Tuesday, 14 April 2015

FTP uploads and downloads in LINUX the Easy way

Something many Linux users either don't know, or forget is that years ago we didn't have fancy specialised programs to manage file transfers across a network.  We either did it from the command line or later, within a file browser.  But once the Internet came of age, specialised programs proliferated.

In Linux, one of the most popular is FileZilla.  It makes managing websites easy and is great to use.  But once in a while I am on another computer that does not have Filezilla or another similar program.  Now, it is easy to log into my server using a web browser to download files, and it is also possible to use a browser to upload files,  But what about editing them?

Here's the trick, for relatively new Linux users.  Your ordinary every day file manager, Dolphin, Thunar, Nautilus (or whatever it is called now) and the others, can access your web server anywhere in the world as long as you know your login ID and password.

Now, if as I do, you have a dual monitor setup you have a distinct advantage, because you can open the local files you are working on in a window on one screen and the folder you are working on at the remote server in another screen.  Of course, you can also split the file manager window itself, or tile yoour file managers on one screen.  I just find it convenient to keep the server on one screen and the local computer on another screen.

Although I use Mint 17 XFCE at present on my main computer I have made Dolphin (the file manager from KDE) my default file manager.  I just prefer the way it looks and feels.  So I will use Dolphin as my example.  Other file managers may have different keyboard short cuts but the commands will be in a menu somewhere.

I open Dolphin to my local working directory with the files for the website I am working on.  There are always two directories (folders) for any currently active web site.  One has an exact copy of the website as it is, once it is proven to be working correctly.  The other is my 'working' folder, where I make and test changes before I upload.

So I open the /home/my websites/current website working/  folder in Dolphin.  These are my local files.

Then I open a new Dolphin window.  In this new window I can either use the View menu to find 'Location bar > Editable location, or I can hit the F6 key.  Either will open an 'address bar' in Dolphin.  In that window I type Without The Quotes:
A few moments late a dialog will ask for my Login and Password.  Enter those correctly and you now have access to your server just as if it was on your local computer.

Drag and drop between both open windows or a split window in your file browser works exactly as it does on your own computer.
You can click on an image in your file manager's server window and it will open in your default image viewer.  Right click a html file and select open with, to edit the file in your text editor.

Now, a word of WARNING here.  Editing files directly on a server is NEVER a good idea.  I only mention it because it is possible.

But for simply uploading and downloading files and for quickly viewing images to make sure they are correct it is great.
One other thing.  File Preview will work.  So unlike most FTP programs, if you use your browser for your FTP work, you can see the images in the folders on the server as thumbnails.

Ross Devitt

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