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Detailed Instructions

5.1 Connecting To Servers

There are several ways to connect to a FTP site:

  1. Use the "New Connection" dialog. Here's what it looks like:
    New Connection Window

    You can open the dialog by selecting "New Connection..." from the File menu, or by using the command-N keyboard shortcut.

    The connection dialog consists of a number of text fields, the server, username, password, path and URL. It also has a protocol popup menu which you can select from a number of different ways to connect to servers (provided the server supports it). Some of the supported protocols are:

    New Connection - protocols
    For the Server field, enter a host name or a dotted IP address. For example, you can enter "ftp.info.au" or "" (you don't enter the quotes of course).

    SHORTCUT: to specify a site whose name is "ftp.<some site>.com" site, you can enter just <some site> in the host field, for example, entering "apple" is the same as "ftp.apple.com". Similarly, you can enter "ftp.<some site>..<some country code>", for example, entering "apple..au" is the same as "ftp.apple.com.au".

    NOTE: to specify a port number other than the default port of say 21 for FTP, add ":<port number>" after the hostname. For example, "ftp.coolsite.org:23" to specify port 23 as the FTP port on "ftp.coolsite.org".

    For most anonymous FTP sites, you can leave the username and password fields blank, and the program will automatically substitute "anonymous" for the username and a dummy e-mail address for the password. Of course if you wish to use your real email address you are welcome to.

    If there is a specific directory you wish to view, you can enter it into the path field. Similarly, if there is a specific file you wish to download, enter its full path into the path field.

    For example, you can enter the following as the path to view the "rec" directory on an info-mac mirror site:


    note the ending '/' - this tells NetFinder that you wish to do a directory listing. If it can't list this directory, it will list whatever directory you get logged into.

    If you wish to download the file "NetFinder.hqx", you can enter the following:


    When you have entered all of your login details, click Connect to connect to the site.

    NOTE: The dialog also has two buttons with a lock and a key as the icon. These buttons are used to enable/disable Apple's Keychain Manager (left button) and to add the current URL, specifically the username and password to the current keychain when you successfully login to the server (right button).
    What is the Keychain manager? It is a secure way to store your passwords. Also once you have saved your username/password pair into the keychain, when you next type in your username for a specific site, NetFinder will automatically retrieve your password from the keychain and insert it into the password field. This saves you from typing in your password.

    SHORTCUT: You may have already noticed while using NetFinder, that can auto-complete your hostname if you have previously visited the site. ie if you previously connected to "ftp.apple.com" you can just type in "ftp.ap" and NetFinder will find the closest match for what you have typed and substitute it into the Hostname field.

    If you connect to a site frequently, you can save yourself the trouble of entering its details again and again, because NetFinder remembers your last connection details when you close the New Connection window. Note, each protocol remembers its own settings.

    Other features available include:
  2. Double click a NetFinder bookmark. Either one created in the Finder, or from a NetFinder bookmark list.
  3. Open a FTP URL in any internet-aware program. For example, you can click on a link in a web browser configured to use NetFinder (like Safari), click on a link in a text editor (like BBEdit), e-mail program (like Thunderbird or Mail.app), or USENET program (like Newswatcher) that is configured to open URLs. This is only possible if you specify NetFinder to handle these request for you, which you can setup in NetFinder's General Preferences Pane under Default FTP/SFTP application.

5.2 Listing Window in Depth

The NetFinder listing window is the base type of window you will see when browsing servers or looking at bookmark or mirror lists. Since this window is rich in features on its own, the following will go through all the aspects of the window, so you will understand what each part of the window is capable of providing you.

The listing window is designed to be clean and clear. It has been designed to be as easy to use as the Finder windows you are already used to. Below is a picture of a typical listing window.
Listing - metadata - filter
A breakdown of the various items illustrated above follows:

5.2.1 Window Title (A)

Like the Finder, this displays the name of the currently displayed folder. Command-click the text of the folder name to display a menu containing the names of the folders above and including the current one. You can select another folder from the menu and it will be opened in a separate window (or its window will be selected if it's already open).

For NetFinder Bookmark and Mirror List windows, this title represents the name of the file on your Hard Disk. When you command-click on the name you will again see the hierarchy of where the file resides on your disk, but when you select a folder it will open in the Finder. If you select the item itself, it will reveal the bookmark list in the Finder.

5.2.2 Window Icon (B)

This is an icon representation of the file/folder this window represents. It is also referred to as a "proxy" icon, as you can use it to represent far more information.

TIP: This icon can be dragged to the desktop or a folder or into a drag-and-drop capable text window or a NetFinder bookmark list window, to create a bookmark to the currently displayed listing window. You can later open the bookmark to quickly and easily connect again to the same internet site.

5.2.3 Window URL (C)

URL, also known as Universal Resource Locator, is like a unique address that identifies a location on a server.

The name under the window title that starts with "ftp://" or "http://" (or any other protocol) is the name of the server that the listing window is connected to. This is helpful when you are connected to several sites and need to know which site the listing window belongs to.

Section 5.5.2 Manipulating Files and Folders - Moving explains about moving files/folders on servers. By looking at the Window URL, you can identify whether you are moving a file to somewhere else on the same server, or whether you will be invoking a server to server copy.

The URL also contains the full path to the folder you are viewing. If the path is too long, the URL will be truncated, however you can still view the full path by moving your mouse over the URL and a tooltip will appear with the full URL.

5.2.4 Font Sizer (D)

The font sizer is a really easy way to increase or decrease the size of the font currently use in the listing window. Each window starts off using the default sized font setup in the Preferences, however each window can then change the font size by simply playing with the font sizer dial. The font sizer dial comes in useful when you want to temporarily squeeze down the display so you can see more information on the screen when you are doing some comparisons of may columns of data and you simply can't fit it all on a screen (unless you are lucky enough to have a 30" display). However you probably don't want to keep viewing it at a tiny size as it's not good for your eyes. Alternatively, you may wish to make one window listing bigger, as you want items in a folder to capture your attention, for example "files that still require processing".

5.2.5 Table Column Re-sizer (E)

In order to resize a table column, you need to point your mouse to the vertical bar between columns until your mouse changes the cursor to a resize icon. You then press the mouse button down and move the mouse left or right to resize the column.

When should you use the table column re-sizer? When you start seeing the text in that column truncated, namely when you see "..." in the text in the columns. To see more of the text, expand the table column by dragging the Column Re-sizer to the right.

5.2.6 Table Column Features (F)

Sometimes you do not want the display the "Size" column after the "Name" column. Instead you want to to display "Kind" after the "Name" column. To do this you simply press and hold down the mouse button over a table column title, then drag the name of the column you wish to reorder to a new position. Once you are done release the mouse and the column is reordered.

To Show or Hide columns that you do or don't want, simply press the control key down while clicking anywhere in the column title (ie Name, Size, Kind etc) or if you have a two button mouse, use the right mouse button. This will popup a menu with the available choices to choose from. Simply select and deselect the appropriate items to show and hide the columns.

A highlighted table column indicates the column which is currently being sorted.

NOTE: The Name column can not be reordered or hidden.

TIP: If you wish to sort by one column, then sub-sort by another, click on the columns in reverse order. eg click on Name column then Kind column, to group all items with the same Kind, then sub-sort the items in alphabetical order. This is really useful when sorting items which have common attributes, like label, comment, kind, owner, group etc.

5.2.7 Table Column Sort Indicator (G)

This indicator which exists to the right of the table column name, is used to indicate the sort direction of the data in the table column. Specifically if the data is sorted in ascending or descending order.

NOTE: Names are always sorted in a "natural order" not just alphabetically. So you get "file 1", "file 2" then "file 10" instead of "file 1", "file 10", "file 2". This is really useful when you have lots of files or folders which are numbered.

5.2.8 Listing Time Stamp (H)

Use this display to determine if the listing you are looking at, is an old and possible cached list of files. This is useful when you have Directory Caching enabled and you get errors like "File Not Found", indicating that you are looking at an outdated list of files. When this occurs refresh the listing using the Refresh menu item in the File menu.

TIP: If you do not wish to use cached listing, you can change the caching preferences in the Listing Preference Pane under Caching Options.

NOTE: To get a fresh listing, simply use the Refresh command from the File menu, or command-R.

5.2.9 Unidirectional Scrolling (I)

To scroll the display freely (in any direction) without using the scroll bars (and you don't have an Apple Mighty Mouse with a small ball on top). Press the command and option (alt) keys down simultaneously in the display and the cursor will change into a "Hand" cursor. Now just press the mouse button down and drag the display in any direction you wish, to view the parts you want to look at.

5.2.10 Filename And Icon (J)

The Name column contains up to three parts. The file/folder name, the icon which is a graphical representation of the file, and if the entry is a folder, a disclosure triangle to the left of the name.

