The term “remote” means directories which are remote in the sense of TRAMP1, ANGE-FTP2 or EFS3. Each of these Emacs-addons is intended to make editing directories and files on remote machines as transparent as possible.
ECB supports such remote directoires out of the box and completely
transparently, i.e. you can add remote directories to the option
ecb-source-path without any restriction. ECB will handle these
directories transparently with the appropriate tool - either TRAMP,
ANGE-FTP or EFS. So when working with such a remote directory is
possible without ECB it will be possible too with active ECB - at
least as long you are “connected”!
Caution: Suppose you have added a remote dir (e.g.
ecb-source-path and you
start ECB when you are offline, means there can be no connection
established to the remote computer (e.g. “host.at.a.server”). Each
time ECB has to process a remote path ECB pings via the ping-program
the remote host (in the example above it would ping the host
“host.at.a.server”) to test if it is accessible. If not then this
path will be ignored by ECB4. Ensure that ECB
calls your ping-program (see
ecb-ping-program) with the right
ecb-ping-options). To avoid to many pings to the
same host ECB caches the ping result so there should be no performance
decrease. But to ensure still correct accessible-results and to avoid
using outdated cache-results ECB discards the cached value of the
accessible-state of a certain host after a customizable time-interval
(please read the documentation of
ECB performs some tasks stealthily and interruptable by the user (see
ecb-stealthy-tasks-delay for additional
explanations) because these tasks are time-consuming and could
otherwise ECB block. Especially for remote directories these special
tasks can cause annoying blocks of Emacs (see Stealthy background tasks).
Therefore it is probably the best to switch on each of the stealthy
tasks with the
unless-remote which is the default activation
(see Stealthy background tasks). So a certain stealthy task will
be swtiched on for all local directories (and also for all mounted
drives in the LAN) but not for real remote directories used via TRAMP,
ANGE-FTP or EFS.
ECB caches per default the contents of remote directories to avoid
annoying delays. The cache is done via the option
ecb-cache-directory-contents which contains an entry which
covers the syntax of remote directories. If you do not want this
caching (which is strongly recommened) you have to remove this entry
from this option.
 TRAMP stands for 'Transparent Remote (file) Access, Multiple Protocol'. This package provides remote file editing, similar to ANGE-FTP.
 This package attempts to make accessing files and directories using FTP from within Emacs as simple and transparent as possible.
 A system for transparent file-transfer between remote hosts using the FTP protocol within Emacs
 This avoids long lasting and annoying blocking of ECB when a remote-path is not accessible: Without a ping ECB would always try to open this directory through the appropriate library (e.g. TRAMP) and it would depend on the timeout-mechanism of this library (e.g. TRAMP has 60 seconds) how long ECB would be blocked. First after this timeout ECB could start working! A fast “pre”-ping avoids this problem!