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4.1.3. FTP SERVICE COMMANDS Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
4.1.3. FTP SERVICE COMMANDS

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4.1.3. FTP SERVICE COMMANDS

4.1.3. FTP SERVICE COMMANDS

The FTP service commands define the file transfer or the file system function requested by the user. The argument of an FTP service command will normally be a pathname. The syntax of pathnames must conform to server site conventions (with standard defaults applicable), and the language conventions of the control connection. The suggested default handling is to use the last specified device, directory or file name, or the standard default defined for local users. The commands may be in any order except that a "rename from" command must be followed by a "rename to" command and the restart command must be followed by the interrupted service command (e.g., STOR or RETR). The data, when transferred in response to FTP service commands, shall always be sent over the data connection, except for certain informative replies. The following commands specify FTP service requests:

RETRIEVE (RETR)

This command causes the server-DTP to transfer a copy of the file, specified in the pathname, to the server- or user-DTP at the other end of the data connection. The status and contents of the file at the server site shall be unaffected.

STORE (STOR)

This command causes the server-DTP to accept the data transferred via the data connection and to store the data as a file at the server site. If the file specified in the pathname exists at the server site, then its contents shall be replaced by the data being transferred. A new file is created at the server site if the file specified in the pathname does not already exist.

STORE UNIQUE (STOU)

This command behaves like STOR except that the resultant file is to be created in the current directory under a name unique to that directory. The 250 Transfer Started response must include the name generated.

APPEND (with create) (APPE)

This command causes the server-DTP to accept the data transferred via the data connection and to store the data in a file at the server site. If the file specified in the pathname exists at the server site, then the data shall be appended to that file; otherwise the file specified in the pathname shall be created at the server site.

ALLOCATE (ALLO)

This command may be required by some servers to reserve sufficient storage to accommodate the new file to be transferred. The argument shall be a decimal integer representing the number of bytes (using the logical byte size) of storage to be reserved for the file. For files sent with record or page structure a maximum record or page size (in logical bytes) might also be necessary; this is indicated by a decimal integer in a second argument field of the command. This second argument is optional, but when present should be separated from the first by the three Telnet characters <SP> R <SP>. This command shall be followed by a STORe or APPEnd command. The ALLO command should be treated as a NOOP (no operation) by those servers which do not require that the maximum size of the file be declared beforehand, and those servers interested in only the maximum record or page size should accept a dummy value in the first argument and ignore it.

RESTART (REST)

The argument field represents the server marker at which file transfer is to be restarted. This command does not cause file transfer but skips over the file to the specified data checkpoint. This command shall be immediately followed by the appropriate FTP service command which shall cause file transfer to resume.

RENAME FROM (RNFR)

This command specifies the old pathname of the file which is to be renamed. This command must be immediately followed by a "rename to" command specifying the new file pathname.

RENAME TO (RNTO)

This command specifies the new pathname of the file specified in the immediately preceding "rename from" command. Together the two commands cause a file to be renamed.

ABORT (ABOR)

This command tells the server to abort the previous FTP service command and any associated transfer of data. The abort command may require "special action", as discussed in the Section on FTP Commands, to force recognition by the server. No action is to be taken if the previous command has been completed (including data transfer). The control connection is not to be closed by the server, but the data connection must be closed.

There are two cases for the server upon receipt of this command: (1) the FTP service command was already completed, or (2) the FTP service command is still in progress.

In the first case, the server closes the data connection (if it is open) and responds with a 226 reply, indicating that the abort command was successfully processed.

In the second case, the server aborts the FTP service in progress and closes the data connection, returning a 426 reply to indicate that the service request terminated abnormally. The server then sends a 226 reply, indicating that the abort command was successfully processed.

DELETE (DELE)

This command causes the file specified in the pathname to be deleted at the server site. If an extra level of protection is desired (such as the query, "Do you really wish to delete?"), it should be provided by the user-FTP process.

REMOVE DIRECTORY (RMD)

This command causes the directory specified in the pathname to be removed as a directory (if the pathname is absolute) or as a subdirectory of the current working directory (if the pathname is relative). See Appendix II.

MAKE DIRECTORY (MKD)

This command causes the directory specified in the pathname to be created as a directory (if the pathname is absolute) or as a subdirectory of the current working directory (if the pathname is relative). See Appendix II.

PRINT WORKING DIRECTORY (PWD)

This command causes the name of the current working directory to be returned in the reply. See Appendix II.

LIST (LIST)

This command causes a list to be sent from the server to the passive DTP. If the pathname specifies a directory or other group of files, the server should transfer a list of files in the specified directory. If the pathname specifies a file then the server should send current information on the file. A null argument implies the user's current working or default directory. The data transfer is over the data connection in type ASCII or type EBCDIC. (The user must ensure that the TYPE is appropriately ASCII or EBCDIC). Since the information on a file may vary widely from system to system, this information may be hard to use automatically in a program, but may be quite useful to a human user.

NAME LIST (NLST)

This command causes a directory listing to be sent from server to user site. The pathname should specify a directory or other system-specific file group descriptor; a null argument implies the current directory. The server will return a stream of names of files and no other information. The data will be transferred in ASCII or EBCDIC type over the data connection as valid pathname strings separated by <CRLF> or <NL>. (Again the user must ensure that the TYPE is correct.) This command is intended to return information that can be used by a program to further process the files automatically. For example, in the implementation of a "multiple get" function.

SITE PARAMETERS (SITE)

This command is used by the server to provide services specific to his system that are essential to file transfer but not sufficiently universal to be included as commands in the protocol. The nature of these services and the specification of their syntax can be stated in a reply to the HELP SITE command.

SYSTEM (SYST)

This command is used to find out the type of operating system at the server. The reply shall have as its first word one of the system names listed in the current version of the Assigned Numbers document [4].

STATUS (STAT)

This command shall cause a status response to be sent over the control connection in the form of a reply. The command may be sent during a file transfer (along with the Telnet IP and Synch signals--see the Section on FTP Commands) in which case the server will respond with the status of the operation in progress, or it may be sent between file transfers. In the latter case, the command may have an argument field. If the argument is a pathname, the command is analogous to the "list" command except that data shall be transferred over the control connection. If a partial pathname is given, the server may respond with a list of file names or attributes associated with that specification. If no argument is given, the server should return general status information about the server FTP process. This should include current values of all transfer parameters and the status of connections.

HELP (HELP)

This command shall cause the server to send helpful information regarding its implementation status over the control connection to the user. The command may take an argument (e.g., any command name) and return more specific information as a response. The reply is type 211 or 214. It is suggested that HELP be allowed before entering a USER command. The server may use this reply to specify site-dependent parameters, e.g., in response to HELP SITE.

NOOP (NOOP)

This command does not affect any parameters or previously entered commands. It specifies no action other than that the server send an OK reply.


Next: 4.2. FTP REPLIES

Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
4.1.3. FTP SERVICE COMMANDS

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