TweetFollow Us on Twitter

An Introduction to Scripting Fetch

Volume Number: 22 (2006)
Issue Number: 5
Column Tag: Scripting

AppleScript Essentials

An Introduction to Scripting Fetch

by Benjamin S. Waldie

For the past several months, we have discussed ways to store and access data from AppleScript. We have talked about script properties, property list files, scriptable database applications, and more. In this month's column, I'd like to switch gears, and talk about a great application that I have been scripting quite a lot lately. That application is Fetch.Fetch is a popular FTP/SFTP client for the Macintosh. It is a commercial application, and a demonstration version is available for download from the Fetch Softworks website at <http://www.fetchsoftworks.com>. If you do not own a license for Fetch, then I encourage you to download a demonstration version, so that you may follow along with the various example scripts throughout this month's column.



Figure 1. Fetch's Well-Known Icon

All of the example code that we will discuss was written and tested with Fetch version 5.1b2. As when scripting any application, if you are using an older or newer version of Fetch, then you may notice some differences in the AppleScript terminology. If this occurs, please refer to Fetch's AppleScript dictionary for guidance in determining the proper syntax to use.

Connecting to a Server

The first thing that we are going to discuss, is the process of connecting to a remote server. For my testing, I enabled incoming FTP access in the Sharing system preference on another Mac OS X computer, on my local network. However, I could have just as easily chosen to access a remote server, such as the one hosting my website, or one of a client. For your testing, if you have a second machine running Mac OS X, then you can enable incoming FTP access (you'll probably want to ensure that your network is secure, or enable a firewall prior to doing this) for testing. Otherwise, you will need to find a server that you can access remotely via FTP or SFTP.

Making a new server connection in Fetch, is done by creating a new window, called a transfer window. See figure 2.



Figure 2. A Transfer Window Connection

Creating a transfer window is done with the use of the make command, as demonstrated in the example code below. You will want to replace my example IP address, username, password, and initial directory with ones that are relevant to the server to which you are attempting to connect.

set theServerAddress to "10.0.1.3"
set theUserName to "myUserName"
set thePassword to "myPassword"
set theDirectory to "Documents/FTP Main/"

tell application "Fetch"
   make new transfer window at beginning with properties {hostname:theServerAddress, 
   username:theUserName, password:thePassword, initial folder:theDirectory}
end tell
--> transfer window id 120663408 of application "Fetch"

As you can see from the code above, the result of making a new transfer window is a reference to the newly created window. Notice that the window is referenced by its ID. As you navigate to different folders on the remote server, the transfer window's name will change. Therefore, to refer to the newly created transfer window again later in your code, you may want to capture this result in a variable. For example:

tell application "Fetch"
   set theTransferWindow to make new transfer window at beginning with properties 
   {hostname:theServerAddress, username:theUserName, password:thePassword, initial 
   folder:theDirectory}
end tell

When a transfer window is made, its default authentication type is FTP. However, you may explicitly specify that a different type of authentication be used, such as SFTP. This can be done by specifying a value for the transfer window's authentication property, when the transfer window is created, as the following code demonstrates.

tell application "Fetch"
   make new transfer window at beginning with properties {hostname:theServerAddress, 
   username:theUserName, password:thePassword, initial folder:theDirectory, authentication:SFTP}
end tell

As previously mentioned, one way to refer to a transfer window in the future is to do so by setting a variable to the result when making a transfer window. This variable would include a reference to the transfer window using a unique ID. If you are working with an existing transfer window, you can find out its unique ID with the use of the following code:

tell application "Fetch"
   id of front transfer window
end tell
--> 120663408

Once you have a window's ID, you can refer to it later by that ID. For example:

tell transfer window id 96356736
   -- Add Code Here
end tell

You may also have the need to retrieve the name of a transfer window. However, as mentioned before, the name of the transfer window will change if you open a remote folder.

tell application "Fetch"
   name of transfer window 1
end tell
--> "10.0.1.3 -- FTP Main"

You can also refer to a transfer window by its index, or front to back order. For example, the following code would target the frontmost transfer window, which has an index of 1.

tell transfer window 1
   -- Add Code Here
end tell

Throughout this column, all of my example code will target a transfer window by its index.

Working with Remote Items (Part 1)

Now that we have discussed connecting to a server, let's begin to look at ways to interact with the remote items on that server. First, let's turn to remote folders.

