Also See...

You should also check out my non-technology blog at:

http://www.bobsbasement.net/

FTP Clients - Part 13: WinSCP

For this next installment in my series about FTP clients, I want to take a look at WinSCP, which is an open source FTP/SFTP client that is available from the following URL:

http://www.winscp.net/

For this blog post I used WinSCP 5.5.1, and it was available for free when I wrote this blog post. That being said, WinSCP's author (Martin Prikryl) takes donations. (And I think that it's a worthy cause; I like to support independent development work.)

WinSCP 5.5 Overview

When you open WinSCP 5.5, you will first see the Login dialog box, which will be empty until you add some sites to the list. The Login dialog allows you to create folders so you can categorize your sites, and the user interface is comparable to what you would expect in a Site Manager for other FTP clients.

Fig. 1 - The opening Login dialog in WinSCP 5.5.

When you are adding FTP sites, you have three choices for the protocol: FTP, SCP, and SFTP; you also have four choices for encryption: No encryption, TLS/SSL Implicit encryption, TLS Explicit encryption, and SSL Explicit encryption. (I'll discuss those later.)

When you open a site for which you did not save the password, (which I highly recommend), you will be prompted for your password.

Fig. 2 - The WinSCP 5.5 Password dialog.

Once your FTP site is opened, the main application window is displayed, and it resembles a two-column file explorer interface with local and remote folders, which you might expect from a GUI-based FTP client. (Note: WinSCP refers to this as it's "Commander" interface.)

Fig. 3 - Local and Remote Folders.

That being said, if you change your application preferences, you can change the user interface so that it uses a single-column file explorer interface with a folder tree, which might be useful if you would rather use the FTP client as a drag-and-drop repository. (Note: WinSCP refers to this as it's "Explorer" interface.)

Fig. 4 - Remote Folder Tree and Files.

WinSCP 5.5 has support for automation through .NET and COM, and documentation about automating WinSCP 5.5 programmatically is available on the WinSCP website at the following URL:

WinSCP .NET Assembly and COM Library

There are several detailed automation examples on the WinSCP website that are written in C#, VB.NET, PowerShell, JavaScript, VBScript, etc., and the documentation is quite good. If you need to do a lot of FTP scripting and you are looking for a good way to automate your FTP sessions, you might want to consider this FTP client.

If you don't want to write a bunch of code, you can also automate WinSCP from a command line, and the documentation about that is available on the WinSCP website at the following URL:

WinSCP Command-line Options

Another great feature about WinSCP is that it can be downloaded as portable executables, which makes it easy to copy between systems. This is a great feature for me since I like to keep a collection of handy utilities in my SkyDrive/OneDrive folders.

Using WinSCP 5.5 with FTP over SSL (FTPS)

WinSCP 5.5 has built-in support for FTP over SSL (FTPS), and it supports both Explicit and Implicit FTPS. To specify which type of encryption to use for FTPS, you need to choose the appropriate option from the Encryption drop-down menu for an FTP site.

Fig. 5 - Specifying the FTPS encryption.

Once you have established an FTPS connection through WinSCP 5.5, the user experience is the same as it is for a standard FTP connection. That being said, I could not find a way to drop out of FTPS once a connection is established, so FTPS is an all or nothing option for your sessions.

Using Using WinSCP 5.5 with True FTP Hosts

True FTP hosts are not supported natively, and even though WinSCP 5.5 allows you to send post-login commands after an FTP site has been opened, I could not find a way to send a custom command before sending user credentials, so true FTP hosts cannot be used.

Using Using WinSCP 5.5 with Virtual FTP Hosts

WinSCP 5.5's login settings allow you to specify the virtual host name as part of the user credentials by using syntax like "ftp.example.com|username" or "ftp.example.com\username", so you can use virtual FTP hosts with WinSCP 5.5.

Fig. 6 - Specifying an FTP virtual host.

Scorecard for WinSCP 5.5

This concludes my quick look at a few of the FTP features that are available with WinSCP 5.5, and here are the scorecard results:

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
WinSCP 5.5.1 Rich Y Y Y N Y N/A
Note: I could not find anyway to extend the functionality of WinSCP 5.5; but as I said
earlier, it provides rich automation features for .NET, COM, and the command-line.

That wraps things up for today's blog. Your key take-aways should be: WinSCP 5.5 is good FTP client with a lot of options, and it has a very powerful automation story. As I mentioned earlier, if you have to do a lot of FTP automation, you should really take a look at this FTP client.

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/
Posted: Feb 28 2014, 15:57 by Bob | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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FTP Clients - Part 12: BitKinex

For this installment in my series about FTP clients, I want to take a look at BitKinex 3, which is an FTP client from Barad-Dur, LLC. For this blog I used BitKinex 3.2.3, and it is available from the following URL:

http://www.bitkinex.com/

At the time of this blog post, BitKinex 3 is available for free, and it contains a bunch of features that make it an appealing FTP and WebDAV client.

Fig. 1 - The Help/About dialog in BitKinex 3.

BitKinex 3 Overview

When you open BitKinex 3, it shows four connection types (which it refers to as Data Sources): FTP, HTTP/WebDAV, SFTP/SSH, and My Computer. The main interface is analogous to what you would expect in a Site Manager with other FTP clients - you can define new data sources (connections) to FTP sites and websites:

Fig. 2 - The main BitKinex 3 window.

Creating an FTP data source is pretty straight-forward, and there are a fair number of options that you can specify. What's more, data sources can have individual options specified, or they can inherit from a parent note.

Fig. 3 - Creating a new FTP data source.
Fig. 4 - Specifying the options for an FTP data source.

Once a data source has connected, a child window will open and display the folder trees for your local and remote content. (Note: there are several options for customizing how each data source can be displayed.)

Fig. 5 - An open FTP data source.

BitKinex 3 has support for command-line automation, which is pretty handy if you do a lot of scripting like I do. Documentation about automating BitKinex 3 from the command line is available on the BitKinex website at the following URL:

BitKinex Command Line Interface

That being said, the documentation is a bit sparse and there are few examples, so I didn't attempt anything ambitious from a command line during my testing.