If Generic Icons is not turned on, then the icon you see will represent graphically what the file is, based on the files extension (eg .gif, .html, .jpg etc). This allows you to quickly identify the type of file it is without looking at the file extension or the Kind column.

When you click on a disclosure triangle, the contents of the folder will be revealed. You can continue to reveal folder contents as deep into the hierarchy as you like.

TIP: Although you probably rarely want to do this, and if you do be advised that it may take a long time to complete and use lots of memory if you chose a folder that has many many items in the hierarchy. You can instruct NetFinder to recursively open the folder and subfolders until each folder is opened, by simply pressing the option (alt) key down while clicking on a disclosure triangle.

TIP: For file:// listings, symbolic links that are "broken" and do not resolve, are drawn in the listing with red colored text. This makes it really easy to identify broken links.

5.2.11 Filter View Toggle (K)

The Filter View Toggle allows you to hide and show the section of the window which provides the filtering field and the Regexp checkbox. You may wish to hide this section if you are limited in screen space, for example when you are using a laptop.

By default this section of the window is shown whenever you open a new listing window, however if you would prefer not to show this portion of the window every time you open a new listing window, then you can simply disable the "Show search field when opening new windows" option in the Display Preferences Pane.

TIP: To toggle the filter view quickly, you can use the menu Edit > Find > Toggle Search View, which has a keyboard shortcut of command-option-F.

5.2.12 Filter Input and Recent Searches (L)

The Filter Input field is used to specify a string you wish to use to filter the contents of your listings. As you type into this field, your listing will be automatically filtered. This feature allows you to quickly and easily locate a file, whether it's in the root of your listing or deep down in the hierarchy of many disclosed subfolders.

When you have lots of subfolders disclosed, and you specify a filter string, only the files and folders that match your pattern are drawn in black text. The folders in the hierarchy that do not match the pattern are drawn in a lighter gray color. Of course the files that do not match at all are hidden. You can see this in the picture above.

The Recent Search Strings available in the popup menu in the filter input field, as seen in the picture below, can be used to recall filter strings/patterns you previously saved. This is useful if you often search for certain files and do not wish to type in the filter pattern again and again, especially if it is a regular expression filter pattern (see below).

Listing - filter - recent

To save your current string/pattern into the Recent Search Strings, simply enter your string/pattern you are happy with, then press the return key. This will then save your entry into the menu for future use. The items in this menu will be restored when you next launch the application.

TIP: To select only the items matching the filter string, and not include folders in the hierarchy which do not match the filter string/pattern, you can use the "Select All Filtered Items" menu item. To select everything in the listing that is visible, you simply use the standard "Select All" command from the Edit menu.

TIP: To invert the filter, that is to show everything except filenames that match the string entered, simply prefix your filter string with "!".

NOTE: Normal filtering (non-regexp), filters names in a case insensitive manner, so typing "f" will find files with "f" or "F" in the filename.

5.2.13 Clear Current Filter (M)

To clear your current filter string and show all the items in the listing again, simply click on the 'x' icon. This is identical to selecting all the text and pressing the delete key.

5.2.14 Filter Using Regexp (N)

The regexp (Regular Expression) option when enabled, tells NetFinder that the filter string you entered is in fact a regexp pattern. This is a powerful way to match filenames. For example you can match any files that begin with a certain letter followed by a number of digits and end in ".jpg". For more information on regexp patterns see the Regexp For Power Users section.

NetFinder pre-installs a number of items in the Scripts menu which allow you to easily filter certain files in your listing. Most, if not all these scripts use regexp as the filter pattern.

TIP: To invert the filter, that is to show everything except filenames that match the patter entered, simply prefix your filter string with "!". Although this is a non-standard regexp syntax, it is just a special case added in NetFinder as it's easy to remember.

NOTE: Regexp enabled filters are case sensitive when matching names, you will need to specify case insensitive matches in the regexp pattern yourself. To do this just prefix your regexp pattern with "(?i)", which is a special option to (i)gnore case.

NOTE: When you enter a regexp pattern that is invalid, the filter input fields text color is changed to red to quickly indicate there is a problem. Once you fix the problem the text goes back to black color again.

5.2.15 Secure Site Indicator

Listing - Certificate
In the figure above, the top right corner of the window shows a pad lock icon. This indicator indicates the connection to the server is secure. When it is secure, all messaging that is sent and received is encrypted.

When this pad lock is not seen, then the data is not encrypted.

If your server does not support secure data transactions, then you can simply transfer files pre-encrypted using a third party product like PGP or Stuffit.

When you click on the pad lock icon, you will be shown details on the secure connection. This information includes who the is certifying the encrypted communications, when the certificate is valid for and whether it's expired or not and much more information.

5.2.16 Contextual Menus

Listing - Contextual Menu
In order to get a contextual menu, simply press the control key down while pressing the mouse button in the listing window (or click the right mouse button on a two button mouse). You will be shown a contextual menu that will enable you to alter things or perform operations to the current display window or selected items.

Contextual menus allow you to quickly execute an action without having to move the mouse to the menu bar and selecting an item there.

An even faster way would probably be to remember the keyboard shortcut and type the shortcut. Most commonly used menu items have an associated keyboard shortcut.

5.2.17 Get Info Window

The Get Info window is the window you will see when getting more details on a listing window item. There are a number of get info windows you will come across, each depending on the context of the listing window you are looking at. For example, info for remote server items, info for mirror bookmark items and so on. This section will cover the main Get Info window you will see for remote servers. Other Get Info windows will be described later in the relevant sections.

To Get Info for a listing item, simply select the item you are interested in, then use the menu File > Get Info. or use the keyboard shortcut command-I.

Below is a picture of what you would see when you Get Info on a remote server item.

Get Info - internet

As you can see you get a variety of information. For files, you will generally always get a file size, however for folders, you will have to click on the "Calculate" button to compute the size of the folder. Be careful though, because if a folder is very large and has many folders in the hierarchy, this may take some time to calculate. Once the folder size is determined you will be shown the total, as seen below.

Get Info - directory size

Permissions are another thing you will come across when getting information on remote items. Use the checkboxes to select the new permissions you would like to set, then click the "cogs" icon button to the right of the permissions string (see picture above) to send your update permissions request to the server.

TIP: When you get info for a folder, you have additional options available to you when sending your update permissions request. To get the extra options, right-click on the "cogs" button and select the appropriate option you would like to use. Currently you have one of three options: (1) apply permissions to directory only, (2) apply permissions to contents (one level), (3) apply permissions recursively to contents (all levels)

Label and Comments are additional useful data you can assign to your remote items. For detailed information on this, see the Metadata section which discusses the purpose of these fields.

The Locked checkbox, is provided to you to prevent you from accidentally editing settings. This is generally more applicable for bookmark get info windows.

5.2.18 Printing Windows

Occasionally you will need to document something for yourself or others, illustrating something in a listing window. Of course if the listing is small, you can simply take a screen capture and print it out, however if you would like to print a long list out with a reasonably nice quality, or for that matter save the printout as a PDF (Portable Document Format) file which just about everyone can view, then you will find the printing capability in NetFinder's listing windows useful.

In essence, when you request a printout, NetFinder will try to print what you see on screen to the printer. That is, every column you see, the order of the columns and the sort order of the columns, the filtered list (if applicable) etc.

To print a listing windows content to the printer, select the menu File > Print Window. Or use the keyboard shortcut command-P.

To save to a PDF (Portable Document Format), which can be viewed on any OSX computer or PC with Acrobat Reader installed (which is free), select from the menu File > Print Window as you usually would, but rather than pressing the Print button, select from the PDF button > "Save as PDF..." to then specify where you wish your PDF to be saved to. Once you have a PDF, you can archive it or email it to someone or do whatever you like with it, including printing it out at a later time.

5.2.19 Miscellaneous Information

5.3 Downloading

5.3.1 Downloading Files and Folders

To start a download, you can:

  1. Connect to a FTP site and open a listing window. After it has opened, select the item(s) to download and drag them to your desktop or a folder icon or folder window. The selected items will then be downloaded to your hard disk (or shared volume if the destination is a shared volume). You can even drag out folder icons and the entire contents of that folder will be downloaded into a folder with the same name at the destination. In other words, NetFinder will preserve the directory structure of the remote directory and replicate it on your hard disk.
  2. Connect to a FTP site and open a listing window. After it has opened, select the item(s) to download and double click them or select "Open..." from the File menu or press command-down-arrow from the keyboard. All these operations will start a download of any of the file items selected. Note that selected folder items will be opened in separate listing windows.
  3. Double click a bookmark file whose URL refers to a file on a remote site (as opposed to a folder).
  4. Click an FTP URL link in an editor or web browser which is configured to use the Operating Systems Default FTP handler. This assumes NetFinder is configured as the Default FTP Application in the Preferences.

