iCan Blog Archive

You can access the Integrated File System (IFS) using either the Navigator for i web console or Access Client Solutions (ACS). ACS added support to work with the IFS back in October 2016. There are differences between the capabilities; which interface you use will depend upon what you want to accomplish.

  • The major advantage ACS provides is the ability to easily send files between IBM i partitions; with Navigator, you can only upload to or download files from your PC
  • ACS has the ability drag and drop, which Navigator doesn’t support
  • Downloading multiple files with Navigator puts all the files in a single folder within your downloads folder, whereas with ACS you get separate files in your downloads folder. I much prefer the Navigator approach. Both interfaces handle downloading a folder and its contents the same way.
  • In either interface, uploading files is a bit of a pain. In Navigator, you can upload a maximum of five files at a time, but you have to specify each one. In ACS, it’s one at a time. Neither interface will let you upload a folder of files.
  • In Navigator you have the ability to edit a file in the IFS; with ACS you have the ability to view a file
  • I prefer the folder navigation in Navigator—I like the ability to expand folders in the left frame to find the folder what you want. In addition, when I open a folder to display the contents in the main panel, and then open subsequent folders, the folders are opened in new tabs. This allows me to have multiple folders open at the same time. I’ve found that drilling into folders using ACS is slow and sluggish.
  • With Navigator, you can save favorites, which includes saving the path to “favorite” files or folders within the IFS. This feature doesn’t exist in ACS, but you can specify the initial directory in your preferences.
  • In both ACS and Navigator, you have the ability to go directly to a folder if you know the full path. In ACS, you can type in the path in the Directory box; with Navigator, you can select the Goto Integrated File System Folder task.
  • When you launch the Integrated File System task from ACS, the default display is your HOME directory, assuming you have one associated with your user profile. However, you can change the default folder with Edit → Preferences.  With Navigator, you must use favorites for a defined starting location.
  • Both interfaces have folder icons that indicate whether the folder is a file folder or a symbolic link. Additionally, Navigator’s icons also reflect a shared folder, which ACS doesn’t show.
  • When you view the properties of a folder, Navigator provides much more information
  • Navigator has support to display who has a lock on a file in the IFS; ACS does not
  • ACS connections get disconnected after a period of inactivity. Navigator does as well, but the time period is longer. I find I often get interrupted in the middle of tasks, and when I go back to ACS, I have to start over. In Navigator, I can continue where I left off.
  • With both Navigator and ACS, you can control who can access the IFS with Application Administration. To prevent any access to the Integrated File System tasks within ACS, you need to restrict access to all file systems within Navigator Application Administration; or you may selectively choose which file system a user may access.

I’m sure there are other characteristics that can be compared between the two interfaces that I overlooked. That said, this exercise in comparison has left me with the opinion that, in general, I prefer the Navigator interface, with the exception of moving data between IBM i partitions, which can only be done with ACS. 

Next week I will review how you can easily move data between IBM i partitions using ACS.

This blog post was edited to fix broken links on November 16, 2020.

This blog post was originally published on IBMSystemsMag.com and is reproduced here by permission of IBM Systems Media.