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Dragster 1.0

Review - Dragster 1.0

by , 9:00 AM EST, January 4th, 2007

Moving files around your Mac, to other network locations, or to Internet-based locations isn't all that big of a deal for most people. So on first glance, Ambrosia Software's Dragster seemed kind of like a pointless application. But I'll admit now that I was wrong: Dragster automated the tedious file transfers I perform every day and actually saved me time.

On the surface, Dragster is a pretty simple application. You drag files onto its Dock icon, and then choose where you want them to go via a pop-up menu. True, you can perform some similar tasks by adding a folder full of aliases to your Dock, but Dragster goes way beyond that.

Dragster's Dock menu.

In addition to letting you choose where on your Mac to move a file to, it also lets you send files to your iDisk, network and remote servers, and also automates emailing attachments.

The first file I moved with Dragster seemed to take just as many steps as if I navigated to the folder myself. I had to select the directory in a fairly standard looking Save dialog - not much of a time saver. But thanks to the Add a Shortcut button, folders I use all the time can appear in Dragster's pop-up location menu. I know, I can do the same thing with my aliases-in-a-folder idea, but there's more.

Dragster's Move To dialog.

You can also add servers you use on a regular basis to Dragster's favorites list. Those servers can use FTP, SFTP, SCP, Windows File Sharing, or AppleShare. If you aren't sure which transfer protocol is best, Dragster can figure that out for you. If you have a .Mac account, Dragster automatically loads your user name and password so you can upload files without first mounting your iDisk or having to enter your user name and password.

Dragster fills in your .Mac account settings for you.

If you are expecting instant automation right after you install Dragster, however, think again. It's power comes from automation, but only after you configure the places you want to send files - In Dragster terms, that's called making a Shortcut. If you don't make Shortcuts, or if you rarely move files to the same locations, Dragster probably won't save you any time.

Adding your own Dragster shortcuts turned out to be about the most tedious part of using the application. The app's preferences include a Shortcuts option, so I assumed I could just drag the folders I use all the time into the included list. It turns out the Shortcuts preference lets you re-order or delete the shortcuts you already have. I was able to create new Shortcuts only when I moved a file using the Dragster interface, which really slowed down my initial set up. Yuck.

The email feature turned out to be really handy. After you drag a file onto Dragster's email option, it opens a dialog where you enter the email address you are sending to, add a subject and message text, and then click the Send button. You can add multiple email addresses, and the app auto-fills from Address Book. If you regularly send attachments to the same address, you can add that as a Shortcut, too.

Outside of FTP file transfers, most everything I used Dragster for I had already automated with AppleScript or Automator. If you already have a well automated workflow for transferring files, Dragster may not offer you anything new - and it is not a replacement for a real FTP application, only a supplement.

You can move files through contextual menus.

Dragster also has a couple of subtle features that I found to be really useful: A contextual menu plug-in that lets you choose where to send files, and Growl support. Growl gave me a quick notification whenever a file finished sending, which was handy when I was uploading large files to FTP servers or sending emails with big attachments. After I started the file transfers, I didn't have to go back to Dragster to check the upload status since Growl would let me know when they completed.

The Bottom Line
If you don't know how to create your own AppleScripts and Automator Workflows, or don't have the time to figure it out, Dragster is a great tool. But even with the AppleScripts and Workflows I'm already using, I found it to be a useful addition to my automated file-moving arsenal.


Product: Dragster 1.0

Company: Ambrosia Software

List Price: $19

3 out of 5 stars

Pros: Almost no learning curve, great email integration, supports multiple file transfer protocols.
Cons: Tedious to add multiple Shortcuts, many features can be replicated with AppleScript or Automator.

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