How can website visitor download many big files without installing anything?
October 12, 2007 1:13 PM   Subscribe

I need to provide a download manager to the website visitors to download a bunch of files

Do you know a web based download manager? in Java or something?

I'm looking for a java applet (or something) that can download a bunch of files (these files will be assigned dynamically by the server software) from a website.

It must be multiplatform (specially Windows and Mac) and, if possible, open source then we can customize it.

Or do you know any other solution?
posted by Leech to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
not to point out the obvious, but: archiving on the fly isn't a workable solution? I think most people can handle archives these days, being that support for zip is built into all major OSes that I can think of.
posted by fishfucker at 1:32 PM on October 12, 2007

Best bet is to search freshmeat, but what you're talking about is architecture, not really an applet. Cross platform download managers, I assume you're providing content of some sort, is going to be a challenge to have answered in the green.

Ie, how to I build a cross platform download manager ?

Anyway, I assume also that this needs to be both server side and client side ?

If it's just client side downloadthemall is a download manager.
posted by iamabot at 1:43 PM on October 12, 2007

Response by poster: Well yes, the problem is that many people don't know what to do with compressed files once they download that (specially the kind of people which is oriented this website for).

My idea es a download manager that download and ask where to extract it (or optionally, automatically extract and install/play). I know, it's a little intrusive but people must agree the terms and that.

iamabot: no, a browser extension is not a good solution for people that uses computers just to browse and read newspapers.
posted by Leech at 1:51 PM on October 12, 2007

if zip is out, I still think you're going to have an easier time doing an on-the-fly archive that is delivered in a native executable format for mac and PC (although that's going to be much harder than just zipping up the necessary files). I honestly can't think of a way to do a 'multiple' download via a browser's native controls, so you're looking at having to install a browser plug-in or java app, both of which have a good chance of looking scary to non-technical users (and pretty much failing to meet your goal).

I couldn't find any numbers regarding the JRE install base, but i'm sure you're going to find a significant amount of your target market does NOT have it installed (heck, *i* try to avoid installing it if at all possible -- i hate that stupid coffee cup tray icon).

this sounds like an interesting (and tough!) problem because most browsers are designed to *prevent* this sort of thing (saving/installing files without user interaction) from happening. let us know what you end up doing!
posted by fishfucker at 3:14 PM on October 12, 2007

I have used Jeff Veen's suggestion for using wget to grab tons of files from a server - his example grabs MP3's.

This solution is not a GUI or a single purpose "download manager", but is open source and a very scriptable way to download and store all the files in a given directory from a web server. (I think I also had to download Cygwin to make this work on my XP machine) This is not my forte, but there might be a way to wrap this up into a gui if needed.
posted by chocolate_butch at 5:06 PM on October 12, 2007

I second self-extracting archives as the standard way to deal with this.

Whatever solution you end up with: if your downloadable content (as opposed to your archive delivery mechanism) isn't tied to a particular platform, please offer a standard Zip archive as an optional download format. People who do know what they're doing, though they may be the minority of your users, will thank you for not getting in the way of their own download managers.
posted by flabdablet at 5:51 PM on October 12, 2007

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