While downloading files, NetFinder uses a variety of options to work out what to do with the downloaded files. For example, you can configure NetFinder to automatically decode MacBinary encoded files, to "post-process" files, to play a sound when it's done, and even to automatically rename files if there is already a file with the same name in the destination folder. See the Download and Transfer preferences panes for more details.

If you want to use a different method for a particular download, you can:

During a download, NetFinder displays a progress dialog to tell you how far it is in the transfer and how much is left.

It looks and behaves similar to a Finder copy window except that it also has an extra section at the bottom to tell you useful information like the current transfer rate and the amount remaining to transfer (both as number of bytes and estimated time to completion).

You can click the "Stop" button to stop a transfer.

TIP: click the rate and size text at the bottom of the progress dialog to toggle between a number of different displays.

5.3.2 Viewing Files In NetFinder

With the many file formats which exist today, all representing different media types, one can get lost in the maze and not know what file is what. NetFinder tries to help out, by trying to best guess the type of files you wish to view, and then present a preview to you which is appropriate for the file you specified. Of course, if NetFinder gets it wrong or you wish to force viewing a file as a specific media type, you can do that also.

The following sections show you the various media types NetFinder supports.

In order to view a file, select a file from a NetFinder listing window, then use the sub menu commands from the menu File > View, or you can also access the View command and its submenus via the Contextual Menu in the listing window. Viewing as Text

The following is an example of what you will see when viewing a file as Text.

Text preview

You can technically view any file as Text, however for images/photos or applications or databases for instance, it will show a bunch of characters on screen which may be meaningless to you. Viewing as Graphic/Media

Viewing a file as Graphic/Media can result in one of three possible windows appearing:

image preview

The first is the static image/photo window, which can show files like JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF etc etc.

An added bonus is the ability to view the EXIF metadata attributes from images from say a digital camera. This is useful when you want to see when the file was taken, what settings the camera was set to when the photo was taken and much much more information.

PDF preview
The second type of window you can get is a window specifically designed to view PDF (Portable Document Format) files. From here you right-click (or control-click on one button mice) to zoom in, zoom out, change the view layout and more.

movie preview

The last type of window you could get is specifically designed to view video/audio media (eg .mov, .mp3). Thus you can view movie trailers, training videos, listen to podcasts or sample music clips or whatever else is on the server. Note, you also get some basic information about the media file, including the duration, Audio Data format, Video Data format and current playing time stamp. View in Browser

View in browser is designed to allow you to view content like HTML or maybe even Shockwave files (.swf) among other things in your web browser. Of course you can view just about everything in a web browser, which is why anything NetFinder cannot identify automatically, it will direct it to your web browser. View Intelligently

View intelligently is a way NetFinder tries to help out people who don't want to worry about which type of window to view the file as, or for people who really don't know which window to use to view a specific type of file.

Files which NetFinder is unable to guess which type, are directed to be viewed in your Web Browser.

If you are unsatisfied with NetFinder's choice, you can always force NetFinder to view as a specific format by selecting the specific menu command of your choosing.

5.3.3 Edit with External Editor

Many years ago, BBEdit was the first editor to introduce a protocol with other applications, allowing them to request BBEdit to edit files on behalf of an application, then when BBEdit saves a file, it requests the calling application to do any housekeeping. NetFinder was one of the first (if not the first) application to adopt this protocol, allowing users to seamlessly edit files off remote servers. This is useful for quick and easy modifications of web sites among other things.

Over the years, this protocol has been adopted by a number of 3rd party applications. A number of these applications are pre-defined in the NetFinder preferences. Each of these applications is able to be used with NetFinder. Other applications which support the protocol may also exist, however they may not be listed, for these applications you can still use them, however you will need to know their creator code ID. If you email us, we can help you setup the editor, while also bringing to our attention additional editors which are compatible with the protocol.

To edit a file, select it in a Listing window, and then select the "Edit in External Editor" from the Tools menu or use Command-B. NetFinder will then download the file to a temporary folder on your hard disk, and then open the file in the Default External Editor you chose in the preferences. You can then edit the file, save your changes and when you are finished, close the file. NetFinder will automatically upload the file whenever the file is saved. After NetFinder successfully uploads the modified file, the temporary local copy on your hard disk is deleted.

5.4 Uploading

To upload a file/folder, you can either:

The item will then be uploaded using your settings in the "Upload Pane" in the "NetFinder Preferences" window.

During the transfer, a progress dialog will be displayed. It has exactly the same operation and the same usage as that discussed in the download section above. See the section above for downloading files and for information about how to use the progress dialog.

If you want to use a different upload method(s) or permissions for a particular upload, there are a few ways to do it:

  1. press the option (alt) key. While keeping it held down, drag the desired item(s) from a Finder location to a NetFinder window. The "One Time Upload Options" dialog will appear. Select your options and click OK, or click Cancel to cancel.
  2. a variation on the first method is to first drag the desired item(s) from a Finder location to a NetFinder window. Then, before releasing the mouse/trackball button, press the option (alt) key. While keeping it held down, release the mouse button. The "One Time Upload Options" dialog will appear. Select your options and click OK, or click Cancel to cancel.

5.5 Manipulating Files and Folders

This section describes manipulating files on a server. It is applicable for all protocols, however if you are logging in anonymously to an FTP server, you will (usually) not have the access rights to create directories or move, rename or delete files or directories. If this is the case, you don't have to read most of this section.

5.5.1 Deleting

There are several ways to delete a file or directory (including all of the directory's contents). First select the files and directories you wish to delete and then:

Once you have confirmed the deletion, NetFinder will start deleting the selected items one by one.

WARNING: be very careful what you delete! It is very hard (well, more like next to impossible) to recover accidentally deleted files. Unlike your local hard disk where deleted items may be recovered using a disk utility, when an item is deleted on a server, it is almost guaranteed that you will never see it again!

5.5.2 Moving

To move a file or a directory to a new location, select the items you wish to move and drag them to where you want them to go. Yes, it is that simple!

You can even move items between windows as long as the two windows have the same login details, that is, same hostname (and port number), same username and same password.

NOTE: Some older FTP server programs do not support moving files. A good way to check is to refresh the directory listing after you move a file (use the "Refresh Listing" menu command in the File menu).

WARNING: Some older FTP servers do NOT like directory names with one or more spaces in the name. As a result, moving and renaming items with a space in the name may not work. On some servers, its may even result in the file "disappearing" forever!

If you move items between two listing windows and they do not represent the same server, then NetFinder will initiate a copy action instead. This will of course take longer depending on the size and quantity of files/folders you are transferring.

5.5.3 Renaming

To rename a file or directory you do what you would do in the Finder. That is, select the single item you wish to rename, then click once again on the name of the item, wait a small moment before it becomes editable (or just press the 'return' key to make it editable straight away) and then type the new name for the item. Press 'return' to rename the file.

NOTE: Some servers do not like files with unusual characters in the name, so you should try to avoid these characters whenever possible. Unusual characters may (depending on the server) include spaces and most of the option-key combinations like option-F for example. Directories and files with spaces in it their names may especially cause the server to not work properly when retrieving directory listing information. Modern servers and protocols generally do not have such limitations.

WARNING: Some servers will allow you to rename an item to the same name as another item in the same directory. Try to avoid doing this, because this will result in the existing item being replaced by the item you just renamed! This is especially dangerous if you do this to directories, because the replaced directories' contents will be lost forever!

5.5.4 Creating New Folders

To create a new folder, select "New Folder" from the File menu. A new directory called "Untitled_Directory" is created on the remote server. Just like in the Finder, you will then be able to rename it to what you want.

NOTE: If a folder already exists with the same name, NetFinder will make the new folder name unique.

5.5.5 Creating New Files

To create a new empty folder, select "New Empty File" from the File menu. A new empty file called "untitled_file.txt" will be created on the remote server. Just like in the Finder, you will then be able to rename it to what you want.

NOTE: If a file already exists with the same name, NetFinder will make the new file name unique.

5.5.6 Duplicating

NetFinder allows you to duplicate both files and folders on a remote server (which allows it). When duplicating, if NetFinder determines that the duplicated name already exists, it will rename it to something unique.

A duplicate command may take a long time depending on the size and quantity of items you are duplicating.

5.5.7 Server To Server Copies

NetFinder allows you to copy both files and folders onto another remote server by simply dragging and dropping into another listing window. You can tell if it is another server by looking at the Window URL.

A copy command may take a long time depending on the size and quantity of items you are copying.