Suppose you want to create a remote folder on the server. First, you will probably want to determine if the folder already exists. To do this, use the exists command. For example:

tell application "Fetch"
   tell transfer window 1
      remote folder "Job 1000" exists
   end tell
end tell
--> false

If the remote folder did not exist, then you can choose to create it. Like creating a server connection, you will use the make command to create a folder. The following example code demonstrates the proper syntax for performing this task. Figure 3 shows an example of a newly created remote folder.

tell application "Fetch"
   make remote folder at transfer window 1 with properties {name:"Job 1000"}
end tell



Figure 3. A Newly Created Remote Folder

Now that you have a remote folder, you may want to open it. To do this, use the open command, as demonstrated by the following code.

tell application "Fetch"
   tell transfer window 1
      open remote folder "Job 1000"
   end tell
end tell

Note that, after opening a folder, the name of the transfer window will be changed to reflect the currently opened folder. An example of this can be seen in figure 4.



Figure 4. An Opened Remote Folder

Uploading

We will return to interacting with remote items shortly. For now, we will discuss uploading items to the server.

To upload an item to a remote directory, you will make use of Fetch's put into command. The following example code demonstrates the proper use of this terminology. First, it will prompt the user to select a file. It will then upload that file to the currently opened remote folder on the server. Figure 5 shows an example of an uploaded item.

set thePath to choose file with prompt "Please select an item to upload:" without invisibles
tell application "Fetch"
   with timeout of 300 seconds
      put into transfer window 1 item thePath
   end timeout
end tell



Figure 5. An Uploaded Item

The put into command's only required parameter is the item parameter, which we have utilized in the previous code to indicate the path of the desired file to be uploaded. The put into command also offers the ability to specify a number of optional parameters , which can affect how the item is uploaded. For example, you might specify the resume parameter if you want to resume a previous upload. Or, you might specify the uniquename parameter, if you want Fetch to automatically assign a unique name to the item if an item with the same name that already exists. For a complete list of the put into command's optional parameters, please refer to Fetch's AppleScript dictionary.

Working with Remote Items (Part 2)

Whether or not you have uploaded items to the server yourself, there will probably be times when you will want, or need, to interact with remote items on a server. See figure 6.



Figure 6. A Folder of Remote Items

We have already discussed how to navigate folders on a server. Now, let's talk about how to get the contents of a folder. The following example code will retrieve the names of every remote item in the currently opened folder.

tell application "Fetch"
   tell transfer window 1
      name of every remote item
   end tell
end tell
--> {"Job Image 1.png", "Job Image 2.png", "Job Image 3.png"}

    NOTE: In the previous code, we referenced every remote item. A remote item can be either a file or a folder on the server. To target one or the other specifically, use either remote file or remote folder instead.

You can also retrieve numerous properties of remote items on a server, such as the remote item's path, modification date, permissions, and more. The following example code demonstrates how to retrieve the size of a remote item, in bytes.

tell application "Fetch"
   tell transfer window 1
      size of remote item "Job Image 1.png"
   end tell
end tell
--> 66242

As you work with remote items, you may also have the need to delete a remote item. This can be done by using the delete command. For example:

tell application "Fetch"
   tell transfer window 1
      delete remote item "Job Image 2.png"
   end tell
end tell

Downloading

We have covered uploading items to a server. Now, let's talk briefly about downloading items. To download an item, use the download command, and specify a folder into which the remote item should be downloaded. For example:

set theOutputFolder to path to desktop folder
tell application "Fetch"
   tell transfer window 1
      download remote item "Job Image 1.png" to theOutputFolder
   end tell
end tell
--> {file "Macintosh HD:Users:bwaldie:Desktop:Job Image 1.png"}

As you can see from the previous example code, the download command will result in a list of file references to the newly downloaded items.

Miscellaneous Tasks

When working with a transfer window, whether uploading, downloading, or otherwise, you may want to determine the status of the server connection. This can be done by accessing the transfer window's status property. For example:

tell application "Fetch"
   tell transfer window 1
      status
   end tell
end tell
--> "Connected."

The status property will return the text of the current status of the fetch window, as it appears visually at the bottom of the window itself. Other transfer window attributes, which can often be useful when scripting Fetch, are also accessible via properties. Such attributes include the elapsed transfer time, and the bytes transferred, of a current transfer.

