I'm typically a fan of any tool, utility, or application that simplifies fulfilling professional responsibilities; the Mac command line, password managers, and Microsoft Outlook are three examples. So whenever a new option, such as the dual-pane fman file manager for Mac (and Windows and Linux) comes to my attention, I try to give the application a look.
SEE: 16 OS X tweaks for business power users (TechRepublic)
The program's immediate advantage is the presence of two panes—dragging-and-dropping files between directories is easier when you don't have to open a second window, tab, or program instance. Just navigate to the correct directories and move files as required.
The program's second advantage is keystroke-based shortcut navigation. Described as GoTo on Steroids, the program enables quickly navigating between directories using Command+P on Macs. Entering the keystroke combination prompts a pop-up menu presenting several common folder locations, as well as those previously accessed.
Most folders are easily found. Navigating to local directories is simple: just enter the path. Locating cloud-based folders can prove a little more challenging, if you're unfamiliar with the manner in which OS X maps those directories. Accessing the iCloud Drive, for example, requires entering ~/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs/ as the path.
Further navigation and actions are enabled by pressing single keys: F6 for moving, F5 for copying, Delete for going up, Command+V for pasting, and so on. Pressing Shift+Command+P prompts a pop-up menu in case quick reminders are required.
The program is straightforward and possesses a clean interface whose dark UI proves easier on older eyes, particularly in low-light environments. When copying or moving files using keystoke commands or a mouse or trackpad, a quick pop-up menu confirms whether you wish to complete the action, which helps prevent mistakes.
Evaluation programs can be downloaded for free. The program's developer stated in an email message that the application will likely be priced around $25 once it's released. That said, the developer indicates some 100 introductory licenses were made available March 1, 2017. Those quickly sold out, and I suspect more will be made available soon as various tweaks and updates are completed. You can obtain updates on the application and its code on the site's blog.
One aspect likely prompting particularly careful development is fman's support for plug-ins. The program supports quite a wide range, including for arrow key navigation, compression operations, and QuickLook functionality.
Previously I wrote about using Commander One, a potent Finder alternative, and fman is another option worth exploring. In the course of using fman for a week, both in Windows and on my Mac, I found the program intriguing and worthy of continued use. Often, upon completing trial experiences, I delete the software. I'll be leaving fman on both my Mac and Windows systems, though. It's earned its place.
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Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.