There aren’t that many developers that succeed at creating jaw-dropping products. Some only succeed in the way their product looks, while others know how to place power in your hands, but leave it up to you to figure out how to use their software. Panic is the exception to the rule. Transmit 4 is both an extremely user-friendly and extremely powerful FTP client.
It has been quite a while since Panic Software released Transmit 3. Despite the fact that I got various other FTP clients on my plate for reviewing, I always reverted back to my paid copy of Transmit 3. Only recently did I start give up on Transmit –I often turned to Coda instead; Coda, another Panic product, is faster than Transmit 3.
Yesterday came the announcement Panic has released Transmit 4, and the relevant Panic web page showed a gorgeous interface with a promise of extreme performance. The demo version gave me only 6 days to test, so I started immediately. And I can honestly say, Transmit 4 delivers in both areas –big time.
Transmit 4 is a 64-bit application and its interface on Snow Leopard (the application runs fine on anything from Tiger upwards) is simply gorgeous and has unparalleled user-friendliness. The old Transmit used to have a sliding sidebar and Preview panel. Transmit 4 has QuickLook and a pop-up HUD-like element called “Places” to which you simply drag remote or local folders.
The interface is gloriously compact, with the ability to have one or two panels, and a clever use of icons and buttons. There’s a path navigation bar, the ability to have files in list view, icon view, or even Cover Flow. The interface is tabbed and you can tear off tabs if you want to have a more cluttered computer screen (or you like to have window next to each other to drag files from one remote location to another –works even between different servers).
Transmit 4 supports FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Amazone S3, Bonjour, and even local to local file moving and copying. New to Transmit 4 is that you can send raw SSH commands, such as “ls -la”, for example. Transmit will return with the server’s response neatly displayed in a sliding window. Transmit will also zip folders and files.
I tried Transmit 4 with SFTP and FTP servers and the software worked extremely well. What immediately strikes when taking Transmit online is its speed. Transmit’s new progress bar shows you both total progress and file-by-file progress, and if you want it, you can also turn the window into a file transmission list, but when I wanted to do that with 3 folders holding some 60 small files, I was already too late: the upload had already finished.
Yes, the claims on Panic’s site are not exaggerated: it’s almost scary. Coda was faster than Transmit 3, but this new version is unbelievably fast.
Transmit 4 has many other features that make it more powerful still. For example, synchronising is now possible using a whole slew of criteria, not just dates. You can set rules to skip files, the permissions on files can be set by applying customised rules, you can set custom Amazon S3 headers.
Finally, the new Transmit uses MacFUSE to give you access to FTP clients as if they were locally mounted discs. I reviewed MacFUSe earlier and one of my comments was that I found it a bit slow, but the Transmit 4 version of this feature has performance that I hoped for when I reviewed MacFUSE –fast.
It’s a good idea to give Transmit 4 a try. The demo period is a bit short, but then again Panic is known for their quality and the new Transmit version is no exception. If you have a certain reputation, long demo periods are not needed.
The Transmit icon still is a lorry, but it’s been updated as well. It now looks more agressive with headlights running along the top of the cabin. Transmit 4 is an FTP client you’ll want to have open all the time –even if you’re not transferring files, it’s a pleasure to gaze at. At 34 USD, Transmit 4 is inexpensive. Existing users of version 3 can upgrade at 19 USD.