If you open “My Computer” on your Windows desktop, you'll see a number of icons that represent various locations on your computer. You may see an icon that points to your hard drive. You may see an icon that points to your CD-ROM Drive and an icon that points to your floppy disk drive.
In addition to the icons, “My Computer” associates these locations with a letter of the alphabet. Your main Disk Drive where all of your data is stored is commonly associated with the letter "C", and your CD-ROM Drive is usually associated with the letter "E" or "F".
When you associate a letter of the alphabet with something on your computer, the process is called "Mapping". So "A" is “mapped” to your Floppy Disk Drive.
Our WebDrive and GroupDrive software, allows you to map, or associate, a letter of the alphabet with a computer that is located on the Internet. Instead of associating a letter with something on your local computer, you can associate it with a file server and then access those files the same way that you would access files on the “C” drive of your own computer.
Benefits of using a mapped drive letter to access files over the Internet:
- When you are editing a file in any Windows application (MS-Word, Adobe Page Maker, text files, HTML documents) you can save your file directly to the server from within that application.
Example: File Menu >>> Save>>> Select drive letter >>>OK
- Using a standard FTP client application that doesn’t map a drive letter, you would save the file locally, open the FTP client, find the remote location, find the local file, transfer the file, then close the FTP application.
Example: File Menu >>> Save>>> Select local directory >>> OK>>> run FTP client>>> navigate to remote destination>>> navigate to locally saved file>>> drag and drop the local file onto the remote location>>> close the FTP Client
The first approach reduces time and complexity. The mapped drive letter can point to a specific directory on a server, reducing the possibility of dropping the file onto the wrong directory.
- Opening files also becomes faster and easier. Just go to the appropriate drive letter and double click on the file. The file is downloaded and opened, ready for editing. Once edits are complete, saving changes back to the server is as simple as clicking the ‘save’ button. In a standard FTP client, the FTP application must be launched, the transfer completed and then the file can be opened and edited. Once the changes are complete, the entire upload process (shown above) must be executed again.
- The drive letter that is mapped to the WebDAV, SFTP, or FTP server can be accessed by any program that can access a drive – even a batch file run from the command prompt!
- Any application can access the drive letter, not just Microsoft applications. You can basically “Internet enable” any application.
- Because the mapped drive letter is an instantly recognizable interface, time and costs associated with training and IT support are reduced or eliminated.