Smith Micro Software is a North American software developer who has over 25 years on the road. The company is headquartered in California, and it develops and maintains a huge range of products, from backup solutions to software for design, such as Anime Studio Debut and software to diagnose and correct problems on PCs and productivity tools.

Smith Micro also has in its product line a compressing and decompressing file software, the fantastic and extremely easy to use StuffIt Deluxe 2010, which has powerful features not found in any other software in its category. At least, not by using a single application. StuffIt Deluxe 2010 has Mac and Windows versions, as well as a version with fewer features (and cheaper). However, the Deluxe version is what is the very best in software for compressing and decompressing files.

The StuffIt Deluxe 2010’s interface is very nice, clean and organized. All features are easily found and the application has unique and extremely useful features, such as StuffIt Conect, StuffIt SmartSend and a higher level of compression when dealing with .MP3, .JPG and .PDF files, for example.

The default compression format of StuffIt is StuffItX (files with the .sitx extension). I conducted several tests with StuffIt Deluxe 2010. During the same, I could see the difference between using or not the native format of StuffIt. A 6.94 MB PDF, after compressed to the StuffIt format, was shrunken to 5.74 MB, while the same process, thgouth WinZip, resulted in a 6.42 MB file.

When I compress a .MP3 file (“A Change of Seasons”, by Dream Theater) with 31.7 MB to the SITX format, I got a file with 28.9 MB, while the same process through WinZip resulted in a 31.4 MB file. Huge difference, no? And when compressing a .JPG 112.95 KB file to the native format of StuffIt, I got a  69.4 KB .SITX file, whereas with WinZip I got very little reduction: the resulting .zip file has 112.86 KB. Small results obtained by WinZip, no?

One of the major advantages of StuffIt Deluxe 2010 is the fact that it does not compromises the integrity/quality of the compressed images. You can compress and decompress files using the Smith Micro’s application without any fear of loss of quality. This is due to the extremely innovative technology used by the developer. During my compression tests, not even using the .zipx format (on the higher level of compression) of WinZip, which provides a higher level of compression, could obtain better results than the StuffIt Deluxe 2010. By compressing the same MP3 file above mentioned by this way, through WinZip, I obtained a negligible reduction in size, ie, the .zipx resulting stayed with 31.4 MB, while the original MP3 has 31.7 MB. Regarding the level of compression, there is nothing to discuss, if we use the .sitx format: StuffIt wins with a large advantage.

StuffIt Connect: Store and share your files

StuffIt Deluxe 2010 also has features extremely useful and innovative. One of them is the StuffIt Connect. This is an “online space,” located on the Smith Micro’s servers, where you can store up to 2 GB. And the StuffIt Connect is fully integrated with StuffIt. From what I know, Smith Micro is the first company to work with cloud computing in software for compression/decompression in a totally integrated way, providing at the same time the software and the service.

Through StuffIt Connect, you compress a file, for example, and it sends it to your account within the service. Once uploaded, a web page is automatically opened, and through it you can add contacts, enter a code that serves as the download’s password, and send an invitation to who you wish in a way that allows that person to download the file. That is, no suffering anymore sending huge files via e-mail: StuffIt Connect is there precisely to avoid such problems. You can even set an expiration date to the file, and thereafter it will be automatically deleted.

Inside the StuffIt Connect’s panel you can check with whom you shared all the files, remove the person’s access to that file, download the file (this service can also works as a backup of your files, of course) and to use filters to search for your files stored in the service, if you have many.

You can also upload files to the service from within its own interface, and can add contacts, to facilitate and expedite the sharing of all data. The person with whom you shared the file will receive an email containing information about it and the download link. If you set a password for the download, it will be required.

In fact, StuffIt Connect is directly linked to the StuffIt SmartSend feature. Small files are automatically attached to an e-mail ready to be sent, if you choose, for example, the “StuffIt and Mail” option. The largest files, which would cause problems to the receiver, are sent to the StuffIt Connect, and it is worth mentioning that the StuffIt Deluxe makes this distinction automatically, and send what is needed to where is necessary, in the right way, depending on the size of the concerned file. In other words, SmartSend is a super innovative way for sending compressed files. It performs the file analysis and, depending on their size, attachs it to an e-mail or sends it to your StuffIt Connect account. Sensational, no?

