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OS X Odyssey 212: The Second Generation Of Captain FTP
Applelinks, 29 Nov 2002
By Applelinks Contributing Editor Charles W. Moore

There are quite a few good OS X FTP clients available, but the one I have settled on using most of the time is Captain FTP, partly because it is very fast, and partly because I really like the appearance of the interface. Apparantly, I'm not the only one. More than 50 thousand Mac users have downloaded Captain FTP.

Xnet Communications GmbH, the German developer of Captain FTP, gave it a major overhaul this month, a full version number upgrade and a revamped interface, which is happily still very attractive, as well as some significant feature enhancement under the hood.

The new Captain FTP version's new features incluce segmented download, which Xnet describes as "very fast transfer based on an intelligent downloaded file analysis and connection parameters (amount of parallel FTP sessions) can speed up the entire transfer task dramatically."

This is particularly effective when downloading large files from an FTP server that limits bandwidth per connection. In that case Captain FTP maximizes bandwidth utilization and increases performance.

This Segmented Download feature allows Captain FTP to split a large file (recommended for file size over 1MB) into multiple parts and use multiple transfer connections to download those parts simultaneously. These parts are recombined into a single file upon receipt.

"Having added this feature, Captain FTP evolves from the class of a standard FTP-client into a feature rich Download-Manager," says the Xnet release.

"For the last couple of months our development team has been working very hard on adapting some of our top technologies into our Captain FTP," says Xnet CEO Mariusz Roznowski. "Don't forget the FTP protocol was developed in the 1970s, many years ago. Since that time the networking technology has gone through many changes. There are a lot of other protocols for file transfer and Xnet has been dealing with them for more than 15 years. Our company has implemented nearly every new technology, but these solutions were only available to our large accounts. Captain FTP 2.0 is the step into sharing our secrets with smaller companies and home users at an affordable price. It has been our dream for many years and now it is the day we can realize it."

Apart from changes in the Captain FTP core-engine there are many other improvements such as: quick bookmarks, a transfer resume, a very flexible Unicode converter which supports multinational fonts, a local file browser and even some sound after a finished transfer. Captain FTP is available in English, French, German, Japanese and Chinese

What is new in Captain FTP version 2.0:

New features:

  • Segment downloading.
  • Resume Transfer.
  • MacBinary full support.
  • Unicode names support for remote and local sites (Japanese, Chinese, Russian - Cyrillic, etc).
  • VMS support.
  • Local file browser (copy files locally).
  • Improved Drag&Drop support from the desktop.
  • Finder-like file-name edit.
  • Placard (selected file status info).
  • Downloaded items date preserve option.
  • Disc eject.
  • Build-in Trash can.
  • Sound after successful transfer.
  • GUI facelifting.
  • Full localized version: English, German, French, Japanese and Chinese.
  • User defined favorites for local and remote files and folders.

Major Bug Fixing:

  • Show files beginning with a period on DOS/Windows servers.
  • Display context menu function.
  • Added option LIST -la (list hidden files on certain servers).
  • Sizeable Address Book.

Features general Version 2.0

  • Completely new developed for Mac OS X and Jaguar.
  • Compatible with all FTP servers.
  • Segmented download.
  • Resume transfer.
  • Simple navigation with quick buttons, Drag&Drop, context menus and built-in trash can.
  • User defined file browser look (one or two windows, left, right, reverse).
  • Local files Manager (with two browser's windows view).
  • Address Book and favorites with quick connect option.
  • International font support.
  • Import Address Book from NetFinder, Fetch and Transmit.
  • Permissions management for local and remote files and folders.
  • Extended GetInfo.
  • Fast searching files or/and folders.
  • Global transfer progress indicator.
  • Stop button enabling a user to stop every operation at any time, without the necessity of breaking up the connection with a server.
  • Edit files with BBEdit.
  • Sound after finished file transfer

I don't personally have very heavy duty FTP requirements, but Captain FTP version 2.0 retains all of the virtues I enjoyed previous versions. Captain FTP brings up the big Applelinks graphics server directory faster than any other FTP client I've used. The address book is attractive, convenient, and intuitive to configure, and the user interface works for me.

And by the way, even if you already have a Mac OS X FTP client that you're happy with, paying a visit to the Captain FTP Website, one of the best and most entertaining I've encountered, is still worth the trip.

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