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Simple Application to Zip and UnZip files in C# using J#

, 20 Apr 2007
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An article to demonstarte the usage of J# library in C# for zip and unzip functionalities

Screenshot - SharpZip.jpg


Recently I had to build a private online photo album application. I planned to provide the users option to upload images as a zip file. I needed this option to be implemented in ASP.NET 1.1, as my hosting service provider didn't have .NET 2.0 support. An online search lead me to a blog with this wonderful idea of using the zip option in J# and it really attracted me. I wanted to try it out and the results were pretty cool. Even though this sample application has been written in .NET 2.0, the .NET Framework 2.0 has libraries to work with the compressing and uncompressing of files. I will soon come up with an article to illustrate the use of .NET 2.0 libraries with compressing and uncompressing functionalities.

In this article I will explain the usage of zip functionality in J# from C# code. The code in this application has been designed to reuse in a copy/paste fashion and not as a library.


This application consumes J# classes internally. For this we must first refer to the J#.NET library. Physically it resides as a file named vjslib.dll. If you are not very sure how to refer to a library in your project please follow the below steps:

Right click your project in Server Explorer and click on "Add Reference" -> Select the .Net tab -> Scroll down and select "vjslib" -> Click OK and you are there. Now you can refer the Java library classes within your application.

This was the first time trying to refer to the J# classes and it was a moment in my programming life that I will never forget.

Import the following namespaces for ease of coding.

java.util;;; namespace contains the classes and methods to implement the compress and uncompress functionalities within our code. The main classes used from the above namespaces are:

  • ZipFile
  • ZipEntry
  • ZipOutputSteam
  • Enumeration

Programmatically, a ZipFile object can be considered equivalent to a physical Zip file. A ZipFile can contain multiple ZipEntry objects apart from the actual content of the zipped files. In fact, each ZipEntry object is the metadata about a zip file. The ZipOutputStream class represents a writable stream pointing to a zip file. This stream can be used to write ZipEntry objects and content to the zip file. Enumeration enables iteration through each element in a collection.

Using the code

Below is a code listing how to create a zip file.

private void Zip(string zipFileName, string[] sourceFile)
    FileOutputStream filOpStrm = new FileOutputStream(zipFileName);
    ZipOutputStream zipOpStrm = new ZipOutputStream(filOpStrm);
    FileInputStream filIpStrm = null;
    foreach(string strFilName  in sourceFile)
        filIpStrm = new FileInputStream(strFilName);
        ZipEntry ze = new  ZipEntry(Path.GetFileName(strFilName)); 
        sbyte[] buffer =  new
        int len =  0;
        while ((len = 
  > = 0)
            zipOpStrm.write(buffer, 0, len);

The above Zip() method accepts two parameters,

  1. zipFileName - Zip file name including the path and
  2. sourceFile - string array of file names that are to be zipped.

The FileOutputStream class is capable of writing content to a file. Its constructor accepts the path of the file to which we wish to write. FileOutputStream object is then supplied to an instance of ZipOutputStream class as parameter. The ZipOutputStream class represents a writable stream to a zip file.

The foreach loops through each file to be zipped, creates corresponding zip entries and adds it to the final zip file.

Taking a deeper look into the code, a FileInputStream object is created for each file to be zipped. FileInputStream object is capable of reading from a file as a stream. Then a ZipEntry object is created for each file to be zipped. The constructor of the ZipEntry class accepts name of the file. Path.GetFileName() returns the file name and extension of the specified path string.

The newly created ZipEntry object is added to the ZipOutputStream object using its putNextEntry() method. In fact, a ZipEntry merely represents metadata of file entry. You still need to add actual contents into the zip file. Therefore, you need to transfer data from source FileInputStream to destination FileOutputStream. This is exactly what the while loop does in the above piece of code. It reads content from the source file and writes it into the output zip file. Finally, the closeEntry() method of ZipOutputStream class is called and this caused the physical creation of the zip file. All the other streams created are also closed.

private void Extract(string zipFileName, string destinationPath)
    ZipFile zipfile = new ZipFile(zipFileName);
    List<ZipEntry> zipFiles = GetZippedFiles(zipfile);

    foreach (ZipEntry zipFile in zipFiles)
        if (!zipFile.isDirectory())
            InputStream s = zipfile.getInputStream(zipFile); 
                Directory.CreateDirectory(destinationPath + "\\"  + 
                FileOutputStream dest = new 
                    FileOutputStream(Path.Combine(destinationPath + "\\" +
                    int len = 0;
                    sbyte[] buffer = new  sbyte[7168];
                    while ((len =  > = 0)
                        dest.write(buffer, 0, len);

