USING FETCH FOR FTP

Vicky Vickers

So what is FTP?
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, which is a way of getting files from one computer to another; normally, between your computer and a remote server. For the Macintosh, the usual program for this is Fetch, which you can download from any Info-Mac site, e.g. sumex-aim.stanford.edu. This is the program you need to upload web pages and graphics to your website on your Internet Service Provider's (ISP's) server. You can also use it to access and transfer files from other FTP sites, such as Info-Mac. I'm going to use setting up a shortcut for your website as an example of how to use Fetch, but you can use the same instructions to create other shortcuts.

Fetch is really quite easy to use. It comes with a large list of bookmarks to popular sites, including several Info-Mac sites. You can access these using the Open Bookmark File command under the File menu. It also has a dropdown list shortcuts (under the File menu) which is where you can add a path to your own website. By default, an access window for these shortcuts also opens every time you start Fetch.

Setting up the Preferences
The Preferences window can be found under the Customize menu. Please note, if I don't mention some of the items in the Preferences, it's because either they don't need to be changed from Fetch's normal defaults or I don't know what they're for. (What can I say - this is a grassroots column!)

In the first section, General, enter your e-mail address so Fetch can use it as a password in sites which allow anonymous users. After you set up your website shortcut, you can select it here to be the default shortcut every time you open Fetch.

In the next section, Download (still under Preferences), select the folder in which you would like Fetch to download files (that's from the remote site to your computer) and select the program you will be using to open text files with (I suggest SimpleText).

Now go the Upload section and - this is very important - select the Default text format as Text and the Default non-text format as Raw Data. If you try uploading your graphics to your website in Mac Binary format, the normal default setting for Fetch, they won't work on the `Web.

The rest of the Preferences you can ignore unless you are a real techie. (And if you're a real techie, what are you doing reading this column?)

Creating Shortcuts
To create a shortcut for your website, open New Shortcut under the Customize menu. Type a name for your shortcut in the Name box. This is just a reminder for you, so you can name it "Website" if you like. Next, choose Folder in the dropdown menu beside Type. Your ISP's address goes in the Host box, e.g. mine says "www.islandnet.com". Put your ISP sign-in name in the User ID box, and your ISP password in the Password box.

Your will have to contact your ISP to find out the path name to put in the Directory box. My ISP uses /www, but other ISPs have different paths for this location.

Using the shortcut for my website as an example, your shortcut should now look something like this:

Name:Website
Type:Folder
Host:www.islandnet.com
User ID:vicky
Password:********
Directory:/www

Note: I am not giving something away by telling you my sign-in, as it's also used as part of my e-mail and website addresses so everyone knows what it is anyway. Fetch actually does, as in the example, hide the password by putting dots in its place. I have shortcuts for clients that still work when I am uploading changes to their sites, but I can't remember the password I put in there.

If you want to make changes to a Shortcut, you can do so by opening Fetch Shortcuts under the Windows menu, highlighting the shortcut you wish to change and then selecting Edit Bookmark under the Customize menu.

Now is the time to go back to the Preference menu and change the default shortcut to your website shortcut.

Going On-Line
The obvious first step here is to dial up your ISP. Then open Fetch, which if you set it up right, should open with a Shortcuts window, showing your own shortcut, which you simply click OK. If Fetch is already open you can access your shortcut with the dropdown Open Shortcut menu under the File menu. Using either method, Fetch will create an FTP connection to the site you choose. When the Fetch dog stops running, you will have an FTP connection to the site.

Uploading
As Fetch supports Macintosh System 7 drag and drop technology, you can now upload the items you want by selecting them in their folder on your desktop and dragging them to the Fetch window. Select the Fetch window again and wait for the dog to stop running. Then you can upload more items or close the FTP connection by closing the Fetch window. Note: Uploading is from your computer to another computer or server.

Note: if you don't have System 7, you can upload using the Put File button on the Fetch window and navigating through the folders on your hard drive until you come to the one you want. Select the file you want to upload and either double-click it or click on the Open button. This system is a lot slower as you can only send one file at a time.

If you have just uploaded files to your website, it is best to check them now with your web browser (Netscape, MS Explorer, etc.) to make sure they're working properly on-line. Pages that work fine on your own computer may not work once they hit the UNIX environment of the web. Upper/lower case sensitivity is the biggest problem you will encounter with non-working graphics and links.

Downloading
You can use Fetch to access many different software sites, such as Info-Mac through the shortcuts or bookmarks provided with the program. If you wish to download a file, select it in the Fetch window and click on the Get File button. Wait until the dog stops running before selecting another item or closing the connection. You can navigate through many folders when at an FTP site. To see the path, and return along it, click and hold on the rectangular window above the file section of the Fetch open window, then drag down to the folder or directory you want. Note: Downloading is from another computer or server to your computer.

Remote Management of Your Website
Under the Remote menu there are two very handy commands, Rename Directory or File and Delete Directory or File. Rename Directory or File is useful for the times when you wish to change the file name, especially when you have put a capital letter in a file name and find you can't get another page to link to it or a graphic won't load. You can use this command to rename the file without having to reupload it. You can also delete old unused files from your website with the Delete Directory or File command. It is very helpful for those "oops" time when you accidentally upload the wrong file.

Tip
I have a folder on my hard drive called Communications; inside this folder is another folder called Downloads. I have set up all my Internet communications software, such as Netscape, Fetch and Eudora, to place all downloaded files and attachments in this downloads folder. Then all such items can be found in the same place. I also have set up the preferences in Stuff-it Expander to watch that folder for any items which need to be unbinhexed or unstuffed. This system works extremely well and is almost completely automatic. (What can I say, we're on the bleeding edge of technology with computers these days.)

Acknowledgements
This article was published in the March 1997 issue of the Victoria Macintosh Users Group's monthly newsletter "MACtalk" in Vicky's monthly article "VMUG On-Line".

Vicky Vickers is the owner of Word Crunchers, Etc. which specializes in website design and HTML training. She is a past-president (1994-6) and former webmaster (1995-8) of Victoria Macintosh Users Group (VMUG). She also founded and was the first president (1996) of the Web Enthusiasts Association of Victoria (WEAV).

All rights reserved. For commercial purposes, no part of this page may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, Internet, or any information storage and retrieval system, without the express permission in writing from the author.

Return to Library Index


Call me today at 250-595-6593 to discuss your website design
or e-mail me at vicky@crunchers.bc.ca

Vicky Vickers, Word Crunchers, Etc.
3290 Shelley Street, Victoria, BC, V8P 4A5
Fax: 250-595-7384 (call first)


Copyright 2000 by Word Crunchers, Etc. ([an error occurred while processing this directive])