Using BitKinex 3 with FTP over SSL (FTPS)

BitKinex 3 has built-in support for FTP over SSL (FTPS) supports both Explicit and Implicit FTPS. To specify the FTPS mode, you need to choose the correct mode from the Security drop-down menu for your FTP data source.

Fig. 6 - Specifying the FTPS mode.

Once you have established an FTPS connection through BitKinex 3, the user experience is the same as it is for a standard FTP connection.

Using Using BitKinex 3 with True FTP Hosts

True FTP hosts are not supported natively, and even though BitKinex 3 allows you to send a custom command after a data source has been opened, I could not find a way to send a custom command before sending user credentials, so true FTP hosts cannot be used.

Using Using BitKinex 3 with Virtual FTP Hosts

BitKinex 3's login settings allow you to specify the virtual host name as part of the user credentials by using syntax like "ftp.example.com|username" or "ftp.example.com\username", so you can use virtual FTP hosts with BitKinex 3.

Fig. 7 - Specifying an FTP virtual host.

Scorecard for BitKinex 3

This concludes my quick look at a few of the FTP features that are available with BitKinex 3, and here are the scorecard results:

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
BitKinex 3.2.3 Rich Y Y Y N Y N/A
Note: I could not find anyway to extend the functionality of BitKinex 3; but as I
mentioned earlier, it does support command-line automation.

That wraps it up this blog - BitKinex 3 is pretty cool FTP client with a lot of options, and I think that my next plan of action is to try out the WebDAV features that are available in BitKinex 3. ;-)

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/
Posted: Jan 31 2013, 15:53 by Bob | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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FTP Clients - Part 11: Beyond Compare 3

For this installment in my series about FTP clients, I want to take a look at Beyond Compare 3 from Scooter Software. At its heart, Beyond Compare is a file/folder comparison tool, so it might seem an unlikely candidate for an FTP client, but it has a lot of great FTP features packed into it.

Fig. 1 - The Help/About dialog in Beyond Compare 3.

Note: For this blog I used Beyond Compare version 3.3.5.

Beyond Compare 3 Overview

Like many self-proclaimed computer geeks, over the years I have collected a lot of various utilities that perform specific actions that I need to take care of. Sometimes I discover these tools when Binging my way through the Internet, and other times they come highly recommended from other people. In this specific situation, Beyond Compare falls into the latter category - dozens of people had recommended Beyond Compare to me before I tried it out, and after falling in love with it I have recommended it to dozens of my friends. At the time I was using Microsoft WinDiff to compare files, which is still a great application to do simple comparisons, but Beyond Compare does so much more.

Fig. 2 - The Start New Session screen.
Fig. 3 - Comparing the files within two folders.
Fig. 4 - Comparing the HTML content of two files.

I could go on about Beyond Compare as a comparison tool, but that's really outside the scope of this blog since I am supposed to be talking about FTP features. Needless to say, if you're looking for a good comparison tool, you might want to download the trial edition of Beyond Compare 3 and give it a try.

That being said, let's get back to the business at hand. Beyond Compare 3 has a collection of FTP Profiles, which you can think of as analogous to a site manager in more traditional FTP clients.

Fig. 5 - Opening Beyond Compare 3's FTP Profiles.

Inside the FTP Profiles dialog, you can specify a wealth of connection options for remote FTP sites that you would expect to find in any other FTP client.

Fig. 6 - Specifying FTP connection options.

Once you have established an FTP connection through Beyond Compare 3, you can view your local files and the files in your remote FTP site side-by-side, and then you can perform comparisons, updates, merges, etc.

Fig. 7 - Viewing local and remote files.

Using Beyond Compare 3 with FTP over SSL (FTPS)

Beyond Compare 3 has built-in support for Explicit FTP over SSL (FTPS), which you specify when you are creating the FTP profile for a site.

Fig. 8 - Specifying an Explicit FTPS connection.

Once you have established an Explicit FTPS connection through Beyond Compare 3, the user experience is the same as it is for a standard FTP connection.

Fig. 9 - Comparing files over FTPS.

That being said, at first glance Beyond Compare 3 did not appear to support Implicit FTPS. For me this was not a deal-breaker by any stretch of the imagination since Explicit FTPS is preferred. (Even though Implicit FTPS is supported by IIS7 through IIS8, it is really an outdated protocol.)

10 January 2013 Update: I heard from Craig Peterson at Scooter Software that Beyond Compare 3 does support Implicit FTPS, but it does so implicitly. (No pun intended. ;-]) When you connect using FTP over SSL on port 990, it will automatically use implicit FTPS.

Using Using Beyond Compare 3 with True FTP Hosts

Beyond Compare 3 has built-in support for the HOST command, so you can use true FTP host names when using Beyond Compare 3 to connect to FTP7 and FTP8 sites that are configured with host names. This feature is enabled by default, but if you needed to disable it for some reason, that feature can be accessed on the Connection tab of Beyond Compare 3's FTP Profiles dialog.

Fig. 10 - Specifying support for the FTP HOST command.

Using Using Beyond Compare 3 with Virtual FTP Hosts

Beyond Compare 3's login settings allow you to specify the virtual host name as part of the user credentials by using syntax like "ftp.example.com|username" or "ftp.example.com\username", but since Beyond Compare 3 allows you to use true FTP hosts this is really a moot point. Just the same, there's nothing to stop you from disabling the HOST command for a connection and specifying an FTP virtual host as part of your username, although I'm not sure why you would want to do that.

Fig. 11 - Specifying a virtual FTP host.

Scorecard for Beyond Compare 3

This concludes our quick look at some of the FTP features that are available with Beyond Compare 3, and here are the scorecard results:

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
Beyond Compare 3.3.5 Rich Y Y Y Y Y N/A 1
As noted earlier, Beyond Compare 3 supports the FTP HOST command, and is enabled by default for new connections.

