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Create Multiple Level Subdirectories

  • January 25, 1999
  • By Developer.com Staff
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This article was contributed by Brad Guttilla.

While recently working on a project, I needed to create a series of subdirectories from a user supplied string. These could be two, three, four or more deep. Of course the MSVC Help files lived up to their normal level of support. After beating my head aginst the wall I finally realized I could only create a single subdirectory at one time. In other words if none of the sub-directories previously existed then the code CreateDirectory("C:\Data\Test\Monday\Backup\Archive") would continually fail.

I finally realized that the function CreateDirectory is only a wrapper for _mkdir which will only create a single sub-directory so I would need to recursively call CreateDirectory() several times. Since there is really no way around this I created a small subroutine WriteDir() which takes care of all of the work for me.

What are the steps required

  • Set up a CStringArray to hold the Directories in order on creation.
  • Parse the passed CString Object into the CString variable tem one character at a time.
  • When we get to a \ pass it up and add "tem" to the CStringArray.
  • We need to add the \ at the end of the tem variable in order to continue to separate the directories.
  • Continue to do this until the entire string is parsed.

    **Note** Notice we have to add the final value of tem to the CString Array since there is NO \ at the end of the Directory String

    Now we can start creating the directories
  • Skip the first entry since it is the Drive letter
  • Cycle through the CStringArray testing to see if the directory already exists. If it does then go to the next item.
  • If the directory does not exist then use CreateDirectory().
  • When we reach the end of the CStringArray, check to see if the full directory actually was created. If it was then return TRUE, otherwise return FALSE;
  • Don't forget to clear the array (Good Housekeeping)

    From the Example: Original CString = C:\Data\Test\Monday\Backup\Archive
    CStringArray members
    	[0] = C:
    	[1] = C:\Data
    	[2] = C:\Data\Test
    	[3] = C:\Data\Test\Monday
    	[4] = C:\Data\Test\Monday\Backup
    	[5] = C:\Data\Test\Monday\Backup\Archive

    Remember we skipped the first entry. Then we cycled through and created each string independently.

    How do we put this to use

    Add the files WriteDir.h and WriteDir.cpp to your project. Add #include "WriteDir.h" in the cpp file where you are going to call the function. Set up a test variable: BOOL test; CString someString; Set someString to a Directory path you need to create (Do not add a \ at the end of the string) test = WriteDir(someString);

    if test == TRUE   SUCCESS
    if test == FALSE  FAILURE

    The Source Code

    #include "stdafx.h"
    #include "WriteDir.h"

    Setup Internal Variables

    BOOL WriteDirectory(CString dd)
    	HANDLE		fFile;		// File Handle
    	WIN32_FIND_DATA	fileinfo;	// File Information Structure
    	CStringArray	m_arr;		// CString Array to hold Directory Structures
    	BOOL tt;			// BOOL used to test if Create Directory was successful
    	int x1 = 0;			// Counter
    	CString tem = "";		// Temporary CString Object
    Before we go to a lot of work. Check to see if the Directory exists
    	fFile = FindFirstFile(dd,&fileinfo);
    	// if the file exists and it is a directory
    	if(fileinfo.dwFileAttributes == FILE_ATTRIBUTE_DIRECTORY)
    		//  Directory Exists close file and return
    		return TRUE;
    	m_arr.RemoveAll();				// Not really necessary - Just habit
    Separate the String into its compounded components
    	for(x1 = 0; x1 < dd.GetLength(); x1++ )		// Parse the supplied CString Directory String
    		if(dd.GetAt(x1) != '\\')		// if the Charachter is not a \ 
    			tem += dd.GetAt(x1);		// add the character to the Temp String
    			m_arr.Add(tem);			// if the Character is a \ 
    								Add the Temp String to the CString Array
    			tem += "\\";			// Now add the \ to the temp string
    		if(x1 == dd.GetLength()-1)		// If we reached the end of the String
    								add the remaining string
    	// Close the file
    Create each level of the Directory Structure
    // Now lets cycle through the String Array and create each directory in turn
    	for(x1 = 1; x1 < m_arr.GetSize(); x1++)
    		tem = m_arr.GetAt(x1);
    		tt = CreateDirectory(tem,NULL);
    		// If the Directory exists it will return a false
    		// If we were successful we set the attributes to normal
    	//  Now lets see if the directory was successfully created
    	fFile = FindFirstFile(dd,&fileinfo);
    Check to see if the Directory was created and it actually is a Directory
    	if(fileinfo.dwFileAttributes == FILE_ATTRIBUTE_DIRECTORY)
    		//  Directory Exists close file and return
    		return TRUE;
    		// For Some reason the Function Failed  Return FALSE
    		return FALSE;
    Download source - 2 KB

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