FTP app’s new interface simplifies, speeds up file transfer

Interarchy has long been a favorite among FTP power users, making it fast and easy to work with files on your FTP or Web server. Interarchy 8.2.2 adds several new features including a major interface change, Universal support, Amazon.com S3 file-sharing support, HTTPS support, and about a dozen other minor enhancements that make the program more useful and easier to use.

If you’ve used Interarchy in any of its previous iterations, you’ll be quick — and maybe chagrined — to note that Interarchy has, once again, undergone a major interface overhaul. In previous versions of the program, you were required to navigate a labyrinth of menus to access all of the program’s features. And, each new menu item that you chose opened up a separate window, within which you could configure your latest upload, download, or FTP listing — making it hard to keep everything organized.

Interarchy’s new Connection window takes a cue from the Automator interface and streamlines the process considerably. The Connection window features four individual panes. In the first, you select the protocol you’d like to use, such as FTP or HTTPS. In the second, you select the action you’d like to use with the selected protocol, such as creating a directory listing, creating or editing files, or mirroring a local directory to a remote FTP server.

The third pane allows you to set the parameters for your file transfer, and the fourth pane provides Help information for the features you’ve selected, as well as information on how the protocol or action you’ve selected will affect the files on your FTP server.

Initially, this new user interface seems a bit odd — it sports a Play button for running your newly created file transfers, which feels out of place in a file transfer application. But after creating several new file transfers, the program actually ended up being much easier to use than the earlier versions. Because every file transfer option is available to you in a single window, you’re more likely to see and use the many options available.

Strangely, Interarchy has fewer features available in version 8’s NetDisk than were available in version 7’s FTPDisk, which is essentially the same feature with a different name. NetDisk is a quick and easy feature that lets you mirror files between your Mac and a remote FTP server. In version 7, when you set up one of these mirrors, you could specify the local folder you wanted mirrored on the remote server.

Version 8 removes this option and assumes you’ll always want a NetDisk icon on your Desktop. According to the company, NetDisk is a novice-oriented feature and therefore doesn’t need the added configuration option. But eliminating features found in earlier versions of this program is a move in the wrong direction.

As with previous versions, Interarchy 8.2 provides excellent scheduling and bookmarking options and a collection of useful networking tools. FTP listing windows function essentially as Finder windows, displaying the contents of your FTP server, and you can view and interact with them just as you would interact with a normal Finder window. AppleScript support is excellent, and

Interarchy now has limited support (upload files and download/list URLs) for Automator actions. What you my find less than stellar are the program’s two widgets — one that monitors network traffic and another that lets you create bookmarks of your favorite FTP sites. Both add more flash than value to the program.

Interarchy 8.2 supports Amazon.com’s new S3 technology, a data storage service offered by the online retailer. Stairways has also added support for HTTPS, secure FTP, and WebDAV, all of which were missing in version 7. HTTPS and SFTP allow for the secure transfer of files from your local system to a server, while WebDAV, which is used by Apple’s iDisk, allows for collaborative editing and managing of files on a server.

One of the potential dangers of mirroring folders between your Mac and a remote server is the possibility of unintentionally deleting important files. Interarchy’s new Mirror Dry Run function gives you the opportunity to test a mirror without making any changes to the files on your FTP server or your hard drive, lessening the likelihood that you’ll accidentally destroy important data. It’s a welcome addition to the program.

Interarchy 8.2.2 is a powerful and versatile FTP program. The program’s new look may at first throw Interarchy 7 users a curve, but the new interface significantly enhances what is already a first-class FTP application.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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