1 Note: I could not find anyway to extend the functionality of Beyond Compare 3, but it does have a scripting interface; see their Automating with Scripts and Scripting Reference pages for more details.

So there you have it - Beyond Compare 3 contains many of the features that would make up a great GUI-based FTP client with first-class support for all of the features that I have been examining in detail throughout my blog series about FTP clients. And as I have done with all of my blogs thus far, I included the following disclaimer in all of my preceding posts: there are a great number of additional features that Beyond Compare 3 provides - but once again I only focused on a few specific topic areas that apply to FTP7 and FTP8. For example, one particular feature that I might to experiment with in the future is Beyond Compare 3's support for FTP SSL Client Certificates. But I'll leave that for another day. ;-]

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/
Posted: Nov 30 2012, 13:36 by Bob | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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Configuring FTP Client Certificate Authentication in FTP 7

We had a customer question the other day about configuring FTP Client Certificate Authentication in FTP 7.0 and  in FTP 7.5. It had been a while since the last time that I had configured those settings on an FTP server, so I thought that it would be great to re-familiarize myself with that feature. To my initial dismay, it was a little more difficult than I had remembered, because there are a lot of parts to be configured.

That being said, there are a few primary activities that you need to know about and configure correctly:

I will explain each of those in this blog, although I will defer some of the details for Active Directory mapping to an excellent blog series that I discovered by Vivek Kumbhar.

Configuring the FTP Service

There are several settings that you need to configure for the FTP server; unfortunately there is no user interface for those settings, so you might want to familiarize yourself with the following settings:

At first I had made a batch file that was configuring these settings by using AppCmd, but I eventually abandoned that script and wrote the following VBScript code to configure all of the settings at one time - the only parts that you need to change is your site name and the hash value your SSL certificate, which are highlighted in yellow:

Set adminManager = CreateObject("Microsoft.ApplicationHost.WritableAdminManager")
adminManager.CommitPath = "MACHINE/WEBROOT/APPHOST"
Set sitesSection = adminManager.GetAdminSection("system.applicationHost/sites", "MACHINE/WEBROOT/APPHOST")
Set sitesCollection = sitesSection.Collection

siteElementPos = FindElement(sitesCollection, "site", Array("name", "ftp.contoso.com"))
If (addElementPos = -1) Then
   WScript.Echo "Element not found!"
   WScript.Quit
End If
Set siteElement = sitesCollection.Item(siteElementPos)

Set ftpServerElement = siteElement.ChildElements.Item("ftpServer")
Set securityElement = ftpServerElement.ChildElements.Item("security")

Set sslClientCertificatesElement = securityElement.ChildElements.Item("sslClientCertificates")
sslClientCertificatesElement.Properties.Item("clientCertificatePolicy").Value = "CertRequire"
sslClientCertificatesElement.Properties.Item("useActiveDirectoryMapping").Value = True

Set authenticationElement = securityElement.ChildElements.Item("authentication")
Set clientCertAuthenticationElement = authenticationElement.ChildElements.Item("clientCertAuthentication")
clientCertAuthenticationElement.Properties.Item("enabled").Value = True

Set sslElement = securityElement.ChildElements.Item("ssl")
sslElement.Properties.Item("serverCertHash").Value = "57686f6120447564652c2049495320526f636b73"
sslElement.Properties.Item("controlChannelPolicy").Value = "SslRequire"
sslElement.Properties.Item("dataChannelPolicy").Value = "SslRequire"

adminManager.CommitChanges

Function FindElement(collection, elementTagName, valuesToMatch)
   For i = 0 To CInt(collection.Count) - 1
      Set element = collection.Item(i)
      If element.Name = elementTagName Then
         matches = True
         For iVal = 0 To UBound(valuesToMatch) Step 2
            Set property = element.GetPropertyByName(valuesToMatch(iVal))
            value = property.Value
            If Not IsNull(value) Then
               value = CStr(value)
            End If
            If Not value = CStr(valuesToMatch(iVal + 1)) Then
               matches = False
               Exit For
            End If
         Next
         If matches Then
            Exit For
         End If
      End If
   Next
   If matches Then
      FindElement = i
   Else
      FindElement = -1
   End If
End Function

Once you have configured your FTP settings, you should have an FTP site that resembles the following in your ApplicationHost.config file:

<site name="ftp.contoso.com" id="2">
   <application path="/">
      <virtualDirectory path="/" physicalPath="c:\inetpub\ftproot" />
   </application>
   <bindings>
      <binding protocol="ftp" bindingInformation="*:21:" />
   </bindings>
   <ftpServer>
      <security>
         <ssl serverCertHash="57686f6120447564652c2049495320526f636b73"  ssl128="false"  controlChannelPolicy="SslRequire"  dataChannelPolicy="SslRequire" />
         <authentication>
            <basicAuthentication enabled="false" />
            <anonymousAuthentication enabled="false" />
            <clientCertAuthentication enabled="true" />
         </authentication>
         <sslClientCertificates  clientCertificatePolicy="CertRequire"  useActiveDirectoryMapping="true" />
      </security>
   </ftpServer>
</site>

More details about these settings can be found in the configuration reference articles that I mentioned in the beginning of this blog post, and additional information about configuring FTP over SSL can be found in the following walkthrough:

Configuring Active Directory Mapping

The next part of this process is kind of tricky; you need to accomplish all of the following:

  • Obtain and install a client certificate on the system where your FTP client is installed. Hare some additional notes to consider:
    • This may involve setting up your client system to trust the CA that issued your client certificate.
    • This may also involve setting up your FTP server to trust the CA that issued both your client certificate and the server certificate that you are using for your FTP site.
  • Configure Active Directory to map the client certificate to an Active Directory account.
  • Configure your FTP client to use a client certificate when connecting to your FTP server.

