BinarySwitch Fetch is a command-line program, which means that you aren’t able to simply double-click on the program to get results. However, as we will see, this lack of UI actually makes the program more flexible.
- The Basics
- Command-Line Arguments
- An Example Retrieval
- Batch Files
- Advanced Features - Automatic Deletion
- Advanced Features - Overwrite Existing
If you do double-click on Fetch, all you will see is a black window with white text flicker for a moment on your screen. The reason this happens is because fetch needs a few instructions every time you run it. These instructions—called command-line arguments—tell Fetch what to do; for instance, where the podcast is, how many episodes to download, and where to place the downloaded files.
fetch source [destination] [number] [/O] [/D] [/X:n] source The URL of the podcast to retrieve. destination The folder to place the files into. (Defaults to My Documents\Podcasts) number The maximum number of attachments to download (Defaults to 5. -1 retrieves all.) /O Overwrites existing files (Warning: this fetches files even if they have already been downloaded) /D Deletes out of scope files. /X Expires (deletes) all files older than n days. ex: /X:7 deletes any files older than one week.
The first thing you must determine is the URL of podcast’s RSS feed. Let’s say you wanted to use Fetch to download the latest episode of NPR’s All Things Considered. After visiting the website, you discover that the URL for the All Things Considered podcast is http://www.npr.org/rss/rss.php?id=5.
To use Fetch, you merely have to type the following into either a command-line prompt or the Run Program dialog. (Press Win-R to bring up the run dalog). In this example, we are going to place the downloaded file into the Public Music folder. You can use whatever directory you’d like.
While the above example works well, typing that command each time you want to download a podcast is not very user-friendly. This is where batch files come in.
Batch files are simply a text file with an extension of .bat instead of .txt. That change in extension tells Windows to, in effect, type each line of the text file into a command prompt window.
To try this yourself, merely open up a Notepad window and type the same command you used above into it. Save the file as any name you like, for instance, "get podcasts.bat”. If you try double clicking on the batch file. Fetch will go out and retrieve your podcast, just as if you typed the command.
To edit the batch file, right click on it and choose “Edit”. The batch file will open up in notepad. You can then add as many podcasts as you want by simply adding additional lines to the batch file.
Now that you’ve created a batch file that contains all the podcasts you’d like to download, wouldn’t it be great if you could run that automatically? You can.
Windows has a built in Task Scheduler. This is located in either Control Panel, or Control Panel’s Administrative Tools folder. Note: the name of this feature may vary depending on version.
The Task Scheduler itself is self-explanatory. Simply create a new task, using the batch file you created as the program to run at the schedule you set up using the tool.
Normally, BinarySwitch Fetch will not download files that already exist at the destination. However, some podcasts use the same filename every week. The Overwrite Existing Files option ( /O ) will download and replace the existing file with the latest version from the server.
BinarySwitch Fetch can also remove previously downloaded files.
/D deletes any file that exists in the podcast destination folder except those that meet the download criteria.
/X:n deletes any file older than n days. /X:7 would delete any file older than 1 week.