StuffIt has long been the de-facto standard on the Mac, with advanced features and extra usability added with every release. Version 6.0 was no different, but although it came with the Carbonized tag, certain of these features – most notably the shortcut-utility Magic Menu – were not available under Mac OS X. Version 6.5 solves many of these problems, and adds cross-platform functions.
StuffIt Express PE, a personal edition of the file-transfer utility, covers the latter. The personal edition ships with 16 Actions to automate multiple tasks such as file compression and ftp transfers. This works by dragging items to be actioned onto custom-built drop boxes, which then perform the sequence of actions the user has previously set up. In the Enterprise Edition, you can distribute these drop boxes to clients, but here you can only use drop boxes on the Mac they were created on. This edition also has 10 fewer actions than the full version, but it’s a handy addition to the Deluxe arsenal nonetheless – meaning, for instance, you don’t have to mess around with stuffing files and setting them up as email attachments for regular deliveries.
Next up on the new additions front is the ability to compress files in the .tar format. This is especially useful for cross-platform compatibility. A dropper application called DropTar is included in the package, which you can place on your desktop and use in the usual StuffIt drag-&-drop fashion.
Magic Menu has been rewritten for this update, allowing Mac OS X users access to the StuffIt and Finder shortcuts from a drop down in the menu bar. Installing this is simply a case of double-clicking on the application and, hey presto, you have a Magic Menu to use. Any highlighted file can now be stuffed, expanded and so on without first opening up any of the main StuffIt Deluxe applications.
Stuffit Deluxe 6.5, as well as extending its essential Mac OS X compatibility, has many welcome time-saving attributes. There is a free version available in the form of StuffIt Lite, but if you’re serious about compatible and reliable file compression, this commercial upgrade is well worth considering.
This review appeared in the Expo 2001 issue