Online Help and FAQ
Getting started. Creating a project.
Before you start preparing a project for massive graphics download, you should make clear the following things:
Full URL of the site. To start downloading files from a web server, you should know the full URL of the items you wish to retrieve. Full URL is not only the correct name or address of a web-server; you should specify the full path to the files (or script programs that fetch files), parameters (if any) required for the server-side scripts to work correctly, etc. To define the full URL of a web-page that contains graphics you wish to download, just display it in your browser and then view its properties. Among other things, there is the full URL of the page there. Page properties in Microsoft Internet Explorer is in File->Properties submenu.
You should note the following:
The method used to number pictures on the site. To organize fast and simple access to large collections of graphic images, the easiest (for the webmaster), fastest and the most reliable method is to assign *numbers* to pictures or HTML pages that contain pictures. It means that to access the next picture from a collection, you should change some number in the URL of the picture you're currently viewing. In 90% of cases you shoul increase or decrease some number (otherwise called "counter"):
http://www.server.com/images/cool/zoom.asp?id=15 - URL of the current picture,
http://www.server.com/images/cool/zoom.asp?id=16 - URL of the next picture.
As you can see in this example, counter is the number after "id=". In most cases it's quite safe to set the initial value of the counter to 1 - this way you may download "hidden" images that are not directly accessible via the links on the web pages.
When you know the full URL of the site and the method used to number pictures on the server, you are ready to create a project:
Well, that is all! You can now start downloading.
Debugging the project and correcting errors.
Using Counter Template to fine tune your project.
Since Picture Pump version 1.3, you can use a template for your counter. Though using a template may seem an unnecessary complication for a novice user, in some cases it is very useful - moreover, its use is unavoidable. Let us consider the following situation:
Pictures are numbered using a three-digit counter from 001 up to 999 (e.g., www.server.com/images/pic_000_.jpg, www.server.com/images/pic_001_.jpg, etc). If you do not use the template, you will have to create three virtually identical projects:
The first one will download the first 9 pictures numbered from 1 to 9:
www.server.com/images/pic_00@_.jpg, counter starts at 1 and ends at 9;
The second one will download pictures numbered 10 to 99:
www.server.com/images/pic_0@_.jpg, counter from 10 to 99;
And the third one - all pictures from 100 till 999:
www.server.com/images/pic_@_.jpg, counter from 100 to 999;
You will have to watch each project so that it doesn't exceed the upper limit of the counter, and manually stop each project after all pictures are downloaded.
Using the Counter Template lets you avoid such a dull job. With it, you can specify the width of the counter in digits (to indicate a position, place the substitute character into the template field - default substitute character is @). For the example project described above, one should specify three numeric positions for the counter - that is, one should enter three @'s into the template field: "@@@". So:
www.server.com/images/pic_@_.jpg, set the counter to 1, template to @@@.
Insertion of the counter will then be performed in two steps:
Template is convenient not only because it allows you to specify the leading zeros in the counter. When the counter exceeds the number of digits specified in the template, the project is stopped automatically - in the above example, project will be stopped when the counter reaches 1000.
If you wish, you can enter characters other than the substitute character in the template. Such characters do not specify a position, but are directly copied into the Site URL:
Using the Template "@@-@" and Counter 12, the following substring will be inserted into the Site URL: "01-2" (as you see, the hyphen is copied from the template as-is).
When you fill in the project configuration yourself, I recommend you to periodically check your Site URL, Counter and Template settings. Just press the corresponding button in the main window (the one with the red checkmark on it), and it will warn you of any errors or potential problems in your settings (to a limited extent, of course). Besides, you will see detailed report about your current template (if you use one), and the next ten URLs that will be generated when you start the project.
Getting rid of banners and ads.
On most web pages, banners and advertisements make 90% of all graphics. To get rid of them, you should fill in the list of Exclusions Masks. Excluded items (those whose URLs match one or more masks) are not put into the retrieval queue, and thus are never downloaded.
To add an exclusion mask (I usually) do the following:
Instead of filling in the list of Exclusion Masks, you can simply exclude files that are shorter than some arbitrary limit (Project Configuration -> Reply -> Exclude files shorter than XX bytes in length). Specify some "reasonable" lower limit, so that banners and advertisements are not downloaded (hint: in some banner exchange networks banners cannot exceed 15 Kb). Regrettably, this method has some major drawbacks:
Projects optimization hints.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Downloaded files are in some unknown format. What is wrong?
You may have specified wrong type of the Site URL (instead of "Site URL points to HTML pages with pictures" you specified "Site URL points directly to pictures"). When you open such files in a text editor, you clearly see HTML tags (e.g. <html> - an identifier of an HTML document). To correct this problem set the correct type of the Site URL (pointing to HTML pages).
When I start a project, nothing is saved to disk.
This could be caused by several reasons. The most evident (and the most frequent one) is wrong or misspelled Site URL. Server cannot find the requested pages and pictures, and reports errors. To correct the problem fill in th Site URL field correctly. Other possible reasons:
In general, to define the reason of download failures, you should do the following:
How do I view *.ppp files?
Wow, my favorite question. :)
People, *.ppp files are not pictures! They are not packs of pictures, either. These are simply Picture Pump Project files, containing all sorts of information about the project (Site URL, request settings, counter template, counter's value, the contents of retrieval queue, and so on). The pictures themselves are put (dumped, huh) into the target folder for pictures, the one that's specified in the project. By the way, there is a button in the main window of Picture Pump to open the contents of this folder in Explorer.
To view a picture, just find it in Explorer's window and click on it (or double- click if you still use Windows 95). If you still cannot see anything, I recommend you to install a picture viewer program.
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