Which Path Would You Travel


This Article explains how to obtain FilePath, Directory in ASP.net and there number of ways to handle this.
.NET Classes used :
System.IO
System.IO.Path

The various path-related properties of the Request Object.
Fortunately, The ASP.NET Request object is equipped with a number of properties with regards to this. They are:
ApplicationPath : Gets ASP.NET application’s virtual application root path on the server
CurrentExecutionFilePath:  Gets the virtual path of the current request.
FilePath
Path
PathInfo
PhysicalApplicationPath:  Gets the physical file system path of the currently executing server application’s root directory
PhysicalPath: Gets the physical file system path corresponding to the requested URL
RawUrl:  Gets the raw URL of the current request
Url: Gets information about the URL of the current request
However, these properties along with their definitions are a bit confusing. So I wrote some simple code to see exactly which path those properties lead to.
For example, I have a website called ASPNETC and it is a subfolder of my website root folder (C:\webs), and I get the following output:
ApplicationPath: “/”
CurrentExecutionFilePath: /aspnetc/testpath.aspx
FilePath: /aspnetc/testpath.aspx
Path: /aspnetc/testpath.aspx
PathInfo:
PhysicalApplicationPath: C:\webs\
PhysicalPath: C:\webs\aspnetc\testpath.aspx
RawUrl: /aspnetc/testpath.aspx
Of the above, CurrentExecutionFilePath, FilePath, Path, RawUrl return exactly the same virtual path, while PathInfo comes back blank (which is not very useful). However RawUrl will also return the trailing QueryString if the url has any. PhysicalApplcationPath and PhysicalPath are self-evident. Somehow I wish there were something like PhysicalDirectory that returns the dirctory information about the current request.
The ApplicationPath has got a lot of bad attention, since it returns either “/” if the application is in the root folder or “/xxx” without a trailing slash if it is in a virtual directory. So if you move your website around, and if folder hierarchy is not consistent, you are in trouble (be sure to track if there is a trailing “/” when using the ApplicationPath).

The famous “~” and Page.ResolveUrl
Of course, it is a hassle to remember all the various properties of the Request object especially with the problems associated with the ApplicationPath property. So here comes a handy trick, the tilde “~”. It denotes the root directory of the web application. It can be used in many server controls, such as Image controls, where you can set the ImageUrl property with a leading “~” to indicate the path of the image, as such:
AlternateText=”Image text”
ImageAlign=”left”
ImageUrl=”~/images/image1.jpg”/>Preceding your url with a “~” bypasses the problem that may arise when you have to move an application to different servers with different root settings.
The very useful Page method ResolveUrl also addresses the same problem.
For example, if your application is located in a virtual directory “/SomeDir”
Page.ResolveUrl(“~/images/image1.jpg”) will return “/Somedir/images/image1.jpg” However if it sits in the root directory:
Page.ResolveUrl(“~/images/image1.jpg”) will simply return “/images/image1.jpg”

Server.MapPath
All the above concerns are more or less with the relative or virtual path. However, a lot of times it is necessary to retrieve the physical path of a file or a directory and my favorite method for this task is Server.MapPath, the age-old method that I have been using since my ASP years (I still write a lot of ASP pages.)
Given a relative or virtual path of a directory or file, Server.MapPath can be used to obtain its physical path. For example:
Server.MapPath(“testdir/testFile.aspx”)or
Server.MapPath(“testdir”)The neat thing about Server.MapPath is that it can return the root directory of an application, as the following:
Server.MapPath(“/”)Or it maps to the physical path of the current working directory, which is what I often need.
Server.MapPath(“.”)Or it can map to the parent directory of current working directory.

Server.MapPath(“..”)

The System.IO.Path Object
Talking about Paths, the .NET Path object is also very helpful in terms of extracting various path and file information. It has a slew of static methods, most notably:
GetExtension
GetFileName
GetFileNameWithoutExtension
Here a quick example:
String strPath  = @”c:\testdir\testfile.txt”;
//returns c:/testdir
temp = path.GetDirectoryName(strPath)
//returns testfile.txt
temp = Path.GetFileName(strPath);
//returns .txt
temp = Path.GetExtension(strPath);

//returns testfile
temp = Path.GetFileNameWithoutExtension(strPath);
Another neat method of the Path object is Path.Combine that combines two paths together. So instead of concatenating two path strings together, we can use Path.Combine to get a complete path, as the following:
//Returns C:\testdir\images\image1.jpg
Path.Combine(@”C:\testdir”, @”Images\image1.jpg”);

Summary
We have talked about how to retrieve the various path / url information of a file/directory/application, be it a virtual path, relative path or physical path. ASP.NET has a number of properties and methods for this task.
The Request object has a number of properties such as ApplicationPath, CurrentExecutionFilePath, PhysicalApplicationPath. However, these properties can sometimes be too confusing. Also, the inconsistency of the ApplicationPath property (with or without trailing “/”) can cause frustration.
In ASP.NET, developers often use the tilde “~” to denote the root-relative path of a web application, or using the Page.ResolveUrl to obtain the same information.
In terms of retrieve the physical path of a file or a directory (current working directory, parent directory or root directory), I love to use the old-fashioned Server.MapPath.
The Path object in System.IO namespace comes handy for retrieving such information as file extension, file name or the full path of a file.

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