texinode(Zftp Function System)()(Completion System)(Top)
chapter(Zftp Function System)
cindex(zftp, function system)
This describes the set of shell functions supplied with the source
distribution as an interface to the tt(zftp) builtin command, allowing you
to perform FTP operations from the shell command line or within functions
or scripts. The interface is similar to a traditional FTP client (e.g. the
manref(ftp)(1) command itself), but as it is entirely done within the shell
all the familar completion, editing and globbing features, and so on, are
present, and macros are particularly simple to write as they are just
ordinary shell functions.
The prerequisite is that the tt(zftp) command, as described in
noderef(The zftp Module)
), must be available in the
version of tt(zsh) installed at your site. If the shell is configured to
load new commands at run time, it probably is: typing tt(zmodload zftp)
will make sure (if that runs silently, it has worked). If this is not the
case, it is possible tt(zftp) was linked into the shell anyway: to test
this, type tt(which zftp) and if tt(zftp) is available you will get the
message tt(zftp: shell built-in command).
Commands given directly with tt(zftp) builtin may be interspersed between
the functions in this suite; in a few cases, using tt(zftp) directly may
cause some of the status information stored in shell parameters to become
invalid. Note in particular the description of the variables
tt($ZFTP_TMOUT), tt($ZFTP_PREFS) and tt($ZFTP_VERBOSE) for tt(zftp).
texinode(Installation)(Zftp Functions)()(Zftp Function System)
You should make sure all the functions from the tt(Functions/Zftp)
directory of the source distribution are available; they all begin with the
two letters tt(zf). They may already have been installed on your system;
otherwise, you will need to find them and copy them. The directory should
appear as one of the elements of the tt($fpath) array, and the functions
should be autoloaded. Finally, to initialise the use of the system you
need to call the tt(zfinit) function. The following code in your
tt(.zshrc) will arrange for this; assume the functions are stored in the
Note that tt(zfinit) assumes you are using the tt(zmodload) method to
load the tt(zftp) command. If it is already built into the shell, change
tt(zfinit) to tt(zfinit -n).
texinode(Zftp Functions)(Miscellaneous Features)(Installation)(Zftp Function System)
The sequence of operations in performing a file transfer is essentially the
same as that in a standard FTP client.
subsect(Opening a connection)
item(tt(zfparams [ var(host) [ var(user) [ var(password) ... ] ] ]))(
Set or show the parameters for a future tt(zfopen) with no arguments. If
no arguments are given, the current parameters are displayed (the password
will be shown as a line of asterisks). If a host is given, and either the
var(user) or var(password) is not, they will be prompted for; also, any
parameter given as `tt(?)' will be prompted for.
As tt(zfopen) calls tt(zfparams) to store the parameters, this usually need
not be called directly.
item(tt(zfopen [ -1 ] [ var(host) [ var(user) [ var(password) [ var(account) ] ] ] ]))(
If var(host) is present, open a connection to that host under username
var(user) with password var(password) (and, on the rare occasions when it
is necessary account var(account)). If a necessary parameter is missing or
given as `tt(?)' it will be prompted for. If var(host) is not present, use
a previously stored set of parameters.
If the command was successful, and the terminal is an tt(xterm), a summary
will appear in the title bar, giving the local tt(host:directory) and the
remote tt(host:directory); this is handled by the function tt(zftp_chpwd),
Normally, the var(host), var(user) and var(password) are internally
recorded for later re-opening, either by a tt(zfopen) with no arguments, or
automatically (see below). With the option tt(-1), no information is
item(tt(zfanon [ -1 ] var(host)))(
Open a connection var(host) for anonymous FTP. The username used is
tt(anonymous). The password (which will be reported the first time) is
generated from var(user)tt(@)tt(host); this is then stored in the shell
parameter tt($EMAIL_ADDR) which can alternatively be set manually to a
xitem(tt(zfcd [ var(dir) ]))
item(tt(zfcd var(old) var(new)))(
Change the current directory on the remote server: this is implemented to
have many of the features of the shell builtin tt(cd).
In the first form with var(dir) present, change to the directory var(dir).
