Cloudinary Blog

FTP API for Cloudinary: Real-Time Synchronization

Yuval Papish
By Yuval Papish
FTP API for Cloudinary: Real-Time Synchronization

tl;dr Diagrams and blueprints for FTPing on Cloudinary


As a robust, effective solution for managing digital media, Cloudinary offers a RESTful API for provisioning and maintenance. That API enables numerous operations, from basic ones like image uploads to advanced ones, such as creation of named transformations and AI-based search.

However, despite its versatility for programming languages and frameworks, RESTful API does not comply with File Transfer Protocol (FTP), which has been in use for 50 years. Not only are FTP clients user-friendly, they can also seamlessly upload, delete, or download files in bulk and synchronize with the file system in question, whether automated or otherwise.

We've created the 'FTP API for Cloudinary', which translates FTP API calls into Cloudinary RESTful API calls. The FTP API enables you to use standard FTP clients for managing media assets in your Cloudinary account. Using this FTP API, you can maintain work procedures that involve FTP transfers.

For example, suppose you migrate to Cloudinary and your organization is engaged with photography agencies. The agencies are used to sending their photoshoot files to you over FTP. You could take advantage of the FTP API for Cloudinary to avoid changing a smoothly working process, enabling a seamless transparent migration to Cloudinary.

This post demonstrates how to use FTP on Cloudinary through an example of real-time synchronization. A second example on bulk uploads will be the subject of part 2 of this series.

Note
The FTP API for Cloudinary is based on the Amazon Web Services’(AWS) Simple Storage Service (S3) and Python lambda. For the code in its entirety, see the blueprint in the Github repository.

The Process

The diagram below illustrates the process of a unidirectional synchronization of files to Cloudinary in real time with the FTP API.

Diagram

Here’s the step-by-step workflow:

  1. The FTP source uploads a file to the user’s S3 bucket. Be sure to set your bucket to accept Cloudinary’s bucket GetObject requests and to send event notifications. For details, see the blueprint.
  2. S3 notifications are sent to an AWS Lambda.
  3. The AWS lambda function sends an API Upload request to Cloudinary.
  4. Cloudinary uploads the file from the user’s S3 bucket.

This process has the following advantages over Cloudinary automated uploads because—

  • Your assets get automatically synchronized to your Cloudinary account without them needing to be accessed by a user (whereas Cloudinary auto-upload is triggered by an end-user request).
  • If any eager transformation was defined on those uploaded assets, then your user will not have to wait for it.
  • Cloudinary’s powerful search engine is on, geared up to deliver complete results set to your search criteria.
  • Newer versions of the same object are synchronized.
  • Deleted and renamed objects are synchronized.
  • The upload date is preserved.
  • Optionally, you can set up synchronization of metadata and customize permissions and access control for the uploaded objects.

Conclusion

Cloudinary's native API deftly mimics FTP tasks, making this FTP API for Cloudinary possible. As a result, FTP users can continue enjoying the simple and smooth experience typical of classic FTP operations. At the same time, you and your organization can enjoy all the media management benefits of Cloudinary, with every FTP'd file automatically synchronizing with your Cloudinary account. Do try it out!

Recent Blog Posts

Why the Future of E-commerce Is Live

In a previous post, I discussed how “going live” is gaining popularity across industries and verticals. What began as a way for gamers to jam together has evolved into a medium for broader entertainment and business purposes. To continue the conversation, this post unpacks the current trends of shoppable live streams to shine a light on how brands are leveraging “lives” to connect with shoppers in new ways.

Read more
An Overview of Live-Streaming Video Trends

“Let’s go live.” For decades, that’s what newscasters say as they cut to real-time footage of a colleague reporting in the field. The live-video feed adds visual interest and perspective to a story beyond what can be communicated by someone sitting behind the news desk. In the same way, live-streaming video nowadays adds context to other consumer environments. From gaming and events to shopping and social media, “going live” enhances everyday experiences, and it’s something anyone can do with relative ease.

Read more
Readying Live Streams for Video on Demand

When planning a live broadcast or stream, companies often overlook the redistribution phase, but live-stream videos are useful well beyond their initial streaming. Why? Because not everyone watches the first run. For a wider audience, it makes sense to repost live content on your website under an “events” tab, on YouTube, and other social sites for video on demand (VOD). However, preparing footage for reposting can be a lot of work.

Read more
Optimize Visual Media for a Fast and Captivating Digital Experience

Did you know that humans process imagery 60,000 times faster than text? In fact, 90% of the information our brains process is visual, which makes it seem a no-brainer—pun intended—that brands are connecting with consumers through visual content online. However, adding media assets like images and videos to websites comes with a tradeoff: the more media, the heavier the site, which results in a noticeable slowdown in page loads and a reduction in content quality.

Read more