The ftplib Module

The ftplib module contains a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client implementation.

Example 7-22 demonstrates how to log in and get a directory listing of the login directory. Note that the format of the directory listing is server dependent (it's usually the same as the format used by the directory listing utility on the server host platform).

Example 7-22. Using the ftplib Module to Get a Directory Listing


import ftplib

ftp = ftplib.FTP("")
ftp.login("anonymous", "ftplib-example-1")

print ftp.dir()


total 34
drwxrwxr-x 11 root 4127 512 Sep 14 14:18 .
drwxrwxr-x 11 root 4127 512 Sep 14 14:18 ..
drwxrwxr-x 2 root 4127 512 Sep 13 15:18 RCS
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root bin 11 Jun 29 14:34 README -> welcome.msg
drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel 512 May 19 1998 bin
drwxr-sr-x 3 root 1400 512 Jun 9 1997 dev
drwxrwxr-- 2 root 4127 512 Feb 8 1998 dup
drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel 512 May 19 1998 etc

Downloading files is easy; just use the appropriate retr function. Note that when you download a text file, you have to add line endings yourself. The function in Example 7-23 uses a lambda expression to do that on the fly.

Example 7-23. Using the ftplib Module to Retrieve Files


import ftplib
import sys

def gettext(ftp, filename, outfile=None):
 # fetch a text file
 if outfile is None:
 outfile = sys.stdout
 # use a lambda to add newlines to the lines read from the server
 ftp.retrlines("RETR " + filename, lambda s, w=outfile.write: w(s+"

def getbinary(ftp, filename, outfile=None):
 # fetch a binary file
 if outfile is None:
 outfile = sys.stdout
 ftp.retrbinary("RETR " + filename, outfile.write)

ftp = ftplib.FTP("")
ftp.login("anonymous", "ftplib-example-2")

gettext(ftp, "README")
getbinary(ftp, "welcome.msg")

WELCOME to, the Python programming language home site.

You are number %N of %M allowed users. Ni!

Python Web site:

CONFUSED FTP CLIENT? Try begining your login password with '-' dash.
This turns off continuation messages that may be confusing your client.

Finally, Example 7-24 is a simple one that copies files to the FTP server. This script uses the file extension to figure out if the file is a text file or a binary file.

Example 7-24. Using the ftplib Module to Store Files


import ftplib
import os

def upload(ftp, file):
 ext = os.path.splitext(file)[1]
 if ext in (".txt", ".htm", ".html"):
 ftp.storlines("STOR " + file, open(file))
 ftp.storbinary("STOR " + file, open(file, "rb"), 1024)

ftp = ftplib.FTP("")
ftp.login("mulder", "trustno1")

upload(ftp, "")
upload(ftp, "file.txt")
upload(ftp, "sightings.jpg")

Core Modules

More Standard Modules

Threads and Processes

Data Representation

File Formats

Mail and News Message Processing

Network Protocols


Multimedia Modules

Data Storage

Tools and Utilities

Platform-Specific Modules

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Python Standard Library
Python Standard Library (Nutshell Handbooks) with
ISBN: 0596000960
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2000
Pages: 252
Authors: Fredrik Lundh
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