Problems using bulk upload

Introduction

This article discusses the bulk upload/import process, and the client-side requirements for the different options for transferring files during the bulk upload. Related errors:

  • When I try to start a bulk upload I see the following error message: "You need to use a browser with HTML5 support (or have the Adobe Flash Plugin installed) and javascript enabled for the uploader to work."
  • When I try to start a bulk upload I see the following error message: "Sorry your browser does not support Java. Please choose a different upload method."
  • When I click on the link ‘Use your browser to transfer the files‘ I see an error page.

Background

The bulk upload process in Asset Bank consists of two steps:

  • Step 1: the user transfers, to the server, all the files they want to import. Each user has their own ‘bulk upload‘ directory, on the server, where the application expects the uploaded files to be when it comes to step 2. All of these directories are located in the directory specified by the property ‘bulk-upload-directory‘ in the ApplicationSettings.properties file (this is known as the ‘bulk upload‘ directory). Under the ‘bulk upload‘ directory, each user‘s subdirectory has the same name as their username (which is guaranteed to be unique).
  • Step 2: The user enters values for all the asset‘s attributes on a page that looks similar to the ‘single upload‘ page. In this case, however, the values they enter will be applied to ALL of the files in their bulk upload directory. When they click submit the application will import all of the files in their bulk upload directory and apply the attribute values entered.

Step 1: Transferring Files

Asset Bank does not mind (in Step 2) how a user‘s files got into their bulk upload directory - if they are there then it will import them. However, Asset Bank provides two methods of transferring the files from within the user‘s browser, and can be configured to enable a third method, which enables users to use FTP or a shared network drive.

Method 1: Browser (HTML5 / Flash) Uploader

This is the simplest option for the user, and works the most reliably (as it works with proxy servers). The browser uploader is an embedded HTML5 control (or Flash control when HTML5 is not supported by the user's browser) that enables a user to browse and then upload multiple files. It will put the uploaded files directly into the user‘s bulk upload directory.

Client Requirements: browser with HTML5 support or, when HTML5 is not available, Flash 9 or above (Flash can be downloaded from the Adobe website).

Method 2: File transfer or FTP

If you are using an FTP client that controls the file permissions of uploaded files ensure that they are created with at least read permissions for the owner, group and everyone (e.g. 0744).

You can use any other method of file transfer to get the files into the user‘s bulk upload directory.

If you want to use file transfer or FTP then set the property ‘bulk-upload-use-ftp-or-unc‘ to true.

If your Asset Bank is on a server on your office network then you could simply give your bulk-upload users access to the ‘bulk upload‘ directory (especially as the bulk upload directory doesn‘t necessarily have to be on the same server as the Asset Bank software). Users could add a shortcut to their bulk upload directory to their desktop. If you set the property ‘ftp-command‘ to be the full UNC path to the bulk upload directory then Asset Bank will show a link ‘use your browser to upload files‘ - this link will be the value of that property plus the user‘s username. In Internet Explorer this will then automatically open a window in Explorer (when clicked) showing the user‘s bulk upload directory.

If you want to use file transfer, rather than FTP, then set the property ‘use-ftp‘ to false.

If your Asset Bank is on an external server (or you would just rather use FTP) you can install and configure an FTP server to enable users to transfer their files. If the user is using a browser that supports FTP then you can set the property ‘‘ftp-command‘ so that the link ‘use your browser to upload files‘ opens an FTP session directly to their bulk upload area. Otherwise the users will need to use a client FTP program of their choice.

If you want to use FTP then set the property ‘use-ftp‘ to true and set the values of all other properties beginning ‘ftp-‘.

Tips for configuring the FTP server:

  • For security reasons it is essential that the FTP user configured for bulk upload is jailed within the bulk upload directory, i.e. so that they cannot see any other directories on the server. The easiest way to do this is to jail the user in their home directory and then to change the setting ‘bulk-upload-directory‘ to point to the FTP user‘s home directory.
  • As the files for bulk upload stay in a user‘s bulk upload area for a short length of time, it is usually sufficiently secure (and much simpler) to use only one FTP user.
  • (Linux/Unix) - the user running Tomcat must have permission to read and delete the files uploaded by the FTP user. Configure your FTP server and groups accordingly.


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Stew, Professional Services

“With so many settings available, and such a flexible system, do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our knowledgeable consultants to help you configure your Asset Bank.” Stewart, Professional Servicest