4 The facilities of the internet used to support e-commerce and e-business systems

4.2 FTP

The acronym FTP stands for the File Transfer Protocol. It provides the facility whereby files can be downloaded into a computer from another computer in the internet. Although there are a number of utilities for file transfer most users now employ browsers for this via FTP links.

There are a number of utilities which enable you to load anything from clip art to the latest updates for operating systems. Many of these utilities are very primitive: they use a simple command line interface which lets you log in to the computer which holds the files, and then enables you to use simple textual commands to identify the files to be downloaded. However, there are now a large number of sophisticated FTP programs which, for example, allow you graphically to show the structure of the file system on the remote computer, use drag and drop to download files and resume processing when transfer is interrupted by a network hang-up. web documents can also contain FTP links which also enable the downloading of files.

FTP is the mainstay of commercial companies who sell electronic products; it is a simple facility which has been found on the internet since its inception in the 1980s.