FTP Clients - Recap

Having written 10 blog posts in my series about FTP clients, I decided that it might be a good idea to recap some of the information that I have presented thus far. With that in mind, here is a quick recap of the entire series to date:

What I'd like to do in the rest of this blog is recap the scorecard information for the FTP clients that I've looked at. With one exception: I'm going to skip the information that I included about the FTP experience for various web browsers, which I discussed in Part 1 of this blog series, but only because web browsers aren't supposed to be first-class FTP clients.

That being said, I'm presenting the information for the remaining FTP clients that I have reviewed in alphabetical order, which is not necessarily by order of preference. ;-]


Core FTP LE 2.1

Original Blog Post: FTP Clients - Part 6: Core FTP LE

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
Core FTP LE 2.1 Rich Yes Yes Yes Partial1 Yes No

Footnotes:

  1. Core FTP can support true FTP HOSTs by configuring pre-login commands in the Site Manager.

Expression Web 4

Original Blog Post: FTP Clients - Part 9: Expression Web 4

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
Expression Web 4 Rich Yes Yes Yes1 No2 Partial3 Yes

Footnotes:

  1. EW4 supports virtual hosts, but some earlier versions of Expression Web did not.
  2. EW4 has no way to send a HOST command, so true FTP HOSTs are not supported.
  3. EW4 has only basic Site Manager functionality; it lacks most of the features that are available in many of the GUI-based FTP clients.

FileZilla 3.1.6

Original Blog Post: FTP Clients - Part 4: FileZilla

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
FileZilla 3.1.61 Rich Yes Yes Yes No2 Yes Yes3

Footnotes:

  1. My original post was for FileZilla 3.1.6; I have upgraded to 3.5.1 since then, but there are no changes as far as the information in my blog was concerned.
  2. FileZilla has no way to send a HOST command, so true FTP HOSTs are not supported.
  3. FileZilla is an Open Source project, so you can modify the source and recompile the application; see http://filezilla-project.org/ for more information.

FTP Voyager

Original Blog Post: FTP Clients - Part 10: FTP Voyager

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
FTP Voyager Rich Yes Yes Yes Yes1 Yes Yes

Footnotes:

  1. FTP Voyager fully supports the FTP HOST command, and is enabled by default for new connections.

Kermit FTP Client 2.1.3

Original Blog Post: FTP Clients - Part 7: Kermit FTP Client

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
Kermit FTP Client 2.1.3 No Yes No Yes Partial1 Yes Yes

Footnotes:

  1. True FTP HOSTs can be implemented by using Kermit's "ftp quote HOST ftp.example.com" syntax.

MOVEit Freely 5.0.0.0

Original Blog Post: FTP Clients - Part 5: MOVEit Freely Command-Line Secure FTP Client

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
MOVEit Freely 5.0.0.0 n/a Yes Yes Yes Partial1 No No

Footnotes:

  1. True FTP HOSTs can be implemented by using MOVEit Freely's "quote HOST ftp.example.com" syntax.

SmartFTP Ultimate 4.0

Original Blog Post: FTP Clients - Part 8: SmartFTP Client

Client
Name
Directory
Browsing
Explicit
FTPS
Implicit
FTPS
Virtual
Hosts
True
HOSTs
Site
Manager
Extensibility
SmartFTP Ultimate 4.0 Rich Yes Yes Yes Yes1 Yes Yes

Footnotes:

  1. SmartFTP fully supports the FTP HOST command, but you need to configure the SmartFTP Client to send the FEAT command before logging in.

That wraps it up for my recap of the FTP clients that I've reviewed so far; but rest assured, I have a few more FTP clients that I'm waiting to review.

;-]

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/

The Geek's Guide to Weight Loss

I've had a lot of questions from a lot of people over the past few months about my extreme weight loss this year, so I thought that I'd post a few words to explain how I accomplished that. To put things in perspective, between the start of January, 2011, and the end of June, 2011, I lost 50 pounds (22.7kg). What's more, I've kept the weight off for an additional five months.

Here's the story behind all of that.

Falling Apart (or Bursting at the Seams)

First of all, I knew that I was really overweight.

In December of 2010 my weight reached 210 pounds. As I had watched my weight grow over the years, I had a series of "superhero" names that I called myself:

  • First I was "Porky Boy."
  • Next, I was "Fat Man."
  • Later, I was "The Obese Avenger."
  • I was rapidly growing into "The Morbid Marauder."

I made all the usual comments at my own expense:

  • "I'm in shape - round is a shape."
  • "I have six pack abs - I'm just keeping my six pack insulated."
  • "I'm watching my weight. It keeps going up, but I'm watching it go up."

I went into something of a denial phase - I started buying my pants from one particular store, because their brand of jeans were actually larger than their advertised size. So I felt better about the fact that I was wearing jeans that were advertised as size 36, when I was really wearing size 38 or larger. Even then I had a serious "muffin top" that would hang over the top of my jeans. I never tucked in my shirt in order to help disguise my condition.