NOTE: Other criteria which NetFinder considers the destination window as "Another Server" is if the login account ID's are different, or if its a different protocol or the port is different.

5.5.8 Setting Permissions

To set permissions on remote files/folders, you simply select the files/folder you are interested in, then select File > Get Info. This will show you an Info window which you can then change the permissions. For folders you can optionally set permissions recursively, see Get Info window section for more details.

NOTE: of course, you can only set permissions on sites that you have authority to set permissions on. Most sites that you log in to anonymously won't let you do this.

5.5.9 Changing to Another Folder

There are several ways to change to another folder to view a listing:

5.6 NetFinder Automation Components

5.6.1 An Introduction

NetFinder Automation Components is a unique yet powerful way to bring Automation to people of all skill levels. It harnesses the full power and capabilities of everything OSX has to offer and makes it available to you at your fingertips within NetFinder, as conveniently as a keystroke away. It is a very exciting way to do things, and is a bit different from the traditional way where an application like NetFinder is automated by someone else. We feel it is good to think differently, and offer our users something they can use and gain huge extensible capabilities from. Of course you can still automate NetFinder if you wish using the capabilities of NetFinder's AppleScript support.

As we mentioned earlier, we accommodate for varying skill levels: In the remainder of this section, a detailed description of how to create Automator.app based Automation Applications will be explained, well it wont really be that detailed, because it's so easy!

In the subsequent sections, details on the different types of NetFinder Automation Components, which will include ideas of what you could possibly write, some of which may be practical, while others may be a bit on the crazy side but illustrate what may be possible. Finally, a discussion on more advanced technical details for those that just like to do something different.

Lets begin with how to make your first Automator.app Automation Application, and how to install it into NetFinder:

The following example Automation Component we will create simply scales a group of images to a thumbnail size.
  1. Launch Automator.app, NetFinder gives you a convenient shortcut to this via the Shortcuts Menu - Open Automator.
  2. Create a new custom workflow in Automator.app, Select the following Menu in Automator.app: File > New
  3. From here add the following items (seen in the picture below) into your workflow by finding each segment in the Library section in Automator.app window you just created, then dragging it into the right side of the window as per the instructions in Automator.app

    simple automator sequence

    TIP: Use the search field and type in the name in each segments title to quickly locate it from the Library (in Automator.app).
    NOTE:The above picture is applicable for OSX 10.5 users only. For OSX 10.4 users, you only have to add the second segment you see, namely Scale Images. How easy is that!

    IMPORTANT: In OSX 10.5, the first segment "Get Folder Contents" is mandatory for automation components that process items for NetFinder.

    Be sure to remove any other bit that may automatically be added for you when you drag items in.

    Configure the segments as you see in the picture above, really only one field, the size to 200 pixels.

  4. That's it! Your done! You have successfully written your first Automation Component.
  5. Now you just have to save it. File > Save. Select File Format > Application in the save dialog. Give it a name, say "My Scaler". Select the Desktop as the place to temporarily save your automation application.

    TIP: If you like you can save directly into the location in the next step, once you know how to locate it.
  6. Go back into NetFinder, then from the Tools Menu, select "Organize Automation Components...". You will be switched back into the Finder, and a the NetFinder Automation Components parent folder will be shown to you.
  7. To install your component, simply copy the file you saved above to the Desktop, namely "My Scaler" to the folder "Download then Process and Re-Upload [1-1]"
  8. You now need to instruct NetFinder to refresh its list of Automation Components in its menus. To do this go to the Tools menu, click in the menu, then press the option (alt) key down, the menu item "Organize Automation Components..." will now change to "Refresh Automation Components". Select this item. After this you can go to the "Download then Process and Re-Upload [1-1]" sub-menu and see your newly defined component.
  9. You have now successfully written and installed your first NetFinder Automation Component using an Automator.app Automation Application.

To test out your creation:
  1. Connect to a server which has an image on it.
  2. Select one or more image files, then select File > Duplicate. This step is only necessary because running your component WILL OVERWRITE your original files with a thumbnail. Select the new duplicated items.
  3. Now select your Automation Component ("My Scaler") from the Tools Menu to run it.
  4. NetFinder will now download, process your files, then re-upload them replacing the original files.
  5. When NetFinder is complete, you can refresh your listing and your duplicated items should be smaller since they are now thumbnail sized.

You are now done. You now know everything there is to know about creating a NetFinder Automation Component using Automator.app. It could not be simpler.

To top off your creation you can assign it a keyboard shortcut, so that you simply need to hit a keyboard sequence to run your automation, rather than locating it in the menu and running it.

This may sound crazy, but time is money, and if you run enough automations, the few seconds here and there slowly add up. Plus if you have a deadline to meet, those few seconds could mean meeting a deadline or missing it. Also, when you start building up your Automation Components in the menus, you may need to start scrolling long menus which takes time, or for that matter after a long day you may just select the wrong item! We don't want that now do we.

5.6.2 Automation Shortcuts

Automation Shortcuts are basically automation tasks which do not operate on any selection. You may ask why this is useful? Well it is here for completeness, as well as being a convenient location to hold things you may wish to run to perform tasks for you.

NetFinder pre-installs one component here, which simply takes a screen shot of your desktop and names the screen shot and puts it on your Desktop. This is a very basic example of its usage.

It should be noted that items in this menu will be run as if they were double clicked in the Finder. Thus the items can be Automation applications, Applications (or aliases to the Application), AppleScripts, basically whatever you imagination brings to mind.

Alternative more useful ideas could be: The above ideas may be especially useful when you attach a keyboard shortcut to them.

5.6.3 Process Selection

Automation components located in the "Process Selection" submenu are specifically designed to obtain a copy of the selected items, then run an automation task on it. When the automation task is complete, the copy is discarded.

One example which NetFinder pre-installs for you, is the ability to process a selection of images/photos from a server. Upon completion of the automation task, a PDF with a summary of the photos will be tiled in multiple pages of a PDF. In this example, you can see why we have no need for the original files.

Alternative more useful ideas could be:

5.6.4 Process Selection then Re-Upload [1-1]

Automation components located in the "Process Selection then Re-Upload [1-1]" submenu are designed to download the selected items, have the automation operate on the files, specifically update the individual files, then upload the files back to the server REPLACING the originals.

One example which NetFinder pre-installs for you, is the ability to process a selection of images/photos from a server. Upon completion of the automation task, each file is scaled down to 200x200, kind of like a thumbnail size photo. Your original files WILL BE OVERWRITTEN! This automation component may be used in the following way: use NetFinder's Duplicate feature on a folder of images, rename the duplicated folder of images to say "thumbnails", then run the "[NF] Scale Images To 200x200" automation component on the items in the thumbnails folder.

Alternative more useful ideas could be: NOTE: Changing the original document may not always be favorable. In these instances, you can always Duplicate the file/folder before operating on it. Depending on what you use it for, it is kind of like having templates in your email program, namely duplicate apply automation to get a new file.

5.6.5 Process Selection then Re-Upload [N-1]

Automation components located in the "Process Selection then Re-Upload [N-1]" submenu are designed to download the selected items, have the automation process the files and create a new result file which is then uploaded back to the server.

NetFinder has many pre-installed components in this sub-menu. See Preference Folders Explained for a screen shot illustrating all the pre-installed components. In summary, NetFinder installs a number of components that compress a selection in to a number of formats (zip, tar.gz, tar.bz2), encodes/decodes to and from a number of formats (MacBinary, binhex, base64, uu) and also has sample components that create summaries of images in PDF format and creates a folder of thumbnails of images.

Automation components in this category have special requirements, namely the resultant file name must have extension ".netfinderResult" to inform NetFinder to upload it back to the server. For more advanced topics see the "Technical Details For Power Users" section.

Alternative more useful ideas could be: The possibilities are endless. No doubt, we have only grazed the surface of what is possible.

5.6.6 Organize Automation Components

Use this menu item to reveal in the Finder the folder containing the installed NetFinder Automation Components. From here you can install, remove, rename, re-arrange and assign keyboard shortcuts to your many automation components.

This command can be located in the Tools menu.

5.6.7 Refresh Automation Components

Use this menu item to refresh the NetFinder Automation Components submenus after you have organized them.

This command can be located in the Tools menu when you press the option (alt) key down.

5.6.8 Technical Details For Power Users

Parameters passed to Automation Components:

This is really only useful for script writers, or power users that want to write native code executables.

OSX 10.4: For every file that is required to have the automation run on it, every items full path is passed to the automation component.

OSX 10.5: For every file that is required to have the automation run on it, a single full path to the parent of all the objects is passed to the automation component.

It should be noted that all files that are to be processed are downloaded to a temporary folder, after they are processed, the temporary folder is then deleted.

