Many 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.
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.