I knew things were bad when a cab driver in Iquitos, Peru, charged an extra fare for my wife and me because he said that we were too fat. (Actually, he didn't say it, he pointed at me and gestured like I was a balloon inflating.)

But all joking aside, I knew that I was in trouble because my blood pressure had elevated to 170/120, which is dangerously high. (120/80 is normal.) I decided to start exercising, and in early January, 2011, I had barely made it 15 minutes into a workout before I thought that I was going to have a stroke. That's when I realized that I needed a doctor to help me get started.

With this in mind, I took a week off for vacation, and I spent most of that week visiting doctors. I saw a general practitioner who put me on medicine to control my blood pressure. I also saw a neurologist because of my frequent headaches, which were actually chronic migraines. (Undoubtedly due to the blood pressure.) I saw a bunch of other doctors for a variety of additional medical symptoms that I was experiencing, but for the sake of expediency I'll spare you the details.

To make a long story short, it seemed like I was falling apart.

Exercising and Counting Calories

Within a few days, the blood pressure medicine did the trick; I could keep my blood pressure low and complete a workout. For exercise, I bought a treadmill from NordicTrack that connected to www.ifit.com, which allowed me to track the distances that I walked each day. (Hey - if you're a geek, it shows up everywhere.) I bought several series of documentaries on DVD from the History Channel and the Discovery Channel, and I would watch those documentaries while I walked for an hour or so.

I also created a measured walking path through buildings 16, 17, and 18 on Microsoft's main campus; these buildings are connected by glass-covered walkways, so I could still walk when the weather was nasty outside. My walking trail was around three-quarters of a mile long, and it took me about 15 minutes to walk it. It's interesting, because I had never noticed before how many people put out cookies and candies in the hallways. I could ignore all of it - but it's kind of funny that I hadn't paid much attention before.

I have to stress that I did not do a lot of exercise to lose the weight - I mainly started counting the calories for everything that I ate, and I tracked those calories diligently. (I'll explain more about that later.)

My general method of calorie counting was to calculate my Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), then I would subtract 1,000 calories from that. Whatever was left was the calorie count that I was allowed to eat for the rest of the day.

Here's what that looks like:

Sex
Age (in years)
Weight (in pounds)
Height (in inches)
Activity Level

There are lots of websites that will help you find the calories for meals, although I liked http://www.livestrong.com/myplate/ the best. I also created a OneNote file that I could read on my SkyDrive and through the Office application on Windows Phone 7 where I listed the calories for the foods that I eat the most; this made it easier to keep track.

It got to the point where I would say to myself, "I really want to eat those M&M's, but I'll have to work out later to burn off those calories." I also learned to browse to a restaurant's website before going out to dinner and picking my meal by calculating the calories ahead of time. In order to help cut down on craving, I stocked my desk with a bunch of 90-calorie snack bars. Those or a bowl of oatmeal became my daily breakfast, and in between my reduced-size meals I would have a snack bar.

I should stress that I did not give up the foods that I like - it may be healthier to do so, but I don't think that's sustainable for some people. (That includes me.) I would still have pizza, or a Qdoba burrito, or a burger from Five Guys; but I would simply have less of everything. If I had a burger somewhere, I'd skip the fries. I'd only have a couple slices of pizza, instead of eating the whole pizza. Keeping the weight off is about sustainability - and eating food that I like in moderation works for me.

I should also point out that at no time was I actually hungry during my weight loss period; that's where the snack bars paid off. Instead of being famished when lunch or dinner rolled around, I could get by with a simple meal of 300 or 400 calories and be satisfied with that.

As long as I stuck faithfully to counting my caloric intake on a daily basis, my weight and the inches around my waistline started to recede.

Losing Weight (while Undoing Years of Abuse)

After five weeks my weight had dropped 20 pounds; my pants were fitting a lot looser, and a few people started to take notice. This was fuel for my self-motivation; the fact that someone could actually see that I was losing weight was great, and it made everything worth the effort. Of course, I still weighed 190 pounds, which was 25 pounds overweight, so any elation was short-lived.

As an added bonus, my weight had dropped so much that I no longer needed the medicine to control my blood pressure. In fact, the medicine was making my blood pressure way too low. One day I finished a workout and I felt a little light-headed. So I took my blood pressure, and I discovered that it was 80/60, which is low enough to pass out. (I stopped taking the blood pressure medicine immediately.)

After losing 30 pounds it was kind of cool - I could tell by looking in a mirror that my face was thinner, and more people started mentioning that it looked like I had lost some weight. But I was still faced with the knowledge that even though I had lost 30 pounds - which was significant for only two months' worth of effort - I still weighed 180 pounds, which put me 15 pounds into the "Overweight" weight range.

When I had lost 45 pounds in May, 2011, I hit my initial weight loss goal. This put my Body Mass Index (BMI) at 25, which was the high end of the "normal" range. To celebrate, I took a break from actively losing weight for a couple weeks, and I went into maintenance mode. So for the next month I continued to count my calories, and I simply kept my weight at 165 pounds.

