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AFP (AppleTalk Filing Protocol)

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AFP is the file protocol in the Macintosh environment that lets users access files on other systems. AFP uses AppleTalk for communication between systems, although the latest incarnation- called AFP over TCP/IP-allows users to access AFP servers over TCP/IP networks.

AFP passes user commands down the protocol stack to lower-layer protocols that handle establishing connections and monitoring data flow between systems. AFP itself resides in the presentation and application layers of the AppleTalk protocol stack. It has the following features:

  • AFP sets up an environment for a user that appears as if files on a remote file server are available locally.

  • Access to server files is handled using the same procedures as access to local files, except that a user must initially establish a connection to the remote file server.

  • AFP provides security features that can restrict user access to files.

AppleShare is Apple's client and server software that allows Mac OS (operating system) users to access shared files and printers. It is based on AFP. Macintosh users access AppleShare servers through AppleShare client software. Note that starting with the Macintosh System 7 OS, Macintosh users were able to share files on their own systems with other users.

In 1995, Apple introduced its Open Transport software, which allows the Macintosh system to support multiple protocols. This move was made primarily to add support for TCP/IP and the full suite of Internet protocols. In this scheme, AFP is tunneled across the TCP/IP network, allowing users to gain access to AppleShare servers, Web servers, FTP servers, and other services across intranets.

Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.
All rights reserved under Pan American and International copyright conventions.