Filename extension requirement for "Process Selection then Re-Upload [N-1]" Components:

In order for NetFinder to upload a resultant file, it must know which file it is. NetFinder does this by expecting the resultant file to have a special extension, namely ".netfinderResult".

Other tips and useful information include:

5.7 Mirroring and Syncing

5.7.1 An Introduction

The mirroring/syncing capabilities of NetFinder is another powerful and very customizable feature of the product. With the ability to mirror a local folder to a remote server, or to mirror a remote folder to a local folder, or the more advanced synchronization of a remote and local folder by merging their contents, NetFinder has a solution for just about everyones needs.

The mirroring capabilities available are not just limited to the traditional compare this with that and then mirror. You are given the power to decide what you want to do with many options, including mirroring by Name Only, Name and Size or Name and Size and Date. Similarly you have the option to decide what you wish to do about extra items, or whether to mirror items with a label, or even use our special Mirror Place Holders.

You want more? NetFinder even offers a detailed report of a mirroring operation when you are complete, so you know exactly what has be uploaded, downloaded, skipped and even deleted. To top this off, you even have the ability to have a Simulation Run of your mirroring/sync request so you can get an idea of what will be performed beforehand, just to give you that added piece of mind that everything will go as planned. These two features work perfectly together, and once you have used it, you can't do without it.

But there's more! People who use NetFinder, know that mirroring is a serious job, and it is not something you do as a one off. So to help with your mirroring needs, NetFinder offers a powerful bookmarking system for all your mirroring tasks. Like the standard Bookmarking Lists available in NetFinder, you have the ability to label your mirror bookmarks, add comments to each entry and order them in any hierarchical manner you like. This is especially useful if you manage many accounts for clients or if you have many sites/folders to maintain. Like with all listing windows in NetFinder, you can also search/filter your lists to quickly locate an entry.

If you believe mirroring will be useful to you, be sure to read the following sections to get a better insight into all the capabilities NetFinder has to offer.

5.7.2 Mirror Bookmark List

The Mirror/Sync Bookmark List is where everything starts. To create a new Mirror/Sync List, select the menu File > New Mirror/Sync List, or use the keyboard shortcut command-control-2. Due to the complexities with certain types of mirroring/syncing operations, NetFinder needs to maintain information specific to a mirroring configuration. As a result, we recommend you always save your configurations to disk, otherwise you may end up mirroring files you did not need to mirror.

NetFinder's Mirror List offers the basic set of information regarding your various mirroring configurations, specifically designed to not confuse you too much. For detailed information, you simply need to Get Info on an entry. The standard mirror list display will show you the entry name, the remote server URL including the remote path, the local path to a folder on your Hard Disk, and attributes like label and comments to help you manage your bookmarks better.

Additional things you are able to with a Mirror Bookmark List are:

5.7.3 Mirror Get Info

Below is the Info window which is used to configure your mirror/sync configuration entry. What follows is a detailed description of how to use this window. Mirroring/Syncing works with most protocols available in NetFinder, however some protocols do not support uploading, so your limited in those cases.

Mirror Get Info

Generic instructions:

Step 1: create new mirror list and new mirror item Step 2: give the new item a name in the topmost field Step 3: enter the remote host/path details (URL) of the directory you wish to specify as the "Remote" setting. Step 4: enter a local folder to configure as your "Local" setting in the Local Folder field by using the Browse button. Step 5: specify the Sync Direction you wish NetFinder to use. This essentially tells NetFinder if you wish to mirror a folder from a local folder to a remote folder, or if you wish to mirror a remote folder to a local folder, or if you wish to use the advanced synchronization of a remote folder and a local folder by merging both folder contents. Step 6: select how NetFinder decides which files/folders to mirror Step 7: select whether NetFinder deletes orphan objects Step 8: set the Don't Upload Local Objects Labelled option.

Special stuff:



When and how to use the upload mirroring feature of NetFinder:

Scenario #1: simple more-or-less static site

Scenario #2: moderately complex site built using professional tools

Scenario #3: very dynamic site built using professional tools

NOTE: The above scenarios are only one of a possible many recommended ways of doing things. It may by no means be the best setup for your specific setup. We recommend you play with the options and use Simulation Run (see below) a number of times when editing files to see which combination of settings works best for you.

Reports and Simulation Run:

Seeing as mirroring/syncing is a complex task, everyone would like to know if a mirroring operation will do what they expect, or just to get a report for your own records.

To assist in this need, NetFinder offers the ability to perform a Simulation Run of a mirror/sync task without actually touching (upload/download/deleteing) anything. Instead NetFinder will display a report (if you enabled that option) which it will present to you indicating what it will do if the mirror/sync operation were to be run. If however you did not enable the Generate Report option however you do have "Growl" installed (for visual notifications) when running a Simulation Run, then NetFinder will give you a summary of what it would have performed as a Growl notification.

For more details as to the report you would see if Generate Report is enabled, see the section Mirror Reports below.

NOTE: When performing a Simulation Run, the number of files reported to be say uploaded or downloaded etc may differ from the actual reported value. There is no need to be alarmed, as this can quite correctly be the case if you need to operate on a folder. However because it's a simulation, you only know you are uploading a folder and are not given all the details of the contents of the folder.

Additional Items To Configure:

The following is a list of additional attributes you can configure on a per mirror configuration basis:

5.7.4 Mirror Reports

Mirror Reports are a professional way to analyze and document what was performed during a mirror/sync run (whether a Live Run or a Simulation Run).

In true NetFinder fashion, Mirror Reports not only bring you useful information, but it also offers the information in a way using technology which allows you to hide and show details, while also being able to print the reports or even save them to PDF in a high quality format which just looks beautiful.

The standard Mirror Report Window you will see in NetFinder is as follows:

Mirror Report - Show All

As you can see there are a number of options at the top of the report allowing you to Show All, or Hide various parts of the report. These options, when pressed will dynamically change the view to show you the relevant parts of the report. The following diagram illustrates what you would see if you hide all the Skipped Items.

Mirror Report - Filtered

Additionally the report also details information like when the mirror/sync was performed, specifically when the report was generated. Some basic details as to what the user is mirroring, that is to say the source and destination folders, we well as the sync direction.

The Mirror Report is quite self explanatory, however the following are some tips which may be useful but are less obvious. Pressing the "Open in Safari" button at the bottom left of your report window, your report will be opened in Safari and offer the following benefits:

5.7.5 Quick Sync

NetFinder's mirroring capabilities are for some people too advanced and thus too complex to setup. To accommodate for this complexity, NetFinder offers a one step ability to get you started on your mirroring quest. Introducing the "Quick Sync" menu which can be found under the "Tools" menu in the Menubar at the top of your screen.

When you have a remote server listing window open, and you wish to create a mirror/sync configuration with a specific folder, you would usually have to do a number of things before you edit the options and then run the sync operation.

With Quick Sync, NetFinder will automatically:

All that is left for you to:

As you can see, you have all the power of NetFinder's mirroring system at your fingertips in one easy step.

5.8 Metadata

Metadata is also commonly known as "data about data", or attributes associated with data (a file), it is the data describing context, content and structure of records and their management through time. The most common metadata of say a file is its name, filesize, kind, modified date etc.

On top of the usual metadata you get from files and folders, NetFinder goes ones step further and adds metadata attributes commonly used in OSX to everything it can get its hands on, because we believe it should be transparent to the user, and its a great feature/attribute that everything should have.

5.8.1 Labels

The Label metadata defines a color and name associated with an object. The label color is fixed and cannot be altered, where as the name of the label you see in the Label Menu can be configured.

The reason why you cannot change the label color is because there needs to be something constant between computers, and OSX has defined this to be the color of a label. There are 7 label ID's or 8 if you include none, by fixing a color with a specific ID between computers, no ambiguity can exist. To illustrate why this is important, consider the following. If for example you were to have a "red" color label which you decided to call "URGENT" assigned to label ID 1, but another user on another computer configured their computer to have "blue" as "LOW PRIORITY" for label ID 1, then there will be no way for both parties to know what is what. If however both parties see the label color as say red, then at least there is something constant.

The name of the label however can be customized to anything we like, in any language you like, since each person is an individual with individual tastes and thinking. To configure the label names, simply go to the Finder and edit the preferences from the menu Finder > Preferences. Switch to the Labels section and enter whatever you like into the label names.

NOTE: If you change the names in the Finder, you will need to restart NetFinder before the names in the Label menu (and other places) are updated.

The need for an unambiguous label is critical if NetFinder's Mirroring Configuration is to work across machines, specifically when you select not to mirror items labelled a certain label.

Where can Labels be used?

