Fetch 4.0.3, by Fetch Softworks
Posted: 19-Mar-2004

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Fetch Softworks Type: SHAREWARE

Reviewer: Lane Smith Class: UTILITY
     
$25   Download

Overview
Fetch is a capable File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client for Mac OS X, OS 9, OS 8, or System 7. Fetch supports the transfer of files and documents between two networked computers, across a local area network (LAN), or through the internet.

Test System
800Mhz iMac using OS X 3.2 and a DSL connection with average speed of 350 KB/sec
System Requirements
Mac OS X, OS 9, OS 8, or System 7 with any network connection
Price
$25 (Free for charitable or educational organizations)

Setup
Fetch is installed by a VISE installation and includes the application, a ReadMe, and several example scripts. Once started up, Fetch prompts for serial information or the option to test the software for 15 days. Once the requested information is filled out, Fetch presents a window asking for information to connect to a host computer (Host name, user name, and password). Fetch does not remember host information automatically, but gives you the option to create a "shortcut". To set up a shortcut, enter all the host server info, then click on the double-arrow box next to the word "Shortcuts" and select "Create New ShortcutÖ". Name your shortcut and next time you connect, click on the double-arrow box next to the word "Shortcuts", select your shortcut's name, and click OK to start your connection.

I noticed that subsequent startups of Fetch always presented the initial server connection window each time. I expected it to have automatically remembered my last connection. For those who prefer to just double-click on a shortcut in the shortcut window, and not have to deal with an input dialog prompt, there is an option under "Misc" in the preferences for turning off the startup dialog.

Interface
Fetch has an intuitive interface, and provides a lot of customization to support an wide array of different users. After connecting to a host computer, Fetch is 99% self-explanatory. The interface offers drag-and-drop features, and also a standard file-browse system. You can either drag your files onto Fetch's main window to upload them to the host server or drag files from Fetch's main window to download them to your computer from the host, or you can use Fetch's "Get" and "Put" buttons to file-browse through your computer for downloading and uploading. For more advanced users, Fetch has an extensive menu system, which can offer such options as changing host permissions on files, creating and changing directories, mirroring files, and sending commands to the host. Fetch offers standard keyboard shortcuts (copy, paste, etc), and some additional keyboard shortcuts that are very useful (e.g., Command-D to change directory; Command-R to refresh list).

In Use
In addition to its extensive feature set, Fetch also proved to be quite stable in my testing. I experienced only one problem where a file stopped in the middle of a transfer to the host server for no apparent reason. I experienced no crashes or dreaded "unexpected quits".

My use of Fetch was mainly targeted to the upload of HTML and media files onto my host server. For this purpose, Fetch fit the bill perfectly; I could upload an entire site without needing to adjust anything. I just had to drag my files onto Fetch's main window, and soon after I was sharing the URL with family and friends. I did not have to wrestle with preferences or permissions, and no need to contact support. That's the way I like it, and that's the way a Mac product should be. Of course, Fetch's advanced features can be utilized by power users to make for an even more satisfying experience. For example, mirroring provides the option to automatically upload files, which can make life even easier. All in all, Fetch did what I needed it to do, with ease and accuracy.

Update
I found an older version of Fetch on my hard disk, Fetch 3.0.3. From what I have read and experienced, there is no distinguishable difference between 3.0.3 and 4.0.3 other than Mac OS X support. Therefore, if you are one of those who use Mac OS 9, OS 8, or even System 7, and still have Fetch buried in your hard drive, there really is no reason to upgrade. If you have Fetch 3.0.3 and are using Mac OS X, you may want to consider upgrading to Fetch so that you can run Fetch natively on OS X.

FTP User Breakdown
For those with any need to access FTP servers, here is a breakdown of how Fetch may or may not fit into your line-up of applications, depending upon your needs.

Occasional User:
If you don't need to upload files to an FTP server, but sometimes need to download files, Fetch will exceed your needs, but may not be the simplest or cheapest solution. Fetch gives you more features than you may want to deal with, and at a price. If all you want to do is get a file and get it fast, you can use Mac OS X's "Connect to Server" feature (free with OS X). If you perform some puts to an FTP server, but just rarely, Fetch may still be more than you need. If you only want to occasionally use an FTP client, I recommend using
CyberDuck, a simple and free open-source FTP client (that also includes the feature to automatically remember connections).

Basic User:
If you access an FTP server often, then Fetch may work well for you. After setting up shortcuts for the servers you access, Fetch is a simple joy to use. Fetch features a simple drag-and-drop interface and a Finder-like path viewer that serves the basic user well.

Advanced User:
If you have extensive experience in FTP and networking, and high demands from your FTP client, Fetch meets your needs with simplicity and speed. Fetch allows multiple shortcuts as described above for those who connect to several servers, the ability to send commands to UNIX-based servers, mirror files and folders over several servers, and change permissions on files uploaded on the FTP. Fetch also allows you to view media files and text files, and edit them with menu shortcuts to BBEdit and GraphicsConverter. All of these features and more are offered with Fetch, offering the advanced user a well-rounded FTP package.

Summary
Fetch is an easy-to-use feature rich FTP client for Mac OS, and the latest version runs native on OS X. I consider Fetch one of the few applications that are true Macintosh products that have survived the test of time, and I was pleased to see that the running dog icon is still there to replace the boring watch in OS X. On the other hand, Fetch still has a somewhat dated OS 9 look and feel, yet to be fully "Aqua-fied". More importantly, Fetch has a straightforward and intuitive interface, and includes several advanced FTP features for power users. As an FTP client, Fetch is a stable and reliable tool for transfering files over the internet. With free FTP clients on the market, Fetch may not be for everyone, especially those with only the occasional need to perform a file transfer using FTP. However, even those without the slightest idea of how the Internet or FTP works could learn and use Fetch in a matter of minutes. Fetch is a brilliant FTP client, and is well worth its small $25 price tag.

Pros

  • Simple and intuitive interface
  • Fast to connect to host
  • Animated running dog lives on
  • Advanced FTP features
  • Very stable

Cons

  • Dated interface
  • Lack of new features over previous version 3


Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice