Saturday, 19 November 2016

Compressing files in a MVC environment

This article will present a way to compress files in a MVC environment. For compression, we will use the DotNetZip Nuget package, which is an open and free compression library hosted on Codeplex and supported also by Xceed. The DotNetZip produces of course Zip files. DotNetZip website We install this compression library by initiating the following Nuget command: Install-Package DotNetZip We then define a simple view in MVC that has got a file upload input and a submit button:

@model ZipAndMvc.Models.HomeViewModel
    ViewBag.Title = "Home Page";

<div class="jumbotron">
    <h2>Test out zipping a file</h2>   

<div class="row">

    @using (Html.BeginForm("ZipIt", "Home", FormMethod.Post, new {  enctype = "multipart/form-data" }))
        <div class="col-md-3">@Html.Label("Zip password") @Html.TextBoxFor(m => m.ZipPassword) </div>
        <div class="col-md-3"><input type="file" name="FileUpload" /> </div>
        <div>  <input type="submit" id="Submit" value="Upload and zip file" /> </div>

This view allows the user to type in a password for the file to compress, where the user also selects the file to compress. The user then hits the submit button. The HomeViewModel is very simple with a simple property for setting the zip password. Then we define the following code in the MVC controller:

        public FileStreamResult ZipIt(HomeViewModel viewmodel)
            if (Request.Files.Count > 0)
                using (var zip = new ZipFile())
                    zip.Encryption = EncryptionAlgorithm.PkzipWeak;
                    zip.Password = viewmodel.ZipPassword;
                    zip.CompressionLevel = Ionic.Zlib.CompressionLevel.Default; 
                    var memoryStream = new MemoryStream();
                    zip.AddFile(Request.Files[0].FileName, "");
                    memoryStream.Position = 0;
                    return new FileStreamResult(memoryStream, contentType: "application/zip")
                        FileDownloadName = Path.ChangeExtension(Request.Files[0].FileName, "zip")
            return null;

The client posts the file to compress. The controller then inspects the Request.Files collection and selects the first file if there is present any files there. Here we return a FileStreamResult where the compressed data inside the memorystream is returned to the client. We use DotNetZip to do the compression. The benefit of DotNetZip compared to .Net built-in support for compression is more functionality. The code above should be sufficient for basic compression scenario in MVC. Feel free to experiment with DotNetZip. As you can see, you can specify compression level. You can also choose to add directories and much more. The reason for the second argument in AddFile method is to ensure that the file to be added to the zip package is put in the root folder of the zipped file. Also, set the values of Encryption and Password before adding files or directories (Folders) in the ZipFile. You can actually use different passwords also in the Zip file.

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