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Portal: The Easy Way to Transfer Large Files Between Computers 🌌✨by@hacker2078721
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Portal: The Easy Way to Transfer Large Files Between Computers 🌌✨

by Zino KaderMarch 24th, 2023
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Portal is a command-line file transfer utility for sending files from any computer to another. It uses end-to-end encryption using [PAKE2] and parallel gzip compression of files. The application will output a temporary password on the format 1-inertia-elliptical-celestial. The sender will communicate this password to the receiver over some secure channel.
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Portal

...is a platform-agnostic command-line file transfer utility for sending files from any computer to another.


The year is 2023 and ChatGPT is taking over the world, yet, sending files to each other is still incredibly annoying.


How many times haven't you tried to send a file to a friend through Messenger, WhatsApp, or Discord, just to find out that you cannot send a folder, or a .zip file, or more than a measly 25MB in total?


So... you head over to Google Drive, but then you have to fiddle with the link permissions, and if you're uploading a large file, you have to wait for it to be completely uploaded to Google Drive, before your friend can even start downloading it. Uuuuuugh.


As a developer, you know sending files isn't that hard. So did we, and we got fed up with the current state of things. So we created Portal, a command-line utility to send files quickly and easily.


Installation

See the installation options (curl, brew, yay) on GitHub!

Leave a ⭐ if you like it ❤️


How it works

Sending files and folders

To send files:

portal send <file1> <file2> <folder1> <folder2> ...


The application will output a temporary password in the format 1-inertia-elliptical-celestial.


The sender will communicate this password to the receiver over some secure channel.


Receiving files and folders

To receive those files:

portal receive 1-intertia-elliptical-celestial


The two clients will establish a connection through a relay server. The file transfer will then commence with a direct or relayed connection, depending on what's possible.


What it looks like ✨

The sender (top) sends a folder and three files to the receiver (bottom).


In this case, as you can see in the event log, the transfer is made using direct transfer. That means the files are sent directly from one client to the other, no middlemen involved.


As it happens, these computers are in the same local network, and portal recognizes this.

Demo

portal demo


Features

portal provides:

  • End-to-end encryption using PAKE2
  • Direct transfer of files if possible (e.g. sender and receiver are in the same local network)
  • Fallback to relay server if sender and receiver cannot connect directly
  • Parallel gzip compression of files for faster and more efficient transfers
  • Hosting your own relay (we'd appreciate it if you plan to send a lot of data!)
  • Configurability and shell completions
  • A shiny UI ⭐✨ to gaze your eyes upon while you wait for your files


Completions

portal provides extensive TAB completions for the following shells:

  • bash
  • zsh
  • fish
  • powershell

To see installation instructions for your shell and platform, run:

portal completion [bash|zsh|fish|powershell] --help

Tip!

You probably didn't quite catch the password Bob was screaming across the room.

You can use TAB completions to auto-complete passwords on the receiving end.

Press TAB when entering parts of your password...

portal receive 42-relative-parsec-s...


...and portal will suggest the possible words

$ portal receive 42-relative-parsec-s...

42-relative-parsec-supernova  42-relative-parsec-scatter    42-relative-parsec-solar      42-relative-parsec-spin       42-relative-parsec-static     
42-relative-parsec-sigma      42-relative-parsec-solid      42-relative-parsec-star       42-relative-parsec-storm      42-relative-parsec-system


boom. supernova.

portal receive 42-relative-parsec-supernova


Flags

Receiver

  • -y/--yes: overwrite existing files without [Y/n] prompts

Relay

  • -p/--port: port to host the relay server on

Sender and Receiver

  • -r/--relay: address of the relay server (:8080, myrelay.io:1234, ...)
  • -s/--tui-style: the style of the tui (rich | raw)

Sender, Receiver and Relay

  • -h/--help: output help messages for any command
  • -v/--verbose: log debug info to file


Configuration

portal places its configuration file in $HOME/.config/portal/config.yml.

As evident by the file extension, the config is a simple YAML file with descriptive field names.

Default configuration

relay: portal.spatiumportae.com
verbose: false
prompt_overwrite_files: true
relay_serve_port: 8080
tui_style: rich


Hosting your own relay

The portal binary comes with a built-in relay server. Spinning up your own relay is as easy as...

portal serve --port 1337

The server log output is JSON. Super-recommended to run it through jq!

portal serve --port 1337 2>&1 | jq .

...

{
  "level": "info",
  "ts": "2023-02-28T02:57:45.310134+01:00",
  "caller": "rendezvous/server.go:77",
  "msg": "serving rendezvous server",
  "version": "v1.2.1",
  "address": ":1337"
}


Maintainers


DigitalOcean <3

A special thanks to our sponsors DigitalOcean. The public relay available for everyone to use is sponsored by DigitalOcean.


Also published here.