its pleasure is to serve
September 22, 2005 1:47 PM   Subscribe

I need to serve some example files to my (programming) students. My old host gave me a public FTP site, but I just switched to dreamhost, and no longer have this option. I'm looking for a simple solution.

What I loved about the ftp solution was that it was SIMPLE for me and for my students. My old host had a web control panel which included a file manager. So from any browser, I could upload files to the ftp folder. My students could then go to this ftp folder and download the files.

In addition to not giving me a public ftp folder, dreamhost also has a control panel with fewer features. It won't let me upload. I'm supposed to do this via an external ftp client or by dragging files into the browser. Firefox doesn't allow me to do this without an extension (which I can't guarantee will be installed at all the locations I work from).

So I need a new solution. My idea is a simple PHP script (I know how to install them) that would let me upload files. The PHP script would then create a HTML page with links to that file and all the previously uploaded files. I would just give my students the URL of this page.

I am open to other solutions, as-long-as they meet the following requirements:

-- easy & quick to install (I understand permissions and can edit php files, change path variables, etc.) If possible, I would prefer NOT to mess with mysql.

-- I can upload MULTIPLE files at one go (i.e. a form with 10 or more upload fields -- NOT just one).

-- I can do the upload from any web browser. I don't want to rely on ftp client apps or extensions.

-- ALL I have to do is upload. The script (or whatever) takes care of building web pages to serve the script to the students.

-- Students can easily download by just going to the URL and clicking the filename link.

-- Free
posted by grumblebee to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is very simple. Look here or here, and I'm sure you'll find what you need.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:58 PM on September 22, 2005

Scripts aside, Dreamhost does give you many FTP accounts. Their cheapest package gives you 75 accounts, only one of which you need to set up and just give everyone that needs it the password for it to be public. And from my control panel, I can even create an anonymous ftp account.
posted by Robot Johnny at 2:01 PM on September 22, 2005

Robot Johnny, that's great, but how am I going to upload files to the ftp account without an ftp client? I create these files on machines in zillions of different offices. Some don't have ftp apps installed. I carry an ftp client on my keychain drive, but I don't have install privileges on all of those machines.

That's why I need a web uploader.

Sweetjesus, I looked through that site yesterday but didn't anything that met ALL my needs. Maybe I didn't look hard enough.
posted by grumblebee at 2:05 PM on September 22, 2005

A PHP script could upload the files to the same directory that the FTP user sees when they log in. You'd probably want to add a sub-directory structure, or you could put all the files for one project in a zip file to keep them organized.

Here are a bunch of upload scripts in PHP.
posted by gus at 2:13 PM on September 22, 2005

If you have a keychain drive then just get a portable ftp client (one that can be run from its .exe without installation.)

Or if you want a script, there are literally dozens of PHP scripts for file / upload managers. You can install one that will give you the same interface you had on your old host.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:20 PM on September 22, 2005

Rhomboid, that sounds like a good idea. Do you know of a good mac version? I work on both macs and pcs. So it would be helpful to have a keychain-executable ftp client for each platform.
posted by grumblebee at 2:24 PM on September 22, 2005

Robot Johnny, I'm thinking of using your idea in conjuncton with Rohmboids, but ... how do I access my Dreamhost ftp accounts???? I'm clicking every option in the control panel, and I don't see them mentioned anywhere?
posted by grumblebee at 2:42 PM on September 22, 2005

Sorry, I don't know anything about mac software. Versiontrack lists close to 100 results in the ftp category, and I would think that there would be some that can run from a flash drive without needing installation.

If you want to go the PHP route, here are some starting points. As you can see there are tons and tons of PHP scripts in this category.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:43 PM on September 22, 2005

Doesn't just about every computer have an ftp client installed these days? Unix (including OSX) does, windows does. It might not be the most user friendly way, but once you get the hang of it it's probably the easiest way.
posted by fvw at 2:46 PM on September 22, 2005

Robot Johnny, I figured it out. Never mind. One problem. If I make an ftp account for and give students the password, then they can POST files to it. I don't want this. I want them only to be able to download files from it. I don't think this is possible with Dreamhost (unless I pay extra). Right?
posted by grumblebee at 2:47 PM on September 22, 2005

Fvw. Windows does? Where is it?
posted by grumblebee at 2:48 PM on September 22, 2005

I think my upload problem is solved.

I now just need a simple PHP script that will create an html file directory. I know enough PHP that I could probably do this myself. But I'm hoping I won't have to reinvent the wheel.

I'll dig through those script sites this weekend. Thanks.

If anyone has a direct link to something that would get the job done, that would be awesome!
posted by grumblebee at 2:51 PM on September 22, 2005

Windows does? Where is it?

Choose Run... from the Start menu. Type "ftp" and hit Enter. There you go!
posted by kindall at 2:52 PM on September 22, 2005

I now just need a simple PHP script that will create an html file directory. I know enough PHP that I could probably do this myself. But I'm hoping I won't have to reinvent the wheel.

or you could just flip a couple switches in the .htaccess file and the particular directory you're uploading to will display all the files it contains instead of redirecting to a default index.

you should be able to do this by writing the following line to .htaccess
Options +Indexes
and then uploading it to the directory in question.

You'll also need to make sure that there aren't any default indexes already in there.

I'm sure someone more familar with .htaccess will be able to correct me if i'm wrong.
posted by fishfucker at 3:58 PM on September 22, 2005

AutoIndex PHP script is good and a very simple solution. It's one PHP file that you drop into any directory where your files will live. It gives you fancy indexing and allows upload via the browser (not sure how many files at a time). I used to use this one. It's probably better by now (the live demo, BTW, does not have the upload functionaly, for secruity of course).
posted by wheat at 5:30 PM on September 22, 2005

If you're on windows, just type this into Internet Explorer address bar:

It will open an FTP session. Just drag files into the window to upload them.

( also works, a popup box will ask for your password - use whatever you can remember)
posted by exhilaration at 10:09 PM on September 22, 2005

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