During my brief respite from active weight loss, I had a follow-up appointment with the same doctor with whom I had met in January. He was shocked when he saw me, and he asked me what had happened. I replied that I didn't want high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and heartburn for the rest of my life. More than that, I didn't want to have to worry about a stroke or heart disease. The doctor gave me a clean bill of health, and a couple of weeks later I started losing weight again.

By the end of June or the beginning of July, I had hit my ultimate weight loss goal of losing 50 pounds, and I've kept it off since then. My waistline went down several sizes, so I have had to change my daily wardrobe through several successively-smaller sets of jeans, which was a great feeling.

Here's what my weight loss chart looks like for the year of 2011 (so far):

 

The After Effects

First and foremost - I feel great. I have no more migraines, I sleep better, my heartburn is gone, my blood pressure is back to normal, and I have lots more energy.

I'm also in much better shape. In fact, my wife and I walked the Leavenworth Half-Marathon in October, 2011; and here is a photo of the two of us crossing the finish line:

I thought that it might be good to show a set of "before and after" photographs, just so you can see the difference that 50 pounds can make:

December, 2009 July, 2011

(My thanks to Rebecca Calvo for the photos!)

How Anyone Can Lose Weight

A while ago I posted some weight loss information to Facebook in order to answer a few people's questions about my experiences; since I keep my list of friends on Facebook pretty small, I thought that I'd share some of that information here. But I also wanted to make it a little more up-to-date with some additional information.

My secret to weight loss? Microsoft Excel.

Well, it's a little more than that - but it's mostly just counting my calories and making sure that I eat 1,000 calories less per day than my Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), for which I use Mufflin equation:

  • For Men: (10 x w) + (6.25 x h) - (5 x a) + 5
  • For Women: (10 x w) + (6.25 x h) - (5 x a) - 161

Where:

  • w = weight in kg
  • h = height in cm
  • a = age

I converted this equation into the following complex Excel formula:

=((10*(B2/2.2))+(6.25*(B3*2.54))-(5*B4)+IF(B1="Male",5,-161))*IF(B5="Extremely Active",1.9,IF(B5="Very Active",1.725,IF(B5="Moderately Active",1.55,IF(B5="Lightly Active",1.375,1.2))))

Where:

  • B1 = Male or Female
  • B2 = Weight (in pounds)
  • B3 = Height (in inches)
  • B4 = Age (in years)
  • B5 = Activity Level (Sedentary, Lightly Active, Moderately Active, Very Active, Extremely Active)

To make things easier, I created the following spreadsheet to help me track my calories:

Geeky Bob's Weight Tracking Spreadsheet

If you want to use it, here's how it works - there are two worksheets in the spreadsheet:

  • On the Settings worksheet, you enter your weight, height, age, activity level, and the number of pounds that you want to lose in a week. You should only shoot for a maximum of two pounds a week; anything more is really unsafe, and your body will respond by slowing down your metabolism to conserve resources.
  • On the Tracking worksheet, you enter the date and your weight, and the spreadsheet uses this information and the information from the Settings worksheet to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) which should be below 25, and your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) which is the number of calories that your body burns just to keep you alive.

The remaining columns in the spreadsheet will tell you the number of calories that you can eat based on your weight loss goal. As you enter the number of calories that you have eaten (by using a formula like "=100+200+300") the spreadsheet will let you know how many calories that you have remaining for the day. As long as you keep your remaining calories above zero, you should be losing weight.

So there you have it: Microsoft Excel is the Geek's Guide to Weight Loss.

;-]

How to use Managed Code (C#) to create an FTP Home Directory Provider that is based on the Remote Client IP Address

I recently had an interesting scenario that was presented to me by a customer: they had a business requirement where they needed to give the same username and password to a group of people, but they didn't want any two people to be able to see anyone else's files. This seemed like an unusual business requirement to me; the whole point of keeping users separate is one of the reasons why we added user isolation to the FTP service.

With that in mind, my first suggestion was - of course - to rethink their business requirement, assign different usernames and passwords to everyone, and use FTP user isolation. But that wasn't going to work for them; their business requirement for giving out the same username and password could not be avoided. So I said that I would get back to them, and I spent the next few days experimenting with a few ideas.

One of my early ideas that seemed somewhat promising was to write a custom home directory provider that dynamically created unique home directories that were based on the session IDs for the individual FTP sessions, and the provider would use those directories to isolate the users. That seemed like a good idea, but when I analyzed the results I quickly saw that it wasn't going to work; as each user logged in, they would get a new session ID, and they wouldn't see their files from their last session. On top of that, the FTP server would rapidly start to collect a large number of session-based directories, with no garbage collection. So it was back to the drawing board for me.

After some discussions with the customer, we reasoned that the best suggestion for their particular environment was to leverage some of the code that I had written for my session-based home directory provider in order to create home directory provider that dynamically created home directories that are based on the remote IP of the FTP client.

