Beginner Builder series 75% done! will probably never be finished. :(

Thursday, March 19, 2009

WinWget: Adding beauty to usefulness.

WinWget is a GUI to further enhance the program Wget. If you want to know the functionality of Wget, goto my post about it. But in this post, I will only be discussing the features of WinWget's GUI.

Wget is a wonderful program, don't get me wrong, but (as I've said before), I'm not a terminal guy. So when I learned that there existed many different types of GUI for Wget, I was excited.

The main feature of WinWget that is the best is what makes it a great addition to Wget: easy on the eyes. It has the appearance of many download managers, but the power of Wget behind it. It also has "Jobs," which is very nice, meaning that you can have all Wget downloads (both processing and completed) in one window, and you can "Stop" or "Start" all jobs. You can also "Clone", or even move jobs up and down in the list.

So that's the basic download-manager stuff. But what makes WinWget so nice is how easily everything is to see what it does. When you click "Add Job," a window pops up with different fields and checkboxes. The first thing that you'll notice is that you can name your jobs! Yes! This won't change the filename, but it will make it easier in the job list.

The next EXTREMELY nice thing is that it has the handles next to the options. (Wuh?) What I mean is that next to the checkbox "continue", it has "[-c]" which is the command line handle. This helps a ton for two reasons: (1) if you already know Wget handles, or (2) if you want to learn them. It's basically like having documentation right in the program. But some things are confusing, so make sure you know what you're doing, or check the help site.

What's also extremely helpful is how WinWget divides up the options. Rather than having one huge page of checkboxes and fields, it divides them up into tabs, like "Logging and Input", "Download", or "Recursive Retrieval", so you don't end out hunting for the option you need. (Also, if you don't know what something is, you can just ignore that tab.)

Another feature that WinWget that other downloaders have is clipboard monitoring. I'll be honest, I've never been a fan, but it is there, if you like that kinda thing. And you can turn it off....if you don't like it, like me.

Yet another feature is "Export Jobs", which allows you to export your job list as an HTML file, which is essentially a log file for every Job, telling the Job name, the Address, the Date, the Progress, and even the Current Speed.


One of the very few things that puts WinWget at a disadvantage is that you cannot change the options while you are downloading a file. (Obviously, you can't Edit a Job while it's downloading, but I mean you can't change the global options.) Not too big of a deal, since there really aren't that many options, but it was annoyin when I was just now downloading a large file and I wanted WinWget to minimize to tray, and I had to wait till the file was done. It also has no browser integration (even though the site suggests the DownloadWith Firefox extension, DownloadWith does not work on the recent versions of Firefox.)

That's about it. It's an incredibly useful tool. And it matches Wget both in tinyness, being only 944kb (but it also needs Wget to run, so that's an extra 300kb) and portability, since it has an INI file, and thus can go anywhere Wget goes. In addition, it matches Wget in that it is open freakin' source, which is awesome. WinWGet is also hosted at PortableApps, but you don't necessarily have to get it there (at least, that's my thought.) I'm fairly sure you can just download it at the link below, and it will still be portable (but I make no promises.)

Unfortunately, WinWget hasn't been updated in 4 years, so it might soon become abandonware. So maybe drop the creaters an e-mail, and say "Dude! This is awesome!", because, hey, it is!


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