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I have this folder full of files.

Once per day, I want the newest of the files to be FTPed automatically to a file server.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Make a short script, get the filename via this line:

newestfilename=`ls -t $dir| head -1`

(assuming $dir is the directory you're interested in), then feed $filename to your FTP command, and of course, cron this script to run once a day.

If you have ncftp, you can use the following command to ftp the file:

ncftpput -Uftpuser -Pftppasswd ftphost /remote/path $dir/$newestfilename

Without ncftp, this may work:

ftp -u ftp://username:passwd@ftp.example.com/path/to/remote_file $dir/$newestfilename
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Quick question, if I change 'head -1' to 'head -2' will that get the second to newest file? I just want to make sure I don't grab a file that is mid-write. – ioSamurai May 10 '12 at 17:52
No if you want the second file, you'd replace head -1 with head -2 | tail -1 :) – Ansari May 10 '12 at 18:27
It worth note, that piping ls is not good in case filename contains smthing exotic, ex, '\n`. – KAction Oct 30 '12 at 4:56

Locating the newest file

The easiest way to find the newest file in a directory is to use zsh and its glob qualifiers om to sort by modification time and [1] to pick the most recent match.

upload /path/to/dir/*(om[1])

There's no good, portable method. The only portable method is to use ls -t to list files by date and parse the result, but parsing ls is fraught with dangers. Do this only if you're sure that your file names contain no newlines or non-printable characters.

upload "$(ls -t /path/to/dir | head -n 1)"

FTP upload

For the upload, there are many tools. A commonly installed one is curl.

curl -T /path/to/local/file ftp://ftp.example.com/remote/dir

Another approach is to mount the remote directory as a filesystem, for example with curlftpfs.

mkdir ftp.example.com
curlftpfs ftp.example.com ftp.example.com
cp -p /path/to/local/file ftp.example.com/remote/dir/

Automating the task

Add a crontab entry to perform the task every day. Run crontab -e and add a line like this:

42 3 * * * curl -T /path/to/dir/*(om[1]) ftp://ftp.example.com/remote/dir
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