FTP 3.1.1 is a full featured FTP client for Max OSX 10.2 (Jaguar) or higher. It supports
transfers of files or folders, creation of folders (directories) on either the remote
or local system, and file deletion on either the local or remote systems. It supports
the standard FTP and the secure, SFTP, protocols. A built in address book provides
storage for FTP locations and associated passwords. A Cocoa style "Metal"
interface is provided. This includes the ability to customize the toolbar in both
the address book and transfer windows.
- Single User
$110.00 - 5 User
$800 - 50 User
An evaluation copy, valid for 14 days, may be downloaded from http://www.captainftp.com/.
OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) or higher
MB physical memory
MB free disk space
G4 Dual 1.2 MHz
OS X 10.3.2 (Panther)
I downloaded Captain FTP from the vendor's website. The download is a disk archive
(.dmg) file which can be mounted on the Mac desktop. Inside this archive is a "Captain
FTP" folder that contains the application and documentation. This folder can
be simply dragged to the Applications folder on your system. On first launch I was
presented with a splash screen indicating that there were 15 days left in my evaluation
period. Options were available to enter a registration code, acquire a code, or to
just try it. A second launch immediately showed the advertised 14 day evaluation
left. Subsequent launches present this same screen until a registration code waa
entered. During the course of my evaluation, I was automatically notified that the
3.1.1 update was available. I later downloaded and installed this update with ease.
The first test of any Macintosh application is to launch it without reading the documentation
and determine if "Macintosh instincts" allowed its use. Captain FTP did
well from this regard.
On launch, I was presented with a dual panel screen. Each panel showed my Macintosh
desktop. Clicking on the disk icons presented allowed navigation through my disk
hierarchy. A finder like listing of disk/folder contents was displayed with a pulldown
at the top showing the path to the current location and allowing navigation up the
folder hierarchy. The toolbar had an icon for the Apple web site. I double clicked
this icon and was presented a password dialog box. I entered my email address (the
standard convention for anonymous ftp) and found myself, as expected, connected to
an Apple FTP site. On the Apple site, I navigated to a folder to find a test document
to download. I navigated my local folder to a suitable download folder. I quickly
identified that I could download by double clicking, drag and drop, or by selection
from the file menu. I easily discovered that a contextual menu was available to delete
files, rename files, edit with BBEdit and perform other operations. As expected,
the File menu presented a similar set of options. A set of 5 buttons are displayed
at the bottom of the window. Their meaning was not immediately obvious, but moving
the mouse over each resulted in a hot tip explaining their function. The window display
more or less corresponded to the Finder's list view without the open folder tab.
OK, time to try to do something more useful. Under the file menu I found a "Quick
Connect" option. This brought up a dialog box in which I could enter the remote
site, login, password, and a limited set of options. I entered a remote server and
readily connected. Having figured out the buttons at the bottom of the window, I
then disconnected. I then reconnected, this time selecting the "remember password"
option. I then disconnected, quit and relaunched the application. On "Quick
Connect" it remembered my password and allowed me to reconnect to the previous
site. While the
password remembering is a nice feature, I later discovered that the passwords are
not securely saved.
I disconnected, unchecked "remember password", quit, and relaunched. I
verified that my password was indeed gone. Exploring the "Show" menu, I
selected the "FTP Trace" option and found a nice log of FTP commands that
had been executed.
Now it was time to look for the address book. I found it under the "Show"
menu. I pressed the new button and a very comprehensive "Connection Details"
dialog was launched. I entered my host address and found a very handy "Check"
button which verified that the host was reachable. Pressing the "Advanced"
button provided a complete list of FTP options. Included in these settings were the
remote folder to access and the local folder to use. Hot tips were available for
many, but not all, of the options. It took a bit of trial and error to determine
that I had to enter a complete path name for the remote folder. This was contrary
to all my expectations and experience which allowed a relative destination from the
login directory. I did not enter a password in the settings dialog and was, as expected,
prompted for a password on connecting.
During the above experimentation, Captain FTP crashed. A dialog popped up asking
me to sent a crash report to the vendor, as opposed to the Apple destination I see
all too often. This is the only application I've seen do this - very nice. This was
the only crash I experienced during my tests.
The help menu provides options to connect to the vendor web site, send email for
help, and launch help for Captain FTP. The latter did nothing more than launching
the PDF manual. The manual is 36 pages with no linked table of contents, no index,
and not even links for their internal "see xyz" references. I search on
"password" and found the reference that the "Quick Connect" option
stored passwords in the preferences file. Not very secure. More on this later.
Beyond the Basics
One of my desired activities is to mirror a directory with a remote site. Captain
FTP's "Synchronize Folder" option was too limited. It would only copy in
one direction and did not delete files that had been removed from the remote site.
My need to have a local copy matching the remote copy was not met.
A tour of the documentation, menus, and preferences indicated an extremely complete
set of functionality. I registered on their web site and entered their support area.
There I found a long list of active user support forums, an option to vote on features
for the next release, and the ability to send an email question. I did not find the
usual FAQ page. I enjoy small vendors with whom users can interact directly, and
Xnet Communications appears to be that kind of vendor.
My remaining concerns were the above mention password security and whether automation
was supported. Keychain support was quickly verified. I went to the "Misc"
section of the preferences and selected "Store Password in the Key Chain".
There was an immediate prompt for keychain access when I tried to access my remote
server from the address book. I saw no hint of automation in either the menus or
the documentation. I launched the Applescript editor and found no Applescript support
FTP is a very comprehensive and usable FTP client. It will readily meet the FTP needs
for most users. The only "basics" in which it fell short were in its having
only a list file view, and the lack of hyperlinks in the documentation. Users monitoring
and/or maintaining remote servers are the ones likely to be impacted by Captain FTP's
lack of automation and limited synchronization capabilities. Anyone needing an FTP
client should certainly take advantage of the free trial that Captain FTP provides.
Captain FTP is a great FTP client for standard FTP access, and provides a nice intuitive
interface as well as excellent vendor support.
suite of FTP options
sent directly to the vendor on a crash
paths required for remote folders
contains no table of contents, index, or links
options are limited
4 out of 5 Mice