Data compression has been around for a while and it is the process of representing a file in fewer bits than the original. Data compression can be classified into two types, namely lossless and lossy. File formats like mp3, mp4, mkv and jpeg are examples of lossy compression and file formats like tiff and ACC+ are examples of lossless compression.
There is another type of data compression where an individual or a set of files are capsulated in a container, generally called as archives. Archives were initially used in installer programs and with the advent of the Internet compressed archives have become a standard for anything that is downloaded.
Both Windows and OS X have a compressed archive utility built-in, BetterZIp 2 for OS X is far superior to the tool that comes along with the operating system. Let’s have a look at BetterZIp 2.
BetterZIp 2 : Best Archiver
First released in 2006, the latest version of BetterZIp has a pretty small footprint and it doesn’t support the Power PC architecture, but you can run the tool using Rosetta. BetterZIp 2 is a trialware, which means you can download, install and run the application for free, but to unlock all the limitations, you need to purchase a license key. When compared to other archiving tools for Mac OS X like Stuffit Deluxe, BetterZIp 2 is an economical choice and will not burn a hole in your pocket.
The installation is fairly simple and the preference pane can be accessed through OS X’s System Preference. You can set the defaults for the extraction location and archive save location. You can also customize the columns and associate the file types that you want BetterZIp 2 to handle. The application neatly integrates itself into the operating system and it can be evoked through system level menus.
Advantages of BetterZIp 2 over the default archive utility
One of the selling points of BetterZIp 2 is the fact that it can read pretty much every compression algorithm and file format out there. Another advantage of BetterZIp 2 is the way it handles compressed archives. Just like the actions in a folder, you can add, remove, edit and even rearrange the content in the archive without opening and extracting the files.
This utility also makes the compressed archives compatible with Windows. When you create an archive under Mac OS X, a lot of meta data and resource files (commonly referred to as ds files) are embedded and these might make the archive incompatible under Windows. BetterZIp 2 removes those redundant data and the archives compressed under OS X can be accessed under Windows, Linux, UNIX, iOS and Android.
With the Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), Apple introduced a feature called Quick Look which allows an instant preview of files directly from the Finder. When you install BetterZIp 2 on any Mac that runs OS X 10.5 and the above, the application integrates with the operating system and when you invoke Quick Look for a compressed archive, it throws up details like the content, the size of individual files, the file type and the compression ratio.
Since the files are displayed as a dropdown tree, you can navigate through OS X’s Quick Look and even extract or open an individual file. This feature comes in handy for developers, because they don’t have to open the entire package through Xcode to edit a single file.
Although there are other compression utilities available for Mac OS X, BetterZIp 2 offers a lot of features and sure is a great utility.