There are numerous good reasons for needing zip capabilities inside your application. Maybe you're creating an install builder and you want to be able to spit out self-extracting executables. Maybe you have a web application that compresses and encrypts sensitive data so that only the legitimate recipient can make sense of it. Or perhaps you're simply working with large amounts of data and need to scrunch it down to a manageable size.

Xceed Zip for .NET perfectly meets all these requirements and more. It's a modern, fully managed component written in C# (source code is available at extra cost), whereas some similarly priced products are merely wrappers around ancient ActiveX components, long past their sell-by date. The Xceed offering implements split and spanned zip files, and can also be used to create self-extracting EXE files - a great way of deploying small shareware applications, subject to the usual security caveats of course.

The zip component also supports 256-bit AES encryption and the new Zip64 file format, and is built on top of Xceed's FileSystem Core object model. This means that moving fi les into and out of an archive is as simple as any other file-related operation. You can compress or decompress any .NET stream object if you prefer a stream-based approach.

The online documentation provided with the component is truly superb, with a remarkable FileSystem Snippet Explorer that's full of topical information and sample code, all in your choice of C# or VB.NET. There are also several sample projects included, again in your choice of programming language.

The zip component works across three different assemblies: the zip component itself, the FileSystem Core assembly, and another to handle compression. In an ideal world, we would prefer to see everything in just a single assembly, but the advantages of the orthogonal FileSystem approach far outweigh the minor inconvenience of bringing another assembly or two along for the ride. Dave Jewell