The command tt(zfcd ..) is treated specially, so is guaranteed to work on
non-UNIX servers (note this is handled internall by tt(zftp)). If var(dir)
is omitted, has the effect of tt(zfcd ~).
The second form changes to the directory previously current.
The third form attempts to change the current directory by replacing the
first occurrence of the string var(old) with the string var(new) in the
Note that in this command, and indeed anywhere a remote filename is
expected, the string which on the local host corresponds to tt(~) is
converted back to a tt(~) before being passed to the remote machine.
This is convenient because of the way expansion is performed on the command
line before tt(zfcd) receives a string. For example, suppose the command
is tt(zfcd ~/foo). The shell will expand this to a full path as in tt(zfcd
/home/user2/pws/foo). At this stage, tt(zfcd) recognises the initial path
as tt(~), and the directory sent to the remote host is tt(~/foo), so that
the tt(~) will be expanded by the server to the correct remote host
directory. Other named directories of the form tt(~name) are not treated
in this fashion.
Change directory on the remote server to the one corresponding to the
current local directory, with special handling of tt(~) as in tt(zfcd).
For example, if the current local directory is tt(~/foo/bar), then
tt(zfhere) performs the effect of tt(zfcd ~/foo/bar).
item(tt(zfdir [ -rfd ] [ - ] [ var(dir-options) ] [ var(dir) ]))(
Produce a long directory listing. The arguments var(dir-options) and
var(dir) are passed directly to the server and their effect is
implementation dependent, but specifying a particular remote directory
var(dir) is usually possible. The output is passed through pager.
The directory is usually cached for re-use. In fact, two caches are
maintained. One is for use when there is no var(dir-options) or var(dir),
i.e. a full listing of the current remote directory; it is flushed
when the current remote directory changes. The other is
kept for repeated use of tt(zfdir) with the same arguments; for example,
repeated use of tt(zfdir /pub/gnu) will only require the directory to be
retrieved on the first call. Alternatively, this cache can be re-viewed with
the tt(-r) option. As relative directories will confuse
tt(zfdir), the tt(-f) option can be used to force the cache to be flushed.
Also, the option tt(-d) will delete both caches without showing a directory
item(tt(zfls) [ var(ls-options) ] [ var(dir) ])(
List files on the remote server. With no arguments, this will produce a
simple list of file names for the current remote directory. Any arguments
are passed directory to the server. No pager and no caching is used.
item(tt(zftype) [ var(type) ])(
With no arguments, show the type of data to be transferred, usually ASCII
or binary. With an argument, change the type: the types tt(A) or
tt(ASCII) for ASCII data and tt(B) or tt(BINARY), tt(I) or tt(IMAGE) for
binary data are understood case-insensitively.
item(tt(zfstat) [ -v ])(
Show the status of the current or last connection, as well as the status of
some of tt(zftp)'s status variables. With the tt(-v) option, a more
verbose listing is produced by querying the server for its version of
The commands for retrieving files all take at least two options. tt(-G)
suppresses remote filename expansion which would otherwise be performed
(see below for a more detailed description of that). tt(-t) attempts
to set the modification time of the local file to that of the remote file:
this requires version 5 of tt(perl), see the description of the function
tt(zfrtime) below for more information.
item(tt(zfget [ -Gt ] var(file1) ...))(
Retrieve all the listed files var(file1) ... one at a time from the remote
server. If a file contains a `tt(/)', the full name is passed to the
remote server, but the file is stored locally under the name given by the
part after the final `tt(/)'.
item(tt(zfuget [ -Gvst ] var(file1) ...))(
As tt(zfget), but only retrieve files where the version on the remote
server is newer (has a later modification time), or where the local file
does not exist. If the remote file is older but the files have different
sizes, or if the sizes are the same but the remote file is newer, the user
will usually be queried. With the option tt(-s), the command runs silently
and will always retrieve the file in either of those two cases. With the
option tt(-v), the command prints more information about the files while it
is working out whether or not to transfer them.
item(tt(zfcget [ -Gt ] var(file1) ...))(
As tt(zfget), but if any of the local files exists, and is shorter than
the corresponding remote file, the command assumes that it is the result of
a partially completed transfer and attempts to transfer the rest of the
file. This is useful on a poor connection which keeps failing.
