Picnic: More Than Just Bonjour

Picnic LogoMany Mac users are aware of Bonjour, Apple’s networking technology. Bonjour is a simple utility integrated into OS X which allows for “zero-configuration” networking; very useful for sharing files over a network. Picnic is a utility which simplifies, encapsulates and even enhances this feature into a very polished interface. The app allows you to create shared folders which are then synced between both yourself, and the specified folder on another Mac.

Picnic simplifies a task which many of us would greatly benefit from, but otherwise won’t bother with the hassle that’s involved. Normally, to accomplish such a task, the configuration of a file-server is needed, in addition to yet another backup server. You don’t even have to be connected to the network in order to access the files as they are synced to your system. Modification of files is also simplified by that fact, meaning you can disconnect from the network with a fresh copy of the folder, modify the files on the go, and then sync it back with the other Macs.

One more feature I found interesting was the “conflicts” pane. When I was reading about the app, I became concerned abut the fact that multiple users are going to be re-syncing the same folder with alternate modifications, so there are bound to be some conflicting files. Fortunately, Picnic does a very good job of managing this, by allowing you to easily delete one of the conflicting folders.

Picnic Screenshot

I can especially see Picnic being used in a business environment to share files and collaborate on projects without the need for expensive servers and such. In this situation, there isn’t even a need to mess around with permissions. It integrates support for a rather coarse system where the machines have either all or no access.
Overall, Picnic is a fine app for “live” folder synchronization making great use of Bonjour, one of OS X’s greatest Core technologies. It’s currently in beta, and is available for download from Objectpark Software.


4 Responses to “Picnic: More Than Just Bonjour”

  1. qb on November 16th, 2007 3:11 pm

    (I posted this on MacUpdate on 30-Oct-2007 and still have no response from the developer of Picnic.)

    I purchased a 5-user license of Picnic based on a quick test and reviews on MacUpdate. I have twice in the past week emailed the developers for support. No response… I guess I wasted $120.

    Here is the text of my emails.

    Hello – I’m a new registered owner of Picnic 1.0.3

    My MAJOR problem is as follows.

    On my home wired network I have:

    PowerMac G4 Dual 1.25GHz, 1.25GB RAM and OS X 10.4.10 (with the SOURCE FOLDER) and

    Mac Pro Dual 2.0, 2GB RAM and OSX 10.4.10

    I want to share a large folder that has all my downloaded installers – called “OS X” it is about 34GB in size.

    The source folder has 509 items in it.

    I’ve left both systems running Picnic overnight, checking the folder contents on a regular basis.

    At one point the MacPro copy of the folder got to 420 items and seems to have stuck.

    I have rebooted each system and left it for another 12 hours and nothing has changed.

    When I look at the MacPro Picnic window it shows “OS X (qb@qbg4)” and the spinning icon in the upper right when I look at the Queue.

    When I look at the G4 it has nothing in the upper right.

    BOTH Queues are empty. I would have expected to see something in the queues.

    BOTH Conflict windows are empty.

    What is going wrong here???

    Since then it continues to give my spinning beach balls and “not responding” when I bring up the Force Quit dialog. Very unstable software and no help from the programmers.

  2. Adolphe on April 28th, 2009 5:29 am

    I can't get this to work. I have installed it on two computers, added two folders and started subscriptions. But on the the client computer I can only see the folders, not the content. The help files doesn't help a bit. A complete waste of time.

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