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I am after an FTP script to download all the files from an FTP server, then delete these files once complete, but leave files on the remote server if any were added during the download process, to be fetched during a later session.

Is it possible to achieve something like this using FTP scripts or do I need a different solution.

I was planning on using psftp.

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Can you post your script here? – wag2639 Jun 24 '10 at 22:33
I don't have anything yet, I was wondering if this sort of thing is possible with ftp scripting – benPearce Jun 24 '10 at 22:33
i've never done ftp scripting but it depends on what you're running the ftp script from. it shouldn't be that hard to write a batch/bash command to delete all the files you just download, assuming appropriate permissions – wag2639 Jun 24 '10 at 22:36
which OS are you running the script from? – wag2639 Jun 24 '10 at 22:54
This could get entertainingly Rube Goldberg-ian ... But it's do-able. I'll echo wag2639: what OS? – Adrien Jun 24 '10 at 23:37
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Based on Maxwell's answer to this question, I would probably do something along the lines of this pseudocode:

Use $favorite_scripting_language to gather the list of filenames to d/l then kill; write an output file named script.txt in the form:

cd /source/directory
lcd c:\target\directory
<<lather, rinse, repeat>>

then wrap it up with:

psftp.exe username@server -be -pw user_password -b c:\script.txt
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Thanks Adrien, I had already considered something like this. – benPearce Jun 25 '10 at 1:13

How about python? As a plus, it should work more or less unmodified on any OS. And the even bigger plus is that it is more flexible that using the other, more brittle, methods.

It would go something like this:

from ftplib import FTP
import os

ftp = FTP("server")
ftp.login("id", "passwd")

#copy every file as usual to local system
filelist = []
ftp.retrlines('LIST', filelist.append)
### the list filelist will have one element per file
### which you will have to cut up into the proper pieces
### among Python's installed files on your system is 
### the script Tools/scripts/ which has such code
### it starts at around line 140 (for python 2.6.1) 
### --- not very long but this margin is too small to contain it
### assume the file names are in dictionary filedict
### keys are filenames and values are file sizes
for fname in filedict.keys():
   localfname = os.path.join(localdir, fname) # set localdir to cwd or whatever
   lf = open(localfname , "wb")
   ftp.retrbinary('RETR ' + fname, lf.write)
#refresh remote directory listing into filedict2 as with previous filedict
for fname in filedict2.keys():
   if fname not in filedict:
       # new file since download started! ignore. it's for later
       if filedict[fname] == filedict2[fname]:
          # apparently we got a good copy so delete the file on ftp server
          # delete local file: remote was being uploaded or something
          os.unlink(os.path.join(localdir, fname))

You have to add error checking and other such stuff. The same could be accomplished with perl and it would probably look about the same.

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