - Almost nobody simply transfers files between computers in the same building anymore-today's users move files over the Internet, between computers that may not even be located in the same country.

File Transfer Protocol is a platform-independent method for copying files around the world, but its quirky behavior makes it tedious for such routine chores as uploading Web-site content or updating files. The latest release of Vicom Technology Ltd. (Vicomsoft)'s FTP Client Pro, which has always had an elegant interface, adds features such as file synchronization to make these chores painless.

FTP Client Pro 3.02 offers a Finder-like view of files on remote systems, with drag-and-drop support for both downloading and uploading. You can customize the view to display the particular attributes that interest you-file name, type, size, date changed, and so on-and set up remote and local file-system views side by side for easy comparison. The utility uses suffix mapping and its Smart Translation feature, which examines the contents of files during download, to automate file-transfer conversions; it supports Windows, mainframe, AS/400, and many other proprietary server types. If a transfer gets interrupted midstream, the program can pick up where it left off once it reestablishes a connection.

New in this release is a sophisticated synchronization feature that lets you copy changed files from a local directory to a remote one and vice versa. The synchronization process properly avoids expanding compressed files, and it copies modification dates from the most current system rather than setting them to the current date, features other file-synchronization utilities lack. It also takes into account time differences with the remote location and can operate in a two-pass mode to propagate changes in one directory to the other.

A Persistent Download option makes the utility keep trying to download a file from a busy server while you do other work in the foreground. The 3.02 release also supports a number of new server types and offers improved compatibility with existing servers. Other enhancements include a streamlined interface, audio alerts for completed and failed downloads, support for MacBinary III, direct URL parsing, and the ability to make FTP Client Pro your browser's preferred FTP download tool.

Macworld's Buying Advice FTP Client Pro 3.02's slick interface and handy new features make it a must-have utility for anyone moving files over the Internet.

Even if all Vicomsoft did with the new release was add a few features, FTP Client Pro would be at the top of its class. But the company made one other change sure to please users: it cut the price by almost half.

RATING: 5.0 mice

PROS: Drag-and-drop interface; suffix mapping; automatic translation; folder synchronization.

CONS: None.

COMPANY: Vicomsoft (800/818-4266, http://www.vicomsoft.com).

LIST PRICE: US$50.

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More about: Vicom, Vicomsoft, Vicom Technology
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