Occasionally I run into a software tool that “just works”. No muss, no fuss. Just start it, tell it to do its thing and forget about it. Kinda the opposite of Microsloth products.
This little bit of freeware, WebSitePublisher  is just such a package. It does only one thing – shoveling bits and pieces of data from my computer to my website – but it does it extremely well.
Some web editing programs (I use FrontPage – it hasn’t been Microsloughed too badly yet) have the ability to push out pages, or synchronize the local machine with the website. Few do it well, however. If I make a single character change to Neon John , it takes FrontPage about 20 minutes to figure out that this one file has changed and therefore it needs to be uploaded to my web host.
Enter WebSitePublisher (WSP). WSP can be thought of as a specialized FTP client. Its one purpose in life is to move data to and from the public web host. In other words, it keeps my local copy of my website and the public one in sync. And it does it fast. I just timed how long it took to update one file. About 12 seconds. And that’s with me on a 56k dial-up line!
To determine which files to move, WSP has to look at the size and time stamp on every file on both my local and remote copies of my website. My site currently contains about 5,000 files so that’s about 10,000 files that have to be scanned over a slow dial-up link. Remarkable.
Conveniently WSP can support an indefinitely large number of sites. I currently have 3 main ones. All I do is configure each site with the correct upload address, user name and password and I’m set.
Since this program is file-aware and not specifically website-aware, it can be used to move around large batches of files unrelated to a web site. For instance, I have about 2 GB of files that I need to move to my dreamhost machine for storage. That’s not really practical over dial-up but I occasionally have access to broadband.
I simply configured this batch of files as a “website”, pointing it to the proper local and remote directories, and then whenever I’m on broadband I start the program and let it push files. It’s going to take many hours and several sessions to push all these files but that’s OK because WSP detects which files have been transferred and picks back up where it left off. The destination just happens to be my web hosting server. It could have been any machine with an FTP server.
The Cherry on the Sundae is that the program is FREE. Can’t beat that.