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Re: Import files on accessible URL and save in

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  • Subject: [mg122741] Re: Import files on accessible URL and save in
  • From: Todd Gayley <tgayley at>
  • Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2011 06:24:33 -0500 (EST)
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At 04:24 PM 11/8/2011, DrMajorBob wrote:
>This fails, and I wonder why?
>DeleteDirectory["/private/var/folders/kY", DeleteContents -> True]
>DeleteDirectory::dirne: Directory /private/var/folders/kY not empty. >>

I would guess it is because other processes have files open in that 
directory. Why are you trying to delete an entire directory (two 
levels up, no less), when FetchURL just created one file?

As for your question about documentation, Utilities`URLTools`FetchURL 
is not an officially documented part of the system, which could be 
for a number of reasons. However, it has been a stable part of 
Mathematica for long enough (it is used internally by Import) that I 
am comfortable recommending it to users who need its functionality.

Todd Gayley
Wolfram Research

>On Tue, 08 Nov 2011 16:08:46 -0600, DrMajorBob <btreat1 at>
>>Good job! Now, then... where is that file, and how do I remove it?
>>On Tue, 08 Nov 2011 06:14:50 -0600, Todd Gayley <tgayley at>
>>>At 03:45 AM 11/5/2011, Gy Peng wrote:
>>>>Dear Mathematica friends,
>>>>I want to Import some files stored on internet by:
>>>>Import["http://url";, ...]
>>>>This allow me to see the file in the notebook of mathematica. However,
>>>>I want to do is to download and save the files in local machine. And
>>>>I have may be hundreds or thousands files need to be download and
>>>>save. Is
>>>>there any why in Mathematica to do it in a most optimized and fast way?
>>>>And can read the file names in a single string in Mathematica like:
>>>>{ file1, file2, file3, file4, ...}
>>>>How could I make a loop in Mathematica to download and save all of
>>>>them in a same directory in local machine by Mathematica?
>>>>I would thank you for all your kind reply and help!!!!
>>>The FetchURL function, which is used internally by Import, will do
>>>what you want:
>>>     In[10]:= << Utilities`URLTools`
>>>     In[11]:= FetchURL["";]
>>>     Out[11]=
>>>If you want to choose a specific location and filename for the
>>>downloaded file, you pass it as the second argument:
>>>     In[12]:= FetchURL["";, "c:\\foo.txt"]
>>>     Out[12]= "c:\\foo.txt"
>>>If you want a program that downloads a list of URLs to a specific
>>>directory, this will do the trick.
>>>     listOfURLs = {"";, "";,
>>>     downloadDir = "c:\\foo";  (* I assume it exists *)
>>>     n = 1;
>>>     {#, FetchURL[#, ToFileName[downloadDir, "file" <>
>>>ToString[n++]]]} & /@ listOfURLs
>>>This returns a list of {url, filename} pairs so you can match up each
>>>URL with the corresponding file. You could also create filenames
>>>based on the URL so that it was immediately obvious which file was
>>>the product of which URL.
>>>Todd Gayley
>>>Wolfram Research
>DrMajorBob at

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