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Setting Up a Web-Based File Manager: bfExplorer

Everybody knows how to use a conventional desktop application that acts as a file manager. And we all know how useful these manipulation utilities really are. They give us a hierarchical view of the content of our folders. They also have dozens of extra functions. In this series, we’re going to see how we can do this on a web server. We will present two freeware PHP-based file managers. You’ll find out how to install and configure them.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. Setting Up a Web-Based File Manager: bfExplorer
  2. Installing bfExplorer
  3. Configuring and Using bfExplorer
  4. Taking a Break
By: Barzan "Tony" Antal
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 9
April 15, 2008

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Before we begin, we must point out some assumptions. First of all, during this tutorial we assume that you have access to a web server, meaning you can either run your own or have a paid hosting service. However, it is most important that you must meet these server requirements: PHP version higher than 4.0.6, MySQL version higher than 4.0.0, and the presence of GD and Zlib.

If you didn't understand the aforementioned requirements, but you have access to a paid hosting service, then don't worry because chances are that the requirements are already met. Reliable hosting companies always update their server applications to the latest release in order to improve their all-around security, fix bugs, and so forth. On the other hand, if you are running your own web server, then PHP, MySQL, and libraries like GD and Zlib are second nature.

Now let's move on to the clarifications. PHP is required because both of the file managers that we'll present in this two-part tutorial are written in PHP. It is one of the most widely used general-purpose scripting languages and it shines through anything that deals with web development because it can be embedded in HTML with ease. MySQL is the world's most popular open source database. We need database access for user accounts.

GD is a code library that allows you to create images dynamically. In our case, the web-based file managers require this library to generate thumbnails; in short, this means dynamically working with images "on-the-fly." Next comes Zlib. It is a module that allows you to transparently work with archives; the module requires the Zlib library. Zlib support is not enabled by default with PHP. Do this with: "PHP --with-zlib[=DIR]".

Nevertheless, if your current web server is through a hosting company and it's a paid web space, then the previous requirements are almost always met. Even so, during this tutorial, we'll find out what to do when something doesn't work accordingly. And you can always contact the customer technical support of your hosting company.

We are going to lead you through the installation and configuration process of the following two web-based file managers: BytesFall Explorer and PHPfileNavigator. Both are extremely powerful, lightweight, stable and reliable, multi-user based, and are freeware. This is the first half of a two-part series. Therefore, we'll cover the BytesFall Explorer (abbreviated as: bfExplorer) first. Expect a comprehensive guide.

Now that you know what to expect -- let's begin!



 
 
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