NFTP 1.50 review by Buddy Donnelly

Buddy Donnelly ( has posted the following message 29 March 1999, commenting on some guy's question in comp.os.os2.comm regarding FTP clients with `download resume' feature. Buddy is a long-time OS/2 (and NFTP) user; he's well known in OS/2 newsgroups. My comments are in italics.
On Mon, 29 Mar 1999 12:11:29, wrote:

> Thanks for everyones' help.  I got NcFTP and it worked great.

Good to hear we're helping folks develop their powers out here. 

While it's all new to you, you might also be well advised to grab Dr. 
Sergey Ayukov's NFTP and test it, too. 

Good luck, blah, blah


----End of normal followup----
----Start of Paean to NFTP----

The rest of this is pure Sales Pitch, so you can just hang up the phone right now and you won't offend me a bit. I'm in autodialer/autotalker telemarketing mode now.

No, I'm not on commission from the Good Doctor, but I believe I was one of the earliest registrees of his brilliant program and that was the last money I've ever had to send him, so I figure it's in my best interests to get all of y'all to send him some of your money to keep him working on this.

Also, I'm doing this out of Gratitude. When I bought his program, I couldn't even *spell* FTP. (FPT. FTD. FPP. F--- It!)

NFTP has a number of very useful aspects, but one I'll bet none of you have seen anywhere else is a built in FTP Search. You can search the Internet's anonymous FTP sites for a given filename, or use wildcards or regular expressions in case you don't know the exact name you're looking for. (It's amazing what this thing comes up with, absolutely amazing.)

The NFTP website is at:

And the direct download page is:

The demo is crippled only that you can't download files larger than than 1024KB. This is more than adequate for everyday usage for a lot of people, and it lets you get very snuggly into the program and fall in love with it on your own. (Plus there's a "buy me" nag, but he's polite and lets you turn it off in the settings.)
(This has been changed since version 1.51. NFTP no longer has any limitations in terms of features but produces 3 sec reminder every time you log in to site -- S.A.)

When you go to the website, you'll notice versions there for a large (and growing) number of operating systems. One of the advantages of NFTP is that once you register it (cheap!) or even if you don't register it (cheapskate!) you can have versions of the program, all at the same level, running on all your different OSs. One price buys all of them, at least until he gets some sense into his head and acts like your typical Corporate Pirate With Letters Of Marque From The Queen instead of a tie-dyed red-eyed One World Rastafarian. (See, he supports 19 different national languages, ["so far"] so even if you're mega-multi-lingual and mega-multi-booting you'll still have more power than you can handle.)

And, speaking of power, ooh, baby, forget about it. Word! You can have NFTP download an entire tree structure from an FTP server to your own machine, and then as time goes on use NFTP to keep your local tree structure refreshed with any changes or updates that might appear. (If you're really into that kind of thing, NFTP also supports calling WGET if find you need its very sophisticated settings for selective filtering, tag following, mirroring, etc.)
(Here Buddy is assuming a fair bit more than NFTP is capable of. The function to call WGET is rather primitive; it will just download all marked files -- S.A.)

NFTP will measure the size of such downloads before you begin, in case you need to switch the incoming over to a more spacious drive.

NFTP will let you select by name, or by multiple filter, all the *.zip files, say, plus all the *.tar.gz files, and download them in a batch, and it can keep working on this even if the server is slow or raggedyass connected to the Internet by dirt road or it keeps throwing you off because localyokel users take precedence.

I've told NFTP to bring me things that have taken, literally, days to get, and when it reported to me that the mission was finally complete every bit and byte was in exactly perfect shape. (NFTP keeps this kind of session going even if your ISP connection gets broken or dropped and you have to redial. Some downloads might take days of redialing, which, by the way, In-Joy will handle automatically, and as long as I didn't close NFTP or turn off the machine's power switch, it kept going, and going and going, trying to fetch that stick.)

Or you can give it a list of sticks. You can write a file list, even across different servers, and set one session to do all the fetching.

This kind of heavy lifting calls upon an NFTP feature called RETRIES. You can set RETRIES to literally hammer a site, if you're selfish, aggressive and impolite enough, down to 1 second pauses, in case you get refused on a login or something stalls. Some sites are very hard to reach because they aren't on very powerful machines, or are on a bad connection, or they are programmed to give precedence to more worthwhile paying users than us poor sadsack Anonymice. RETRIES can help you eliminate the element of Chance on getting through, by checking as often as you feel advisable, to see if the door is still closing from the last person to log off. The Default setting is 5 minutes, and you can even turn it completely off if you're more of an Ed Flanders, and not the pushy type.

The directory display reads the file descriptions present (it gets this from the file named 00-index if it's there) and displays it next to each file. You can then sort any directory you're viewing by date, or by filename, or extension, or filesize, and in reverse order if you want. You can grab a listing at any time and save it off to a file to examine later. (As a sample, I've done all of those things and pasted the text file at the bottom of this page. It's a listing of hobbes/incoming as of right now, reverse sorted by time, showing the latest arrivals at the top. I ask you: Can this save you time?)
(The listing is omitted here -- S.A.)

