Though it’s the patriarch of Mac FTP applications, Transmit has been knocked about recently by a few new competitors upping the ante for innovation and style.
Transmit 4 has risen to the challenge with a completely redesigned interface, newly streamlined workflow and a stunning increase in speed . I’ll just say now to any Transmit 3 users, this is an update you won’t want to miss.
I’ve been a Transmit user for several years so I naturally couldn’t wait to stop by Panic’s site when I heard that the fourth iteration has finally launched.
What I saw in the screenshots impressed me, but they honestly did the new interface very little justice. You simply can’t appreciate the nuances of this excellent overhaul until you’ve downloaded the app for yourself.
As soon as you open the app you know you’re in for a visual treat. A stark contrast to the usual plain white windows, the new theme is all about dark grey vignettes complimented perfectly by brightly coloured icons.
Though functionally superfluous, one of the coolest features in Transmit 4 is the newly animated interface. Everything you click slips and slides its way on and off the screen with beautifully fluid motion. Normally, file browsing and uploading is quite the mundane task but these animations make it fell like a futuristic, high-tech experience.
Functionally speaking, if you’ve used Transmit in the past, there’s almost nothing about the new system that will confuse you. In fact, the interface changes have merely streamlined the connection process even further.
A strip of buttons along the top of the window allows you to chose from the four different types of connections available: FTP, SFTP, Amazon S3, and WebDAV. The thin typography, rounded corners, grunge stamp and wrap around bookmark ribbon in this area really emphasise that this applications was made with designers in mind.
The old favourites system is still in place, now refreshed with the dark theme.
You can set just the basic server options or expand the window to include preferences for specific ports, remote and local paths and root URLs. Droplets and DockSend are still in place as well giving you several options for uploading files quickly and easily with a drag and drop.
In addition to favourites, there is a new customisable “places” feature that sits at the beginning of the folder breadcrumb trail at the top of the window. This gives you lightning quick access to your most used folders. Adding places is as simple as dragging a folder to the icon.
The file browsing system is the biggest functional overhaul, featuring tons of new features that take full advantage of recent OS X enhancements.
Perhaps as a response to the excellent file browsing experience found in FTP competitor Forklift, Transmit now includes nearly all of the functionality you find in the Snow Leopard Finder app. You can view both local and remote directories in list view, icon view, column view, or even cover flow. You can also hit the space bar on a file to bring up the QuickLook preview, zip and decompress files, and apply labels just like in Finder.
Transmit also now makes it easy to switch between a single and double pane view with the click of a button. The ability to utilise two adjustable panes and multiple Safari-like tabs in a single window in addition to all of the new file browsing options will no doubt have you considering abandoning the Finder and using Transmit for all file-related tasks.
Transmit now places a little truck in your menu bar that allows you to connect to your favourite serves even when Transmit isn’t launched. the serve is mounted into Finder and acts just like any other mounted disk, allowing you to upload and download files at will.
If your workflow is such that you’re constantly accessing remote file servers, having Transmit integrate this closely with Finder is a dream come true and will save you tons of lost app-switching minutes.
Syncing files between local and remote servers is pretty much a standard feature in FTP apps, but Transmit 4 brings some excellent innovation to the table. After selecting two directories to sync, a window pops up containing various options for the sync. Using the Transmit rules system, you can create specific cases of files that will and won’t be affected by the sync.
The really smart part though lies in the “Simulate the sync” option. Countless developers have forever lost large portions of work because of syncing experiments gone wrong. Though Transmit 4 really simplifies the syncing process, the simulate option gives you one last fail safe (aside from maintaining responsible file backups) against accidental data loss. You can view the effects of the sync as if it had actually happened, then decide whether to proceed or cancel.
Other notable updates include multi-touch gesture support, instant favourites, and full 64-bit support. And of course, the biggest change of all is the speed.
Transmit 4 features a blazing fast new engine that boasts up to 25x faster uploads than Transmit 3 on small files. Obviously, your Internet connection speed is the largest factor in file transfer speed but it definitely helps to have a streamlined application engine turning the gears.
To sum up, Transmit 4 is both the most aesthetically and functionally significant update Panic has made to its beloved FTP client. The application is a perfect balance of brand new and completely familiar. Everything I tried just worked and I was constantly in awe of just how pretty the app is on all fronts.
That said, the increased aesthetic appeal is just the icing on a nearly perfectly streamlined cake. The enhanced integration of favourites and the new “places” feature into the more Finder-centric file browsing makes for the best FTP experience on the market. Hats off to the the guys at Panic for really stepping up to take back the top spot in a market that was admittedly starting to fill with more worthy competitors.