That makes it all sound so easy, but it can be very tricky. That being said, as I mentioned earlier, as I was putting together my notes to write this blog, I stumbled across a great blog series by Vivek Kumbhar, where he goes into great detail when describing all of the steps to set up the Active Directory mapping. With that in mind, instead of trying to rewrite what Vivek has already documented, I will include links to his blog series:

I have to give Vivek full credit where it's due - he wrote a truly great blog series, and he included a lot more detail in his blog series than I had originally planned to include in this blog. (In my humble opinion, Vivek's blog series is the best documentation that I have seen for this feature.)

Configuring your FTP Client

To test out client certificates, I used both the SmartFTP GUI-based FTP client and the MOVEit-Freely command-line FTP client; both of which I discussed in my FTP Clients blog series some time ago.

Using the SmartFTP Client

To configure the SmartFTP client, I just needed to enable and specify the correct client certificate in the properties for my connection:

Using the MOVEit-Freely FTP Client

For the MOVEit-Freely FTP client, I just needed to specify the correct parameters on the command line:

ftps.exe -z -e:on -pfxfile:administrator.pfx -pfxpw:"P@ssw0rd" -user:anonymous -password:"someone@contoso.com"

The important settings are the pfxfile and pfxpw values, where pfxfile is the name of the PFX file that holds your client certificate, and pfxpw is the password for the PFX file. (The username and password values will be ignored for the most part, because you will actually be logged in through your client certificate, so you can leave those as anonymous.)

Client Recap

For more information about these two FTP clients, see the following blog posts:

Summary

FTP client certificates are definitely a bit of a challenge to configure correctly, but it's not an impossible task to get this feature working.

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/
Posted: Apr 25 2012, 21:36 by Bob | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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FTP Clients - Recap

Having written 10 blog posts in my series about FTP clients, I decided that it might be a good idea to recap some of the information that I have presented thus far. With that in mind, here is a quick recap of the entire series to date:

What I'd like to do in the rest of this blog is recap the scorecard information for the FTP clients that I've looked at. With one exception: I'm going to skip the information that I included about the FTP experience for various web browsers, which I discussed in Part 1 of this blog series, but only because web browsers aren't supposed to be first-class FTP clients.

That being said, I'm presenting the information for the remaining FTP clients that I have reviewed in alphabetical order, which is not necessarily by order of preference. ;-]


Core FTP LE 2.1

Original Blog Post: FTP Clients - Part 6: Core FTP LE

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
Core FTP LE 2.1 Rich Yes Yes Yes Partial1 Yes No

Footnotes:

  1. Core FTP can support true FTP HOSTs by configuring pre-login commands in the Site Manager.

Expression Web 4

Original Blog Post: FTP Clients - Part 9: Expression Web 4

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
Expression Web 4 Rich Yes Yes Yes1 No2 Partial3 Yes

Footnotes:

  1. EW4 supports virtual hosts, but some earlier versions of Expression Web did not.
  2. EW4 has no way to send a HOST command, so true FTP HOSTs are not supported.
  3. EW4 has only basic Site Manager functionality; it lacks most of the features that are available in many of the GUI-based FTP clients.

FileZilla 3.1.6

Original Blog Post: FTP Clients - Part 4: FileZilla

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
FileZilla 3.1.61 Rich Yes Yes Yes No2 Yes Yes3

Footnotes:

  1. My original post was for FileZilla 3.1.6; I have upgraded to 3.5.1 since then, but there are no changes as far as the information in my blog was concerned.
  2. FileZilla has no way to send a HOST command, so true FTP HOSTs are not supported.
  3. FileZilla is an Open Source project, so you can modify the source and recompile the application; see http://filezilla-project.org/ for more information.

FTP Voyager

Original Blog Post: FTP Clients - Part 10: FTP Voyager

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
FTP Voyager Rich Yes Yes Yes Yes1 Yes Yes

Footnotes:

  1. FTP Voyager fully supports the FTP HOST command, and is enabled by default for new connections.

Kermit FTP Client 2.1.3

Original Blog Post: FTP Clients - Part 7: Kermit FTP Client

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
Kermit FTP Client 2.1.3 No Yes No Yes Partial1 Yes Yes

Footnotes:

  1. True FTP HOSTs can be implemented by using Kermit's "ftp quote HOST ftp.example.com" syntax.

MOVEit Freely 5.0.0.0

Original Blog Post: FTP Clients - Part 5: MOVEit Freely Command-Line Secure FTP Client

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
MOVEit Freely 5.0.0.0 n/a Yes Yes Yes Partial1 No No

Footnotes:

  1. True FTP HOSTs can be implemented by using MOVEit Freely's "quote HOST ftp.example.com" syntax.

SmartFTP Ultimate 4.0

Original Blog Post: FTP Clients - Part 8: SmartFTP Client

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
SmartFTP Ultimate 4.0 Rich Yes Yes Yes Yes1 Yes Yes

Footnotes:

  1. SmartFTP fully supports the FTP HOST command, but you need to configure the SmartFTP Client to send the FEAT command before logging in.

That wraps it up for my recap of the FTP clients that I've reviewed so far; but rest assured, I have a few more FTP clients that I'm waiting to review.

;-]

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/

Posted: Nov 16 2011, 04:55 by Bob | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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FTP Clients - Part 10: FTP Voyager

For this installment in my series about FTP Clients, I'd like to take a look at FTP Voyager from Rhino Software. For this blog I used FTP Voyager 15.2.0.17, and it is available from the following URL:

http://www.ftpvoyager.com/

FTP Voyager is a great FTP client that supports a wide array of features and connection options, but I shouldn't get ahead of myself and talk about everything in my introduction. ;-]

Fig. 1 - FTP Voyager Splash Screen

At the time of this blog post, FTP Voyager is a for-retail product that is available in two different versions:

  • FTP Voyager
  • FTP Voyager Secure

You should take a look at the FTP Voyager Versions page for a description of the features that are available in each version.

FTP Voyager Overview

The FTP Voyager user interface is uncluttered, easy to understand, and allows you to customize which panes you want to see displayed.

