For years, I carried a version of WS-FTP around with me on a diskette, and installed it on every new PC I set up. I'm wondering now why I stopped, because the new version, WS-FTP Pro 2007, has both reminded me how good the program was and opened my eyes to how much better it has gotten while I wasn't looking.
Click image to enlarge.
If you've ever used WS-FTP, you'll remember its sheer usability. It wasn't fancy, but it did what you needed to do, which was get files from here to there. It did it in an interface that set a new standard for "plain vanilla," and it never seemed quite comfortable being a Windows app -- it always seemed to want to slip back into DOS text mode.
The new version hasn't changed all that much on the surface. It's still a plain, utilitarian interface with a pane for "Here" and a pane for "There," and two arrow buttons to move files from one place to the other. But it's a real Windows interface at last. You can drag-and-drop between panes, open multiple "Heres" and "Theres," and display the contents of each pane with all the flexibility that Windows provides: as a single-column list of files with details, a multiple-column list of filenames, small or large icons with labels, or (best of all if you work with graphics a lot) as thumbnails.
WS-FTP Pro 2007 is in fact a Windows-only app -- 2000, XP, or Server 2003. Befitting its plainness, however, it requires a mere 32MB of RAM and 32MB of disk space.
The Real Changes
It's under the hood that the real changes have been made -- and those changes have moved WS-FTP from Smallville to Metropolis. It has acquired industrial-strength features for automation, security, and management that make it a true enterprise tool. WS-FTP Pro definitely addresses several types of users, and just listing the features important to any one of them could fill up the rest of this review.