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

NetShade 8.3 - Browse privately using an...
NetShade is an anonymous proxy and VPN app+service for Mac. Unblock your Internet through NetShade's high-speed proxy and VPN servers spanning 17 countries. NetShade masks your IP address as you... Read more
Adobe Animate CC 2020 20.0.1 - Animation...
Animate CC 2020 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $20.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous Flash Professional customer). Animate CC 2020 (was Flash CC) lets you... Read more
Adobe Acrobat DC 19.021.20058 - Powerful...
Acrobat DC is available only as a part of Adobe Creative Cloud, and can only be installed and/or updated through Adobe's Creative Cloud app. Adobe Acrobat DC with Adobe Document Cloud services is... Read more
Adobe Acrobat Reader 19.021.20058 - View...
Adobe Acrobat Reader allows users to view PDF documents. You may not know what a PDF file is, but you've probably come across one at some point. PDF files are used by companies and even the IRS to... Read more
Adobe Flash Player 32.0.0.303 - Plug-in...
Adobe Flash Player is a cross-platform, browser-based application runtime that provides uncompromised viewing of expressive applications, content, and videos across browsers and operating systems.... Read more
Adobe InDesign CC 2019 15.0.1 - Professi...
InDesign CC 2019 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $20.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous InDesign customer). Adobe InDesign CC 2019 is part of Creative Cloud.... Read more
Adobe Lightroom Classic 9.1 - Import, de...
You can download Lightroom for Mac as a part of Creative Cloud for only $9.99/month with Photoshop, included as part of the photography package. The latest version of Lightroom gives you all of the... Read more
Shredo 1.2.7 - $6.99
Shredo is a beautiful, functional file-shredding and privacy scan utility. It permanently shreds files, folders, and external volumes' contents to keep information secure and impossible for anyone to... Read more
Visual Studio Code 1.41.0 - Cross-platfo...
Visual Studio Code provides developers with a new choice of developer tool that combines the simplicity and streamlined experience of a code editor with the best of what developers need for their... Read more
calibre 4.6.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

King's Throne, the hugely ambitious...
King's Throne: Game of Lust is a deeply immersive medieval-set idle RPG which sees you playing as an ambitious prince, and sole heir to your father's kingdom. On a seemingly ordinary night whilst wandering the king's castle, you make the shocking... | Read more »
Abyssrium Pole is an upcoming aquarium b...
FleroGames' upcoming Abyssrium Pole has recently hit one million pre-registers, which is very impressive, particularly for a fairly casual looking game. Those who have pre-registered will receive 1000 Pearl when the game launches on 8th January... | Read more »
Two Spies is pretty fun, but it's h...
Two Spies just dropped on the App Store this week, and it looks pretty neat. The game has two players capturing various cities across Europe, with the goal of eventually spotting and striking the other spy down. It may be simple-looking, but after... | Read more »
Two Spies is a turn-based game for iOS t...
There aren't too many games that feature pass and play multiplayer and there are even less where you can only play against people you know, even when playing online. But Two Spies does both of those things and you can get it for iOS right now. [... | Read more »
Solve your way through new low-poly puzz...
The best escape-the-room games don’t just test your creative problem-solving skills – they look great, too. Released in October this year by Antler (the developer of the succesful VR puzzle SVRVIVE: The Deus Helix), Krystopia offers everything you... | Read more »
Get ready for an epic adventure with Pea...
Following a hugely successful pre-registration campaign, Pearl Abyss' much-hyped MMORPG, Black Desert Mobile, has finally arrived for iOS and Android. With some of the most impressive visuals on mobile, a vast open world to explore, an in-depth... | Read more »
Elder Scrolls: Blades has ditched chest...
Elder Scrolls: Blades started out as one of the most hyped mobile games of 2019, boasting some impressive visuals and no shortage of promise. Our hopes were somewhat dashed when it eventually launched and we all became privy to its mishandled... | Read more »
Hands-On with the Pocket City December U...
At the end of last month, Codebrew Games announced an update coming to their popular city-builder, Pocket City some time this month. In this update is the promise of expanding your city out into other regions, enacting policies, and more. The full... | Read more »
Black Desert Mobile is available for pre...