Fig. 2 - FTP Voyager's Default Panes and Options

If you want a really uncluttered display, FTP Voyager offers a Simple Mode, which narrows down the number of panes that are displayed. (Sometimes this is a handy feature to have.)

Fig. 3 - FTP Voyager's Simple Mode

FTP Voyager doesn't have a command-line interface, but it has web browser integration; and it has a really cool scheduler, which allows you to configure FTP jobs to run at scheduled times.

Fig. 4 - FTP Voyager Scheduler's Task Settings

FTP Voyager also supports sending custom FTP commands, and it has an extensibility interface for creating add-ons. I didn't experiment with creating any add-ons, but you can find details about creating your own add-ons through RhinoSoft's FTP Voyager Add-Ons page.

FTP connections are created and edited through FTP Voyager's Site Profile Manager, which is comparable to the site management features that I have found in many of the better GUI-based FTP clients.

Fig. 5 - FTP Voyager's Site Profile Manager

That concludes my summary for some of the general features - so now we'll take a look at the FTP7-specific features that I've discussed in my other FTP client blog posts.

Using FTP Voyager with FTP over SSL (FTPS)

FTP Voyager supports both Implicit and Explicit FTPS, so the choice is up to you to decide which method to use. As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, the FTPS method in FTP7 is specified by the port number that you choose when you are creating your bindings. Once again, I realize that I have posted the following information in almost all of my posts in this FTP client series, but it needs to be mentioned that the following rules apply for FTP7 when determining whether you are using Implicit or Explicit FTPS:

  • If you enable SSL in FTP7 and you assign the FTP site to port 990, you are using Implicit FTPS.
  • If you enable SSL in FTP7 and you assign the FTP site to any port other than port 990, you are using Explicit FTPS.

To configure the security options for a connection in FTP Voyager, you need to open the Advanced Settings dialog for the connection in FTP Voyager's Site Profile Manager.

Fig. 6 - FTP Voyager's Security Options

The additional security options in FTP Voyager's Security Options allow you to configure the SSL environment to match FTP7's Advanced SSL Policy settings.

Fig. 7 - FTP7's Advanced SSL Policy Settings

Note: I was able to use FTP Voyager's FTPS features with FTP7's virtual host names, but I should mention that I had to configure a Global Listener FTP Site in order to get that to work.

Using FTP Voyager with True FTP Hosts

FTP Voyager has built-in for the HOST command, so you can use true FTP host names when using FTP Voyager to connect to FTP7 sites that are configured with host names. This feature is enabled by default, but if you needed to disable it for some reason, that feature can be accessed through FTP Voyager's Advanced Settings dialog.

Fig. 7 - FTP Voyager's Advanced Connection Settings

The following excerpt from the Log Pane of an FTP Voyager session shows the HOST command in action:

STATUS:> Connecting to "ftp.contoso.com" on port 21.
  220 Microsoft FTP Service
STATUS:> Connected. Logging into the server
COMMAND:> HOST ftp.contoso.com
  220 Host accepted.
COMMAND:> USER robert
  331 Password required for robert.
COMMAND:> PASS **********
  230 User logged in.
STATUS:> Login successful

Using FTP Voyager with FTP Virtual Host Names

FTP Voyager's login settings allow you to specify the virtual host name as part of the user credentials by using syntax like "ftp.example.com|username" or "ftp.example.com\username", but since FTP Voyager allows you to use true FTP hosts this is really a moot point. Just the same, there's nothing to stop you from disabling the HOST command for a connection and specifying an FTP virtual host as part of your username, although I'm not sure why you would want to do that.

Fig. 9 - Specifying a Virtual Host in FTP Voyager

Scorecard for FTP Voyager

This concludes our quick look at some of the FTP features that are available with FTP Voyager, and here are the scorecard results:

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
FTP Voyager 15.2 Rich Y Y Y Y Y Y
As noted earlier, FTP Voyager supports the FTP HOST command, and is enabled by default for new connections.

In closing, FTP Voyager is a great GUI-based FTP client that has first-class support for all of the features that I have been examining in detail throughout my FTP client blog series. But that being said, I included the following disclaimer in all of my preceding posts, so this post will be no exception: there are a great number of additional features that FTP Voyager provides - but once again I only focused on a few specific topic areas that apply to FTP7. ;-]

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/
Posted: Oct 21 2011, 02:30 by Bob | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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FTP Clients - Part 9: Expression Web 4

For this installment in my series about FTP Clients I'm going to review the FTP features in Microsoft's Expression Web 4 (EW4). You can find out more about the Microsoft Expression series of products from the following URL:

http://www.microsoft.com/expression/

Note: There are a lot of really cool features that are built into EW4, like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools, rich extensibility APIs, previewing content side-by-side in multiple browser windows through SuperPreview, built-in support for programming languages like ASP/ASP.NET/PHP/etc. But that being said, in keeping with the main theme of my FTP client series, this review is focusing on just the FTP aspects of EW4 - not the entire product.

EW4 Splash Screen

At the time of this blog post, EW4 is a for-retail product that is available as part of the Expression Studio 4 Web Professional and Expression Studio 4 Ultimate suites.

Expression Web 4 Overview

The EW4 user interface follows the same design paradigm as earlier versions of Expression Web, albeit with the darker color scheme that Expression products have been using in recent versions. While EW4 contains many features that you would expect in a Microsoft Office application, it does not resemble the Office 2007/2010 user interface, so there is no ribbon-style toolbar. (This is a bad thing if you love the Office ribbon and a good thing if you hate the Office ribbon; but I'll leave that up to you to decide. <grin>)

Fig. 1 - EW4's built-in support for PHP Files

One minor personal issue that I have with Expression Web is that VBA was deprecated a while ago, so EW4 doesn't have a macro language that I can use to automate tasks like I would do with previous versions. It's possible to create "add-ins" for Expression Web, but there's a lot of overhead associated with that. From my perspective, that's pretty much like saying to someone, "I know that you would like to get across town and you already have a really nice car, but we're going to take that away. If you take 17 different buses and then walk three or four blocks, you will eventually wind up where you want to go. Of course, it will take you several hours longer and it's a really big hassle, but sooner or later you'll get there." (No comments about carbon footprint - please. <grin>)

That being said, EW4 is a great web site editor and is a good FTP client, and EW4 is much better than its predecessors. (Note: By "predecessors" I mean earlier versions of Expression Web and FrontPage.) I'll explain more in the following sections of this post.

