Derived From:BNode, BPositionIO
Mix-in Classes:None
Declared In:storage/File.h
Class Overview

Constructor and Destructor


BFile(); BFile(const entry_ref* ref,
      uint32 openMode);
BFile(const BEntryentry,
      uint32 openMode);
BFile(const char* path,
      uint32 openMode);
      const char* path,
      uint32 openMode);

Creates a new BFile object, initializes it according to the arguments, and sets InitCheck() to return the status of the initialization.

The default constructor does nothing and sets and sets InitCheck() to B_NO_INIT. To initialize the object, call SetTo().

The copy constructor creates a new BFile that's open on the same file as that of the argument. Note that the two objects maintain separate data pointers into the same file:

  • Separate pointers: Reading and writing through one object does not affect the position of the data pointer in the other object.

  • Same file: If one object writes to the file, the other object will see the written data.

For information on the other constructors, see the analogous SetTo() functions.


virtual ~BFile();

Closes the object's file, frees its file descriptor, and destroys the object.

Member Functions

GetSize(), SetSize()

virtual status_t GetSize(off_t* size) const;virtual status_t SetSize(off_t size);

These functions get and set the size, in bytes, of the object's file.

GetSize() returns the size of the file's data portion in the size argument; the measurement doesn't include attributes.

SetSize() sets the size of the data portion to the size given by the argument:

  • Enlarging a file adds (uninitialized) bytes to its end.

  • Shrinking a file removes bytes from the end.

Return CodeDescription


The file's size was successfully gotten or set.


(SetSize()) The file lives on a read-only volume.


(SetSize()) No more room on the file's device.


status_t InitCheck() const;

Returns the status of the most recent initialization.

Return CodeDescription


The object is initialized.


The object is uninitialized.

For other errors.

See SetTo()

IsReadable(), IsWritable()

bool IsReadable() const;bool IsWritable() const;

These functions tell you whether the BFile was initialized to read or write its file. If the object isn't (properly) initialized, they both return false.

Note that these functions don't query the actual file to check permissions, they only tell you what the access request was when the BFile object was initialized.

Read(), ReadAt(), Write(), WriteAt()

virtual ssize_t Read(void* buffer,
                     size_t size);
virtual ssize_t ReadAt(off_t location,
                       void* buffer,
                       size_t size);
virtual ssize_t Write(const void* buffer,
                      size_t size);
virtual ssize_t WriteAt(off_t location,
                        const void* buffer,
                        size_t size);

These functions, which are inherited from BPositionIO, read and write the file's data; note that they don't touch the file's attributes.

The Read() and ReadAt() functions read size bytes of data from the file and place this data in buffer. The buffer that buffer points to must already be allocated, and must be large enough to accommodate the read data. Note that the read-into buffer is not null-terminated by the reading functions.

The two functions differ in that…

  • Read() reads the data starting at the current location of the file's data pointer, and increments the file pointer as it reads.

  • ReadAt() reads the data from the location specified by the location argument, which is taken as a measure in bytes from the beginning of the file. ReadAt() does not bump the file's data pointer.

Write() and WriteAt() write size bytes of data into the file; the data is taken from the buffer argument. The two functions differ in their use (or non-use) of the file's data pointer in the same manner as Read() and ReadAt().

All four functions return the number of bytes that were actually read or written; negative return values indicate an error.

Reading fewer-than-size bytes isn't uncommon—consider the case where the file is smaller than the size of your buffer. If you want your buffer to be NULL-terminated, you can use the return value to set the NULL:

char buf[1024];
ssize_t amt_read;

if ((amt_read = file.Read((void *)buf, 1024)) < 0)
   /* handle errors first */
   /* otherwise set null */
   buf[amt_read] = '0';

A successful Write() or WriteAt(), on the other hand, will always write exactly the number of bytes you requested. In other words, Write() returns either the size value that you passed to it, or else it returns a negative (error) value.


Error codes returned by these functions can vary depending on the file system handling the operation. For this reason, specific error codes aren't listed here.

Seek(), Position()

virtual off_t Seek(off_t offset,
                   int32 seekMode);
virtual off_t Position() const;

Seek() sets the location of the file's data pointer. The new location is reckoned as offset bytes from the position given by the seekMode constant:



Seek from the beginning of the file.


Seek from the pointer's current position.


Seek from the end of the file.

If you Seek() to a position that's past the end of the file and then do a Write(), the file will be extended (padded with garbage) from the old end of file to the Seek()'d position. If you don't follow the Seek() with a Write(), the file isn't extended.

Seek() returns the new position as measured (in bytes) from the beginning of the file.

Position() returns the current position as measured (in bytes) from the beginning of the file. It doesn't move the pointer.

Return CodeDescription


Attempted to Seek() "before" the beginning of the file, or you called Position() after such a Seek(). You also get B_ERROR if you call Seek() on an uninitialized file.


Position() called on an uninitialized file.


If you do a "before the beginning" seek, subsequent Read() and Write() calls do not fail. But they almost certainly aren't doing what you want (you shouldn't be "before the file," anyway). The moral: Always check your Seek() return.

SetTo(), Unset()

status_t SetTo(const entry_ref* ref,
               uint32 openMode);
status_t SetTo(const BEntryentry,
               uint32 openMode);
status_t SetTo(const char* path,
               uint32 openMode);
status_t SetTo(const BDirectorydir,
               const char* path,
               uint32 openMode);
void Unset();

Closes the BFile's current file (if any), and opens the file specified by the arguments. If the specified file is a symbolic link, the link is automatically traversed (recursively, if necessary). Note that you're not prevented from opening a directory as a BFile, but you are prevented from writing to it.

  • In the path function, path can be absolute or relative, and can contain "." and ".." elements. If path is relative, it's reckoned off of the current working directory.

  • In the dir/path function, path must be relative and is reckoned off of dir.

openMode is a combination of flags that determines how the file is opened and what this object can do with it once it is open. There are two sets of flags; you must pass one (and only one) of the following "read/write" constants:



This object can read, but not write, the file.


This object can write, but not read, the file.


This object can read and write the file.

You can also pass any number of the following (these are optional):



Create the file if it doesn't already exist.


If the file already exists, the initialization (of the BFile object) fails.


If the file already exists, erase all its data and attributes.


Sets the data pointer to point to the end of the file.

To open a file for reading and writing, for example, you simply pass:

file.SetTo(entry, B_READ_WRITE);

Here we create a new file or erase its data if it already exists:


And here we create a new file, but only if it doesn't already exist:


Unset() closes the object's file and sets its InitCheck() value to B_NO_INIT.

Return CodeDescription


The file was successfully opened.


NULL path in dir/path, or some other argument is uninitialized.


File not found, or couldn't create the file.


File exists (and you set B_FAIL_IF_EXISTS).


Read or write permission request denied.


Couldn't allocate necessary memory to complete the operation.


= (assignment)

BFile& operator=(const BFilefile);

In the expression

BFile a = b;

BFile a is initialized to refer to the same file as b. To gauge the success of the assignment, you should call InitCheck() immediately afterwards. You can't assign a BFile to itself (B_BAD_VALUE).

Assigning to an uninitialized BFile is "successful": The assigned-to BFile will also be uninitialized (B_NO_INIT).

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