We believe labels are such a great concept, NetFinder has chosen to adopt it everywhere and for everything! When we say everything we really mean everything. You can label your NetFinder Bookmark List items, your NetFinder Mirror List items, and best of all any file or folder on a remote server! Yes that is correct, you heard right, you can even label remote objects in your NetFinder listing window.

It should be noted that unlike the Finder, labels for remote listing are stored on a per login basis. So each login user can have a different labels for items. This may seem like a strange concept, but we believe that there are situations where you might demonstrate something to a client and you login as the client, and you have an item labelled "NEW" or "UPDATED", however in your master account, you may label them as "COMPLETED" or "In Progress". Examples of per user attributes is more apparent in the next section when you can add comments, rather than a simple label.

Labels are stored on your local machine in the NetFinder preferences folder and not as some hidden file scattered all over your server so you can use them without worry. See Preference Folder Explained for more details.

To change the label for a selected item, you can: NOTE: For anonymous FTP sites, labels are shared with all other anonymous users who login.


The Comments metadata is a string of text you can associate with an object. Just like in the Finder, you can assign a string to a file/folder to add additional information to it.

Where can Comments be added?

We believe the comments attribute is such a great concept, NetFinder has chosen to adopt it everywhere and for everything! When we say everything we really mean everything. You can add comments to your NetFinder Bookmark List items, your NetFinder Mirror List items, and best of all any file or folder on a remote server! Yes that is correct, you heard right, you can even add comments to remote objects in your NetFinder listing window.

It should be noted that unlike the Finder, comments for remote listing are stored on a per login basis. So each login user can have different comments for items. This may seem like a strange concept, but we believe that there are situations where you might demonstrate something to a client and you login as the client, and you have an item commented as "NEW Graphics" or "Fixed artwork", however in your master account, you may comment them as "Killer Concept Graphics Here" or "Essential - must get right for client". As you can see being able to have a comment in different contexts can be useful, and your personal comment which may stand out for you, may not be the one you wish to show a client.

Comments are stored on your local machine in the NetFinder preferences folder and not as some hidden file scattered all over your server so you can use them without worry. See Preference Folder Explained for more details.

To change the comment for a selected item, you can: NOTE: For anonymous FTP sites, comments are shared with all other anonymous users who login.

5.9 Miscellaneous Features

5.9.1 Compress

This command is only available for file:// protocol listing windows. Its purpose is to allow you to quickly zip compress a selected file or folder into an archive. Its functionality is similar to the Compress Menu (under 10.5) or Create Archive Menu (under 10.4) command in the Finder's File Menu. It is provided here for your convenience to perform the same task in a NetFinder window.

TIP: Did you know you can archive (using one of a number of formats) a selection of files/folders for other protocols like FTP, SFTP, WebDAV etc including the file protocol, right from a NetFinder listing window? Well you can, by using NetFinder Automation Components.

5.9.2 Reveal In Finder

This command is only available for file:// listing windows. Its purpose is to integrate better with the Finder. There are times when the Finder is able to perform certain tasks on selected items which NetFinder is unable to do. It is located in the File menu.

As an example of its usefulness, NetFinder is able to elegantly display the contents of folders (even recursively showing its contents), however it is also able to do powerful filtering on the list items using regular expressions, something the average user who uses the Finder will probably not do. Once you have filtered your files to your liking, you can then use the "Select All Filtered Items" command from the Edit menu. When you then select "Reveal In Finder" from the File menu, the Finder will then open all the parent windows of the selected items, then highlight the items in the Finder. You will now be able to do whatever you like with the items in the Finder.

5.9.3 Open With Finder

This command is only available for file:// listing windows. Its purpose is to integrate better with the Finder. It is located in the File menu.

When this command is selected, items selected in a NetFinder listing window (which represent something that the Finder can also view/list), will be opened by the Finder, as if a user were to double-click on the items. This includes launching applications, opening documents with the systems default editor for a specific type of file, etc.

5.9.4 Send Raw FTP Command

This command is only available for ftp:// listing windows. It is located in the Tools menu.

The purpose of this command is to accommodate for special situations when a server requires special commands to be sent to it to achieve a specific capability. These commands may be very customized and thus NetFinder will not know about all combinations of commands, hence it cannot support it natively. This may include authenticating with a proxy, or enabling a command on the server to say enable pre compressing files before downloading.

To use this command, simply select it from the Tools menu. You will be presented with a dialog which you can then enter your commands. When you click the Send button, your command will be sent. You can use to Transcript Window to see you command being sent, and the response from the server to see if your command was successful or not.

5.9.5 Create Bookmark on Desktop

This command is located in the Tools menu. There are situations where it is also available via the Contextual Menu in a listing window.

Use this command to create a self contained NetFinder Bookmark file (with extension .url) on your Desktop for the selected items in your NetFinder listing window. With these bookmark files, you can: TIP: An even easier way to create a bookmark file, which can also be in a location other than the Desktop, you simply have to drag the files/folders from your NetFinder listing window, then press and keep holding down the command-option (alt) keys, then find a folder (or the Desktop) in the Finder you wish to create the bookmark files, then release the mouse button.

5.9.6 Open in Terminal

Every protocol NetFinder supports has a number of strong points. Additionally, even if a protocol does support a specific feature, the server may not allow it for security reasons. If however, your server does support secure (encrypted) login access via ssh, and you are a confident user of running tasks via a command line (if you don't know what this means, then you probably don't want to use this command), then you can use this command to achieve tasks you are unable to do natively in NetFinder. This may include changing the owner or group of a file/folder, or setup some SQL DB things.

To use it, simply select a single folder in your remote server listing window in NetFinder, the run the command. What will happen afterwards is Terminal.app will open and you will be prompted to enter the password for the server. Once you are logged in you will be directed to the folder you selected in NetFinder, thus allowing you to do your work immediately.

This command is located in the Tools menu.

NOTE: This command will only work if your server supports SSH access for your account/username.

NOTE: Due to security reasons, we currently do not automatically log you into your account if your account details are stored in the Keychain manager. This may change in the future. Alternatives if you insist on not wanting to enter your password can be achieved if you have a smartcard device installed, or if you configure a public/private key in your ssh configuration on your system (your server will also need configuring)

5.9.7 Create Droplet For Directory

Droplets are a really simple way to define a "virtual drop box". Specifically when you drag and drop files/folders onto a droplet from the Finder, NetFinder will be instructed to upload the dropped files/folders to a specific folder on a server. This command is located in the Tools menu. Some advantages of this are:

To create a droplet, simply open a remote listing window in NetFinder, select a folder you wish for the files/folders to be uploaded to, then select the "Create Droplet For Selected Directory" command from the Tools menu. You will be then asked to pick a location to save the new droplet (of course you can give it a new name too), click "Save" and your new droplet will be created.

TIP: To create a droplet for the listing window itself, press the option (alt) key down when you click on the Tools menu, you will see the command "Create Droplet For Selected Directory" change to "Create Droplet For Listing Window".

NOTE: If you are creating a droplet for someone else, be sure to login as that user before creating your droplet, otherwise your droplet will be created with your username, which you may not wish to do as it involves giving your password away to them.

5.9.8 Quick Look Previewing

Quick Look is a technology available in MacOSX 10.5 and higher. It is designed to allow the user to get a thumbnail and/or a more detailed preview of a single file or a selection of files. Like the Finder in MacOSX 10.5, NetFinder also allows you to view the selection as a slideshow, optionally in full screen mode, or as a tiled view like the figure below.
QuickLook in Action

NetFinder also supports for the file:// protocol quicklook generated icons for items you see in your listing window (as seen above), thus allowing you to easily identify files.

Although this is a really nice feature to have, it does come at a price. It consumes more memory and requires your computer to do more work. As a result, some users may decide to disable quicklook icons. You can do this via the Display Preferences Pane.
QuickLook NetFinder bookmark QuickLook NetFinder bookmark list

As a good citizen of MacOSX 10.5, NetFinder supports Quick Look previews of our own files too. Above is an example of what you will get if you Quick Look a NetFinder Bookmark file (.nfurl) or a NetFinder Bookmark Collection file (.nfbk). As you can see, this can really be useful when you want to quickly see what the bookmark files contain without having to open the file in NetFinder.

As a nice touch, for bookmark collections, you are even given a pad lock icon next to entries which are secure server connections.

Other things of interest are:

5.9.9 Address Book Integration

Most of us save friends and client information as Address Book entries using Apple's Address Book application. Often friends, but more generally clients have servers that need to be connected to. It only seems logical to have server and login details saved with other information specific to a client. This way all the information is centralized and not scattered all over the place, as bookmarks for one or more applications. For people who do organize their server information like this, NetFinder becomes a perfect companion, as it is able to extract all the specified servers (URL's) and make them available to you straight in NetFinder, as seen below.

