zshzftpsys - zftp function front-end
This describes the set of shell functions supplied with the source distribution
as an interface to the 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 ftp
itself, see ftp
(1)), but as it is entirely done within the shell all
the familiar completion, editing and globbing features, and so on, are
present, and macros are particularly simple to write as they are just ordinary
The prerequisite is that the zftp
command, as described in
(1) , must be available in the version of zsh
installed at your site. If the shell is configured to load new commands at run
time, it probably is: typing ` zmodload zsh/zftp
' will make sure (if
that runs silently, it has worked). If this is not the case, it is possible
was linked into the shell anyway: to test this, type ` which
' and if zftp
is available you will get the message ` zftp:
shell built-in command
Commands given directly with zftp
builtin may be interspersed between the
functions in this suite; in a few cases, using zftp
directly may cause
some of the status information stored in shell parameters to become invalid.
Note in particular the description of the variables $ZFTP_TMOUT
You should make sure all the functions from the Functions/Zftp
of the source distribution are available; they all begin with the two letters
'. 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 $fpath
array (this should already be the case if
they were installed), and at least the function zfinit
autoloaded; it will autoload the rest. Finally, to initialize the use of the
system you need to call the zfinit
function. The following code in your
will arrange for this; assume the functions are stored in the
autoload -U zfinit
Note that zfinit
assumes you are using the zmodload
method to load
command. If it is already built into the shell, change
to zfinit -n
. It is helpful (though not essential) if the
call to zfinit
appears after any code to initialize the new completion
system, else unnecessary compctl
commands will be given.
The sequence of operations in performing a file transfer is essentially the same
as that in a standard FTP client. Note that, due to a quirk of the shell's
builtin, for those functions that handle options you must use `
' rather than `-
' to ensure the remaining arguments are
treated literally (a single ` -
' is treated as an argument).
- zfparams [ host [ user [ password ... ] ]
- Set or show the parameters for a future 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 user or password is not, they will be
prompted for; also, any parameter given as ` ?' will be prompted
for, and if the ` ?' is followed by a string, that will be used as
the prompt. As zfopen calls zfparams to store the
parameters, this usually need not be called directly.
A single argument ` -
' will delete the stored parameters. This will also
cause the memory of the last directory (and so on) on the other host to be
- zfopen [ -1 ] [ host [ user [ password
[ account ] ] ] ]
- If host is present, open a connection to that host under username
user with password password (and, on the rare occasions when
it is necessary, account account). If a necessary parameter is
missing or given as ` ?' it will be prompted for. If host is
not present, use a previously stored set of parameters.
If the command was successful, and the terminal is compatible with xterm
or is sun-cmd
, a summary will appear in the title bar, giving the local
and the remote host:directory
; this is handled by
the function zftp_chpwd
, described below.
Normally, the host
recorded for later re-opening, either by a zfopen
with no arguments, or
automatically (see below). With the option ` -1
', no information is
stored. Also, if an open command with arguments failed, the parameters will
not be retained (and any previous parameters will also be deleted). A
on its own, or a zfopen -1
, never alters the stored
(but not zfparams
) understand URLs
of the form ftp://host
as meaning to connect to
, then change directory to path
(which must be a
directory, not a file). The ` ftp://
' can be omitted; the trailing
' is enough to trigger recognition of the path
. Note prefixes
other than ` ftp:
' are not recognized, and that all characters after
the first slash beyond host
are significant in path
- zfanon [ -1 ] host
- Open a connection host for anonymous FTP. The username used is `
anonymous'. The password (which will be reported the first time) is
generated as user@host; this is then stored in the
shell parameter $EMAIL_ADDR which can alternatively be set manually
to a suitable string.
- zfcd [ dir ]
- zfcd -
- zfcd old new
- Change the current directory on the remote server: this is implemented to
have many of the features of the shell builtin cd.
In the first form with dir
present, change to the directory dir
The command ` zfcd ..
