Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

FTP Uploads in Firefox

Update: There is now a fully-featured FTP extension for Firefox called FireFTP. Here’s my review of it.

One new feature of Mozilla 1.7.x which has saved me from going completely insane these past couple of days has been FTP Upload. If you’re browsing an FTP site, you can go to File and choose FTP Upload, and then upload a file to the current directory. While it’s no replacement for a proper FTP client like SmartFTP – you can’t delete or rename anything – to be able to upload files quickly without having to open another program can be very useful.

Now, Firefox doesn’t have this feature. That’s not a problem – whereas Mozilla includes a web browser, mail client, web page editor, address book, chat program, complimentary bar towel and kitchen sink as standard, Firefox is just a web browser and adding this natively would be extra bloat that only a few people would actually use. Features like that are acceptable on the geek-driven Mozilla but it wouldn’t be a good addition to the streamlined Firefox.

But surely a feature like this could be added as an extension, for the 47 people and the dachshund named Colin who will actually use this feature. Alas, no extension currently exists, as far as I know. So this goes out as a LazyWeb request in the hope that someone either knows of such an extension or could knock one together. I’m sure you can base it on the code already implemented in Mozilla.

24 Comments

  1. Why is this bloat? I think it should go in to the core. Lately extensions are starting to be the excuse for not adding anything to Firefox. RSS feeds, Style Switcher, JavaScript Console are all bloat as well, at least RSS Feeds is utterly useless to the common user – yet it is still in the core because Ben thinks “It’s cool”.
    The point is that if you start removing or ignoring features the common user is accustoms to, they won’t switch. No end-user will understand he or she has to download an extension before “View Source” works they’ll just think they downloaded a shitty browser and move on, there are some common things any end-user expects from a browser, one of them is FTP support.

  2. I wouldn’t think many end users are used to having FTP _upload_ support…
    Does sound like a nifty extension.
    I would guess style switcher and javascript console are in the core as it makes debugging the core easier. Isn’t style switching a wc3 standard anyway? And the console just a window on information that’s already being generated…?

  3. Stylesheet switching has just been removed from nightly builds and will not make it into Firefox 1.0. It is supposedly required for full CSS2 support but the feature was buggy and no-one really committed enough time to it, so it’s been dropped.
    I guess the JS Console is a throwback from when it was Mozilla. It was to be removed but a lot of protests were made. It works okay. Same with View Source but that’s different because almost every browser lets you view the source code in one way or another and so not having it would put Firefox at a disadvantage. I wrote about this subject in more detail last week, have a gander at it.
    As for FTP Upload, as far as I know only Mozilla has it. Of course, all browsers should support browsing FTP sites and Firefox does include this, as does IE. But being able to upload would be nice too, however it’s the sort of feature that only a few would use, hence why it should be an extension.

  4. Removing the likes of ‘View Source’ and the style switcher is hardly going to make a user want to switch to Firefox permanently. If they’re trying to beat IE (which it certainly seems they are), not having a feature that IE has is pretty stupid, to be honest.
    Rather than removing them because they don’t work, they should push the release date back (if they work by dates, that is) and make it work. I’d rather wait a couple of weeks for a complete and working product rather than a shitty one with “broken” features removed.
    As Tom said, the end-users will just think that Firefox is shit and move back to IE.
    To me, the casual observer, it seems as if once the Firefox developer(s) are set upon something, it stays that way no matter how many people disagree with it.

  5. IE allows file upload to FTP sites. So should Firefox.

  6. Neil, IE in fact has much more FTP support than Mozilla currently does: it supports uploading whole directories, moving them, deleting, renaming, changing permissions… a lot more than Mozilla does now. (Actually, the functionality is in Windows Explorer, but what’s the difference?)
    But that’s not a reason to start using IE, of course. 🙂

  7. Note that the ftp upload code _is_ mostly in the core. So all firefox is lacking is a bit of UI glue; you’re quite correct that an extension would be able to do that easily.

  8. Well, the fact that IE has FTP Upload support is news to me, so thanks for letting me know. Maybe it’s too hidden away.
    Boris: That’s great, I’m glad it wouldn’t be too difficult to implement.

