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How do I upload a file, preserving the file-name?

NOTE This example requires SWI-Prolog 7.2 or later.

The way to preserve the user-entered file-name is to use a form with enctype multipart/form-data and input element of type file. This causes a browser to formulate a MIME encoded POST request that contains the filename.

First, let us import the required HTTP libraries and create the server. Note that we need library(http/http_multipart_plugin) to make this demo work. This library acts as a plugin for library(http/http_client) for parsing multipart/form-data documents.

:- module(upload, [run/0]).
:- use_module(library(http/thread_httpd)).
:- use_module(library(http/http_dispatch)).
:- use_module(library(http/http_header)).
:- use_module(library(http/http_multipart_plugin)).
:- use_module(library(http/http_client)).
:- use_module(library(http/html_write)).
:- use_module(library(option)).

:- http_handler(root(.),	upload_form, []).
:- http_handler(root(upload),	upload,      []).

run :-
        http_server(http_dispatch, [port(8080)]).

Next step, we create the form by defining the implementation for upload_form/1:

upload_form(_Request) :-
            title('Upload a file'),
            [ h1('Upload a file'),
              form([ method('POST'),
                         [ tr([td(input([type(file), name(file)]))]),
                                  input([type(submit), value('Upload!')]))])

Next step, we must define upload/1. Unfortunately, we cannot use the simple http_parameters/2 to obtain the data because this interface only provides the name and value of parameters. Instead, we must use http_read_data/3. First we validate the request to be a POST holding the proper content using multipart_post_request/1. If this fails, we throw the error http_reply(bad_request(Culprit)), where the Culprit is a Prolog term describing the problem. This is matched to a clean message in the next section.

Next, we define the hook save_file/3 which is called to process parts that provide a filename attribute. The first argument is a stream containing the data. The stream is binary, but may be switched using the encoding(Enc) option of set_stream/2. Its task is to process the data in the stream and return a term that represents this part of the multipart message. In the example we save the data in a (temporary) file and return a term file(UserFileName, SavedFileName).

After the http_read_data/3 call, we select the part that holds the file and print a document holding the details.

upload(Request) :-
        multipart_post_request(Request), !,
        http_read_data(Request, Parts,
                       [ on_filename(save_file)
        memberchk(file=file(FileName, Saved), Parts),
        format('Content-type: text/plain~n~n'),
        format('Saved your file "~w" into "~w"~n', [FileName, Saved]).
upload(_Request) :-

multipart_post_request(Request) :-
        memberchk(method(post), Request),
        memberchk(content_type(ContentType), Request),
            content_type, ContentType,
            media(multipart/'form-data', _)).

:- public save_file/3.

save_file(In, file(FileName, File), Options) :-
        option(filename(FileName), Options),
            tmp_file_stream(octet, File, Out),
            copy_stream_data(In, Out),

Finally, we must translate bad_file_upload into a clean message. We do this using the DCG rule message//1:

:- multifile prolog:message//1.

prolog:message(bad_file_upload) -->
        [ 'A file upload must be submitted as multipart/form-data using', nl,
          'name=file and providing a file-name'
See also
- You can download the complete code from demo_upload_file.pl.