I suggest you ...

FTP Uploading

We've all used the various uploaders that are available. And all of us have had an instance where an uploader doesn't work, or suddenly stops working, thereby disrupting our entire workflow.

Transferring files over the Internet isn't rocket science. In fact there's a special protocol for it--the File Transfer Protocol, or FTP for short. FTP is much more robust than http for sending files. It is cross-platform and supports almost every computing device out there, new and old. This way, the only time uploading stops working is when something is broken at SM, not when some code on a third party uploader needs updating. Exposure Manager has FTP uploading capability.

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    SamirSamir shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    northlincsnorthlincs shared a merged idea: Allow FTP  ·   · 
    Damon ThomasDamon Thomas shared a merged idea: File Transfer / Creating folders is horrible NEED resolution (FTP)  ·   · 

    158 comments

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      • aaronAdminaaron (Product Manager / DGrin Admin, SmugMug) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is all very good discussion. What I feel like I'm really hearing is that the request is for the ability to upload folders of images and have them upload as individual new galleries. It seems like that's the use-case at least.

        What if you could do that by dragging a bunch of folders into the web-browser and have it create galleries as required? You drop a bunch of folders into your web-browser, the uploader opens, and in the morning you get a bunch of galleries.

        That leads to a few questions:
        1) What settings do the galleries take on? Normally you create a gallery first so you can give it a title, description, set its privacy settings, display settings, etc.

        2) If the answer to #1 is some default settings, are you OK having to go in and individually manually edit the gallery settings for all the galleries that were created?

        3) How would Folders that contain sub-folders AND images be created? On SmugMug folders cannot contain images (only galleries can). Should we create a gallery inside that folder with the same name as the folder and put the images in there? Ex: You upload a folder "Nature" that has photos and a sub-folder "Landscapes". On SmugMug a folder called "Nature" would be created as well as a gallery called "Nature" and a folder called "Landscapes".

      • RandyRandy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Ham, if you don't know why you would want to use FTP (or more likely SFTP), then just ignore this thread as it doesn't affect you. No one would ever force you to use FTP/SFTP. There's no call to denigrate those of us who do need it.

      • MBrownMBrown commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The web upload doesn't always work. FTP / secure FTP may be an old technology, but it's reliable. There are many clients for many operating systems.

        Can't believe that Smugmug still doesn't offer this as an option.

      • Wolfgang WeisselbergWolfgang Weisselberg commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Ham McSquirly,

        not everyone has your workflow.

        For automated uploading --- e.g. because 'very many photos to many different galleries' or because 'multi-month time lapse project with an autonomous camera' --- Lightroom, Aperture, ... nor the web browser are a good idea. How do you automate that properly ... as in, does *everything* and *every step* in the upload process?

        When your internet sometimes breaks, you probably want to resume uploading ... without having to sit all night in front of your computer.

        Ancient technology isn't bad because it is ancient. I shall just point out that practically all lenses use polished spherical glass elements. Which are way way way older than FTP. Shouldn't you petition the lens makers not to use them, and to use molded aspheric plastic elements instead, cause they are 'cooler' and 'more up to date'?

        Nobody says *you* need to ever touch FTP. But is that a reason that noone may have FTP? That is like saying "Most people use only mobile phone cameras. Let's stop building compact cameras, DSLRs, large format cameras, scanning backends, changeable lenses, RAW format, large sensors, external flashes, ... ... ... because I don't need them, they're ancient, and anyway, I have my cellular phone always with me, why would I want something larger, more expensive and heavier anyways? At that --- zoom lenses are not necessary either. My phone doesn't have them and I don't need them."

        Actually, with FTP it would take effort *not* to have bulk gallery downloads for the owner. Simply mget * in the right directory. And there's a fine option to go around: just click on every single image and download it.

        But I guess I don't need that --- I save all photos locally too and only upload from a single source for now, so SmugMug should concentrate on apps for Symbian S60 phones! (I happen to have such a thing, therefore ...)

        (Note: if you find irony in this posting, it's not the same as coppery or silvery.)

      • AdubobootAduboboot commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        In answer to Ham McSquirly...

        I have Aperture, and in the case of regular uploading one album at a time, bit by bit as I go through the year... yes, you're right.

        Here's where FTP by far beats going through the program : when you have an entire library of TENS OF THOUSANDS of photos and videos to upload at once!
        Unfortunately the guys making these programs (Aperture, Lightroom...) don't think of the guy that just arrives and wants his entire library into SmugMug. At least if there is I haven't found it in Aperture. And to me, even a month of accumulated photos takes too long to do one by one, album by album.

        So that's where FTP comes in...
        1) OPEN FILEZILLA ONCE
        2) DRAG & DROP ALL FOLDERS
        3) Go to bed and let your computer upload all night... =) =)

        This is all great in principle...
        The only thing I have a gripe with is that usually FTP is not sophisticated enough in case of a crash to verify, correct and pick up where it left off. Then FTP can become a problem.
        But I've mostly had good luck and saved myself hours of work using...even paying the small sum to SmugFTP doesn't bother me because I know how much pain I'm avoiding!

