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Proposing an approach toward time stamp retention

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  • Proposing an approach toward time stamp retention

    As the subject of other posts, time stamp retention on ftp transfers is a top concern for a number of users, myself included.

    Currently time stamp retention can be accomplished by creating tar or zip files on the originating machine and extract the files at the end point. The problem with this is that this is a cumbersome procedure which takes much of the joy and efficiency out of the BC user experience.


    Include auto zip/unzip intermediate transfer options within BC? As a software solution this could be virtually transparent from a user point except for a session level setup option:

    Copy/move options
    Use Zip Envelope (Y/N)
    Destination extract (Y/N)
    Save envelope (Y/N)
    Save Envelope name ---------- (defaults to

    You would select your transfer files as you normally do. When you hit the transfer ok button, BC would pack the selected files into an envelope, transfer the envelope to the destination machine and (depending on options) extract content and remove or save the envelope as a zip archive.

    Assuming you could use the zip engines already integral to BC, zip envelope transmission would function on any originating or destination machine, Windows, Unix or Linux, without regard to OS or third party compression software.
    Last edited by fdf; 11-Jul-2013, 06:51 AM.

  • #2
    Thanks for the suggestion. BC3 does currently attempt to preserve timestamps during the transfer but some FTP server software will set the Last Modified Timestamp to the time of the transfer. If this happens, you can also try using the Touch command to set it back after the transfer. BC3 does not currently support preserving the Creation date, but I'll add your ideas to our Customer Wishlist.
    Aaron P Scooter Software


    • #3
      To clarify the advantaged of

      The zipped transfer option I'm suggesting totally avoids all ftp time stamp issues by transferring a zip container rather than individual files without compromising the ergonomics of the file folder comparison pane. On the destination machine the extracted contents will retain their original time stamps.

      The human interface will be identical to how I currently compare, select and send files, but once the send button is pressed, the actual file transmission internals will include additional steps:

      Zip the selected files and folders into a working zip folder
      Transmit that zip folder to the destination computer
      Extract the zip folder contents
      Delete the working zip folder from both machines

      As an extra bonus, by transferring files in a compressed folder faster transmission times will be achieved.

      Win, win, win.


      • #4
        Browsing the forums, I found literally hundreds of posts and replies supporting time stamp retention on destination files.

        Is there any outstanding feature request with more user demand than this one?

        While I understand the FTP security aspect of this issue, it could be completely bypassed by offering something like the integrated zip folder file transfer option I described above.

        Given the length of time this has been on the back burner and the depth of demand for it, wouldn't this be a good time to up elevate priority and make it happen? Can you give us a more definitive time frame?



        • #5
          Time Stamp Retention is a more general issue. BC3 retains Last Modified timestamps, but won't fail a transfer if the FTP server overrides this and makes the Last Modified timestamp the current time.

          Creation Date is a feature we have had a lot of request for. This includes preserving during a copy, manual Touch, etc.

          Using the zip solution would add a lot of overhead but may work in most cases. I added these notes to our Customer Wishlist entry on the subject. Please note, however, that BC3 could potentially copy files to an FTP, SFTP server, or mainframe which may allow write permissions but not provide a way to unpack the files.

          If the FTP server supports it, the FTP profile does have a "MODE Z" option to transfer as a compressed file (Tools menu -> FTP Profiles, specific profile, Transfer tab). However, if Last Modified timestamp is not being preserved, it would also be good to troubleshoot this from the server side as well, as many servers do support this.
          Aaron P Scooter Software


          • #6
            What you're asking for would be a *huge* amount of work. FTP on its own doesn't provide a way to execute arbitrary commands on the server; that's what telnet or SSH are for. In order unpack the zip file after we uploaded it we would have to add support for connecting to one of those alternate protocols, connect that way in addition to the FTP connection, guess the operating system so we can send the correct commands, and parse the resulting output. At that point it would be easier (and more flexible for us) to just create our own software that runs on the server and use it rather than FTP. That's something we've considered, but isn't currently on the roadmap.

            As Aaron said, BC will already retain timestamps on FTP transfers if the server supports it. If it can't on your server for some reason, you should talk to your system administrator about changing software or enabling the MDTM or "SITE UTIME" commands if they're currently disabled. Most recent FTP and SFTP software supports setting the last modified time in some capacity.
            Zoë P Scooter Software