Note that this requires a commonly implemented, but non-standard, version
of the FTP protocol, so is not guaranteed to work on all servers.
xitem(tt(zfgcp [ -Gt ] var(remote-file) var(local-file)))
item(tt(zfgcp [ -Gt ] var(rfile1) ... var(ldir)))(
This retrieves files from the remote server with arguments behaving
similarly to the tt(cp) command.
In the first form, copy var(remote-file) from the server to the local file
In the second form, copy all the remote files var(rfile1) ... into the
local directory var(ldir) retaining the same basenames. This assumes UNIX
item(tt(zfput var(file1) ...))(
Send all the var(file1) ... given separately to the remote server. If a
filename contains a `tt(/)', the full filename is used locally to find the
file, but only the basename is used for the remote file name.
item(tt(zfuput [ -vs ] var(file1) ...))(
As tt(zfput), but only send files which are newer than their local
equivalents, or if the remote file does not exist. The logic is the same
as for tt(zfuget), but reversed between local and remote files.
item(tt(zfcput var(file1) ...))(
As tt(zfput), but if any remote file already exists and is shorter than the
local equivalent, assume it is the result of an incomplete transfer and
send the rest of the file to append to the existing part. As the FTP
append command is part of the standard set, this is in principle more
likely to work than tt(zfcget).
xitem(tt(zfpcp var(local-file) var(remote-file)))
item(tt(zfpcp var(lfile1) ... var(rdir)))(
This sends files to the remote server with arguments behaving similarly to
the tt(cp) command.
With two arguments, copy var(local-file) to the server as
With more than two arguments, copy all the local files var(lfile1) ... into
the existing remote directory var(rdir) retaining the same basenames. This
assumes UNIX directory semantics.
A problem arises if you attempt to use tt(zfpcp) var(lfile1) var(rdir),
i.e. the second form of copying but with two arguments, as the command has
no simple way of knowing if var(rdir) corresponds to a directory or a
filename. It attempts to resolve this in various ways. First, if the
var(rdir) argument is tt(.) or tt(..) or ends in a slash, it is assumed to
be a directory. Secondly, if the operation of copying to a remote file in
the first form failed, and the remote server sends back the expected
failure code 553 and a reply including the string `tt(Is a directory)',
then tt(zfpcp) will retry using the second form.
subsect(Closing the connectino)
Close the connection.
Mostly, these functions will not be called directly (apart from
tt(zfinit)), but are described here for completeness. You may wish to
alter tt(zftp_chpwd) and tt(zftp_progress), in particular.
item(tt(zfinit [ -n ]))(
As decribed above, this is used to initialise the zftp function system.
The tt(-n) option should be used if the zftp command is already built into
item(tt(zfautocheck [ -dn ]))(
This function is called to implement automatic reopening behaviour, as
described in more detail below. The options must appear in the first
argument; tt(-n) prevents the command from changing to the old directory,
while tt(-d) prevents it from setting the variable tt(do_close), which it
otherwise does as a flag for automatically closing the connection after a
transfer. The host and directory for the last session are stored in the
variable tt($zflastsession), but the internal host/user/password parameters
must also be correctly set.
item(tt(zfcd_match var(prefix) var(suffix)))(
This performs matching for completion of remote directory names. If the
remote server is UNIX, it will attempt to persuade the server to list the
remote directory with subdirectories marked, which usually works but is not
guaranteed. On other hosts it simply calls tt(zfget_match) and hence
completes all files, not just directories. On some systems, directories
may not even look like filenames.
item(tt(zfget_match var(prefix) var(suffix)))(
This performs matching for completion of remote filenames. It caches files
for the current directory (only) in the shell parameter tt($zftp_fcache).
It is in the form to be called by the tt(-K) option of tt(compctl), but
also works when called from a widget-style completion function with
var(prefix) and var(suffix) set appropriately.