Opening an FTP Site

Opening a site is straight-forward, and for the most part the user interface is the same whether you are opening a site over FTP/FTPS or over HTTP using WebDAV or FPSE.

Fig. 2 - Opening a Site in EW4

When you are opening an FTP or HTTP site for the first time, your list of managed sites will be empty. As you open sites, the list of sites will be populated for each site there you have the Add to managed sites check box selected.

Fig. 3 - EW4's Open Site Dialog Box

Once you have entered your site information, EW4 will prompt you for your remote editing options. This allows you to choose between editing the live site over FTP or editing a local copy and publishing your changes at a later date & time.

Fig. 4 - EW4's Remote Site Editing Options Dialog Box

The last dialog before opening the FTP site is the all-too-familiar prompt for your user credentials, albeit with a warning about FTP credentials being transmitted without encryption. (This is why you should use FTPS, but I'll discuss that later in this post.)

Fig. 5 - EW4's Remote Site Editing Options

Once the credentials have been verified by the FTP server, EW4 will display your site and you can begin editing your content.

Fig. 6 - An example phpBB site opened in EW4

EW4 has some basic site management functionality, which is accessed through the Site -> Manage Site List menu. From there you can add or remove sites from the list. Unfortunately you cannot modify the settings for sites in the list; you have to remove and re-add sites with different settings.

Fig. 7 - Opening the EW4 Site Manager
Fig. 8 - Viewing the list of managed sites

That's it for the simple stuff - now we'll take a look at the specific FTP topics that I've discussed in my other FTP client blog posts.

Using EW4 with FTP over SSL (FTPS)

EW4 supports both Implicit and Explicit FTPS, so the choice is up to you to decide which method to use. The FTPS method is specified by the port number that you choose when you are connecting.

I realize that I have posted the following information in almost all of my posts in this FTP client series, but in the interests of completeness it needs to be said again - the following rules apply for FTP7 when determining whether you are using Implicit or Explicit FTPS:

  • If you enable SSL in FTP7 and you assign the FTP site to port 990, you are using Implicit FTPS.
  • If you enable SSL in FTP7 and you assign the FTP site to any port other than port 990, you are using Explicit FTPS.

EW4 doesn't have a way of specifying Explicit or Implicit FTPS other than the port numbers listed above. That being said, more often than not you will probably be using Explicit FTPS on the default port (21) so you won't need to enter a port at all.

For example, if you are using EW4 with Explicit FTPS on the default port, you can skip adding a port number.

Fig. 9 - Opening a site using Explicit FTPS

However, if you are using Implicit FTPS, you need make sure that you configure EW4 to connect on port 990.

Fig. 10 - Opening a site using Implicit FTPS

Using EW4 with FTP Virtual Host Names

Because EW4's login dialog allows you to specify the virtual host name as part of the user credentials, EW4 works great with FTP7's virtual host names. All that you need to do is use the "ftp.example.com|username" or "ftp.example.com\username" syntax when specifying your username, and when you connect to the FTP7 server it will route your requests to the correct FTP virtual host site.

Fig. 11 - Specifying an FTP Virtual Host name

EW4 Does Not Support True FTP Hosts

Unfortunately EW4 does not have built-in for the HOST command, nor does it have support for entering commands that will be sent before the client has logged in, so you cannot use true FTP host names when using EW4 to connect to FTP7 sites that are configured with host names.

Scorecard for Expression Web 4

This concludes our quick look at some of the FTP features that are available with EW4, and here are the scorecard results:

Client NameDirectory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Expression Web 4 Y Y Y Y N1
1 As noted earlier, EW4 has no way to send a HOST command, so true FTP HOSTs are not supported.

Note: I've included the following disclaimer in all of my posts, and this post is no exception - there are a great number of additional features that EW4 provides - once again I'm just keeping the focus on those topic areas that apply to FTP7. ;-]

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/
Posted: Jul 29 2010, 19:27 by Bob | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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FTP Clients - Part 8: SmartFTP Client

For this installment in my series about FTP Clients I'm going to review the SmartFTP Client from SmartSoft Ltd. For this blog post I used the SmartFTP Client Ultimate Edition version 4.0.1105.0, and it is available from the following URL:

http://www.smartftp.com/

At the time of this blog post, SmartFTP is a for-retail product that is available in three editions: Home, Professional, and Ultimate. A description of the prices and features that are available in each edition is currently available from the following URL:

http://www.smartftp.com/features/editions.php

As for myself, I would use at least the Professional edition, and that statement is based on the features that I typically look for in an FTP client. (Although I would have loved to have had the Ultimate Edition several years ago when I used Telnet to connect to servers. <grin>)

The SmartFTP Client is pretty intuitive and it's easy to navigate within the application. If you are used to using typical Windows applications then you should find that the user interface follows most of the established paradigms that you would expect from a Microsoft application; it seemed to me that the design emulated the relevant parts of Windows Explorer, Visual Studio, and Office with an FTP focus.

For example, switching your directory listing views align with most Windows applications, and the site management functionality is managed through a hierarchical set of "Favorites."

Each "Favorite" has a variety of additional settings that you can edit by open the properties dialog for the favorite.

One of the great features in all editions of the SmartFTP client is a nicely-implemented Remote Edit functionality, which allows you to invoke your favorite editor from inside the client's GUI.

Command-Line Support versus Extensibility

The SmartFTP Client does not have a built-in command-line interface, although there is a script-based command-line interface that you can download separately from the SmartFTP web site. That being said, that script is not created by the folks at SmartSoft, and it's functionality is extremely limited.