Pearl Abyss' stunning open-world MMORPG, Black Desert Mobile, is set to launch for iOS and Android on December 11th at 12 AM PST (8 AM UTC). However, those looking to get in early and test out the in-depth character customisation will be able to... | Read more »
Extraordinary Ones, NetEase's innov...
NetEase's inventive 5v5 anime MOBA, Extraordinary Ones, has now opened for pre-registration ahead of its global launch in early 2020. The game seems to have received a fairly warm reception from fans after its soft-launch earlier in the year,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple Watch Series 3 models on sale at Amazon...
Amazon has Apple Watch Series 3 GPS models on sale for $20 off MSRP, starting at only $179. Their prices are the lowest available for these models from any Apple reseller. Choose Amazon as the seller... Read more
Sunday AirPods Sale: Amazon drops prices to a...
Amazon has new 2019 Apple AirPods on sale today ranging up to $30 off MSRP, starting at $139. Shipping is free: – AirPods Pro: $249 $0 off MSRP – AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $168.95 $30 off... Read more
Holiday 2019 sale: 11″ iPad Pros for up to $2...
Amazon has new Apple 11″ iPad Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $200 off Apple’s MSRP as part of their Holiday 2019 sale. These are the same iPad Pros sold by Apple in its retail and online... Read more
B&H has 12.9″ WiFi iPad Pros on sale for...
B&H Photo has new 12.9″ WiFi iPad Pros on sale for up to $150 off Apple’s MSRP as part of their Holiday 2019 sale. Overnight shipping is free to many addresses in the US: – 12.9″ 64GB WiFi iPad... Read more
Find the best Holiday 2019 prices on Apple’s...
Our Apple award-winning price trackers are the best place to look for the best deals and lowest prices on Apple gear this 2019 Holiday shopping season. Scan our price trackers for the latest... Read more
13″ 2.4GHz/256GB Silver MacBook Pro on sale f...
Amazon has the Silver 13″ 2.4GHz/256GB 4-Core Touch Bar MacBook Pro on sale for $1499.99 shipped. Their price is $300 off Apple’s MSRP, and it’s the lowest price currently available for a 13″ 2.4GHz... Read more
Sams Club one day sales event December 14th:...
Through midnight Saturday night (December 14th), Sams Club online has several Apple Watch Series 5 models on sale for $40 off MSRP as part of their One Day sales event. Choose free shipping or free... Read more
Total Wireless offers iPhone 6S models for as...
Total Wireless has Apple 32GB iPhone 6S models available starting at $99: – 32GB iPhone 6S: $99.99 – 32GB iPhone 6S Plus: $149.99 A no-contract Total Wireless prepaid plan is required with your... Read more
Get a 4 or 6-core Mac Mini for up to $170 off...
B&H Photo has 4-Core and 6-Core Mac minis on sale for up to $170 off Apple’s standard MSRP as part of their Holiday 2019 sale. Overnight shipping is free to many US addresses: – 3.6GHz Quad-Core... Read more
Amazon restocks base 13″ 1.4GHz MacBook Pro f...
Amazon has restocked the base 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook Pro for $1099.99 shipped. Their price is $200 off Apple’s MSRP, and it’s the cheapest price available for a new MacBook Pro. Amazon... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Mobility Sales Professional - Best B...
**750138BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobility Sales Professional **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 000471-Mt Vernon-Store **Job Read more
*Apple* Engineering Specialist (ITC ) - Gene...
…Suitability clearance, per contract requirements. Currently, we are seeking an Apple Engineering Specialist in Washington, DC The responsibilities for candidates in Read more
Senior *Apple* Endpoint Engineer - Leidos (...
…Medicaid Service (CMS) End User environment. Perform specific duties as an Apple Endpoint Engineer in support of the infrastructure operations, hardware, software Read more
Perioperative - RN - ( *Apple* Hill Surgical...
Perioperative - RN - ( Apple Hill Surgical Center) Tracking Code 59281 Job Description Monday - Friday - Part Time - Days Possible Saturdays General Summary: Under Read more
Lead DevOps Engineer - *Apple* - Theorem, L...
Job Summary Apple is looking for a seasoned Lead DevOps Engineer that can lead multiple projects and teams while delivering high quality and performant solutions in Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.