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FTP User Interface and User Commands
(Page 1 of 3)
The FTP protocol
command set provides a rich, complete
set of instructions for implementing the File Transfer Protocol. A human
user could employ those commands to perform file transfer functions
directly with an FTP server. But to do this requires that the user have
an intimate knowledge of how FTP works. The user must know exactly which
commands to send at which time, and in what order.
FTP User Interface Benefits
Memorizing internal FTP commands
might be a reasonable assignment for an internetworking expert, but
not for a typical TCP/IP application user. For this reason, the FTP
protocol defines an additional protocol
component as part of the User-FTP Process:
the FTP user interface. It provides three main benefits to the
- User Friendliness: The FTP user interface
presents FTP to the human user in a way that is easier and simpler to
use than issuing protocol commands. Instead of requiring the knowledge
of all those four-letter codes, the user interface can allow functions
to be performed with more intuitive human-language commands. For example,
we can say get a file instead of knowing to use the command
- Customization: The command used to perform
a particular function can be customized based on common parlance in
the networking industry, without requiring changes to be made to the
FTP protocol itself. For example, the image transfer mode
is now also commonly called binary mode, so a user command
called binary has been created to set this mode.
- Detail Abstraction and Command Sequence Simplification: A
single user command can be made to issue multiple FTP protocol commands,
hiding internal FTP details and making the protocol easier to use. In
particular, commands that are related to the maintenance of the connection
and other overhead issues that users don't want to deal
with can be automated. For example, an FTP client normally issues a
PASV or PORT command prior to each data transfer. The
user interface can take care of issuing this command automatically prior
to a RETR or STOR command when a user tells FTP to get
or send a file.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
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