' is treated specially, so is guaranteed to work
on non-UNIX servers (note this is handled internally by zftp
is omitted, has the effect of ` 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 old
with the string new
in the current
Note that in this command, and indeed anywhere a remote filename is expected,
the string which on the local host corresponds to ` ~
' is converted
back to a ` ~
' before being passed to the remote machine. This is
convenient because of the way expansion is performed on the command line
receives a string. For example, suppose the command is `
'. The shell will expand this to a full path such as `
'. At this stage, zfcd
initial path as corresponding to ` ~
' and will send the directory to
the remote host as ~/foo
, so that the `~
' will be expanded by
the server to the correct remote host directory. Other named directories of
the form ` ~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 ` ~' as in
zfcd. For example, if the current local directory is
~/foo/bar, then zfhere performs the effect of `zfcd
- zfdir [ -rfd ] [ - ] [ dir-options ] [
- Produce a long directory listing. The arguments dir-options and
dir are passed directly to the server and their effect is
implementation dependent, but specifying a particular remote directory
dir is usually possible. The output is passed through a pager given
by the environment variable $PAGER, or `more' if that is not
The directory is usually cached for re-use. In fact, two caches are maintained.
One is for use when there is no dir-options
, 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 zfdir
same arguments; for example, repeated use of ` zfdir /pub/gnu
only require the directory to be retrieved on the first call. Alternatively,
this cache can be re-viewed with the -r
option. As relative directories
will confuse zfdir
, the -f
option can be used to force the cache
to be flushed before the directory is listed. The option -d
both caches without showing a directory listing; it will also delete the cache
of file names in the current remote directory, if any.
- zfls [ ls-options ] [ 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 directly to the server. No pager and no caching is used.
- zftype [ type ]
- With no arguments, show the type of data to be transferred, usually ASCII
or binary. With an argument, change the type: the types ` A' or `
ASCII' for ASCII data and `B' or `BINARY', `I'
or ` IMAGE' for binary data are understood case-insensitively.
- zfstat [ -v ]
- Show the status of the current or last connection, as well as the status
of some of zftp's status variables. With the -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. -G
suppresses remote filename expansion which would otherwise be performed (see
below for a more detailed description of that). -t
attempts to set the
modification time of the local file to that of the remote file: see the
description of the function zfrtime
below for more information.
- zfget [ -Gtc ] file1 ...
- Retrieve all the listed files file1 ... one at a time from the
remote server. If a file contains a ` /', 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 ` /'. The option -c (cat) forces
all files to be sent as a single stream to standard output; in this case
the -t option has no effect.
- zfuget [ -Gvst ] file1 ...
- As 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 -s, the command runs
silently and will always retrieve the file in either of those two cases.
With the option -v, the command prints more information about the
files while it is working out whether or not to transfer them.
- zfcget [ -Gt ] file1 ...
- As 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.
- zfgcp [ -Gt ] remote-file local-file
- zfgcp [ -Gt ] rfile1 ... ldir
- This retrieves files from the remote server with arguments behaving
similarly to the cp command.
In the first form, copy remote-file
from the server to the local file
In the second form, copy all the remote files rfile1
... into the local
retaining the same basenames. This assumes UNIX
- zfput [ -r ] file1 ...
- Send all the file1 ... given separately to the remote server. If a
filename contains a ` /', the full filename is used locally to find
the file, but only the basename is used for the remote file name.
With the option -r
, if any of the files
are directories they are
sent recursively with all their subdirectories, including files beginning with
'. This requires that the remote machine understand UNIX file
semantics, since ` /
' is used as a directory separator.
- zfuput [ -vs ] file1 ...
- As zfput, but only send files which are newer than their remote
equivalents, or if the remote file does not exist. The logic is the same
as for zfuget, but reversed between local and remote files.
- zfcput file1 ...
- As 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 zfcget.
- zfpcp local-file remote-file
- zfpcp lfile1 ... rdir
- This sends files to the remote server with arguments behaving similarly to
the cp command.
With two arguments, copy local-file
to the server as remote-file
With more than two arguments, copy all the local files lfile1
the existing remote directory rdir
retaining the same basenames. This
assumes UNIX directory semantics.
A problem arises if you attempt to use zfpcp lfile1 rdir
i.e. the second form of copying but with two arguments, as the command has no
simple way of knowing if rdir
corresponds to a directory or a filename.
