capsule review

Interarchy 7.2

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We live in an Internet world, and occasionally that means moving files over the ether. Web developers need to upload their work to Web servers, authors and graphic designers need to keep synchronized with far-flung collaborators, and sometimes we need to send files that are too darn big for e-mail.

Interarchy began life in 1993 as Anarchie, a program for transferring files using File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Alas, an unwise foray into interface skins marred Interarchy’s middle years, and the initial OS X versions abandoned the network tools on which so many alpha geeks had come to rely. Meanwhile, Macworld’s comparison review last year (mmm; September 2003) showed that relative newcomers RBrowser and Panic’s Transmit had redefined the FTP landscape. Now, at version 7.2, Interarchy returns with a fresh new interface and a bevy of network tools. What began as a simple FTP program has matured into a Swiss Army chain saw for the power user’s toolbox.

File Transfers

Interarchy handles basic FTP operations with practiced aplomb. You can download, upload, and create files and folders, as well as manage permissions, quickly and without surprises. Additional encryption options include support for the Secure FTP (SFTP) protocol and tunneling FTP sessions through a Secure Shell (SSH) connection.

Interarchy offers three methods for keeping files synchronized with a server. Mirror copies all files between a local folder and the server by downloading, uploading, or synchronizing the files. FTP Disk is an automated mirror that mounts as a disk icon in the Finder; it copies any changed files to the other side of the mirror. Designate a folder with the new Auto Upload function, and Interarchy becomes an upload droplet; drop a file therein onto Interarchy, and that file automatically uploads.

Interarchy recognizes that Web developers need to do more than move files around. HTTP Download quickly downloads a Web page (or an entire site) to your hard drive. The link checker scans local files and remote sites, and even verifies links to external sites. The HTTP Listing function lists a Web page’s core objects in a window, quickly identifying all of the page’s links, style sheets, and images.

You can execute transfer operations immediately, bookmark or schedule them for later, or put them into a transfer queue. The last option executes transfers in a series, maximizing bandwidth for each transfer; you can also schedule queues.

Interarchy doesn’t support FTP over SSL/TLS encryption, HTTPS, WebDAV, and the Unix Secure Copy (SCP) function.

Interface, Integration, and Automation

Version 7.2 embraces the modern world with Safari-style tabbed windows and a bookmark bar. This innovation is a breath of fresh air that facilitates management of file spaces on multiple servers. You can drag files to and from the Finder, or copy them to the system’s download folder. The interface is perhaps a bit too clean, though—I’d like to see buttons for initiating a transfer.

Interarchy’s Mac technologies run deeper than just its interface. The Bookmarks window includes nearby Rendezvous servers and any Address Book entries that include Web sites. You can store passwords in the Keychain by just selecting an option. The Get URL With Interarchy contextual menu makes Interarchy available to any application that supports contextual-menu plug-ins. In addition, the Edit With BBEdit command is a boon for users of that fine application.

Interarchy’s AppleScript support remains superb, and its dictionary is a model of clarity. The command-line tool injects Interarchy’s full functionality into the Terminal environment—even offering Keychain support.

Network Information

Interarchy offers several tools for network analysis and administration. The Network Host Info command queries the network for DNS, mail transfer, whois records, and ping results, all of which it displays in an expandable Get Info-style window. Traceroute and port scan operations are mouse-clicks away. While this information is available in Apple’s Network Utility, Interarchy puts it all into one efficient window.

If you need to see just how much data you’re pushing through the network, Interarchy’s Network Status window shows a graphical display and statistical summary of all traffic. Network Connections offers a list of open connections in a friendlier format than Network Utility’s netstat output. Interarchy amazes most when you need to watch the actual network packets. All the power of Unix’s tcpdump is available from the Traffic function.

Macworld’s Buying Advice

If you need only basic FTP abilities, Interarchy 7.2 is probably overkill. If your needs include encryption, Web transfers, automation, and network monitoring, Interarchy rolls together an impressive array of tools at an attractive price.

Pound for pound, round for round, Interarchy 7.2 returns as the baddest Internet file-transfer utility around.

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