Once you have completed your Fetch scripting, you may want to have your script close down the server connection. This can be done by using the close command to close the transfer window. For example:

tell application "Fetch"
   close transfer window 1
end tell

Recording and Next Steps

Now that we have discussed various ways to interact with Fetch via AppleScript, I should also mention that Fetch is one of those rare applications that supports recording! That is, you can click the Record button in a Script Editor window, perform tasks manually in Fetch, and those tasks will be translated into AppleScript code, and written for you automatically in the Script Editor window. See figure 7 for an example of a recorded Fetch script.



Figure 7. Recording Manual Fetch Activity

You may be asking "Why didn't he mention that Fetch was recordable in the first place?" Well, one reason I didn't mention this is because I wanted to show how easy it is to begin scripting Fetch without recording. Another reason is that there are limitations to recording AppleScript code in any application. A recorded script does not include variables, if/then statements, or repeat loops. Because of this, recorded scripts are typically not as efficient as scripts written from scratch. Recorded scripts also perform tasks exactly as you recorded them, and do not have the ability to analyze situations and take different courses of action. However, recording is still a good way to get started, and it can often be helpful in determining the proper syntax for performing that certain task when you just can't figure it out on your own. Furthermore, you always have the ability to go back and edit your recorded scripts, to make them more efficient, or to add logic to them.



Figure 8. Fetch Example Scripts

If you plan to begin scripting Fetch, another good place to start is to download the example scripts that are available from the Fetch Softworks website at <http://fetchsoftworks.com/downloads.html>. These example scripts will provide you with unlocked, editable sample code for performing tasks such as connecting to servers, uploading items, and more. See figure 8.

In Closing

Although this month's column focused specifically on using Fetch as a scriptable FTP/SFTP client, please be aware that it is not your only choice. There are other applications and tools that are used by AppleScript developers for transferring files across networks.

Transmit, available from Panic Software at <http://www.panic.com>, and Cyberduck, available at http://www.cyberduck.ch are two other popular FTP/SFTP clients for Macintosh, and are frequently utilized by scripters. URL Access Scripting, which is built into Mac OS X, can be used for performing uploads and downloads to remote servers. URL Access Scripting can be found in the System > Library > ScriptingAdditions folder in Mac OS X. Many AppleScript developers also choose to utilize the power of UNIX for performing network file transfers. The do shell script AppleScript command in Mac OS X can be used in conjunction with UNIX tools such as curl or ftp to perform such tasks.

Until next time, keep scripting!


Ben Waldie is the author of the best selling books "AppleScripting the Finder" and the "Mac OS X Technology Guide to Automator", available from http://www.spiderworks.com. Ben is also president of Automated Workflows, LLC, a company specializing in AppleScript, and workflow automation consulting. For years, Ben has developed professional AppleScript-based solutions for businesses including Adobe, Apple, NASA, PC World, and TV Guide. For more information about Ben, please visit http://www.automatedworkflows.com, or email Ben at applescriptguru@mac.com.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Duplicate Annihilator 5.7.5 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator... Read more
BusyContacts 1.0.2 - Fast, efficient con...
BusyContacts is a contact manager for OS X that makes creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient. It brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing... Read more
Capture One Pro 8.2.0.82 - RAW workflow...
Capture One Pro 8 is a professional RAW converter offering you ultimate image quality with accurate colors and incredible detail from more than 300 high-end cameras -- straight out of the box. It... Read more
Backblaze 4.0.0.872 - Online backup serv...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac.With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more
Little Snitch 3.5.2 - Alerts you about o...
Little Snitch gives you control over your private outgoing data. Track background activity As soon as your computer connects to the Internet, applications often have permission to send any... Read more
Monolingual 1.6.4 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. If you use your computer in only one (human) language, you... Read more
CleanApp 5.0 - Application deinstaller a...
CleanApp is an application deinstaller and archiver.... Your hard drive gets fuller day by day, but do you know why? CleanApp 5 provides you with insights how to reclaim disk space. There are... Read more
Fantastical 2.0 - Create calendar events...
Fantastical is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event details... Read more
Cocktail 8.2 - General maintenance and o...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
Direct Mail 4.0.4 - Create and send grea...
Direct Mail is an easy-to-use, fully-featured email marketing app purpose-built for OS X. It lets you create and send great looking email campaigns. Start your newsletter by selecting from a gallery... Read more