It attempts to resolve this in various ways. First, if the rdir
argument is ` .
' or `..
' 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 ` Is a directory
will retry using the second form.
- Close the connection.
- zfsession [ -lvod ] [ sessname ]
- Allows you to manage multiple FTP sessions at once. By default,
connections take place in a session called ` default'; by giving
the command ` zfsession sessname' you can change to a new or
existing session with a name of your choice. The new session remembers its
own connection, as well as associated shell parameters, and also the
host/user parameters set by zfparams. Hence you can have different
sessions set up to connect to different hosts, each remembering the
appropriate host, user and password.
With no arguments, zfsession
prints the name of the current session; with
the option -l
it lists all sessions which currently exist, and with the
it gives a verbose list showing the host and directory for
each session, where the current session is marked with an asterisk. With
, it will switch to the most recent previous session.
, the given session (or else the current one) is removed;
everything to do with it is completely forgotten. If it was the only session,
a new session called ` default
' is created and made current. It is
safest not to delete sessions while background commands using zftp
- zftransfer sess1:file1
- Transfer files between two sessions; no local copy is made. The file is
read from the session sess1 as file1 and written to session
sess2 as file file2; file1 and file2 may be
relative to the current directories of the session. Either sess1 or
sess2 may be omitted (though the colon should be retained if there
is a possibility of a colon appearing in the file name) and defaults to
the current session; file2 may be omitted or may end with a slash,
in which case the basename of file1 will be added. The sessions
sess1 and sess2 must be distinct.
The operation is performed using pipes, so it is required that the connections
still be valid in a subshell, which is not the case under versions of some
operating systems, presumably due to a system bug.
The two functions zfmark
allow you to `bookmark' the
present location (host, user and directory) of the current FTP connection for
later use. The file to be used for storing and retrieving bookmarks is given
by the parameter $ZFTP_BMFILE
; if not set when one of the two functions
is called, it will be set to the file .zfbkmarks
in the directory where
your zsh startup files live (usually ~
- zfmark [ bookmark ]
- If given an argument, mark the current host, user and directory under the
name bookmark for later use by zfgoto. If there is no
connection open, use the values for the last connection immediately before
it was closed; it is an error if there was none. Any existing bookmark
under the same name will be silently replaced.
If not given an argument, list the existing bookmarks and the points to which
they refer in the form user@host:directory
this is the format in which they are stored, and the file may be edited
- zfgoto [ -n ] bookmark
- Return to the location given by bookmark, as previously set by
zfmark. If the location has user ` ftp' or
`anonymous', open the connection with zfanon, so that no
password is required. If the user and host parameters match those stored
for the current session, if any, those will be used, and again no password
is required. Otherwise a password will be prompted for.
With the option -n
, the bookmark is taken to be a nickname stored by the
program in its bookmark file, which is assumed to be
. The function works identically in other ways. Note
that there is no mechanism for adding or modifying ncftp
the zftp functions.
Mostly, these functions will not be called directly (apart from zfinit
but are described here for completeness. You may wish to alter
, in particular.
- zfinit [ -n ]
- As described above, this is used to initialize the zftp function system.
The -n option should be used if the zftp command is already built
into the shell.
- 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; -n prevents the command from changing to the old
directory, while -d prevents it from setting the variable
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 $zflastsession, but the
internal host/user/password parameters must also be correctly set.
- zfcd_match prefix 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 zfget_match and
hence completes all files, not just directories. On some systems,
directories may not even look like filenames.
- zfget_match prefix suffix
- This performs matching for completion of remote filenames. It caches files
for the current directory (only) in the shell parameter
$zftp_fcache. It is in the form to be called by the -K
option of compctl, but also works when called from a widget-style
completion function with prefix and suffix set
- zfrglob varname
- Perform remote globbing, as describes in more detail below. 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 expanded set of
filenames on return.
- zfrtime lfile rfile [ time ]
- Set the local file lfile to have the same modification time as the
remote file rfile, or the explicit time time in FTP format
CCYYMMDDhhmmSS for the GMT timezone. This uses the shell's
zsh/datetime module to perform the conversion from GMT to local
- 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
xterm-compatible or sun-cmd terminal emulator to reflect the
local and remote hostnames and current directories. It works best when
combined with the function chpwd. In particular, a function of the
if [[ -n $ZFTP_USER ]]; then
# usual chpwd e.g put host:directory in title bar
fits in well.