Perform remote globbing, as describes in more detail below. var(varname)
is the name of a variable containing the pattern to be expanded; if there
were any matches, the same variable will be set to the exanded set of
filenames on return.
item(tt(zfrtime var(lfile) var(rfile) [ var(time) ]))(
Set the local file var(lfile) to have the same modification time as the
remote file var(rfile), or the explicit time var(time) in FTP format
tt(CCYYMMDDhhmmSS) for the GMT timezone.
Currently this requires tt(perl) version 5 to perform the conversion from
GMT to local time. This is unfortunately difficult to do using shell code
This function is called every time a connection is opened, or closed, or
the remote directory changes. This version alters the title bar of an
tt(xterm) or tt(sun-cmd) terminal emulator to reflect the local and remote
hostnames and current directories. It works best when combined with the
function tt(chpwd). In particular, a function of the form
nofill( if [[ -n $ZFTP_USER ]]; then)
nofill( # usual chpwd e.g put host:directory in title bar)
fits in well.
This function shows the status of the transfer as the percentage of the
total so far transferred. It will not write anything unless the output is
going to a terminal; however, if you transfer files in the background, you
should tt(unfunction) this first. (Background file transfers don't work on
all OSes.) Note also that if you alter it, any output em(must) be to
standard error, as standard output may be a file being received.
texinode(Miscellaneous Features)()(Zftp Functions)(Zftp Function System)
The commands for retrieving files usually perform filename expansion
(globbing) on their arguments; this can be turned off by passing the option
tt(-G) to each of the commands. Normally this operates by retrieving a
complete list of files for the directory in question, then matching these
locally against the pattern supplied. This has the advantage that the full
range of zsh patterns (respecting the setting of the option
tt(EXTENDED_GLOB)) can be used. However, it means that the directory part
of a filename will not be expanded and must be given exactly. If the
remote server does not support the UNIX directory semantics, directory
handling is problematic and it is recommended that globbing only be used
within the current directory. The list of files in the current directory,
if retrieved, will be cached, so that subsequent globs in the same
directory without an interventing tt(zfcd) are fast.
If the variable tt($zfrglob) is set to a non-zero length, globbing is
instead performed on the remote host: the server is asked for a list of
matching files. This is highly dependent on how the server is implemented,
though typically UNIX servers will provide support for basic glob
patterns. This may in some cases be faster, as it avoids retrieving the
entire list of directory contents.
subsect(Automatic and temporary reopening)
As described for the tt(zfopen) command, a subsequent tt(zfopen) with no
parameters will reopen the connection to the last host (this includes
connections made with the tt(zfanon) command). Opened in this fashion, the
connection starts in the default remote directory and will remain open
until explicitly closed.
Automatic re-opening is also available. If a connection is not currently
open and a command requiring a connection is given, the last connection is
implicitly reopened. In this case the directory which was current when the
connection was closed again becomes the current directory (unless, of
course, the command given changes it). Automatic reopening will also take
place if the connection was close by the remote server for whatever reason
(e.g. a timeout). It is not available if the tt(-1) option to tt(zfopen)
or tt(zfanon) was used.
Furthermore, if the command issued is a file transfer, the connection will
be closed after the transfer is finished, hence providing a one-shot mode
for transfers. This does not apply to directory changing or listing
commands; for example a tt(zfdir) may reopen a connection but will leave it
open. Also, automatic closure will only ever happen in the same command as
automatic opening, i.e a tt(zfdir) directly followed by a tt(zfget) will
never close the connection automatically.
Information about the previous connection is given by the tt(zfstat)
function. So, for example, if that reports:
nofill(Last session: ftp.bar.com:/pub/textfiles)
then the command tt(zfget file.txt) will attempt to reopen a connection to
tt(ftp.bar.com), retrieve the file tt(/pub/textfiles/file.txt), and
immediately close the connection again. On the other hand, tt(zfcd ..)
will open the connection in the directory tt(/pub) and leave it open.
Completion of remote files and directories is supported. The older,
tt(compctl)-style completion is defined when tt(zfinit) is called; support
for the new widget-based completion system is provided in the function
tt(Completion/Builtins/_zftp), which should be installed with the other
functions of the completion system and hence should automatically be