First Look: Flow, FTP Client

Flow, FTP Client

If most of your time on the Internet is spent transferring files from one computer to another (such as designing web pages and transferring files from your computer to a web server), you'll need a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) program or client. An FTP client lets you connect to a remote computer without the clutter of a web page getting in the way. While you can find several FTP clients for the Mac, one of the latest is Extendmac's Flow.

One unique feature of the program's user interface is its use of tabs. Much like tabs allow you to load and switch between multiple web pages viewed within Safari, so do the tabs in Flow allow you to have multiple file transfer connections and switch between them at the click of the mouse. Such tabbed file transfers let you organize and monitor your file transfers quickly and easily.

The program's tabbed interface allows multiple FTP connections

To make file transferring as flexible as possible, Flow supports multiple file transfer protocols including FTP, SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol), WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning), .Mac, and local.

Flow supports various file transfer protocols

FTP, SFTP, and WebDAV are useful for managing files on a remote computer, such as manipulating files on a web server to create a website. The .Mac protocol is handy if you subscribe to Apple's .Mac service, while the local file transfer option lets you manage and move files around your hard disk, which can often be easier and faster than relying on the Finder, especially when working with large numbers of files.

One particularly handy feature of the program is its built-in editor. Just find a text file (such as the HTML source code that defines a web page) and open it in Flow's editor or in an external editor of your choosing. Make any changes and then save the changes back to the file on the remote computer.

The built-in editor can edit any text file stored on a remote computer

This built-in editor offers advanced features such as syntax coloring and includes a tabbed interface so you can edit and view multiple files at the same time. To make it easy to view the contents of any remote files, the program also supports Leopard's QuickLook feature. Click on a remote file and click the QuickLook icon to display the contents of that file. (Unlike the Finder's implementation of QuickLook that you can invoke by pressing Command+Y or right-clicking and then choose the QuickLook command, you can only invoke Flow's QuickLook feature by clicking on the QuickLook icon displayed on the user interface.)

Like most Mac programs, Flow supports drag and drop. This lets you drag the files you want to transfer and drop them in the folder on a remote computer to transfer files, essentially making file transfers as simple as manipulating files on your own hard disk through the Finder.

Flow's low $29 price makes the program a good choice for anyone who needs to transfer files regularly. The program implements common FTP client features in a tabbed interface for greater convenience so if you need an FTP client, Flow is worth a look.
  1. + spiral + 05/29, 05:28pm

    This app is terrible. It is slower and way more cumbersome than Transmit. The built in editor is great but not at the detriment of all the other problems.

  1. + spiral + 05/29, 05:34pm

    This app is terrible. It is slower and way more cumbersome than Transmit. The built in editor is great but not at the detriment of all the other problems.

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