StuffIt Deluxe 2010 has a section called “Quick Tools,” which provides shortcuts to different functions of the application. “StuffIt and Email” and “Zip and Email” are some of the “droplets” found here, and besides, it has two areas for which you can simply drag and drop any file, and the software will then perform the required operation depending on the chosen area:

  • Extract (just open or decompress a compressed file, dragging it to this area. Also choose a destination folder to extract);
  • Create (simply drag a file to this area, to generate a compressed version, and you can choose the format, define whether the file will be encrypted or not, etc.).

StuffIt Deluxe 2010 also has wizards that guides the user through every step of any procedure, whether a simple compression or sending a file to a FTP server. Let’s talk now about the “Compress & FTP.” Through this function, you can compress any file and, in the sequence, send it to your FTP server.

During the process, you will be prompted to specify the server details, such as host, path, server, port, user, password, etc. All this can be saved as a “profile” and on the next time, just use this profile and do the operation so much easier.

It is also possible to compress any files and, immediately after compression, burn a CD or DVD with the compressed file(s). StuffIt guides the user throughout the process, allows the choice of the disc label, and makes possible to kept the disc “open” (for future recordings in it). It also erases data on rewritable discs, prior to recording.

Another very nice feature in StuffIt is the ability to schedule compression tasks. You can schedule simple compressions, compressions followed by e-mail sendings or StuffIt Connect sendings, compressions followed by sending the file to a FTP server or even compressions followed by recording the result onto a CD or DVD. This is very interesting for data backups, for example. Here again, you can work with profiles, and use any of them at any time. The Smith Micro’s software also converts .zip files to .sitx files, and vice versa, it is worth mentioning.

And like in all good and complete compression software, StuffIt Deluxe 2010 has a self-extracting archives (SFX) creator, through the “SEA Builder” option. Use and create profiles, set the destination for the SFX file, choose whether to encrypt or not the file, set an icon for your self-extracting file (or choose any of the five provided by the program), set the directory where the file should be extracted when the EXE is executed, set whether to display previous information and for the extraction progress, set post-extraction actions and translate all the messages displayed during extraction to more than 100 different languages, including Portuguese.

In this case of the translation, a new wizard is displayed, and you will define the messages and texts for each step of the extraction process of your SFX file, and you can even preview each one of the screens, and change them as many times you desire. The text of all buttons can also be translated and modified. Indeed, for every language you choose, you must perform the translation. And after the translation, everything is saved in a profile, with the name of the language you chose.

The self-extracting archives creator of StuffIt Deluxe 2010 is the most comprehensive and powerful I have ever seen on the market. The resulting executable comes out exactly the way you want, and creating them is extremely simple.

It is worth remembering that the person to whom you will send the file does not need to have StuffIt nor any compressing/decompressing software. This is the purpose of SFX files: make life easier for those who receives the files.

Each SFX  file created by StuffIt Deluxe 2010 is completely independent of Smith Micro’s application, and the receiver can access the content by just running the EXE file generated by StuffIt, which you will send to him.

Furthermore, any message is translatable/customizable, including error messages:

StuffIt also integrates with your anti-virus, if you want, aiming to increase your safety when dealing with files whose origin is unknown, for example. You can also set the minimum size for a file to be sent via email through Smart Send, and not to StuffIt Connect, and specify additional “conditions” for this, based on the file type.

There is also the Archive Manager, which lists all the compressed files on your computer, which also counts with several filters, and furthermore, StuffIt has a tab where it is possible to perform searches in a very interesting way, being possible to specify filters such as “file size”, “file type”, “creation date, with several options – before, after, between, etc”, places to search, exclusions, etc.

StuffIt Deluxe 2010 integrates seamlessly with the Windows context menu, providing thereafter access to the basic functions and also to the wizards, droplets and the SmartSend. The application opens, decompresses and compresses files in over 30 different formats, including the .zip, .tar, .gzip, .arj, .rar, .7z, .Cab, .Lha, .Arc formats, etc. It is worth taking a look at “Options ==> File Associations” to see what it reads, compresses and decompresses, because not always it compress certain file type it compresses, and/or vice versa. As with any software of this genre, indeed. 🙂

Conclusion

I confess I was impressed by the power, ease of use and range of features that StuffIt Deluxe 2010 has. For those looking for a fast and “user friendly” file compressor/decompressor, and that works with cloud computing, StuffIt Deluxe 2010 is one of the best choices in the market.

The software costs $ 49.99 but is on promotion for a limited time for $ 19.99. When buying the software you get free access for one year to StuffIt Connect.

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