FTP programs are not the flashiest applications in the world. There doesn't seem to be anything inherently "gee-whiz" about moving a file from one place to another, even if its destination is on the other side of the planet. And some people will spend their entire lives never needing to directly interact with the File Transfer Protocol, instead relying on their web browser to download files for them.
But if you are a shareware author, or if you maintain a web site, FTP is very important. Think of it as kind of an Internet-based "file manager", where you can move files back and forth from your machine to an Internet server in much the same way as you would move files from your C: drive to your D: drive.
As far as FTP applications go, InterFTP is nothing spectacular, but it does the job, does it reliably, and doesn't make you jump through too many hoops. It lacks features I'd like to see in an OS/2 PM application, but it's intuitive enough for someone unfamiliar with FTP to use most of its features without resorting to the help menus.
The first time I fired up InterFTP I thought that it looked a lot like an old Warp 3 settings notebook turned on its side. It plays the spiral notebook motif (.GIF, 7.3K) to the hilt, with different FTP sites being different tabbed "pages" in the spiral pad. The top of the application is split between a view of your computer's directory tree, and the remote site's directory tree. Below your computer's directory tree is a bar labeled "shredder" -- you can drag files onto it to delete them. Below that is a message window giving you information on what exactly the program is doing and when.
There is no one-button, quick-connect method of logging on to an FTP site in this program. All FTP addresses are stored in the address book (.GIF, 8.9K), which must be opened to choose the site you want to connect to. On the other hand, InterFTP has an impressive number of pre-programmed sites already stored in its address book -- though I'm not sure at this point how many of those addresses are still accurate -- and adding new addresses is a pretty straightforward process, as long as you know the specifics of the site (FTP address, logon and password information, etc.).
You can log on to more than one location simultaneously. The different locations are organized by tabs at the bottom of the application (.GIF, 10.5K). Clicking on a tab makes that location "active" -- you can move files around, whatever. The disadvantage to this method is that there's no direct way to move files from server to server. For example, if I wanted to log on to my web site, and move a graphic I'd created from there to another FTP site, I wouldn't be able to simple drag it from one server to the other.
To get around this problem, InterFTP has a folder named "FXP" where you can cue files to be transferred from one server to another. Just drag the file you want moved to the FXP folder, switch to the other site, and drag the FXP folder into the location you want the file transferred to. I found this a bit awkward, but it works.
My biggest complaint with the program is that it is not WPS enabled. You can drag files from one place to another from within the program, but you can't, for example, drag a folder from your Desktop to a remote site -- you have to use the file directory structure within the program itself. This is disappointing -- Workplace Shell integration is something I like to see in all my applications, and FTP seems like a natural candidate for it.
The biggest plus of this program, on the other hand, is its speed. InterFTP seems to suffer from little overhead and was able to log in to FTP sites with little waiting. Change directory and directory refresh commands were very responsive as well.
InterFTP is a serviceable program, but its no nonsense manner and lack of WPS integration makes it seem kind of dated for a PM application. Many people will probably not mind its limited interface, and will certainly like its responsiveness, but I found it too limiting for regular use.
Christopher B. Wright is a technical writer in the Richmond, VA area, and has been using OS/2 Warp since January 95. He is also a member of Team OS/2.
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