These are All the Apple Watch Apps and G...
The Apple Watch is less than a month from hitting store shelves, and once you get your hands on it you're probably going to want some apps and games to install. Fear not! We've compiled a list of all the Apple Watch apps and games we've been able to... | Read more »
Appy to Have Known You - Lee Hamlet Look...
Being at 148Apps these past 2 years has been an awesome experience that has taught me a great deal, and working with such a great team has been a privilege. Thank you to Rob Rich, and to both Rob LeFebvre and Jeff Scott before him, for helping me... | Read more »
Hands-On With Allstar Heroes - A Promisi...
Let’s get this out of the way quickly. Allstar Heroes looks a lot like a certain other recent action RPG release, but it turns out that while it’s not yet available here, Allstar Heroes has been around for much longer than that other title. Now that... | Read more »
Macho Man and Steve Austin Join the Rank...
WWE Immortals, by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and WWE, has gotten a superstar update. You'll now have access to Macho Man Randy Savage and Steve Austin. Both characters have two different versions: Macho Man Randy Savage Renegade or Macho... | Read more »
Fearless Fantasy is Fantastic for the iF...
I actually had my first look at Fearless Fantasy last year at E3, but it was on a PC so there wasn't much for me to talk about. But now that I've been able to play with a pre-release version of the iOS build, there's quite a bit for me to talk... | Read more »
MLB Manager 2015 (Games)
MLB Manager 2015 5.0.14 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 5.0.14 (iTunes) Description: Guide your favorite MLB franchise to glory! MLB Manager 2015, officially licensed by MLB.com and based on the award-... | Read more »
Breath of Light (Games)
Breath of Light 1.0.1421 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.1421 (iTunes) Description: Hold a quiet moment. Breath of Light is a meditative and beautiful puzzle game with a hypnotic soundtrack by... | Read more »
WWE WrestleMania Tags into the App Store
Are You ready to rumble? The official WWE WrestleMania app, by World Wrestling Entertainment, is now available. Now you can get all your WrestleMania info in one place before anyone else. The app offers details on superstar signings, interactive... | Read more »
Bio Inc's New Expansion is Infectin...
Bio Inc., by DryGin Studios, is the real time strategy game where you infect a human body with the worst virus your evil brain can design. Recently, the game was updated to add a whole lot of new features. Now you can play the new “Lethal”... | Read more »
The Monocular Minion is Here! Despicable...
Despicable Me: Minion Rush, by Gameloft, is introducing a new runner to the mix in their latest update. Now you can play as Carl, the prankster minion. Carl has a few new abilities to play with, including running at a higher speed from the start.... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (refurbished) avai...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $829, or $270 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.... Read more
Save up to $80 on iPad Air 2s, NY tax only, f...
 B&H Photo has iPad Air 2s on sale for $80 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $469.99 $30 off - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $549.99 $50 off - 128GB iPad... Read more
iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $205 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 1.4GHz iMac: $1019 $80 off - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $1189 $110 off - 21″ 2.9GHz... Read more
Färbe Technik Offers iPhone Battery Charge LI...
Färbe Technik, which manufactures and markets of mobile accessories for Apple, Blackberry and Samsung mobile devices, is offering tips on how to keep your iPhone charged while in the field: •... Read more
Electronic Recyclers International CEO Urges...
Citing a recent story on CNBC about concerns some security professionals have about the forthcoming Apple Watch, John Shegerian, Chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), the... Read more
Save up to $380 with Apple refurbished iMacs
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac – $2119 $... Read more
Mac minis on sale for up to $75 off, starting...
MacMall has Mac minis on sale for up to $75 off MSRP including free shipping. Their prices are the lowest available for these models from any reseller: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $459.99 $40 off - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
College Student Deals: Additional $50 off Mac...
Take an additional $50 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through April 11, 2015. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take advantage... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for up to $260 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for up to $260 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2799, $200 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3719.99... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $100 o...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more

Jobs Board

DevOps Software Engineer - *Apple* Pay, iOS...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Sr. Technical Services Consultant, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple Professional Services (APS) has an opening for a senior technical position that contributes to Apple 's efforts for strategic and transactional Read more
Lead *Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail...
**Job Summary** Job Summary The Lead ASC is an Apple employee who serves as the Apple business manager and influencer in a hyper-business critical Reseller's store Read more
*Apple* Pay - Site Reliability Engineer - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.