A new semi-regular feature here at microISV will be reviews of shareware products that I come across. The products reviewed will be ones that I come across ‘organically’ by way of word of mouth, word of web or personal need. Hopefully you’ll find the reviews helpful when creating your app and building your webpage. The first review follows.
FTP apps are pretty much a commodity these days and 99 percent of them are exactly the same. Normally, I use the FTP features built into Internet Explorer but this is often slow and unreliable so I went looking for a GUI FTP app that I could use. The app I found was SmartFTP. Below are my thoughts on the app, the website, and the experience.
How did I find the app?
Google search for ‘ftp freeware’
Download and Install:
After clicking the download now icon on their website, I was taken to download page on their website where I had to click the link to download again. After clicking this link, I was taken to Download.com where I had to click yet another link to begin the download. This is simply too much work to begin the download. Bandwidth isn’t very expensive today and the file is relatively small (< 3MB) so there's little reason not to host it on their own site. If that's not feasible then using a file hosting service that would allow a direct link would be much better.
Install was very simple. Just click next a few times and you're ready to go.
FTP is boring. I just want to transfer files and close the app until the next time. The problem was that I couldn’t figure out how to add my server connection to the app! I must admit that all of my previous experience using ftp apps required you to bring up a new window to set up the connection properties, so I was searching for the menu option that would allow me to do this. In the case of SmartFTP you simply need to type in your domain name, username and password into the boxes provided in the main window. This is better UI design but I didn’t even see these boxes until after reading the help because I wasn’t looking for them. I guess in this case, better isn’t necessarily better.
The other bothersome thing is that the software comes preloaded with a ‘yourserver.com’ entry. It isn’t necessary and it didn’t help me figure out how to set up my connection so it shouldn’t be included.
Look and feel
SmartFTP has a very professional looking interface. Icons are not the usual ones that are seen in most other apps and the look is very clean.
Thoughts about the website
SmartFTP.com is simple, to the point and not cluttered with information you don’t need. The site is easy to navigate and help for the app is very easy to find.
Any problems with the app?
When I tried to download my folders and files for backup purposes I found that the files from a directory higher up the directory tree were copied into several other folders that were down an entirely different branch of the directory tree. The only way I found to resolve this problem was to open each folder individually and copy the files so the app didn’t have to recurse through the directory tree.
Would I recommend the app?
I really wasn’t inclined to purchase the app in the first place, hence my search for ‘ftp freeware’, because there are several other options that are sufficient without having to purchase FTP software. But with that being said, the problems I had with the wrong files being downloaded were pretty much a deal killer. There’s simply too many other FTP apps out there that don’t have this problem. For that reason, I’ve already uninstalled the app.