For me personally, the SmartFTP Client's extensibility model more than makes up for the lack of command-line functionality. More often than not I'm simply using the command-line in order to script FTP operations, and the SmartFTP extensibility features provide a great deal more capabilities than I would have available to me when automating a command-line FTP client.

I haven't spent a great deal of time working with the extensibility features, but so far I am pretty impressed. I was able to take one of the samples and retool it into a simple FTP client pretty easily. (I will include that as an example in a later blog post.) In the meantime, you can download the SDK for the SmartFTP Client from the following URL:

http://www.smartftp.com/features/sdk/

Using FTP over SSL (FTPS)

The SmartFTP Client supports both Implicit and Explicit FTPS, so the choice is up to you to decide which method to use. The FTPS method is stored as the Protocol in a favorite's properties, which is easily located in the General settings for a favorite.

Once again, the following rules apply for FTP7 when determining whether to specify Implicit or Explicit FTPS:

  • If you enable SSL in FTP7 and you assign the FTP site to port 990, you are using Implicit FTPS - the SmartFTP Client refers to this as FTP over SSL (Implicit).
  • If you enable SSL in FTP7 and you assign the FTP site to any port other than port 990, you are using Explicit FTPS - the SmartFTP Client refers to this as FTP over SSL (Explicit).

If you are using Implicit FTPS, make sure that you configure your FTP client to connect on port 990.

Using FTP Virtual Hosts

Because the SmartFTP Client's properties for favorites allow you to specify the virtual host name as part of the user credentials, the SmartFTP Client works great with FTP7's virtual host names. All that you need to do is use the "ftp.example.com|username" syntax when specifying your username, and when you connect to the FTP7 server it will route your requests to the correct FTP virtual host site.

Using True FTP Hosts

The SmartFTP Client provides built-in support for the HOST command, which means that you can have real multi-homed FTP sites when using the SmartFTP Client to connect to FTP7 sites that are configured with host names. In order to use true HOSTs in the SmartFTP Client, you need to configure the client to send the FEAT command before logging in. This is configured in the Connection settings in the drop-down menu for "Send FEAT."

As an FYI - I had some discussions with Mat Berchtold from SmartSoft while I was writing this review, and Mat informed me that the SmartFTP Client doesn't automatically assume support for the HOST command; sending the FEAT command before logging in allows the client to discover if HOST is supported before continuing.

Host Names and Firewalls

Mat Berchtold from SmartSoft also mentioned that some firewalls do not yet recognize the HOST command, and therefore those firewalls may not pass the HOST command through the firewall. That's something to think about if you start to see connection failures related to hostnames not being found - you can check your FTP server's logs to see if the HOST command is arriving at the server.

Scorecard for the SmartFTP Client

This concludes our quick look at some of the features that are available with the SmartFTP Client, and here's the scorecard results:

Client NameDirectory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
SmartFTP Client Ultimate 4.0.1105.0 Y Y Y Y Y 1
1 As noted earlier, true FTP HOSTs are fully supported, but you need to configure the SmartFTP Client to send the FEAT command before logging in.

Note: I've included the following disclaimer in all of my posts, and this post is no exception. ;-] There are a great number of additional features that the SmartFTP Client provides - once again I'm just keeping the focus on those topic areas that apply to FTP7.

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/
Posted: May 07 2010, 16:43 by Bob | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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FTP Clients - Part 7: Kermit FTP Client

Since I started reviewing FTP clients I've had a few requests to look at a few different FTP clients, and I've managed to analyze a few of those clients in my blog. A few weeks ago I had a request from one of my readers that really caught my interest - Shabbir Talib contacted me through my blog and asked me to review the Kermit FTP Client. I found his request especially appealing because I used to use Kermit before the public learned about the Internet; back then I was using Kermit to access dial-up Bulletin Board Systems (BBS's) and to connect to my college's VAX system. That being said, I hadn't used Kermit in years so I couldn't resist taking a look.

To start things off, the Kermit Project is developed and distributed by Columbia University in New York City. More information about the project, downloadable installation packages, and software licenses for purchase are available from:

http://www.columbia.edu/kermit/

I need to stress here the Kermit is actually a full suite of connectivity applications, the Kermit FTP Client is only one part of that communications suite. So from the outset the Kermit is more than overkill if you're just looking to transfer some files to and from your FTP site. The Kermit Dialer takes the place of what most FTP clients would have as a Site Manager, and opening that application will display a large number of templates for various connection types.

Rephrasing my earlier statement, saying that Kermit is overkill is really an unfair assessment when you consider the sheer number of options that Kermit gives you. If you are used to creating and configuring FTP site connections in most FTP clients, you generally have a small handful of options that you can specify. This is not true for Kermit 2.1.3 - the wizard for creating a new FTP connection in the Kermit GUI led me through eleven wizard-based pages of options before the connection was created.

Once you connect, however, the Kermit GUI is just a wrapper for command-line FTP functionality - so you have to know what you're doing in FTP to get around, and there is no explorer-style functionality like you get with graphical FTP clients like Core FTP or FileZilla.

Command-Line and Scripting Support

Since the Kermit GUI is just a wrapper for the command-line, you may have already guessed correctly that the Kermit FTP Client (ftp.exe) works just fine from a command prompt. What's more, Kermit has a built-in scripting language that far surpasses the scripting capabilities for the built-in Windows command-line ftp client (also named ftp.exe.) For example, you can script what action to take if something goes wrong - like retrying a failed upload. More information about scripting the Kermit FTP Client is available at the following URL:

http://www.columbia.edu/kermit/ftpscripts.html

From what I've seen of Kermit's scripting support, this appears to be an extremely rich feature for people that need more options for scripting an FTP client.

Using FTP over SSL (FTPS)

The Kermit FTP Client supports FTPS, and it allows you to configure options such as separate protection levels for the command and data channels for a connection.

Once you have the security options specified for the connection, connecting to an FTP site using FTPS is pretty straightforward.

