The purpose of ncftp is to provide a powerful and flexible interface to the Internet standard File Transfer Protocol. It is intended to replace the stock ftp program that comes with the system.
Although the program appears to be rather spartan, you'll find that ncftp has a wealth of valuable performance and usage features. The program was designed with an emphasis on usability, and it does as much as it can for you automatically so you can do what you expect to do with a file transfer program, which is transfer files between two interconnected systems.
Some of the cooler features include progress meters, filename completion, command-line editing, background processing, auto-resume downloads, bookmarking, cached directory listings, host redialing, working with firewalls and proxies, downloading entire directory trees, etc., etc.
The ncftp distribution comes with the useful utility programs ncftpget(1) and ncftpput(1) which were designed to do command-line FTP. In particular, they are very handy for shell scripts. This version of ncftp no longer does command-line FTP, since the main ncftp program is more of a browser-type program.