Posts Tagged ‘Filename’

Gotcha: System.IO.GetInvalidPathChars result not guaranteed

at System.IO.Path.GetInvalidPathChars one reads:

The array returned from this method is not guaranteed to contain the complete set of characters that are invalid in file and directory names

note: can also call this method from non-trusted Silverlight app – not as Intellisense tooltip wrongly says in Visual Studio 2013 with Silverlight 5.1

I just found out about this the hard way (since DotNetZip library was failing at SelectFiles to open .zip files that it had before successfully saved with item filenames containing colons). So I had to update my ReplaceInvalidFileNameChars string extension method to also replace/remove invalid characters such as the colon, wildcard characters (* and ?) and double quote.

    public static string ReplaceInvalidFileNameChars(
this string s,
string replacement = "") { return Regex.Replace(s, "[" + Regex.Escape( Path.VolumeSeparatorChar + Path.DirectorySeparatorChar + Path.AltDirectorySeparatorChar + ":" + //added to cover Windows & Mac in case code is run on UNIX "\\" + //added for future platforms "/" + //same as previous one "<" + ">" + "|" + "\b" + "" + "\t" + //based on characters not allowed on Windows new string(Path.GetInvalidPathChars()) + //seems to miss *, ? and " "*" + "?" + "\"" ) + "]", replacement, //can even use a replacement string of any length RegexOptions.IgnoreCase); //not using System.IO.Path.InvalidPathChars (deprecated insecure API) }

Useful to know:


slash ("/") on UNIX, and a backslash ("\") on the Windows and Macintosh operating systems



slash ("/") on UNIX, and a backslash ("\") on the Windows and Macintosh operating systems



backslash (‘\’) on UNIX, and a slash (‘/’) on Windows and Macintosh operating systems

More info on illegal characters at various operating systems can be found at:


HowTo: Bind control to list of files or folders

At ClipFlair Gallery metadata input pages for Activities and Clips I had to bind an control to a list of files and folders respectively and although I found a Folder Contents DataSource control, it didn’t cover my needs (like filtering of a folder contents).

I just contributed my solution using .NET Anonymous Types and LINQ (assumes a using System.Linq clause) to:

private string path = HttpContext.Current.Server.MapPath("~/activity");

   protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
if (!IsPostBack) { //only at page 1st load
listItems.DataSource = Directory.EnumerateFiles(path, "*.clipflair") .Select(f => new { Filename=Path.GetFileName(f) });
listItems.DataBind(); //must call this } }

The above snippet gets all *.clipflair files from ~/activity folder of a web project

Update: using EnumerateFiles (availabe since .NET 4.0) instead of GetFiles since this is more efficient with LINQ queries. GetFiles would return a whole array of filenames in memory before LINQ had a chance to filter it.

The following snippet shows how to use multiple filters, which GetFiles/EnumerateFiles don’t support themselves:

private string path = HttpContext.Current.Server.MapPath("~/image");
private string filter = "*.png|*.jpg";

protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
  _listItems = listItems; 
  if (!IsPostBack)
    listItems.DataSource =
oneFilter => Directory.EnumerateFiles(path, oneFilter)
.Select(f => new { Filename = Path.GetFileName(f) })
); listItems.DataBind(); //must call this if (Request.QueryString["item"] != null) listItems.SelectedValue = Request.QueryString["item"];
//must do after listItems.DataBind } }

The snippet below shows how to get all directories from /~video folder and also filters them to select only directories that contain a .ism file (Smooth Streaming content) with the same name as the directory (e.g. someVideo/someVideo.ism)

using System;
using System.IO;
using System.Linq;
using System.Web;
using System.Web.UI.WebControls;

namespace ClipFlair.Gallery
 public partial class VideoMetadataPage : System.Web.UI.Page

  private string path = HttpContext.Current.Server.MapPath("~/video");

  protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
    if (!IsPostBack) { //only at page 1st load
listItems.DataSource = Directory.GetDirectories(path) .Where(f =>(Directory.EnumerateFiles(f,
Path.GetFileName(f)+".ism").Count()!=0)) .Select(f => new { Foldername = Path.GetFileName(f) }); //when having a full path to a directory don't use Path.GetDirectoryName //(gives parent directory), //use Path.GetFileName instead to extract the name of the directory listItems.DataBind(); //must call this } }


The examples above are from a DropDownList, but it’s the same logic with any control that supports Data Binding (note I’m calling Foldername the data field at the 2nd snippet and Filename at the 1st one, but could use any name, need to set that in the markup):

        <asp:DropDownList ID="listItems" runat="server" AutoPostBack="True" 
          DataTextField="Foldername" DataValueField="Foldername" 

HowTo: Remove invalid filename characters in .NET

In ClipFlair Studio I use DotNetZip (Ionic.Zip) library for storing components (like the activity and its nested child components) to ZIP archives (.clipflair or files). Inside the ZIP archive its child components have their own file and so on (so that you could even nest activities at any depth) which construct their filename based on the component’s Title and ID (a GUID)

However, when the component Title used characters like " (double-quote) which are not allowed in filenames, then although Ionic.Zip created the archive with the double-quotes in the nested filenames, when trying to load those ZipEntries into a memory stream it failed. Obviously I had to filter those invalid filename characters (I opted to remove them to make those ZipEntry filenames a bit more readable/smaller).

So I added one more extension method for string type at StringExtensions static class (Utils.Silverlight project), based on info gathered from the links from related stackoverflow question. To calculated version of a string s without invalid file name characters, one can do s.ReplaceInvalidFileNameChars() or optionally pass a replacement token parameter (a string) to insert at the position of each char removed.

public static string ReplaceInvalidFileNameChars(this string s,
string replacement = "") { return Regex.Replace(s, "[" + Regex.Escape(new String(System.IO.Path.GetInvalidPathChars())) + "]", replacement, //can even use a replacement string of any length RegexOptions.IgnoreCase); //not using System.IO.Path.InvalidPathChars (deprecated insecure API) }

For more info on Regular Expressions see and

BTW, note that to convert the char[] returned by System.IO.Path.GetInvalidPathChars() to string we use new String(System.IO.Path.GetInvalidPathChars()).

It’s unfortunate that one can’t use ToString() method of char[] (using Visual Studio to go to definition of char[].ToString() takes us to Object.ToString() which means the array types don’t overload the virtual ToString() method of Object class to return something useful).

Another thing to note is that we don’t use System.IO.Path.InvalidPathChars field which is deprecated for security reasons, but use System.IO.Path.GetInvalidPathChars() method instead. MSDN explains the security issue, so better avoid that insecure API to be safe:

Do not use InvalidPathChars if you think your code might execute in the same application domain as untrusted code. InvalidPathChars is an array, so its elements can be overwritten. If untrusted code overwrites elements of InvalidPathChars, it might cause your code to malfunction in ways that could be exploited.

%d bloggers like this: