Thursday, July 13, 2006

pcAnywhere's Amazing Speed Send Feature

I've been using pcAnywhere for almost 10 years and while the product itself hasn't really evolved much in the last 5 years (while other competition has caught up), there's one feature that continues to set it apart from all the others: Speed Send.

This ultra amazing feature performs some kind of binary file compare on a file you are copying between the remote & local machine, and only sends the differences. It is a spectacle to behold. Some of my VFP applications have grown to be almost 10MB in size. Assuming I've made only a minor modification to the next version of the file, pcAnywhere can Speed Send it in a matter of seconds!! Every other remote access software I've seen will simply overwrite the original file, resulting in a new 10MB upload, which even on DSL or Cable speeds can take a few minutes.

The scenario that happens to me most is that I will upload a new version of my application. I will test it on the remote machine, and often find I missed something or forgot to take out a SET STEP ON, or whatever.. I'll immediately build a new .EXE, and transfer it.. The Speed Send literally takes about 5 seconds!! It's a feature I could never live without. Of course, the more changes you've made to the newer file, the less effective Speed Send becomes, but typically I've never had to wait more than 30-40 seconds for a file transfer of even 10MB (except the first time of course).

What I *really* would like to know though, is why on earth can't I find any software tools, programming examples, or even Active X controls that offer this kind of functionality? Surely they must exist? If one person was smart enough to design it, how come nobody else can? I've searched for the terms binary diff and other keywords, but have never found anything close.

Does anyone know of this kind of functionality and where I can get it? I have so many ideas for it's use in Visual FoxPro!