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Guide to Fileman
File and Account Management

I'm sorry about the large size of this image, but it's the smallest I could manage and still show all the important elements of the Fileman window.

There's a Guide to the New Fileman in PDF format, that requires the free acrobat reader.

image of the
 fileman window

Fileman is the name of the CGI script (program) that's running to provide you with a graphical interface to your account at Matrix Magic. Fileman is a little like Microsoft's Explore program, and the Finder on Macs. It displays the files and directories (AKA Folders) you have made, and contains commands you can use to manage those files and directories: create, edit, rename, delete, upload files, etc.

When you log into your account at Matrix Magic this is the first window you see. Your "location" is shown at the top. In this example we are looking at the account for Dr. Treadwell, who kindly acted as my test subject for developing this class! So you see his information at the top: http://matrixmagic.com/treadwell.

The primary parts of fileman are numbered 1 - 4. Notice item 1 has sub-elements, columns, flagged a - g.

Item 1: File and Directory listing

A list of all of your files and subdirectories. In this example you can see two horizontal rows: the first row shows a directory, the second row contains a file. The rows contain different commands, as appropriate for managing files OR directories.

Notice the file and directory names (index.html and images) appear as hyperlinks, and the icons are hyperlinks too.

The columns contain all the commands for working with your files.

  1. Icon and Name of the File or Directory
    Contains the hyperlinked name of the file or directory, and its associated icon. The Folder icon represents a directory (named images), a place for holding files. The Globe icon represents a file (named index.html). If you click on either the icon or the linked name you will display the contents of the file or directory. Neither click (on icon or linked name) will gain you access to editing a file or entering a directory! To actually edit the file named index.html you must click on the edit link, to the right of the filename, in column e. To open a directory you need to select chdir in column e.

    • Select the icon or filename to display the contents, view only
      ----- OR -----
    • Select the chdir command to open a directory to work with files in that directory.
    • Select the edit link if you want to edit a file.

  2. UNIX File Permissions
    Column b (which is difficult to read in this image) lists the permissions for this file or directory. You're not required to learn about permissions in this class. If you're especially curious about permissions feel free to write to edmiston@matrixmagic.com and she'll be glad to work with you. You can also consult this UNIX handout to learn more about permissions.

  3. File Date
    This is the date the file or directory was created or last changed.

  4. Size of File
    The size of the file in Kilobytes. You don't see file sizes for directories. This can be a useful indicator of how large your web pages are, and thus how long a reader will have to wait for the page to load in her browser! I try to never use a graphic that's over 20K and I mostly keep images at less than 10K. A good rule of thumb is that the cumulative size of a web page shouldn't exceed 40K. Cumulative size includes the size of the web page itself (the .html file) plus the size of every image included on that page. Keeping the total size of a web down helps pages load faster for the reader.

  5. chdir and edit
    The commands in column e vary depending on whether the entry is a file or a directory. The files have the edit option and the directories have the chdir option.
    edit Files
    If you are working with file (index.html) and you click on its edit option, you'll find yourself in a little edit window right in your browser window! Below that edit window is a little button to use to save the changes you've made. Below that Save button is a place where you can change the file name if you want to. You don't have to change the file name in order to edit the file.
    chdir directories
    chdir stands for change dirirectory. This is the command to open a directory so you can see and edit files inside that directory. Before you upload a file to a subdirectory like images you would first chdir to (open) the directory.

  6. Delete Files and Directories The commands in this column allow you to remove files and directories from your account space. Be careful with this command! Once a file is deleted there is NO UNdelete command available - it's gone forever.
    rmdir - Deleting Directories
    You have to delete all files inside a directory before you can actually delete the directory itself. So you'd use the chdir command first to enter the directory, delete the files using the delete option, then use the back button (item 5 on the image) to return to delete the directory itself.
    delete - Deleting Files
    This is the command to delete a single file.

  7. Passwords and Renaming Files This last column for section 1 covers two unrelated options.
    Password Protection for Directories
    For directories, you can add password protection. That means a person has to have a special user name and password to see any files (web pages) inside that directory. So you see, you don't actually password protect a single file, instead you protect an entire directory and that password protection will apply to every file in that directory. You don't have to learn about passwords in this class. But this is a handy concept, if, for example, you want to make special material available for parents that you don't want the general public to have access to! If you'd like to learn more about this advanced feature, just let paula know and she'll be glad to spend time with you on it.
    Rename Files
    You can use this option to change the name of a file. This is NOT a copy command, there doesn't seem to be a copy option available. BUT, if you did want to make a copy of a file you could opt to edit the file (column e in area 1 of the image), and in that edit window you have the option to enter a new name for the file. This approach will retain the original copy of the file in place, and create a new identical copy.

Item 2: Create a New Document

This option actually allows you to create and edit a brand new file. Everything happens inside the browser window, and nothing is saved on your personal computer; the file is saved directly to your web space. I don't anticipate you'll need this option during this Fulton County class, but it can be a handy option. To create a new file, type the name you want for the file in the field and click on the Create File button. You'll then find yourself in the little editor where you can edit the edit. Notice when you create the file the editor comes up with basic HTML code in place. You could delete that code if you want to create a file that's not a web page. I sometimes create files this way and instead of giving the file the .html file extension, I'll name with a .txt extension. This allows me to enter and change short notes without having to deal with a lot of html code. And the web browser will recognize that the file is not a web page and show just the plain text.

Item 3: Create a New Directory

This option allows you to create new directories in your web space. You'll definitely want to create a directory to hold your images.

Item 4: Upload a File

You'll be using this option a lot! This is the option to use to copy your web pages and images up to your web space. Click the Browse button and you'll get a dialog box to help you locate the file you want to upload on your personal computer. Once you've selected the file, you'll see that file name appear in the next little field down, labeled Remote Filename. You don't need to change the filename if you don't want to. But the option is available.

Item 5: the back Link

This option takes you back one screen. So if you had entered the images directory in order to upload files there, clicking on the Back link will return you to the main screen.

Item 6: Root

Think of the Root as the top level of the directory for your home space. So if you have created 2-3 subdirectories down, you could click on Root to jump immediately to the top directory level of your space.

About Fileman

Fileman is from the most excellent Gossamer Threads!

Last Edited: 11 Mar 2012

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