I have to stress, however, that this solution will not work in all situations. For example:

  • If multiple FTP clients are accessing your FTP server through the same firewall, their remote IP might appear to be the same.
  • If an FTP client is moving between geographic locations, such as traveling with a laptop, then the remote IP address will change, and the client will not see their files from their previous session.

That being said, the customer felt that those limitations were acceptable for their environment, so I created a home directory provider that dynamically created home directories that were based on the remote IP address of their FTP clients. I agree that it's not a perfect solution, but their business requirement made this scenario considerably difficult to work around.

Note: I wrote and tested the steps in this blog using both Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 2008; if you use an different version of Visual Studio, some of the version-specific steps may need to be changed.

In This Blog

Prerequisites

The following items are required to complete the procedures in this blog:

  1. The following version of IIS must be installed on your Windows computer, and the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager must also be installed:
    • IIS 7.0 must be installed on Windows Server 2008
    • IIS 7.5 must be installed on Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7
  2. The new FTP 7.5 service must be installed. To install FTP 7.5, follow the instructions in the following topic:
  3. You must have FTP publishing enabled for a site. To create a new FTP site, follow the instructions in the following topic:
  4. Set the content permissions to allow access for the COM+ process identity that handles extensibility:
    • Open a command prompt.
    • Type the following command:
      ICACLS "%SystemDrive%\inetpub\ftproot" /Grant "Network Service":M /T
      Where "%SystemDrive%\inetpub\ftproot" is the home directory for your FTP site.
    • Close the command prompt.
    Note: This last step is necessary for the custom home directory provider to create the isolation directories.

Step 1: Set up the Project Environment

In this step, you will create a project in Microsoft Visual Studio for the demo provider.

  1. Open Visual Studio 2008 or Visual Studio 2010.
  2. Click the File menu, then New, then Project.
  3. In the New Projectdialog box:
    • Choose Visual C# as the project type.
    • Choose Class Library as the template.
    • Type FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory as the name of the project.
    • Click OK.
  4. When the project opens, add a reference path to the FTP extensibility library:
    • Click Project, and then click FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory Properties.
    • Click the Reference Paths tab.
    • Enter the path to the FTP extensibility assembly for your version of Windows, where C: is your operating system drive.
      • For Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista:
        • C:\Windows\assembly\GAC_MSIL\Microsoft.Web.FtpServer\7.5.0.0__31bf3856ad364e35
      • For 32-bit Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2:
        • C:\Program Files\Reference Assemblies\Microsoft\IIS
      • For 64-bit Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2:
        • C:\Program Files (x86)\Reference Assemblies\Microsoft\IIS
    • Click Add Folder.
  5. Add a strong name key to the project:
    • Click Project, and then click FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory Properties.
    • Click the Signing tab.
    • Check the Sign the assembly check box.
    • Choose <New...> from the strong key name drop-down box.
    • Enter FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectoryKey for the key file name.
    • If desired, enter a password for the key file; otherwise, clear the Protect my key file with a password check box.
    • Click OK.
  6. Note: FTP 7.5 Extensibility does not support the .NET Framework 4.0; if you are using Visual Studio 2010, or you have changed your default framework version, you may need to change the framework version for this project. To do so, use the following steps:
    • Click Project, and then click FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory Properties.
    • Click the Application tab.
    • Choose .NET Framework 3.5 in the Target framework drop-down menu.
    • Save, close, and re-open the project.
  7. Optional: You can add a custom build event to add the DLL automatically to the Global Assembly Cache (GAC) on your development computer:
    • Click Project, and then click FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory Properties.
    • Click the Build Events tab.
    • Enter the appropriate commands in the Post-build event command linedialog box, depending on your version of Visual Studio:
      • If you are using Visual Studio 2010:
        net stop ftpsvc
        call "%VS100COMNTOOLS%\vsvars32.bat">null
        gacutil.exe /if "$(TargetPath)"
        net start ftpsvc
      • If you are using Visual Studio 2008:
        net stop ftpsvc
        call "%VS90COMNTOOLS%\vsvars32.bat">null
        gacutil.exe /if "$(TargetPath)"
        net start ftpsvc
      Note: You need to be logged in as an administrator in order to restart the FTP service and add the dll to the Global Assembly Cache.
  8. Save the project.

Step 2: Create the Extensibility Class

In this step, you will implement the extensibility interfaces for the demo provider.

