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Review Direct FTP 2.0

Added on 4/1/2001



Required Xtras:


Author: MediaMacros (website)

DirectFTP is a cross-platform, easy to use Scripting Xtra for Macromedia Director, Authorware and Shockwave, which provides implementation of the FTP protocol. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It provides a standard method for transferring files between different computers. By using DirectFTP Xtra, Director, Authorware and Shockwave applications can log into an FTP server, get directory listings and files information, retrieve files, upload files and perform other file and directory operations, such as create, move, rename, append and delete file or directory.

If you want to handle file transfer, renaming, or remote server management from Director this is the Xtra for you. DirectXtras provides a very straightforward scripting interface for handling all your FTP needs. The demo file included with the Xtra is a fully functional FTP program. This can be incredibly useful if you need to pass files to a server and donít want to try to hassle with importing and using the multi-user Xtra, or if you just need FTP control in any application.

The number of functions included with the Xtra is pretty thorough, though I would like to see the addition of options like CHMOD (file permissions). It does have an FTP command call that will allow you to run Direct FTP calls, but this requires pulling out a few FTP protocol books, especially for something that would be better handled with a built in function or at least a documented work around.

As usual from DirectXtras the documentation is very good and easy to follow. I would like to see a standard windows and Mac help file system in the future though, as these can be a much nicer and faster way to search and find what you need. If you have problems their support is top notch. Email support is always prompt and helpful.

As to the cost of this Xtra, that depends on the route you take. The pricing structure can be a little confusing at first. If you have one developer and need it for projectors on one platform you can get the Xtra for $249 or $399 for both. Want to use this in Shockwave? Well, that requires a site license. The site license program allows for unlimited developers and machines in one company location for $595 or $995 for a cross platform version. The corporate license is the same as the site license but allows multiple locations within a company to use the Xtra and has free future upgrades for $995 each or $1745 cross platform. The options can be a bit overwhelming at first but they do offer upgrades by paying the difference in the currently owned version, and the one you are upgrading to.

So is it worth it? Well, for a single site that needs simple file transfer I would say itís a bit pricey. If this is something you will be using a lot or if it is for a large corporate site it will probably pay for itself quickly, but the largest hang up for me is that to use this for Shockwave you must shell out the full cost of Director over again to add the capabilities to download a few files. I can see plenty of circumstances where the $995 (cross platform site license) price tag would be a bargain, but for the casual developer, student, or small company, a Perl/JavaScript front end in the browser is probably a much cheaper solution.

Overall I have to give a big thumbs up on the power of this Xtra, but the cost makes it a little less of a value buy in my opinion. However, if FTP is what you need, there is no better solution for Director.



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