WEBMASTERS: This is my fundamental tool for maintaining remote websites. I can see everything that's on the remote site, create subdirectories or rename or delete them, and delete or rename existing files or upload new or missing files individually, or set it to send an entire directory, and go on to other business. If I'm taking over an existing site, I can mirror the whole thing to my local machine to begin my work on it. I can send remote commands in case I want to set or change permissions.

I might mention that in such sites I use the Meta tag EXPIRES to force browsers to reload the file instead of reading it from the cache, and I might update all HTML in current use every week or so, (using Mister ED the power editor) and I'm uploading fresh HTML every time I finish the edits here. After an upload, I can then sort by timestamp the remote site to check for outdated files I've decided I'm no longer using, and delete them to save space.

And a final note on website management: NFTP even has an Edit Remote File function if you discover you have to change something in one file very quickly, like one of those embarassing HTML tag errors or you hear about a broken link from a disgruntled visitor.

Back to FTPing: There are two features of special mention, that have been around for a while, but which people don't seem to give their due: History, and Bookmarks.

NFTP keeps an NFTP.HST file showing the sites you've visited lately, and in the History display, (hit F2, or Ctrl-E, or use the pulldown menu Sites | History) each site is presented showing *all* of the directories you've drilled into at that site.

So here's the magic: if you accessed a deep directory at hobbes to get the Graphical File Compare utility, say, and you want to tell somebody else where you found it, you look at History. If hobbes\incoming was your last visited directory, as if often is here, you'll click on the site listing and it flips you next to a page showing all the different directories within hobbes that you've been to. (Up to whatever number you want it to store, forever.) From that point it's easy to see the one you want, say /pub/os2/util/disk/ in this case if you downloaded "by name" (and even the fact that you were there, as I was, on 23/02/1999 20:16) and you click on it and it opens the session directly in that directory, or by downloading the file if it was a filename entry.

(By the way, I set NFTP as my FTP "helper" in MR2Ice, and if somebody sends me an FTP download link that I want to "set to go get, and forget" I'll know that NFTP will be grinding away at it no matter how long it takes and how many connection retries it takes. No, ProNews doesn't allow separate choices for FTP and HTML. I used to have Netscape set up so that NFTP was its Helper for .zip files, and it was cumbersome but it worked, but I haven't rebuilt that configuration yet.)

More about History: Y'all may have noticed that I'm a little bit obsessed with counteracting the braindead followups that appear up here from time to time, where somebody's asking for help in locating a program, and somebody else pokes their nose in and types, "it's at hobbes" and hits SEND. Man. Man! What a waste of time, mine, yours, and theirs, and obviously that of the original author who probably doesn't even know how to use before posting, much less navigate the maze that is hobbes.

Anyway, here's how you get off my secret shitlist: If you've seen the archived file somewhere, just pull up NFTP's History (my configuration is set so that HST comes up every time when it opens) and drill down to hobbes, drill down to the directory you believe it was in, drag off the actual URL (using NPSWPS' VIO marking tool, or DRAGTEXT) and post THAT in your followup. If you've got the time, sure, go ahead and open a session at hobbes and check to make sure the file's actually right there where you're saying it is, and you can even drag off the info about it, like date and filesize to prove you were there to get the real skinny, and so everybody else reading it can check their own file date against it and decide if they need that newer file themselves.

Bookmarks: NFTP's Bookmarks were the original feature that I fell in love with. You can bookmark each place you visit (like in Netscape, except you have more power) and then sort them into groups with any text editor (like Mister ED or E.EXE.) When you call up Bookmarks (Ctl-B) you see, first, the group names, then you can drill down to get to those seldom-visited sites in jig time. And, bookmarks are portable, meaning you can send yours (or a portion of it) to one of your fellows and they can splice it in and access the same package of sites that you are. Neat, hunh?

(I automatically bookmark *every* location just before beginning a download, mostly out of habit these days since NFTP now records it for me in HST. I can even open another session, and have access to the same bookmarks and history, in case I want to look around that site a little bit while the d/l is taking place.)

NFTP v.1.50: I'm actually spending this much time writing this because the latest version is v.1.50 and I haven't seen any of the reviews or writeups referring to its new features, which are bigtime additions.

NFTP 1.50 is the first version with the FTP search feature, and the first version to include a PM version as well. (So, rather than backing off his time commitments to OS/2 as he branches out into other OSs, he's increasing it by tackling OS/2's PMShell.) "Doc" Ayukov calls it quasi-PM, and right now it actually just displays like a PM app, in an actual PM window, while working pretty much identically to the text mode version. So, no drag-n-drop or other SOM features, in other words. "Yet," as he says.

Did I mention that, despite being a "text-mode" program, ordinary NFTP is mouse-actuated, and even hot-mousing (where the menus activate just from the mouse rolling over them) so this is anything but the lobotomized OS/2 program you'd think it was. Windows remember where they were positioned, etc.

Sorry to take up so much space. No, I'm not sorry. Go get this program and start using it, have fun with it, and life will be better for all of us. (Strains of Bobmarley here as an outro, "one world..")

Good luck,
Buddy Donnelly

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