  1. Add the necessary references to the project:
    • Click Project, and then click Add Reference...
    • On the .NET tab, click Microsoft.Web.FtpServer.
    • Click OK.
  2. Add the code for the authentication class:
    • In Solution Explorer, double-click the Class1.cs file.
    • Remove the existing code.
    • Paste the following code into the editor:
      using System;
      using System.Collections.Generic;
      using System.Collections.Specialized;
      using System.IO;
      using Microsoft.Web.FtpServer;

      public class FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory :
      BaseProvider,
      IFtpHomeDirectoryProvider,
      IFtpLogProvider
      {
      // Create a dictionary object that will contain
      // session IDs and remote IP addresses.
      private static Dictionary<string, string> _sessionList = null;

      // Store the path to the default FTP folder.
      private static string _defaultDirectory = string.Empty;

      // Override the default initialization method.
      protected override void Initialize(StringDictionary config)
      {
      // Test if the session dictionary has been created.
      if (_sessionList == null)
      {
      // Create the session dictionary.
      _sessionList = new Dictionary<string, string>();
      }
      // Retrieve the default directory path from configuration.
      _defaultDirectory = config["defaultDirectory"];
      // Test for the default home directory (Required).
      if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(_defaultDirectory))
      {
      throw new ArgumentException(
      "Missing default directory path in configuration.");
      }
      }

      // Define the home directory provider method.
      string IFtpHomeDirectoryProvider.GetUserHomeDirectoryData(
      string sessionId,
      string siteName,
      string userName)
      {
      // Create a string with the folder name.
      string _sessionDirectory = String.Format(
      @"{0}\{1}", _defaultDirectory,
      _sessionList[sessionId]);
      try
      {
      // Test if the folder already exists.
      if (!Directory.Exists(_sessionDirectory))
      {
      // Create the physical folder. Note: NETWORK SERVICE
      // needs write permissions to the default folder in
      // order to create each remote IP's home directory.
      Directory.CreateDirectory(_sessionDirectory);
      }
      }
      catch (Exception ex)
      {
      throw ex;
      }
      // Return the path to the session folder.
      return _sessionDirectory;
      }
      // Define the log provider method.
      public void Log(FtpLogEntry logEntry)
      {
      // Test if the USER command was entered.
      if (logEntry.Command.Equals(
      "USER",
      StringComparison.InvariantCultureIgnoreCase))
      {
      // Reformat the remote IP address.
      string _remoteIp = logEntry.RemoteIPAddress
      .Replace(':', '-')
      .Replace('.', '-');
      // Add the remote IP address to the session dictionary.
      _sessionList.Add(logEntry.SessionId, _remoteIp);
      }
      // Test if the command channel was closed (end of session).
      if (logEntry.Command.Equals(
      "CommandChannelClosed",
      StringComparison.InvariantCultureIgnoreCase))
      {
      // Remove the closed session from the dictionary.
      _sessionList.Remove(logEntry.SessionId);
      }
      }
      }
  3. Save and compile the project.

Note: If you did not use the optional steps to register the assemblies in the GAC, you will need to manually copy the assemblies to your IIS 7 computer and add the assemblies to the GAC using the Gacutil.exe tool. For more information, see the following topic on the Microsoft MSDN Web site:

Global Assembly Cache Tool (Gacutil.exe)

Step 3: Add the Demo Provider to FTP

In this step, you will add your provider to the global list of custom providers for your FTP service, configure your provider's settings, and enable your provider for an FTP site.

Adding your Provider to FTP

  1. Determine the assembly information for your extensibility provider:
    • In Windows Explorer, open your "C:\Windows\assembly" path, where C: is your operating system drive.
    • Locate the FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory assembly.
    • Right-click the assembly, and then click Properties.
    • Copy the Culture value; for example: Neutral.
    • Copy the Version number; for example: 1.0.0.0.
    • Copy the Public Key Token value; for example: 426f62526f636b73.
    • Click Cancel.
  2. Add the extensibility provider to the global list of FTP authentication providers:
    • Open the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.
    • Click your computer name in the Connections pane.
    • Double-click FTP Authentication in the main window.
    • Click Custom Providers... in the Actions pane.
    • Click Register.
    • Enter FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory for the provider Name.
    • Click Managed Provider (.NET).
    • Enter the assembly information for the extensibility provider using the information that you copied earlier. For example:
      FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory,FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory,version=1.0.0.0,Culture=neutral,PublicKeyToken=426f62526f636b73
    • Click OK.
    • Clear the FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory check box in the providers list.
    • Click OK.

Note: If you prefer, you could use the command line to add the provider to FTP by using syntax like the following example:

cd %SystemRoot%\System32\Inetsrv

appcmd.exe set config -section:system.ftpServer/providerDefinitions /+"[name='FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory',type='FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory,FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory,version=1.0.0.0,Culture=neutral,PublicKeyToken=426f62526f636b73']" /commit:apphost

Configuring your Provider's Settings

At the moment there is no user interface that allows you to configure properties for a custom home directory provider, so you will have to use the following command line:

cd %SystemRoot%\System32\Inetsrv

appcmd.exe set config -section:system.ftpServer/providerDefinitions /+"activation.[name='FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory']" /commit:apphost

appcmd.exe set config -section:system.ftpServer/providerDefinitions /+"activation.[name='FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory'].[key='defaultDirectory',value='C:\Inetpub\ftproot']" /commit:apphost

Note: The highlighted area contains the value that you need to update with the root directory of your FTP site.