- This function shows the status of the transfer. It will not write anything
unless the output is going to a terminal; however, if you transfer files
in the background, you should turn off progress reports by hand using `
zstyle ':zftp:*' progress none'. Note also that if you alter it,
any output must be to standard error, as standard output may be a
file being received. The form of the progress meter, or whether it is used
at all, can be configured without altering the function, as described in
the next section.
- This is used to implement caching of files in the current directory for
each session separately. It is used by zfget_match and
Various styles are available using the standard shell style mechanism, described
(1). Briefly, the command ` zstyle ':zftp:*'
...'. defines the style
to have value
; more than one value may be given, although that is not useful in
the cases described here. These values will then be used throughout the zftp
function system. For more precise control, the first argument, which gives a
context in which the style applies, can be modified to include a particular
function, as for example ` :zftp:zfget
': the style will then have the
given value only in the zfget
function. Values for the same style in
different contexts may be set; the most specific function will be used, where
strings are held to be more specific than patterns, and longer patterns and
shorter patterns. Note that only the top level function name, as called by the
user, is used; calling of lower level functions is transparent to the user.
Hence modifications to the title bar in zftp_chpwd
use the contexts
, etc., depending where it was called
from. The following styles are understood:
- Controls the way that zftp_progress reports on the progress of a
transfer. If empty, unset, or ` none', no progress report is made;
if ` bar' a growing bar of inverse video is shown; if
`percent' (or any other string, though this may change in future),
the percentage of the file transferred is shown. The bar meter requires
that the width of the terminal be available via the $COLUMNS
parameter (normally this is set automatically). If the size of the file
being transferred is not available, bar and percent meters
will simply show the number of bytes transferred so far.
is run, if this style is not defined for the context
, it will be set to `bar'.
- Specifies the minimum time interval between updates of the progress meter
in seconds. No update is made unless new data has been received, so the
actual time interval is limited only by $ZFTP_TIMEOUT.
As described for progress
will force this to default to
- If set to `1', `yes' or `true', filename generation
(globbing) is performed on the remote machine instead of by zsh itself;
- If set to `1', `yes' or `true', zftp_chpwd
will put the remote host and remote directory into the titlebar of
terminal emulators such as xterm or sun-cmd that allow this.
As described for progress
will force this to default to
- If set to `1' `yes' or `true', zftp_chpwd will
call the function chpwd when a connection is closed. This is useful
if the remote host details were put into the terminal title bar by
zftp_chpwd and your usual chpwd also modifies the title
is run, it will determine whether chpwd
exists and if
so it will set the default value for the style to 1 if none exists
Note that there is also an associative array zfconfig
values used by the function system. This should not be modified or
The commands for retrieving files usually perform filename generation (globbing)
on their arguments; this can be turned off by passing the option -G
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 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 intervening zfcd
are much faster.
If the remote-glob
style (see above) is set, 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
As described for the zfopen
command, a subsequent zfopen
parameters will reopen the connection to the last host (this includes
connections made with the zfanon
command). Opened in this fashion, the
connection starts in the default remote directory and will remain open until
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 -1
option to zfopen
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 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 zfdir
directly followed by a zfget
close the connection automatically.
Information about the previous connection is given by the zfstat
function. So, for example, if that reports:
Last session: ftp.bar.com:/pub/textfiles
then the command zfget file.txt
will attempt to reopen a connection to
, retrieve the file /pub/textfiles/file.txt
immediately close the connection again. On the other hand, zfcd ..
open the connection in the directory /pub
and leave it open.
Note that all the above is local to each session; if you return to a previous
session, the connection for that session is the one which will be reopened.
Completion of local and remote files, directories, sessions and bookmarks is
supported. The older, compctl
-style completion is defined when
is called; support for the new widget-based completion system is
provided in the function Completion/Zsh/Command/_zftp
, which should be
installed with the other functions of the completion system and hence should
automatically be available.