      • Ham McSquirlyHam McSquirly commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Can someone explain to me why you would want to use an ancient piece of technology to upload photos? Why would I want to
        1) leave Lightroom/Photoshop/Bridge
        2) open an FTP program
        3) navigate through my file structure,
        4) and drag photos in,
        5) then go open a Web-Browser
        6) Load up my site and make sure everything is OK.

        When I could:
        1) Publish straight from Lightroom
        2) Open a web-browser
        3) Load my site and make sure everything is OK.

        Or
        1) Open my web-browser
        2) Go to my site and drag in the photos, upload straight from web
        3) Make sure everything is OK.

        With the Lightroom uploader, the great HTML5 uploader, or the number of other tools for uploading straight to SmugMug from Aperture or other applications, why would I want to use FTP? I think I'll save my 3 votes for something that doesn't actually have other options for getting around ... like more gallery styles or bulk gallery downloads or better yet, properly incorporating digital downloads into everything.

        No thanks.

      • SamirSamir commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Smugmug has been hard at work revamping a lot of what the service has to offer. Make your voice heard and vote for FTP.

      • EdaEda commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        In trial version now. If there is no possibility of uploading by FTP, won't purchase it, for sure. Well, there is, but not wanting to pay extra 50$ for the job.

        Bye Smugmug!

      • John OrttJohn Ortt commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Yet another +1 for this. I am losing count of how many files are failing to upload.

        This has already cost Smugmug a lot of users and I will be another if they don't sort it by my next renewal!

      • RandyRandy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I haven't tried SmugFTP because (1) I don't want to pay extra since I'm already paying SmugMug, and (2) I don't want to upload files to a third party (same reason I don't use DropBox or the like).

        I have written some Bash shell scripts that I run on the Unix side of my Mac, that upload multiple files. You tell the script all files you want to upload, then it uploads each of them one-by-one using the web API. I wrote the script to grab the IPTC data using the GraphicConverter interface, which means that it works for both pictures and videos. It's slow, and annoying that I have to resort to this.

      • AdubobootAduboboot commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Ah...I just saw the catch for SmugFTP... after 1 GB you have to pay... oh well, back to the drawing board =(

      • AdubobootAduboboot commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Wow, I'm so glad I found this post! Thank you because I found SmugFTP, and though I haven't tried it I think it will be exactly what I'm looking for and what you all are talking about.

        This may not be exactly the topic, but...honestly, I've been looking everywhere for weeks, downloading apps, writing posts in Digital Grin about batch uploading... nobody answers and I couldn't find any solutions...

        I just can't believe that something so basic as uploading your library (especially when you first arrive at SM and have 1000+ albums to upload!) could be made such a complicated thing, through plugs into iPhoto and Aperture that don't really work are too complicated and take too long, or MacDaddy that had no sorting options and doesn't work anymore anyways, or Star Explorer that only works on Windows and doesn't work anymore either... and the guys from SM just push you off to their "third party" page http://help.smugmug.com/customer/portal/articles/84267 ! Are they always so unspecific and brusk?

        Anyways, I looked and nothing seems to work for a Mac computer wanting to do multiple-gallery uploads

        Can anyone explain to me, who is new to SM, how you can sell people on their wonderful UNLIMITED PHOTOS AND VIDEOS, make them pay, and then when they start looking for ways to upload their library they find out they can only do it... one by one ?! Are any of them photographers? And how many pro and amateur photographers have been uploading albums one by one and for how many years?! This is truly mind-boggling for me.

        I understand what one of you said about them being afraid for their disk space, but that doesn't excuse them making this so complicated for their clients. Having said that, let me say that everything else is great. But this is such a deficiency that it discredits them... and I nearly said "ciao".

        So anyways, I'm hoping SmugFTP will do the job - thanks Wong Liang Zan !

      • SamirSamir commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Slava
        smugftp.com is an option for those that want FTP uploading now. It's written by an independent developer that I worked with personally to debug. But smugftp isn't native on SM, so there are actually two uploads--one from you to smugftp, and then smugftp to SM. If FTP was native at SM, it would be so much faster!

        @Seahorse
        This is exactly how Exposure Manager implemented their FTP uploading. You would upload to ftp, then in your control panel you can see what you uploaded and transfer that to albums--easy peasy.

        smugftp.com has a similar implementation, except that it automatically transfers to a gallery. But smugftp still isn't native like EM's implementation.

        @Fernando M
        Check out smugftp.com and see if this can do what you want until SM builds native FTP capability.

        @Anonymous
        I know! I've been there! I actually have videos that are two years old that I never uploaded. :( F--T--P! F--T--P!

        @Kleran Clancy
        While FTP may be dated, I don't agree that it's poorly designed for uploads. It was built ground-up for file transfers including uploads. Yes, it doesn't have the security of SSH or SSL encryption built-in. Yes, it does require ports open that may not be open on a firewall. Yes, it doesn't have a checksum to verify that a file is bit-for-bit perfect.

