--

does this exist in any OS?

so Im thinking of a file/application/thingie that is sitting inside a folder.  It has a flag such that the operating system can query it as if it were a file or a folder.  It then executes code and returns a response (maybe via stdout) that the operating system interprets as either a file list or the content of a file, or whatever depending on what the OS request was.

its kind of hard to explain now I come to it....


kind of an application that the file system can treat as a file system in its own right, and that can return useful stuff.


anyone heard of such a thing?  Im not sure Ive explaioned it particularly well.
Permalink worldsSmallestViolin 
September 12th, 2006 7:56pm
Doesn't that exist in every OS?
Permalink Send private email Wayne (AHA) 
September 12th, 2006 7:59pm
What are you trying to accomplish.  It sounds like you want filesystem metadata that acts as a file?
Permalink Send private email Bot Berlin 
September 12th, 2006 8:05pm
it sounds like u want something gay but r not man enuff to take it bakside LOL
Permalink 14 year old internet retard 
September 12th, 2006 8:07pm
Doesn't Windows XP do that with zip files natively?
Permalink Send private email Steel McLargeEsquimaux 
September 12th, 2006 8:12pm
"Doesn't Windows XP do that with zip files natively?"

yesish, except not in the same way, it just interprets the .zip format.


"Doesn't that exist in every OS?"

does it?  how do you mean?


"It sounds like you want filesystem metadata that acts as a file?"

not exactly.  I want to write an application that can pretend to be a filesystem if it wants.

...I suspect Im not making a lot of sense...
Permalink worldsSmallestViolin 
September 12th, 2006 8:17pm
Pretend to be a filesystem or pretend to be a folder?
Permalink MD5:9151d7d2cc228fa0f9d3a3cbaaf4 
September 12th, 2006 8:19pm
"I want to write an application that can pretend to be a filesystem if it wants."

What Steel said: the zipfldr.dll plugs into explorer and lets you browse into zip files like they are really files and folders that exist.

It's possible to do a similar thing at the low-level of just about every OS.
Permalink Send private email Wayne (AHA) 
September 12th, 2006 8:23pm
It's amazing how far you can take the *nix print spooler.
Permalink trollop 
September 12th, 2006 8:55pm
"the zipfldr.dll plugs into explorer and lets you browse into zip files like they are really files and folders that exist. "

actually, you are right..that is kind of what Im asking for.


I wonder how you would implement something similar on os x.

is there a term for it?  'file system' aint leading me anywhere useful.
Permalink worldsSmallestViolin 
September 12th, 2006 9:44pm
look for something like "pluggable file handlers" or something like that.
Permalink Send private email Steel McLargeEsquimaux 
September 12th, 2006 9:55pm
"does this exist in any OS?"

No!
Permalink  
September 12th, 2006 10:17pm
I think you may want to take a look at loopback filesystems on unix. It sounds like you want to do something along the lines of writing an email program that let you handle your mail as though they were a bunch of files that you could browse through that would behave like directories.

Filesystems are just applications/libs that provide a specified interface, as long as you provide the interface, the whatever objects you'd like to turn into files can be manipulated as files by the OS.

  -tim
Permalink Send private email a2800276 
September 13th, 2006 4:10am
piping output from one program as input to another does more or less what you want. But you want the OS to be smart enough to figure out
a. that the program can be used that way
b. how to handle the output

So I have a program BehaveAsFile.exe. The OS now somehow has to figure out if this is just a file or a program that actually produces a PDF output based on a database report that should be opened by a PDF reader.

This sounds more like a browser/webserver thing than an OS feature.
I can request any kind of file from a webserver. The webserver somehow (ASP/PHP/CGI/ISAPI/SOAP/...) decides what kind of output is returned and the browser determines how to deal with that output based on header info in the response.
Conclusion, make the OS/filesystem a website (sharepoint?) and access "files" via a browser.
Permalink Send private email Locutus of Borg 
September 13th, 2006 6:41am
thanks tim, the unix loopback stuff is interesting, looking through it now.



wow, LoB.  good post.  you've definitely given me something to think about, thanks.
Permalink worldsSmallestViolin 
September 13th, 2006 7:07am
Assuming you're not being a cynical ass, you're welcome.
Permalink Send private email Locutus of Borg 
September 13th, 2006 9:00am
nope, not being cynical.  it was a way of looking at things that I hadn't considered.  still not sure if I can use it for this specific issue, but it was definitely worth hearing, and is almost guaranteed to be useful later on..it just has that feeling about it.
Permalink worldsSmallestViolin 
September 13th, 2006 2:38pm

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