No Implicit FTPS Support

I could find nothing in the Kermit FTP Client documentation that referenced support for implicit FTPS, and when I configured one of my FTP sites to use implicit FTPS I could not connect to it using Kermit. (But in all fairness, you may recall from some of my earlier blog posts that Implicit FTPS is often considered deprecated.)

Using FTP Virtual Hosts

Like the MOVEit Freely FTP client, everything is happening from a command-line, so you can use both FTP7's Virtual Hosts and the actual FTP HOST command. (As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, you should take a look at my Virtual Hosts and Host Names in FTP7 blog post for more information about FTP Virtual Host Names and FTP True Host Names, and see https://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/draft-hethmon-mcmurray-ftp-hosts/ for more information about status of the FTP HOST command.)

That being said, FTP7 virtual hosts are supported by using the "ftp.example.com|username" syntax when specifying your username, and when you connect to the FTP7 server it will route your requests to the correct FTP virtual host site.

True FTP hosts can be used by specifying the FTP HOST command using the Kermit FTP Client's support for custom commands. The syntax for this command is listed below:

ftp quote host ftp.example.com

Note: You need to send the HOST command before sending USER and PASS.

Scorecard for the Kermit FTP Client

This concludes our quick look at some of the features that are available with the Kermit FTP Client, and here's the scorecard results:

Client NameDirectory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Kermit FTP Client 2.1.3 N Y N Y Y 1
1 As noted earlier, true FTP HOSTs are available when using the "ftp quote HOST ftp.example.com" syntax.

Note: Keeping with my standard disclaimer, there are a great number of additional features that the Kermit FTP Client provides - I'm just keeping the focus on those topic areas that apply to FTP7.

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/
Posted: Mar 24 2010, 00:42 by Bob | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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FTP Clients - Part 6: Core FTP LE

For this installment in my series about FTP Clients, I'd like to take a look at the Core FTP client. For this blog post I used Core FTP Lite Edition (LE) version 1.3c (build 1447) and version 2.1 (build 1603), although all of my screen shots are from version 2.1. Core FTP is available from the following URL:

http://www.coreftp.com/

At the time of this blog post, Core FTP provides the LE for free and charges a small fee for a professional version.

Like most graphical FTP clients, the Core FTP LE user interface is pretty easy to use and rather straight-forward - you have separate windows for your local and remote files/folders, as well as a logging window that lists the FTP commands that are sent and the FTP server's responses:

Core FTP LE has a great Site Manager feature, which allows you to store commonly-used connections to FTP sites:

Clicking on the Advanced button gives you a great deal of additional configuration settings, and I'll say more about that later:

Command-Line Support

This is one of my favorite Core FTP LE features: command-line support. Yes - I'm a geek - and I like being able to script things and run batch jobs to automate whatever I can, so command-line support is always a plus for me. That said, the interface for the Core FTP LE command-line client is not an interactive experience like you get with the built-in Windows FTP.EXE or MOVEit Freely command-line clients. The Core FTP LE command-line client is provided as via the Corecmd.exe file that is installed in the main the Core FTP LE application directory, and is used for a single FTP operation like GET or PUT - although you can pass the name of a script file to execute several commands before/after logging in or before/after a file transfer.

So my final judgment is that the Core FTP LE client doesn't have great command-line support, but it's still really nice to have.

Using FTP over SSL (FTPS)

The Core FTP LE client supports both Implicit and Explicit FTPS, so the choice is up to you which method to use. When creating a connection to a server, Core FTP LE has three FTP options that you can use with FTP7:

  • AUTH SSL
  • AUTH TLS
  • FTPS (SSL DIRECT)

It's important to choose this option correctly, otherwise you will run into problems when trying access a site using FTPS. If you'll recall from my "FTP Clients - Part 2: Explicit FTPS versus Implicit FTPS" and my other FTP client blog posts, Explicit FTPS allows the client to initiate SSL/TLS whenever it wants, but for most FTP clients that will be when logging in to your FTP site, and in that regard it may almost seem like Implicit FTPS, but behind the scenes the FTP client and server are communicating differently.

In the case of FTP7, the following rules apply:

  • If you enable FTPS in FTP7 and you assign the FTP site to port 990, you are using Implicit FTPS - Core FTP LE refers to this as FTPS (SSL DIRECT). (Note: make sure that you configure your FTP client to connect on port 990.)
  • If you enable FTPS in FTP7 and you assign the FTP site to any port other than port 990, you are using Explicit FTPS - Core FTP LE allows you to configure your connection to use AUTH SSL or AUTH TLS for the explicit connection.

The type of FTPS is specified on the Connection drop-down menu:

Once you have chosen an FTPS connection, the Core FTP LE client offers you additional options where you can customize which parts of the session will be encrypted:

You can combine the Core FTP SSL options with the advanced SSL policies for your FTP7 sites to customize your security level:

Using FTP Virtual Hosts

Because Core FTP LE's site manager allows you to specify the virtual host name as part of the user credentials, Core FTP LE works great with FTP7's virtual host names. All that you need to do is use the "ftp.example.com|username" syntax when specifying your username, and when you connect to the FTP7 server it will route your requests to the correct FTP virtual host site.

Using True FTP Hosts

A really great feature of Core FTP LE is the ability to send pre-login commands, and since this feature allows you to enter custom commands you can specify the actual FTP HOST command as part of your login:

This is a tremendous feature if you're hosting multiple FTP sites on the same IP address, and gives Core FTP LE some of the best support for true FTP HOSTs.

Scorecard for Core FTP LE

That wraps it up for our quick round-trip for some of Core FTP LE's features, and here's the scorecard results:

Client NameDirectory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Core FTP LE 1.3 Rich Y Y Y Y 1
Core FTP LE 2.1 Rich Y Y Y Y 1
1 As noted earlier, true FTP HOSTs are available in Site Manager using pre-login commands.

Note: Keeping with my standard disclaimer, there are a great number of additional features that Core FTP LE provides - and I just focused on the topic areas that apply to FTP7.

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/
Posted: May 01 2009, 19:10 by Bob | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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