For those that wish to adopt this way of organizing your data (and there are more benefits to be discussed later), you simply need to do the following:

Open the Address Book application (/Applications/Address Book.app), and add a new entry (File > New Card):
Address Book entered URL data

To add a new server to your entry, select from the Address Book menu:

Card > Add Field > URL

You can then select from the default list of names ("home page", "home", "work"), or you can give it a custom name (eg "corporate web") using the "Custom..." menu. See picture below.

Address Book add URL

You then enter the URL of the server in the field to the right of the newly added field. Or to make it simple for you, enter the details in a New Connection window in NetFinder, then drag the URL field into the URL field in Address Book, and instantly you have it entered for you.

TIP: An even easier way is to connect to your server, and drag a folder or the icon in the window title of your listing window, and drag it into the URL field in Address Book. It's that easy!

Once you are done adding your servers to your Address Book, you simply go back to NetFinder, and click in the Menu seen below, and magically all your servers appear.
Address Book URL's shown in NetFinder

To connect to a server from the Address Book menu, take the following steps:

  1. Select a server from the Address Book menu under the File menu or from the Dock menu.
  2. Once selected, a New Connection window will appear with all the fields that can be pre-populated filled in for you.
  3. You are then given the option to enter a username and password, if they are not already in there. If you save your password using the Keychain, you probably will not need to enter anything in this step.
  4. Click on the connect button, and you are done.

As mentioned above, there are other benefits in centralizing all your information in Address Book, and two of them are:

Address Book synced/shared data with other machines

5.9.10 Bonjour Support

Bonjour is a really amazing technology. It allows servers/services on other machines "around you" to broadcast their presence. What this means is that for the servers which do broadcast their presence, you no longer need to remember the server name or the IP address (eg when connecting to a server. You may be asking yourself, "but that is what bookmarks are for", which is true, however bonjour is dynamic, and only shows the server if it is up and running. If the machine is turned off or the service is stopped, then you will not see it in the Bonjour menu.

NetFinder's support for Bonjour, lists the available servers in the Bonjour menu seen below. This menu is also available via the Dock menu when you click on the NetFinder application icon when the application is running.

Auto show servers via Bonjour

To connect to a server from the Bonjour menu, take the following steps:

  1. Select a server/service from the Bonjour menu under the File menu or from the Dock menu.
  2. Once selected, a New Connection window will appear with all the fields that can be pre-populated filled in for you.
  3. You are then given the option to enter a username and password.
  4. Click on the connect button, and you are done.

5.9.11 Go Menu - Where it all begins

The Go Menu is almost identical to the Finder's Go Menu.

Go menu, and what it offers

It provides a number of useful features:

5.9.12 Finder Contextual Menu

The Finder Contextual Menu support is yet another way NetFinder interoperates well with the Operating System, giving the user greater functionality at your finder tips straight from the Finder.

In order to begin using this new functionality, you will need to install the plugin from the NetFinder Action Preferences Pane. Once installed, you will see some of the capabilities seen in the picture below when you next right-click (control-click) on one or more files/folders in the Finder.

Finder Contextual Menu
The capabilities you will obtain are:

5.9.13 Service Menu - Service with a smile

The service menu is a means by which applications like NetFinder are able to process incoming data and publish outgoing data to and from other applications.

Let us begin by first looking at NetFinder's publishing data capabilities. On occasions you may need to generate a report of files that you have uploaded or edited in some way. This report may need to be emailed to someone. NetFinder provides a simple way to generate such reports. Simply select the items in a NetFinder listing window you wish to report on, this also includes listings that are displayed hierarchically (like the picture below), then select the "Send Selection" command as seen below.

NetFinder services menu

After selecting this command, the result is to send the "selection" to Mail.app. Mail then extracts the information NetFinder publishes and creates a new email with the body of text replaced with the data NetFinder provided. From the picture below, you can see that NetFinder publishes a nicely formatted table reporting on the files you selected.

NetFinder services with Mail.app

NetFinder also accepts data for processing from other applications. You can find these services from the submenu:

Services > NetFinder

In here you will find the following commands:

5.9.14 Spotlight Support

Spotlight is a technology built into the operating system allowing users to search for files by content context or by filename. In order to search by content, applications must provide a plugin to the operating system to support their own documents. NetFinder provides such a plugin, allowing users to search for bookmarks and bookmark lists easily no matter where they are located on your computer.

The following is a picture of Spotlight locating a bookmark under MacOSX 10.4. It also shows attributes from the content of the bookmark allowing the user to confirm it is the file you are actually looking for without having to open the file in NetFinder.

Spotlight OSX 10.4
Below is a picture of the Get Info window you will see via the OSX Finder. Again, it also shows attributes from the content of the bookmark allowing the user to confirm it is the file you are actually looking for without having to open the file in NetFinder.

Spotlight OSX 10.5

5.10 Bookmark Lists

5.10.1 An Introduction

The bookmark list capability of NetFinder is key feature which makes managing login accounts for multiple servers with multiple login accounts, or even identical accounts for different parts of the remote file system, easily manageable. It can easily manage bookmarks of sites in a flat list, to the highly organized individual that likes to order things in the deepest of hierarchies. eg Work > Clients > Client A > Product B

In addition to just storing and organizing your bookmarks, you can also given the ability to add additional attributes to help you organize and locate bookmarks that much easier. Specifically you are able to label your bookmark entries, as well as add comments to each entry. This is especially useful if you manage many accounts for clients or if you have many sites/folders to maintain. Like with all listing windows in NetFinder, you can also search/filter your lists to quickly locate an entry.

5.10.2 Bookmark List Window

The Bookmark List is the start of where you bring some sanity to organizing your life with bookmarks in NetFinder. To create a new Bookmark List, select the menu File > New Bookmark List, or use the keyboard shortcut command-control-1.

NetFinder's Bookmark List offers the basic set of information regarding your various bookmark entries, specifically designed to not confuse you too much. For detailed information, you simply need to Get Info on an entry. The standard bookmark list display will show you the entry name, the remote server URL including the remote path, and attributes like label and comments to help you manage your bookmarks better.

Additional things you are able to with a Bookmark List are:

NOTE: Bookmarks can be made for files and folders from the listing window. Each however perform two entirely different functions when you open them. A bookmark of a directory/folder will cause NetFinder to display that directory's contents in a listing window. A bookmark of a file will cause NetFinder to start downloading that file.

5.10.3 Bookmark Get Info

The Bookmark Get Info window seen below, is how you edit your individual bookmark entries.

To get this info window, select the items you wish to edit in your Bookmark List window, then simply use the menu File > Get Info. Or use the keyboard shortcut command-I.

Bookmark Get Info
The Bookmark Info window may look very familiar to you, as it is essentially what you see in a New Connection window. The difference being the additional attributes you can assign to the bookmark entry, namely Bookmark Name field (at the very top), Label and Comments field (at the bottom). The name is whatever you would like to define. The comments field allows you to add information which you may not wish to add to the entry name field, for example a contact email or phone number. Similarly if you are a more visual person, you can simply color code your bookmarks using the label popup menu. The Lock checkbox simply locks off the fields preventing you from accidentally editing the configuration.

Like the new connection window, you also have buttons that control Keychain Manager support. Use these to securely store/restore your username/password. If you do not want a bookmark entry to save/restore your password via the Keychain Manager, simply turn off the "add key" icon button. When you double click this entry in the future, you will be prompted for a password. This can be handy if you bring your bookmark list files with you on USB key, and do not wish to save the username/passwords onto another persons machine.

Other settings in the Advanced Options are also defined on a per bookmark entry basis. For more details on their purpose see the New Connection window section.

5.10.4 Importing Bookmarks

NetFinder 3 has a completely new bookmark format to accommodate for the ever growing needs of the application. This new format should last for many years to come, so as to not inconvenience users again in the future.

For users of NetFinder 2.x, simply double click, or drag the bookmark list onto the NetFinder 3 application and your bookmark list will be opened. When you next save, your bookmark list will be upgraded to the new format.

NOTE: Once you have upgraded the format, it cannot be opened again in NetFinder 2.x. If this is not what you want, then please make a copy of the NetFinder Bookmark list before you open it in NetFinder 3.

For your added convenience, NetFinder 3 is also able to import bookmarks/favorites/shortcut from the following 3rd party applications: If you would like to see other applications added to this list, please email us, and we will see what we can do.

5.11 Shortcuts Menu

The Shortcuts Menu is used to add/organize a collection of objects to be displayed in this menu for easy access.

Shortcuts can be just about anything, including (but not limited to) Bookmarks (for FTP, HTTP and FILE protocols), Bookmark Lists, Mirror Lists, Finder aliases to any of these files can also be used so they can be easily re-opened when you close the window. You can also include items or aliases to items on your hard disk, including scripts, aliases to applications, etc.

