There’s a slew of unzipping and archiving tools on the Mac. Most people have come into contact with Stuffit, and they either love it or hate it. For a while, Stuffit was my go to application, but I eventually got a little tired of it and the way it handled my archiving. It’s a long story. Since I’ve abandoned it, I’ve been hoping around from application to application but haven’t really found a home. I’ve been playing with Rucksack since it was in beta, and finally feel confident when I say it’s now my go to application.

This simple and light weight application actually makes a lot more sense then some of the alternatives out there, and it really sets itself apart from the competition in that respect. It’s intuitive in that it doesn’t make me think about what I want to do. You can either split an archived file, convert it, or extract it. What else would you need? Clearly, the Rucksack developers get that.

You can currently get Rucksack for free through the MacBuzzer giveaway.

Splitting an Archive

A lot of people could benefit from this simple technology. It’s been around for decades, but until recently you really had to know what you were doing to split up your archives. For those who aren’t aware of what splitting an archive means, you essentially take a bunch of files, wrap them in a container file (like a .zip file), and then split that container file into more manageable chunks.

Why is this important?

We live in a world of bandwidth and storage limit. It sucks, but unfortunately it’s a reality. Some people can’t accept big files in their email, and some people can only transfer medium sized files. Splitting your archive lets you break up a giant file and send them in pieces across the internet. It makes your transfers easier to manage.

Converting an Archive

The second great thing this application does is let you convert between archiving types. Have a zip file but need it in a .tar.gz format? Or have a .7z file and realize you have no idea what the heck that is, but that you could use a .rar file? Rucksack lets you convert these files pretty simply. Never again will you have to explain to someone how to extract a Tar.Gz file. You can just convert it for them, turn it into a Zip file, then send them something they can handle.

Keep your sanity. Get Rucksack.

Extracting an Archive

This is the most obvious utility of the application. What would an unarchiving tool be if it wouldn’t let you extract your files from an archive. Rucksack handles the process pretty ingeniously. Instead of dumping the files in your current directory, it lets you drag the expanding archive to what ever location you want in your file system. No longer do you have to cuss out your computer for dumping 100 files on your desktop, Rucksack solves the problem nicely.

Something I’d like to see in a future version

I’d love to be able to unzip things from a contextual menu much like the Archive Utility that’s provided with OS X. If I had the ability to set up my extraction settings in the application, then have the ability to unarchive my files without having to open up RuckSack every single time, I’d be ecstatic. I’m not sure what the feasibility of this would be, but it would certainly make the already great application slightly better.