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How Palm OS Expands Your Applications: Volumes

  • May 27, 2005
  • By Alex Gusev
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Volume info

After you've got the volume number, the very next logical step is to retrieve volume's information. VFSVolumeInfo provides you by such data. As an output, you will receive VolumeInfoType struct:

typedef struct VolumeInfoTag {
   UInt32 attributes;
   UInt32 fsType;
   UInt32 fsCreator;
   UInt32 mountClass;
   UInt16 slotLibRefNum;
   UInt16 slotRefNum;
   UInt32 mediaType;
      UInt32 reserved;
} VolumeInfoType, *VolumeInfoPtr;

Among its members, you will take a look at several useful ones. attributes' bits are listed below:

 * Volume Attributes
// reserved
#define vfsVolumeAttrSlotBased (0x00000001UL)
// volume is read only
#define vfsVolumeAttrReadOnly  (0x00000002UL)
// volume should not be user-visible.
#define vfsVolumeAttrHidden    (0x00000004UL)

fsType defines the file system mounted on given volume. Excerpt from VSFManager.h below contains possible values.

 * Common filesystem types.  Used by FSFilesystemType and
 *                           SlotCardIsFilesystemSupported.
// FAT12 and FAT16 extended to handle long file names
#define vfsFilesystemType_VFAT       'vfat"
// FAT12 and FAT16 which only handles 8.3 file names
#define vfsFilesystemType_FAT        'fats'
// Windows NT filesystem
#define vfsFilesystemType_NTFS       'ntfs'
// The Macintosh extended hierarchical filesystem
#define vfsFilesystemType_HFSPlus    'hfse
// The Macintosh standard hierarchical filesystem
#define vfsFilesystemType_HFS        'hfss'
// The Macintosh original filesystem
#define vfsFilesystemType_MFS        'mfso'
// Linux filesystem
#define vfsFilesystemType_EXT2       'ext2'
// Unix Berkeley block based filesystem
#define vfsFilesystemType_FFS        'ffsb'
// Unix Networked filesystem
#define vfsFilesystemType_NFS        'nfsu'
// Unix Andrew filesystem
#define vfsFilesystemType_AFS        'afsu'
// Novell filesystem
#define vfsFilesystemType_Novell     'novl'
// OS2 High Performance filesystem
#define vfsFilesystemType_HPFS       'hpfs'

mountClass can be set to vfsMountClass_POSE, vfsMountClass_Simulator, or vfsMountClass_SlotDriver. The first two values are useful for tests, the last one represents real slot.

And finally, media type values are dumped below:

 * Common media types.  Used by SlotCardMediaType and
 *                      SlotMediaType.
// matches all media types when looking up a default directory
#define expMediaType_Any              'wild'
// Memory stick
#define expMediaType_MemoryStick      'mstk'
// Compact Flash
#define expMediaType_CompactFlash     'cfsh'
// SD card
#define expMediaType_SecureDigital    'sdig'
// MultiMedia card
#define expMediaType_MultiMediaCard   'mmcd'
// SmartMedia card
#define expMediaType_SmartMedia       'smed'
// a RAM disk-based media
#define expMediaType_RAMDisk          'ramd'
// Host filesystem emulated by Poser
#define expMediaType_PoserHost        'pose'
// Host filesystem emulated by Poser
#define expMediaType_MacSim           'PSim'

By having all this information handy, you can make appropriate decisions on how to handle this particular volume.

Except for this, you can gather a bit more info about volume usage. The call to

Err VFSVolumeSize(UInt16 volRefNum,
                  UInt32 *volumeUsedP,
                  UInt32 *volumeTotalP)

will return used bytes and total volume capacity.

Mounting and unmounting volumes

While an expansion card is inserted into slot, VFS Manager tries to mount a volume this card possibly contains. If the card was ejected from the slot, VFS Manager unmounts it. You may need to perform the same task manually; for example, after installing a new slot diver and so forth. You can use VFSVolumeMount and VFSVolumeUnmountfunctions for this purpose. The following sample represents a simple case of doing it:

// perform volume enumeration at some place
// Unmount volume

// you can use volume enumeration results to set
// slotParam.slotRefNum and slotParam.slotLibRefNum in case of
// existing volume
// code below shows an alternative way to obtain this info

// Enumerate slots to obtain required information
VFSSlotMountParamType slotParam ;
UInt32 slotIterator = expIteratorStart;
slotParam.vfsMountParamP.mountClass = VFSMountClass_SlotDriver;
Err err = ExpSlotEnumerate(&slotParam.slotRefNum, &slotIterator);

// find appropriate shared library
err = ExpSlotLibFind(slotParam.slotRefNum, &slotParam.slotLibRefNum);

// and finally mount the volume
err = VFSVolumeMount(NULL, NULL,(VFSAnyMountParamPtr)&slotParam);

The first parameter on VFSVolumeMount controls how the volume should be mounted. If you will pass vfsMountFlagsUseThisFileSystem as its value, VFS Manager will attempt to mount a file system referenced by fsLibRefNum parameter. Pass 0 to let VFS Manager to select suitable file system for given slot.

The last parameter defines how to mount the volume after it has been formatted.

Formatting volumes

VFSVolumeFormat function performs volume formatting when your application will issue it. As you've seen in the previous section, volume also can be formatted if VFS Manager has not succeeded to find appropriate library for the volume. In both cases, vfsMountParamP dictates how to format this volume. All you should do is to set vfsMountParamP->vfsMountParamP.mountClass to VFSMountClass_SlotDriver and initialize vfsMountParamP->slotLibRefNum and vfsMountParamP->slotRefNum to the appropriate values.

The only thing left with volumes is get/set the volume label. VFSVolumeGetLabel/VFSVolumeSetLabel functions allow you manipulating the volume's label in easy way. Volume labels can be as 255 characters long as maximum. They can contain any normal character, including spaces and lower case characters, in any character set as well as the special characters. If underlying file system does not support long volume name, VFSVolumeSetLabel creates /VOLUME.NAM file to be able to work with long names.


In this article, we're started to learn how to utilize VFS Manager functionality for application's good. As you can see, VFS Manager gives you relatively easy way to manipulate file system objects. Yet, you have covered only volumes this time. The next articles also will disscuss folder/file operations and slots.

About the Author

Alex Gusev started to play with mainframes in the end of the 1980s, using Pascal and REXX, but soon switched to C/C++ and Java on different platforms. When mobile PDAs seriously rose their heads in the IT market, Alex did it too. Now, he works at an international retail software company as a team leader of the Mobile R department, making programmers' lives in the mobile jungles a little bit simpler.

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