  9. The FTP support in IE is excellent – you simply type in the address, it asks for your username and password, and then you can treat the server like any other directory window. In fact, it’s the only feature I still use IE for. I’m sure this isn’t useful for most people but it’s still a shame that Mozilla and Firefox are lacking so much in this area.

  10. For reasons I don’t recall right now (I think it’s to do with setting permissions), I can’t access my host’s ftp server from Firefox, but when it comes to maintaining my site, IE is my default ftp client. As Minh Nguyễn said, this functionality is related to IE’s integration with Windows Explorer, so presumably Firefox would struggle to compete.
    Again, it’s the only use I make of IE nowadays, apart from occasionally accessing IE-only websites. If ftp support was improved in Firefox (core or extension), that’d be one more step towards doing away with IE altogether.

  11. FTP Upload? I don’t even think that would be useful. I can’t remember the last time I uploaded something using FTP. I always use scp, and I would never think of using FTP for upload anymore. The Internet is a little to hostile for such protocols these days.

  12. Tom, you may be on your own there. Many hosts do not yet offer SFTP or SCP, leaving FTP as the only option. Sure, it’s insecure, unless you’re doing FTP over SSL, but I don’t think there’d be much demand for SFTP or SCP in Firefox.

  13. I am pissed that Firefox does not support this simple FTP funtion. I gave up IE a while ago and now I have to go back for this? I use this function daily, more for my clients, so that I can send/receive large images and documents easily, they don’t need to have any FTP experience or programs. That is one of the features that makes this option great and there are more than 47 people and the dachshund named Colin who do actually use this feature. I can’t imagine it being bulky and why is there no extention? 🙁

  14. It would be nice to have ftp upload support; people sitting behind badly administrated Novel Border-Manager would like it. (Could be more than 27 and a dog.)

  15. My vote is in for FTP upload. Use it at least once a week. Willing to bet the demand is closer to 470,000 and a few dogs.

  16. Man, I also need FTP upload. Who the hell was so utterly stupid to strip it in firefox???

  17. I also vote for FTP support, I found this site because I was trying to figure out how to do FTP in Firefox (I recently moved over from IE – now it’s back to IE for http://ftp...)

  18. word my friend, word. firefox just completely, absolutely sucks. my boyfriend is one of those dumbasses that decide not to use IE because he thinks Bill Gates it the devil incarnate. my boyfriend is also not very computer literate. i’m trying to get him to upload a song for me, and since he’s a retard for not using IE, and firefox was made by retards who thought FTP uploading wasn’t a necessary function, i’m currently frustrated like all hell.
    and yeah, like the guy above, i found this site cuz i was trying to figure out how to UL on firefox

  19. Why would anyone switch to a browser with fewer features and more maintenance (like cocntant upgrades to newer releases, extensions, etc.). I installed Firefox recentrly b’coz I hate MS. But I’d be stupid to use a browser that doesn’t even let me FTP. Firefox just lost one more customer due to their short-sightedness. I gave it a shot, it didn’t work for me, and once I uninstall it tonight, I will never try firefox ever again. Good luck to those good folks trying to free us from MS bondage.

  20. I agree that FTP upload is needed.
    Most of the reasons are here discussed, but one is missing.
    If you think of shared computers that you can’t install anything on it you can think that FTP upload is indeed needed.
    I use FTP everyday and have a server set on my on machine, many times it has come to handy that IE is also an FTP client, but i hate IE and FTP in firefox would be just heaven.

  21. There’s an extension called fireFTP available and I’ve tested it on 1.0PR…. Works great so far.

  22. Netscape 4.7 supports FTP upload!
    I used to use this feature on the crapintosh computers at school in 8th grade to upload files to my geocities account (which at that time supported ftp upload.
    It’s for this reason, and my distrust of microsoft internet explorer, that I continue to use netscape 4.7.
    Long live the most stable browser in the world!
    (In other news, don’t Fight Firefox. Let Firefox fight you! Or something.

  23. FTP please on mozilla, Its becoming a high demand now these days 😛

  24. Another person here who stumbled on this site while trying to figure out why I can’t do my FTP stuff through Firefox.
    I use this feature many times a day in IE and it is sorely missed in Firefox. I have stand-alone FTP apps installed, but it’s such a pain to have to fire them up just to do my FTP stuff.
    Ahhh, the good old days of IE, when I could go Start->Run->ftp://blahblahblah and just select the site from my history.