        But I'm sure that the native SM http transfers aren't highly encrypted, and even if they are not, you can't read the random information that's in an image and gain anything like passwords from it. Other applications also use other ports, and this is still common, so port problems will be minimal. And what use is a checksum if the file never gets there? Even if it gets corrupted a few bits, do you really think that materially alters an image? (I've actually tried experiments on this.) Even with SM's checksums, I've still seen images upload corrupted, so that system has flaws too.

        The main issue may be the software 'glue' that a native FTP application would require. But as far as FTP not being directly capable on Amazon S3, you're incorrect. I checked myself as I was considering S3 as a cloud backup, and smugftp.com uses the S3 network for it's services. If a single person can code up a solution, I know SM can.

        @Ilya P
        I agree with you. When I originally posted this idea, I thought I was part of just a small group of SM users, maybe 10%, that wanted this feature. Obviously with it being the #3 top requested feature, it's a lot more of us than I ever imagined. And I know SM hears us. We just have to keep the votes coming in to make FTP a reality! F--T--P! F--T--P!

        @Wolfgang Welsselberg
        Thank you for some more insight into the innerds of HTML programming. I thought an HTML uploading implementation had to be tedious to code, but you revealed how complicated that implementation can be when compared to FTP.

        I like the KISS model. FTP is simple and pretty stupid--and it works!--day-in day-out for better part of a quarter century now (or maybe even more). Why reinvent the wheel? Use the protocol that's uploaded trillions of files in the last few decades. Yes, there may be hiccups, but those have been documented and have pretty simple fixes as well.

        @Randy
        Personally, I'm not too concerned about SFTP at the moment. Images and video are basically just raw digital data (except for possibly the header), and there's nothing in there that can be used maliciously like passwords or bank information. Pure, plain-Jane FTP would be a great place to start since it's a well documented protocol. I highly doubt any issue in development hasn't already had a fix in the last few decades.

      • RandyRandy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I think realistically SFTP (which uses SSH) is the most appropriate mechanism. It's widely supported by tools, is fully cross-platform, it's easy to use in scripts and automation. SSH itself is widely used so there's no question about it already being supported.

        Possibly there might be an issue with SSH checking a different account database (e.g., one for admins rather than SmugMug users), but this can be solved in any number of ways, including using an email address for authentication (since it then becomes obvious that it is an end user account and not an admin).

      • Wolfgang WeisselbergWolfgang Weisselberg commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Kieran, unless you are saying that it's impossible to run an FTP server on the Amazon EC2 I don't get your point. Smugmug is already running lots of EC2 instances for such unimportant things like uploading photos, rotating and scaling them. EC2 servers have a direct connection to S3, one of the things SmugMug leverages to deliver the potos when you browse them.

        And FTP is not poorly designed at all. It allows you to upload data from computer A (say your home box) to computer B (say Smugmug) using computer C (say, you and your smartphone on the road and only having EDGE or GRPS connectivity and being charged by the kilobyte). What you probably wanted to say is that it was not designed for ease of integration with packet filters. Which wasn't a concern when FTP was designed. Better blame IPv4 for too small an address space: after all, they should have known everything would change, shouldn't they?

        It's easy to script an upload to happen via FTP. HTML ... not so. If you're lucky, you don't need to resort to much screen scraping. Uploaders using Flash or HTML5 --- oh, yes, that's real fun.

        As to the metadata do you really think a simple HTML uploader does add a file checksum? Which checksum does SmugMug's own "Olde Faithful" add?

        As to "more support stuff" ... maybe. Though it seems that every router-firewall has learnded how to handle 2-computer-FTP. After all FTP has been around for a while. And there's no need to advertise FTP heavily. Those that know FTP enough to want it will use it. You may stick to the web interface if you like --- nothing wrong with "the computer doesn't do a thing if I'm not watching it" model if you want it for yourself. But don't force others to endure it if they don't want to.

      • Ilya PIlya P commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Kieran, *everything* is possible given enough desire! Great overview, but seriously, making it work (S3 or not S3) is not that much harder or "worse" than making email uploads work, lets stop with the excuses already. This request has been out since August 2009 and there are 1,148 votes for it at the moment- it either has enough ROI for SM to do it or it does not.

      • Kieran ClancyKieran Clancy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        While I can understand the desire for this, FTP is actually a very poorly designed protocol for uploads. It is insecure and causes all sorts of problems with port access.

        Some users below said that SFTP is the same but with SSL. This is incorrect; SFTP is based on the SSH protocol, which is much better and more modern, but carries its own issues. FTP with SSL is called FTPS, but is still poorly designed due to port issues.

        Also, important metadata such as file checksum can't be sent using FTP, which means the receiving server cannot verify that the file was not corrupted during upload.

        I believe the main issue is that Amazon S3 doesn't support FTP uploads. For Smugmug to do FTP uploads then, they would need to pay for extra bandwidth and hardware so that you can upload to their own servers before that is then sent to Amazon S3. Plus they would have to pay for more support staff because many users would have firewall problems because of the poor design of the FTP protocol.

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