Compactor, a relatively recent introduction into the compression world from Bill Goodman, takes the simple approach: easy, fast, and compact. In all of the trials, Compactor files were never more than 1% larger than StuffIt Deluxe's "Better"/"Best Guess" modes, but anywhere from 25% to 400% faster. Compactor is currently my choice for daily BBS and Usenet uploads and downloads. Compactor also featured the absolute fastest decompression times for both StuffIt 1.5.1 files and for its own files. In addition, Compactor creates the smallest self-extracting applications (about 13K overhead), which is handy if the recipient doesn't have the same program you use. It also works the way an application should under MultiFinder and allows the foreground application to work quickly while still managing to get its own work done. (Nice job, Bill!) Now only if it had Finder-level compression...
Of course, if you are up on the absolute latest and greatest, you know that Bill Goodman just released a new version, Compact Pro 1.3 (he had to change the name because of a name conflict with another product). The times and archive sizes were ever so slightly longer and larger, most likely due to the removal of the 300 files per archive limit that Compactor had. I didn't change either the results in the article or the spreadsheet because of the minimal differences between Compactor and Compact Pro file formats. Most Compact Pro archives can be extracted by Compactor unless they take advantage of one of the new features, such as the removal of that 300 files per archive limit I just mentioned. Compact Pro boasts plenty of other features that should help solidify its position as the shareware compression program of choice. If you hold down the option key when double-clicking on an archive, Compact Pro automatically extracts all the contents. Similarly, double-clicking on filenames in the archive catalog window extracts the files, as it should. For those on the Internet, Compact Pro now supports Binhex 4 encoding and decoding, though it can't decode binhexed files that have text before the start of the binhex codes. Curious, and Bill is probably working on that right now. Overall, though, Compact Pro is well worth the $25 shareware fee.
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