The ExtractZipFile() method accepts two parameters: the zip filename (including path) to be extracted, and destination path where the files are to be extracted. It then creates a ZipFile object and retrieves entries in the ZIP file using the GetZipFiles() method. This method will be discussed afterwards in this article. The for each loop iterates through all the entries in the zip file and in each iteration the entry is extracted to the specified folder. The code in the for each loop executes only if the entry is not a folder. This condition is verified using the isDirectory() method of ZipEntry object. Each entry is read into an InputStream using getInputStream() method of ZipFile object. This InputStream acts as the source stream. The destination stream is a FileOutputStream object which is created based on the specified destination folder. Here we use the getName() method of ZipEntry object to get the file name(including path) of the entry.

During the extraction, the original folder structure is maintained. In the while loop that follows, content from the source InputStream is written to the destination FileOutputStream. The source stream is read to a buffer using the read() method. It reads 7 KB in a sequence into a temporary buffer and the write() method of destination FileOutputStream writes the content to the stream from the buffer, using the write method. It is in the final block that follows, the destination FileOutputStream is closed and the content is physically written to disk.

private List<ZipEntry> GetZipFiles(ZipFile zipfil)
    List<ZipEntry> lstZip = new List<ZipEntry>();
    Enumeration zipEnum = zipfil.entries();
        ZipEntry zip = (ZipEntry)zipEnum.nextElement();
    return lstZip;

The GetZipFiles() method returns a generic List of ZipEntry objects taking a ZipFile object as argument. The method creates a generic collection of ZipEntry type. Now comes the use of an interesting feature in the Java language, the use of Enumeration. Note that its not the enum type that we have in C#. An object that implements the Enumeration interface generates a series of elements, one at a time. Successive calls to the nextElement() method return successive elements of the series. The hasMoreElements() method returns a boolean value indicating if the Enumerator contains more elements. Here, the entries() method of ZipFile class returns an Enumeration of ZipEntry objects. The code then iterates through the Enumeration and populates the List. Finally, the populated List is returned.

Apart from the above listed code, the downloadable source code for the sample application, contains some extra code to handle the UI part of the application, i.e., entries made to the ListBox and handling the progress bar. I haven't included them in this article because I didn't want to lose focus from the main objective of the article. The code is comprehensive, but the UI controls can be handled in better ways, keeping performance and usability in mind. One good option might be to keep our zip functionality separate from the UI thread, so that interactivity is well maintained.

Points of Interest

One interesting fact we note while using the Java library is the difference in naming conventions, especially the naming of methods. For C# coders, methods give the feel of variable names. Also, the way the classes are named is a distinguishable factor.

Even though we can't use the features of Java beyond a point because runtime decides the main advantages of a platform; we would take advantage of using the Java libraries. This gives an upper hand of Java over C#.

I hope Microsoft continues to support J#.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here

About the Author

Mohammed Habeeb
Web Developer
India India
Mohammed Habeeb works as a software developer for an IT company in Dubai. He holds a bachelors in Computer Science Engineering from MES College, Calicut University. He is also a Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD) in .NET Framework. He has a strong inclination towards Microsoft technologies especially the .NET Platform. He has been an active member of Cochin and Bangalore Microsoft user groups.
He has a strong passion for science and technology. His interests span through travelling, driving, photography, stamps and coin collection.
You can find more about him @

Comments and Discussions

QuestionNot working as expected PinmemberChethan T R4-Sep-12 20:04 
QuestionTry DotNetZip instead !! It is much more efficient and easy to use PinmemberProgramminfree16-Jul-12 7:28 
Generalhhahaha PinmemberMember 395364614-Oct-09 23:26 
GeneralPlagiarism PinmemberValeri20-Apr-07 20:55 
GeneralRe: Plagiarism PinstaffChristian Graus20-Apr-07 21:42 
GeneralRe: Plagiarism Pinmvptoxcct20-Apr-07 23:27 
it's seems that he already did, because already seen myself telling him to do so, but the author keeps resubmitting it

GeneralRe: Plagiarism PinmemberValeri21-Apr-07 1:09 
GeneralRe: Plagiarism PinmemberValeri21-Apr-07 1:08 
GeneralCool - it's almost EXACTLY what msdn has. Pinmembersherifffruitfly20-Apr-07 12:08 

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