[Review] StuffIt Deluxe 6.0: Bigger & Better
StuffIt Deluxe 6.0
Contact And Other Information
|Product Home Page:
||Compression and encoding suite
||Aladdin Systems Inc.
245 Westridge Dr.
Watsonville, CA 95076
||US$79.95 at Digital River
Mac OS 8.1 or later
6 MB available RAM
15 MB disk space
|System Used For Testing:
||Dual processor G4 (450 MHz)
Mac OS 9.0.4
256 MB RAM
StuffIt Deluxe 6.0
by Michael Munger
This is the latest upgrade to Aladdin Systems' flagship application. The veteran compression and encoding software suite adds several valuable new features.
The documentation comes in PDF format only. A manual would be much better for easier reading, although the PDF file includes all the information that the user needs to know to set up the product and use it to the fullest. The CD jewel case includes a 23-page booklet that would ship with the physical product, and it contains instructions for installation and basic information about features.
The StuffIt Deluxe interface was seriously redesigned Aladdin (finally!) and threw out the old System 7 looks to make Deluxe fully compatible with the Appearance Manager found in Mac OS 8.5 and later. In this way, the application looks great under Platinum, and Kaleidoscope users get full compatibility with their color schemes. It doesn't get any better than that for the interface.
The application: redesigned and improved (click for larger view)
The new toolbar is neat for basic operations like creating archives, stuffing and unstuffing items, etc. The contextual menus inside the app make menu items more accessible for convenience.
StuffIt Deluxe integrates its operations into the Finder with the True Finder Integration control panel. The known StuffIt Browser lets you open an archive exactly as if it were any other folder in the Finder without launching the full application; the Magic Menu adds a menu to the Finder as well as a powerful contextual menu to bring operations closer. In addition to this, Stuffit 6 still lets you encode, decode, compress and decompress by renaming files with the appropriate file extensions.
A neat feature is to select your favorite e-mail application and use the Stuff and Mail menu item to automatically create a new e-mail message with attachment.
The contextual menu has gotten better, not least in the extent to which you can customize it via its own preferences. If you use a limited number of compression and encoding options and features from the contextual menu, you can uncheck the rest in the preferences to make the menu shorter and more convenient. This degree of customization greatly adds to Stuffit 6's utility.
One problem: the e-mail application choices do not yet include MS Entourage (part of Office 2001) as an option, and hacking with ResEdit is the only current workaround. The folks at Aladdin Systems told us that they will provide a solution for this as soon as they can.
Encoding and compression
As always, Deluxe features a wide array of encoding and compression options, from standard Mac formats to ZIP for PC's and also Unix types. New is support for RAR, a format gaining popularity quickly on the PC platform and much more slowly on Macs.
The list of supported formats is long:
- StuffIt (.sit)
- AppleLink (.pkg)
- Arc (.arc)
- BZip (.bz)
- Compact Pro (.cpt)
- DiskDoubler (.dd)
- GZip (.gz)
- LHa (.lha)
- Rar (.rar)
- Tar (.tar)
- Unix Compress. (.Z)
- Zip (.zip)
- BinHex (.hqx)
- MacBinary (.bin)
- Private File (.pf)
- AppleSingle (.as)
- UUEncode (.uu)
- Mac OS X Public Beta support: All the application components of the suite will work under Mac OS X beta, but none of the Finder integration components are compatible yet.
- Return receipt: It allows you to set it up to be notified when your archive has been expanded at its destination. This is as neat as it gets, but recipients need to have Deluxe 6.0 of StuffIt Expander 6.0 or they will get a text file only.
- ArchiveSearch: to find items inside of a StuffIt archive residing on mounted volumes.
- Online updates: StuffIt Deluxe, DropStuff, DropZip, and StuffIt Expander can automatically check the Aladdin Systems site for updates when they quit. Your product code and version number are being sent to Aladdin - pirates are likely the prime target of this "feature" - but you have the option to turn the feature off.
- Smarter handling: Improved file classifier that handles more file types.
- Contextual menu: More customization (see above) and smarter detection of what items you can use when clicking.
- Recovery: StuffIt Deluxe tries to recover items from damaged archives when using the Verify menu item under the File menu. It tries to recover data even if it cannot fully open the archive.
- New formats: Expansion of .rar archives and creation of .lha archives.
- 68K users will notice that the new upgrade drops support for 68K hardware.
- The StuffIt Engine grew to a whopping 6.9 MB in version 6 when it took 1.8 MB when we used version 5.5. What we hear from Aladdin Systems is that the extension now includes the former StuffIt Engine PowerPlug, the new StuffIt Engine Carbon, and support for the new features. In addition, Aladdin used to rely upon external translators to deal with all the file types, but in 6.0, they are built into the StuffIt Engine extension. It remains huge, however.
StuffIt Deluxe 6.0 is as complete as it gets. Its compression, encoding and file handling options seem endless and its Finder integration makes its power accessible, even when typing file names. Add to that the new features, options and a much-improved interface, and you have a very strong offering.
Final Score (Maximum Score is 5 Gadgies)
4 1/2 Gadgies
||Wide array of formats
Powerful Finder integration
Many new features
Improved application interface
Early support for OS X
||End of 68K support.
Huge StuffIt Engine extension