Now that you have a thorough understanding of filename structure, you can safely connect to just about any server in your facility and pass FCP files with ease. But how to connect and mount them? The steps differ depending on whether your facility's server(s) are Mac- or Windows-based. We'll go over the simple steps involved when using each kind of file server.
OS X (and OS 9) Servers
OS X servers use a special file protocol to transfer files called Apple File Protocol, or AFP. This protocol preserves file metadata during the trip. The servers themselves usually have their storage volumes formatted as HFS, so file metadata resides there as well. This is why transferring Mac files from a Mac to a Mac server and back is seamless.
Here are the steps to connect to a Mac server.
Windows servers, with the limitations mentioned previously, allow much simpler file transfer and file storage.
Files are transferred using two protocols, Server Message Block (SMB) or the newer Common Internet File System (CIFS). Windows servers may also have the capability to talk to Macs using good old AFP, although implemented by an older and more primitive version than on Mac servers. They store files using the Windows NT File System (NTFS).
Versatile machines that they are, Macs connect to Windows servers using either AFP or Apple's implementation of the open-source program Samba.
Before sending a file over to the Windows server, don't forget about the issue of resource forks in some Mac files. OS X's file manager, in conjunction with Samba (a built-in open-source application that allows UNIX systems to connect to SMB networks), strips out the resource fork, if present, and saves this data in a completely separate file on the server. It places a percent sign (%) in front of its filename, which in Windows makes the file hidden to anyone looking in the folder. So if you copy a Mac file called photo.psd to a Windows server, the original data fork gets saved in a file called photo.psd, and the resource fork is stripped out and saved in a file in the same folder called %photo.psd.
Then, when coming back, this separate file is read and reassembled into a complete Mac file after it copies to the Mac. Nifty, huh?
There are more elegant, but pricey, solutions to connecting to Windows servers from the Mac. Thursby Software's popular DAVE and ADmitMac programs offer a more sophisticated solution to forked files than Samba. Their protocol places resource fork information directly behind the raw data of a file, with a "wall" between the two. This allows you to have a single file on the Windows server. PC users see only the data fork, but Thursby's products also see the resource information behind the wall and use it to reassemble the Mac file when it copies back over. Go to www.thursby.com for more info.
To connect to a server using good ol' Samba, do the following:
Permissions Issues with Servers
Sometimes you may not have access to folders you should be entitled to. Or perhaps you find you can't rewrite a file you've copied to your Desktop from a server.
These issues arise from permissions settings set incorrectly on the server, or from a misunderstanding of correct permissions settings that were created, usually for good reason.
If you connect to servers as a guest, permissions on files are usually ignored when copying to and from a server. That way, all users can read and write to accessible folders on the server. However, if you use authentication to get into your server, your administrator might have set up specific permissions to protect your assets or those of other users.
Consult your administrator to resolve these issues.