Enabling your Provider for an FTP site

At the moment there is no user interface that allows you to enable a custom home directory provider for an FTP site, so you will have to use the following command line:

cd %SystemRoot%\System32\Inetsrv

appcmd.exe set config -section:system.applicationHost/sites /+"[name='My FTP Site'].ftpServer.customFeatures.providers.[name='FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory']" /commit:apphost

appcmd.exe set config -section:system.applicationHost/sites /"[name='My FTP Site'].ftpServer.userIsolation.mode:Custom" /commit:apphost

Note: The highlighted areas contain the name of the FTP site where you want to enable the custom home directory provider.

Summary

In this blog I showed you how to:

  • Create a project in Visual Studio 2010 or Visual Studio 2008 for a custom FTP home directory provider.
  • Implement the extensibility interface for custom FTP home directories.
  • Add a custom home directory provider to your FTP service.

When users connect to your FTP site, the FTP service will create a directory that is based on their remote IP address, and it will drop their session in the corresponding folder for their remote IP address. They will not be able to change to the root directory, or a directory for a different remote IP address.

For example, if the root directory for your FTP site is "C:\Inetpub\ftproot" and a client connects to your FTP site from 192.168.0.100, the FTP home directory provider will create a folder that is named "C:\Inetpub\ftproot\192-168-0-100", and the FTP client's sessions will be isolated in that directory; the FTP client will not be able to change directory to "C:\Inetpub\ftproot" or the home directory for another remote IP.

Once again, there are limitations to this approach, and I agree that it's not a perfect solution in all scenarios; but this provider works as expected when you have to use the same username and password for all of your FTP clients, and you know that your FTP clients will use unique remote IP addresses.

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/

How to use Managed Code (C#) to create an FTP Home Directory Provider that is based on the Remote Client IP Address

I recently had an interesting scenario that was presented to me by a customer: they had a business requirement where they needed to give the same username and password to a group of people, but they didn't want any two people to be able to see anyone else's files. This seemed like an unusual business requirement to me; the whole point of keeping users separate is one of the reasons why we added user isolation to the FTP service.

With that in mind, my first suggestion was - of course - to rethink their business requirement, assign different usernames and passwords to everyone, and use FTP user isolation. But that wasn't going to work for them; their business requirement for giving out the same username and password could not be avoided. So I said that I would get back to them, and I spent the next few days experimenting with a few ideas.

One of my early ideas that seemed somewhat promising was to write a custom home directory provider that dynamically created unique home directories that were based on the session IDs for the individual FTP sessions, and the provider would use those directories to isolate the users. That seemed like a good idea, but when I analyzed the results I quickly saw that it wasn't going to work; as each user logged in, they would get a new session ID, and they wouldn't see their files from their last session. On top of that, the FTP server would rapidly start to collect a large number of session-based directories, with no garbage collection. So it was back to the drawing board for me.

After some discussions with the customer, we reasoned that the best suggestion for their particular environment was to leverage some of the code that I had written for my session-based home directory provider in order to create home directory provider that dynamically created home directories that are based on the remote IP of the FTP client.

I have to stress, however, that this solution will not work in all situations. For example:

  • If multiple FTP clients are accessing your FTP server through the same firewall, their remote IP might appear to be the same.
  • If an FTP client is moving between geographic locations, such as traveling with a laptop, then the remote IP address will change, and the client will not see their files from their previous session.

That being said, the customer felt that those limitations were acceptable for their environment, so I created a home directory provider that dynamically created home directories that were based on the remote IP address of their FTP clients. I agree that it's not a perfect solution, but their business requirement made this scenario considerably difficult to work around.

Note: I wrote and tested the steps in this blog using both Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 2008; if you use an different version of Visual Studio, some of the version-specific steps may need to be changed.

In This Blog

Prerequisites

The following items are required to complete the procedures in this blog:

  1. The following version of IIS must be installed on your Windows computer, and the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager must also be installed:
    • IIS 7.0 must be installed on Windows Server 2008
    • IIS 7.5 must be installed on Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7
  2. The new FTP 7.5 service must be installed. To install FTP 7.5, follow the instructions in the following topic:
  3. You must have FTP publishing enabled for a site. To create a new FTP site, follow the instructions in the following topic:
  4. Set the content permissions to allow access for the COM+ process identity that handles extensibility:
    • Open a command prompt.
    • Type the following command:
      ICACLS "%SystemDrive%\inetpub\ftproot" /Grant "Network Service":M /T
      Where "%SystemDrive%\inetpub\ftproot" is the home directory for your FTP site.
    • Close the command prompt.
    Note: This last step is necessary for the custom home directory provider to create the isolation directories.

Step 1: Set up the Project Environment

In this step, you will create a project in Microsoft Visual Studio for the demo provider.

