As Windows users, its like we never get off the breast milk. I mean we’re weaned on the same easy (arguable?) interface over and over again. That Windows Explorer interface is in every program. Every time you click “Browse,” “Save,” “Open,” or “New,” you see the same user-friendly folders. In Windows, pretty much everything is universal. If you can use notepad, you should have no problem using WordPad. You have the same “File,” “Edit,” “View,” and “Help” menu bar options. You have that drag-and-drop functionality. You can always count on “Ctrl-C” to copy, “Ctrl-V” to Paste, “Ctrl-X” to Cut, and “Ctrl-A” to Select All. Like I said, we’re on Microsoft’s breast milk.
Microsoft FTP Integration in Windows Explorer
Microsoft has made every effort to make our user experience seamless and universal. But, they don’t get it quite so well with their FTP integration. When you enter your personal FTP address (in my case, “ftp://ftp.art-app.com”) in a Microsoft-product location bar, it prompts you for a username and password. When authentication is complete, you are greeted with an exploreresque interface. It’s so familiar you don’t give it a second thought. Try copying a file from one folder on your server to another folder in the same server. Error!
Microsoft makes a decent effort in integrating FTP in an Explorer-like environment. But, it just is not good enough. It’s buggy, quirky, and slow.
NetDrive FTP Integration with Virtual Partitions
I was searching for an alternative to the Microsoft way of FTP integration and I found Netdrive. NetDrive is exactly what I was looking for. It maps any FTP path to a drive letter and that drive acts exactly like any hard drive partition would. I can even open my HTML files in notepad and save them via the normal “File -> Save” method! Take a look at this right click the Microsoft way and a right click the NetDrive way.
Abandonware and WebDrive
NetDrive was created by Novell Networks. It is abandonware, which - if you want to get technical - is not freeware. Novell abandoned the NetDrive software and opted for the very similar and expensive WebDrive. I’ve tried WebDrive and concluded that NetDrive was good enough and got the job done.
From the NetDrive.exe - Novell Cool Solutions: Question & Answer page, Novell tells us this:
To find a download, search for netdrive.exe on the Web. Due to licensing issues, it is not a download from Novell.com.