I use FTP to upload and download files to and from various hosting providers and sites multiple times a week. At work I upload files that are too large to email and I download betas of our software products. For my own websites that are hosted with various vendors, FTP is the preferred method for getting files up to most hosting companies. I do a weekly video podcast and yep, you guessed it – I have to upload those videos to my Podcast hosting provider. So yes, I use FTP a lot. A geek will tell you that FTP is built-in to the Mac OS and you can do it from the Terminal window. While that's certainly true, I want something way more elegant and "Mac like" for this regular effort. I've been using Panic's Transmit for years. It has a great easy to use interface and it has become second nature for all the FTPing I have to do.
Transmit 4 changes the game
You might think well "how much more can an FTP app do?" Transmit was already pretty feature rich in letting you save all your regularly used destinations as "Favorites" and providing simple drag and drop for uploading and downloading. I was pretty happy with what was there and really wasn't looking for anything new. Then I saw the feature list for version 4 and I downloaded it immediately! Although I'll gladly take the 45+ New features, there was one feature in particular that made this a must have upgrade for me and that's a feature that lets you MOUNT an FTP site as a volume on your desktop.
In other words the Mac OS and all your Apps will see that FTP destination like they would any other folder or disk on your system. For me that would have come in real handy when I was battling the recent malware hacks on this very site. Before 4.0 I had to download the entire site so that I could search and replace the infected files with clean ones OR upload the ENTIRE site every time there was a problem since I wouldn't know which files in particular were impacted. Now I would be able to mount the site folder on my desktop and use Dreamweaver to do a search and replace to fix the files live on the server. Even if you don't have a site to fix, this feature gives you an easy Finder like drag and drop experience to uploading and downloading via FTP, WebDAV, etc. Like I said that alone would have been enough for me to upgrade.
Speed! – Uploading and downloading files is never fun to watch. So anything that speeds this up gets my vote and I can say that Transmit 4 is definitely faster than 3 especially when you're uploading lots of little files (like those in a website).
Transmit 4 Learns to Sync
Although web publishing apps like GoLive, Dreamweaver and iWeb have been able to sync changes to the FTP server for a while I haven't seen this ability in too many stand alone apps. Transmit 4 learns to sync so that you can keep a local folder in sync with the one on the FTP server. Although I don't have an immediate use for this in Transmit, it's good to know I have the option.
A couple of issues
One is a cosmetic issue. The old version had a big "Disconnect" button and I actually miss that. You can disconnect from the FTP server by hitting Command-E (or choosing disconnect from the menu), and there is a tiny disconnect button in the upper right corner of the window, however I completely missed that little eject button for the first few days. I also can't seem to connect to my iDisk. It keeps telling me that my password is incorrect but it doesn't allow me to put in one. So either it's reading an old password from it's prefs or it's not reading the MobileMe settings properly. In either case it would be nice to be able to get this going since uploading to an iDisk from the Finder can be twice as slow as doing it from the web or via Transmit.
The Bottom Line
I already loved the app. Transmit 4 makes me love it even more. Transmit 4 is $34 and upgrades from Transmit 3 are $19. Well worth the upgrade if you're a Transmit 3 user just for the performance boost. It's also a 64bit app, which I'll gladly take too. You can buy or upgrade Transmit 4 here.