  1. Open Visual Studio 2008 or Visual Studio 2010.
  2. Click the File menu, then New, then Project.
  3. In the New Projectdialog box:
    • Choose Visual C# as the project type.
    • Choose Class Library as the template.
    • Type FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory as the name of the project.
    • Click OK.
  4. When the project opens, add a reference path to the FTP extensibility library:
    • Click Project, and then click FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory Properties.
    • Click the Reference Paths tab.
    • Enter the path to the FTP extensibility assembly for your version of Windows, where C: is your operating system drive.
      • For Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista:
        • C:\Windows\assembly\GAC_MSIL\Microsoft.Web.FtpServer\7.5.0.0__31bf3856ad364e35
      • For 32-bit Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2:
        • C:\Program Files\Reference Assemblies\Microsoft\IIS
      • For 64-bit Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2:
        • C:\Program Files (x86)\Reference Assemblies\Microsoft\IIS
    • Click Add Folder.
  5. Add a strong name key to the project:
    • Click Project, and then click FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory Properties.
    • Click the Signing tab.
    • Check the Sign the assembly check box.
    • Choose <New...> from the strong key name drop-down box.
    • Enter FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectoryKey for the key file name.
    • If desired, enter a password for the key file; otherwise, clear the Protect my key file with a password check box.
    • Click OK.
  6. Note: FTP 7.5 Extensibility does not support the .NET Framework 4.0; if you are using Visual Studio 2010, or you have changed your default framework version, you may need to change the framework version for this project. To do so, use the following steps:
    • Click Project, and then click FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory Properties.
    • Click the Application tab.
    • Choose .NET Framework 3.5 in the Target framework drop-down menu.
    • Save, close, and re-open the project.
  7. Optional: You can add a custom build event to add the DLL automatically to the Global Assembly Cache (GAC) on your development computer:
    • Click Project, and then click FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory Properties.
    • Click the Build Events tab.
    • Enter the appropriate commands in the Post-build event command linedialog box, depending on your version of Visual Studio:
      • If you are using Visual Studio 2010:
        net stop ftpsvc
        call "%VS100COMNTOOLS%\vsvars32.bat">null
        gacutil.exe /if "$(TargetPath)"
        net start ftpsvc
      • If you are using Visual Studio 2008:
        net stop ftpsvc
        call "%VS90COMNTOOLS%\vsvars32.bat">null
        gacutil.exe /if "$(TargetPath)"
        net start ftpsvc
      Note: You need to be logged in as an administrator in order to restart the FTP service and add the dll to the Global Assembly Cache.
  8. Save the project.

Step 2: Create the Extensibility Class

In this step, you will implement the extensibility interfaces for the demo provider.

  1. Add the necessary references to the project:
    • Click Project, and then click Add Reference...
    • On the .NET tab, click Microsoft.Web.FtpServer.
    • Click OK.
  2. Add the code for the authentication class:
    • In Solution Explorer, double-click the Class1.cs file.
    • Remove the existing code.
    • Paste the following code into the editor:
      using System;
      using System.Collections.Generic;
      using System.Collections.Specialized;
      using System.IO;
      using Microsoft.Web.FtpServer;

      public class FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory :
      BaseProvider,
      IFtpHomeDirectoryProvider,
      IFtpLogProvider
      {
      // Create a dictionary object that will contain
      // session IDs and remote IP addresses.
      private static Dictionary<string, string> _sessionList = null;

      // Store the path to the default FTP folder.
      private static string _defaultDirectory = string.Empty;

      // Override the default initialization method.
      protected override void Initialize(StringDictionary config)
      {
      // Test if the session dictionary has been created.
      if (_sessionList == null)
      {
      // Create the session dictionary.
      _sessionList = new Dictionary<string, string>();
      }
      // Retrieve the default directory path from configuration.
      _defaultDirectory = config["defaultDirectory"];
      // Test for the default home directory (Required).
      if (string.IsNullOrEmpty(_defaultDirectory))
      {
      throw new ArgumentException(
      "Missing default directory path in configuration.");
      }
      }

      // Define the home directory provider method.
      string IFtpHomeDirectoryProvider.GetUserHomeDirectoryData(
      string sessionId,
      string siteName,
      string userName)
      {
      // Create a string with the folder name.
      string _sessionDirectory = String.Format(
      @"{0}\{1}", _defaultDirectory,
      _sessionList[sessionId]);
      try
      {
      // Test if the folder already exists.
      if (!Directory.Exists(_sessionDirectory))
      {
      // Create the physical folder. Note: NETWORK SERVICE
      // needs write permissions to the default folder in
      // order to create each remote IP's home directory.
      Directory.CreateDirectory(_sessionDirectory);
      }
      }
      catch (Exception ex)
      {
      throw ex;
      }
      // Return the path to the session folder.
      return _sessionDirectory;
      }
      // Define the log provider method.
      public void Log(FtpLogEntry logEntry)
      {
      // Test if the USER command was entered.
      if (logEntry.Command.Equals(
      "USER",
      StringComparison.InvariantCultureIgnoreCase))
      {
      // Reformat the remote IP address.
      string _remoteIp = logEntry.RemoteIPAddress
      .Replace(':', '-')
      .Replace('.', '-');
      // Add the remote IP address to the session dictionary.
      _sessionList.Add(logEntry.SessionId, _remoteIp);
      }
      // Test if the command channel was closed (end of session).
      if (logEntry.Command.Equals(
      "CommandChannelClosed",
      StringComparison.InvariantCultureIgnoreCase))
      {
      // Remove the closed session from the dictionary.
      _sessionList.Remove(logEntry.SessionId);
      }
      }
      }
  3. Save and compile the project.