The advantage of creating items in this menu, is that not only can you easily access these items, you can assign command key shortcuts (of your choice) to these items, thus making often used items even easier to access and also improves productivity. For more information regarding assigning command key shortcuts to these items see section Customize Command Key Shortcuts.

When you select an item from the Shortcuts Menu, NetFinder will open it intelligently based on the type of item you selected. This allows you to quickly access items you often use from a single menu.

You can also organize your shortcuts in folders. NetFinder loads all the items hierarchically in the Shortcuts menu as you have defined it on your Hard Disk.

When NetFinder first runs on your machine, it pre-installs a number of items in the Shortcuts menu.

5.12 Scripts Menu

NetFinder supports a number of scripting languages out of the box. Each scripting language has its benefits. The Script Menu (shown as a Script Icon), is the place where you can place all the scripts and have NetFinder easily list and run them.

You can organize your scripts in a hierarchical manner, but the best thing is you can assign keyboard shortcuts to items which you use most regularly. For more information regarding assigning command key shortcuts to these items see section Customize Command Key Shortcuts.

When you select an item from the Scripts Menu, NetFinder will open/run it intelligently based on the type of item you selected. This allows you to quickly access items you often use from a single menu.

When NetFinder first runs on your machine, it pre-installs a number of items in the Scripts menu.

Specific Scripting languages supported by NetFinder are as follows:

5.13 Miscellaneous Windows

5.13.1 Transcript Window

The transcript window records all messages sent to and from all the FTP (and other protocols when applicable) servers that NetFinder "talks" to. It is generally not useful for most people. It is often only used when things don't go as expected and you need to work out why, or perhaps to see messages that the server wishes to inform the user of, such as "Too many users currently logged in, try again later."

The contents of the transcript window can be copied and pasted into another text window or an email if needed for support purposes. It should be noted that for memory purposes only, NetFinder only maintains a limited history of the transcript in the window. Thus when the transcript gets too long, the start of the transcript is deleted from the window. The transcript log file, however, always contains the entire transcript since when it was activated.

To enable logging the transcript to disk, turn on the option "Log transcript to disk" in the Connections Pane in the NetFinder Preferences window. This will save the transcript to a file called "NetFinder Transcript.log" located in the "~/Library/Logs/" folder.

To toggle between showing and hiding the Transcript window, use the "Show Transcript" menu commands in the Windows menu. You can also click its close box to hide it. When the window is hidden, the transcript will continue to be logged.

5.13.2 Transfer Log Window

The Transfer Log Window gives a history of what files/folders have been uploaded or downloaded. It records the time and file that was uploaded or downloaded.

The contents of the Transfer Log Window can be copied and pasted into another text editor if required. It should be noted that for memory purposes only, NetFinder only maintains a limited history of the transfers in the window. Thus when the number of entries gets too long, the start of the log is deleted from the window. The transfer log file, however, always contains the entire log since when it was activated.

To enable logging the transfers to disk, turn on the option "Log all transfers to disk" in the Connections Pane in the NetFinder Preferences window. This will save the log to a file called "NetFinder Transfers.log" located in the "~/Library/Logs/" folder.

To toggle between showing and hiding the Transfer Log window, use the "Show Transfer Log" menu commands in the Windows menu. You can also click its close box to hide it. When the window is hidden, the transcript will continue to be logged.

5.13.3 Messages Log Window

The Messages Log Window is use by NetFinder when it needs to relay messages/errors to you when they occur. It uses a nice running message log window rather than a alert which will block the application until the user acknowledges the message.

With this kind of message logging system, NetFinder is able to proceed with other tasks at hand without the worry of having an alert popup requiring a human to click on an alert message before continuing on.

This is exceptionally useful when running multiple uploads/downloads, mirroring tasks or even automation tasks at once. Something which you are likely to do when you want to take advantage of the power of NetFinder and a multi-core CPU computer at your disposal.

5.14 Useful Information

Some of the information detailed here can be considered for "Power Users", it may expect you have a reasonable knowledge of understanding.

5.14.1 Regexp For Power Users

Regexp stands for Regular Expressions. It is a well defined way to express a pattern.

NetFinder uses the PCRE engine for its regexp implementation. For full details of what the PCRE engine can support go to:


Then use the Find command to locate the section "PCRE REGULAR EXPRESSION DETAILS".

For a basic understanding of what regular expressions can do for you, the following information will be sufficient:

Some basic RegExp rules are:
Some examples (everything inside the quotes):

5.14.2 AppleScript Support

NetFinder has an extensive AppleScript Dictionary. Extensive enough for us to not document it here. To read the details of what NetFinder is capable of doing, open NetFinder in ScriptEditor to see the rich set of capabilities you can perform with NetFinder.

To give you an idea of the commands you can perform, it ranges from the basic "GURL" or "open location" command to an entire suite of commands that allows you to create a session of any protocol NetFinder supports, then with this session you can get listings, upload, download, rename, move etc etc

5.14.3 Customizing Speech and Sound

If you use NetFinder's Speech/Sound feedback, and you would much prefer to change it to something you like, for one reason or another, then you can. All you need to do is edit the sound set located inside the NetFinder application package. (NetFinder.app/Contents/Resources/SoundSets/) To open the NetFinder package, simply right-click on the NetFinder application in the Finder, and select "Show Package Contents".

NOTE: You may wish to make a backup copy in case you edited the file wrongly. If NetFinder cannot load the sound set correctly, then you will end up with no sound/speech feedback at all!

There is currently only one "sound set" named "Default.nfSoundSet". Inside it, you will find a file named "Configuration.plist". This file can be edited in a text editor like TextEdit.app. Simply change the text in the quotes (ie strings between the '"' characters) to the appropriate value you wish. Generally the string is a sentence you want NetFinder to speak for the specific configuration, or the name of a audio sound file to play. For audio files to be played the name entered must start with "audio_". The Configuration.plist has some pre-defined settings, so you will understand it reasonably quickly. If you use an audio file (format should be .wav), the file must also be copied to the folder named "Sounds" next to the Configuration.plist file, otherwise NetFinder will not know where to locate your audio file, and no feedback will be played.

Once you have finished editing the file, save your changes, restart NetFinder, an then enjoy your new sound/speech feedback.

5.14.4 Server List Parser Plugins

Server plugins allow you to create a custom plugin for an FTP server that may be very basic in functionality yet complex enough that no FTP client can parse the listing.

Examples of this can range from custom written FTP servers running on computers to FTP servers written for PLC cards.

A number of built-in plugins are provided in the NetFinder application package (NetFinder.app/Contents/Resources/List Parser Modules/), which you can use to study. The plugins must have an extension of ".listParser".
If you can make sense of them, then you can start writing a plugin yourself, otherwise mail us and we will help you get your plugin working.

NOTE: Your plugins should not be saved in the same location as the built-in plugins, as they will be lost when you next upgrade NetFinder.

Your custom server plugins should be store in the NetFinder preferences folder. "~/Library/Preferences/NetFinder 3/List Parser Modules/".

Plugins that fail to load, will be renamed with a leading '?', and the cause of the error will be appended to the end of the plugin contents.

5.14.5 Customize Command Key Shortcuts

To configure/change the command key shortcuts for special user loaded menus in NetFinder, including Automation Components, Shortcuts and Script Menu items, you simply have to add a special sequence of characters in your filename.

The most basic form of defining a keyboard shortcut is using the following rules in the following example:
 If "My HTML Pages URL\aocsP" is the filename of
 a Shortcut on disk. Then the menu item will be shown
 as "My HTML Pages URL" with the command key being 
 APPLE + OPTION + CONTROL + SHIFT and the letter "P"

   \ = command/modifier key sequence begin tag
   a = Apple Key Modifier
   o = Option Key Modifier
   c = Control Key Modifier
   s = Shift Key Modifier
   P = command key to use, in this case the letter 'P'.
NOTE: the order of modifiers is important.

NOTE: For files that require an extension, eg .app, .command, .ici, .rb etc, the extension still remains at the end of the filename. For example:

For more advanced users, you can also do the following:

So, as you can see with the above capabilities, the power is back in your hands to do anything you like!

You can now add anything into your Shortcuts Menu, Automation Components Menu or Scripts Menu, and get carried away defining keyboard shortcuts for it. Executing tasks has never been so easy, and you don't have to buy a third party product to do it.

NOTE: Unfortunately there is only one downside to adding keyboard shortcuts, you have to think of a keyboard shortcut that is currently not used. If you don't, you will either disable the original menu which had that keyboard shortcut, or your keyboard shortcut will not appear as something else is using it.
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