File Transfer Protocol

Getting From Here to There

FTP programs vary from system to system, but all have one common goal: to move your files from one location to another. You will not be able to work with your saved images until you have moved them from your disk (or hard drive) to your public_html account. The FTP is essentially a click-and-drag method for accomplishing this move. The file transfer applications we use here at UVa are Rapid Filer and WS_FTP for the PC and Fetch for Macintosh.

Image and Text FTP

Images are fairly easy to move, provided that you have converted your images to the correct format during the image scanning process. When you open any of these FTP applications, the screen will display the disk drive on your computer and ask you to enter the internet address of your UNIX account--not your home page address, just the domain and server where your account resides. To return to our UNIX lesson about internet addresses and UNIX protocol, let's look at a sample home page address:

In this case, your "host name," "remote system address," or "telnet address" would be the domain and server of your account, Once you establish a connection to this host and access your public_html directory, you can begin moving your files.

Text transfers have a few more necessary steps beyond click-and-drag, but if you have been through the text scanning process, the FTP will be a snap by comparison. The first thing to remember when you are scanning text is that during your proofreading and editing process, you should be inserting the proper HTML tags in the document. Even though you are not working in a UNIX environment when doing this, it will save you time later. When you have finished editing the document in the word processing program you are using, you must save the document as ASCII text with line breaks. If you do not choose the line break option, the entire document will become one very long and unreadable line when it appears in your UNIX account. The text option is abbreviated in Windows as filename.txt, and in Macintosh it is identified in your saving options as simple text, which is essentially what ASCII text is.

Text is moved the same way as images, but you will not be able to move any document that is "named" in HTML. If your computer screen is displaying a text document as filename.html, FTP will not transfer it, which is why your documents must be saved as text files. FTP will not transfer a document formally named in .html format, but it is moveable as text, word processing file, o r even what is known as the .htm file. You may name it anything you like in order to transfer it, but be aware that once you transfer it, you must choose the "Rename" option to restore it to filename.html, or it will not be readable as a hypertext document. If you are not concerned about having links in the document or the colors or font styles of HTML, and it does not contain images--in other words, you simply want it as a text document--you can name it as filename.txt, and it will be transferrable and readable. Text files will display on the web, but will contain a gray background and typewriter font only. In order to use colors, links, and images, it must be in HTML format with proper tagging.

Rapid Filer

Rapid Filer will ask you for the following information when trying to FTP:

Once the connection is established, you will see two windows on your screen, one displaying the contents of your public_html directory and the other shows the contents of your local file system drive. You can change the local disk drive by clicking on the name of the drive it's currently displaying. It will ask you which drive you'd like to open. If you want to close the local drives and open a connection to another remote system, or you need to have two versions of your own public_html open--as you will if you want to use Rapid Filer to make, change, or delete subdirectories--you can use the mouse command bar to choose "close active file system," which is whichever window you've most recently selected by clicking your mouse in, and then it will close that window. Once you have closed it, you can choose "open remote file system" to enter another internet address. You can use FTP programs to get around the complexities of UNIX commands. It takes a few times to catch on, but once you do, it's an easy way to create new directories and move documents and images.


WS_FTP is very similar to Rapid Filer, except that you have a few more options. You don't have to click and drag, for instance. Instead, you select the file(s) you want to move, choose a format from the options in the bottom of the window (ASCII for text and document transfers; Binary for all images), and then click the arrow that's pointing to the file system that is your destination. It is somewhat faster and easier to use, and you have the added option of editing documents through the Notepad Text application while you are in this program.

Fetch for Macintosh

As with many Mac applications, Fetch is very user-friendly. Once you establish your connection to the host, you can select "Get Files" from the current system and then select "Put Files" and the name of the destination systems. You would use the Open, Close, and Save file commands just as you would in a Macintosh word processing application.

The FTP process may sound cryptic without actually seeing the application windows, but once you are working with them, you'll see that it's not terribly difficult to use. As with anything else in this workshop, when you're stuck, ask someone. Anyone who is working on the web can explain this application, since it is a crucial part of developing a successful web site.

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