Note: If you did not use the optional steps to register the assemblies in the GAC, you will need to manually copy the assemblies to your IIS 7 computer and add the assemblies to the GAC using the Gacutil.exe tool. For more information, see the following topic on the Microsoft MSDN Web site:

Global Assembly Cache Tool (Gacutil.exe)

Step 3: Add the Demo Provider to FTP

In this step, you will add your provider to the global list of custom providers for your FTP service, configure your provider's settings, and enable your provider for an FTP site.

Adding your Provider to FTP

  1. Determine the assembly information for your extensibility provider:
    • In Windows Explorer, open your "C:\Windows\assembly" path, where C: is your operating system drive.
    • Locate the FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory assembly.
    • Right-click the assembly, and then click Properties.
    • Copy the Culture value; for example: Neutral.
    • Copy the Version number; for example: 1.0.0.0.
    • Copy the Public Key Token value; for example: 426f62526f636b73.
    • Click Cancel.
  2. Add the extensibility provider to the global list of FTP authentication providers:
    • Open the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.
    • Click your computer name in the Connections pane.
    • Double-click FTP Authentication in the main window.
    • Click Custom Providers... in the Actions pane.
    • Click Register.
    • Enter FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory for the provider Name.
    • Click Managed Provider (.NET).
    • Enter the assembly information for the extensibility provider using the information that you copied earlier. For example:
      FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory,FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory,version=1.0.0.0,Culture=neutral,PublicKeyToken=426f62526f636b73
    • Click OK.
    • Clear the FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory check box in the providers list.
    • Click OK.

Note: If you prefer, you could use the command line to add the provider to FTP by using syntax like the following example:

cd %SystemRoot%\System32\Inetsrv

appcmd.exe set config -section:system.ftpServer/providerDefinitions /+"[name='FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory',type='FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory,FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory,version=1.0.0.0,Culture=neutral,PublicKeyToken=426f62526f636b73']" /commit:apphost

Configuring your Provider's Settings

At the moment there is no user interface that allows you to configure properties for a custom home directory provider, so you will have to use the following command line:

cd %SystemRoot%\System32\Inetsrv

appcmd.exe set config -section:system.ftpServer/providerDefinitions /+"activation.[name='FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory']" /commit:apphost

appcmd.exe set config -section:system.ftpServer/providerDefinitions /+"activation.[name='FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory'].[key='defaultDirectory',value='C:\Inetpub\ftproot']" /commit:apphost

Note: The highlighted area contains the value that you need to update with the root directory of your FTP site.

Enabling your Provider for an FTP site

At the moment there is no user interface that allows you to enable a custom home directory provider for an FTP site, so you will have to use the following command line:

cd %SystemRoot%\System32\Inetsrv

appcmd.exe set config -section:system.applicationHost/sites /+"[name='My FTP Site'].ftpServer.customFeatures.providers.[name='FtpRemoteIPHomeDirectory']" /commit:apphost

appcmd.exe set config -section:system.applicationHost/sites /"[name='My FTP Site'].ftpServer.userIsolation.mode:Custom" /commit:apphost

Note: The highlighted areas contain the name of the FTP site where you want to enable the custom home directory provider.

Summary

In this blog I showed you how to:

  • Create a project in Visual Studio 2010 or Visual Studio 2008 for a custom FTP home directory provider.
  • Implement the extensibility interface for custom FTP home directories.
  • Add a custom home directory provider to your FTP service.

When users connect to your FTP site, the FTP service will create a directory that is based on their remote IP address, and it will drop their session in the corresponding folder for their remote IP address. They will not be able to change to the root directory, or a directory for a different remote IP address.

For example, if the root directory for your FTP site is "C:\Inetpub\ftproot" and a client connects to your FTP site from 192.168.0.100, the FTP home directory provider will create a folder that is named "C:\Inetpub\ftproot\192-168-0-100", and the FTP client's sessions will be isolated in that directory; the FTP client will not be able to change directory to "C:\Inetpub\ftproot" or the home directory for another remote IP.

Once again, there are limitations to this approach, and I agree that it's not a perfect solution in all scenarios; but this provider works as expected when you have to use the same username and password for all of your FTP clients, and you know that your FTP clients will use unique remote IP addresses.

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/