.NET Tip: Return File Contents as a String

The applications I've been working on lately send a lot of email notifications out as the status of the application and monitored devices change. There are a handful of different email messages that could be sent. I wanted a means to store the bodies of these emails in a manner that would be easy to update without me having to be involved. I considered storing them in the database, but that would not be very easy for the person responsible for maintaining the body of the email. Instead, I chose to store the body of each email in a file. For my application, this had the right balance of flexibility and ease of use. When I found myself starting to write the code to read in the body of an email more than, once I created a method that would read in the entire file and return it as a string. I then can easily process the body text if needed and send it out in an email. Here is the code to read a file:

public static string GetFileContents(string FileName)
{
   StreamReader sr = null;
   string FileContents = null;

   try
   {
      FileStream fs = new FileStream(FileName, FileMode.Open,
                                     FileAccess.Read);
      sr = new StreamReader(fs);
      FileContents = sr.ReadToEnd();
   }
   finally
   {
      if(sr != null)
         sr.Close();
   }

   return FileContents;
}

This should be fairly strightforward to follow. First, a FileStream is created to control access to the file. Next, a StreamReader is created and associated with the FileStream. The ReadToEnd() method is then called to retrieve the entire contents of the file and store it in a local string variable. If the StreamReader was able to open the file successfully, it is closed and finally, the local string holding the contents of the file is returned from the method.

I added this simple method as a static method in my utility class. Now, I have easy access to reading the contents of a file from anywhere in my applications.

About the Author

Jay Miller is a Software Engineer with Electronic Tracking Systems, a company dedicated to robbery prevention, apprehension, and recovery based in Carrollton, Texas. Jay has been working with .NET since the release of the first beta and is co-author of Learn Microsoft Visual Basic.Net In a Weekend. Jay can be reached via email at jmiller@sm-ets.com.



Comments

  • Easier Alternative

    Posted by jmcilhinney on 02/13/2008 02:12am

    Such a method already exists. It's called System.IO.File.ReadAllText.

    Reply
Leave a Comment
  • Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

Top White Papers and Webcasts

  • U.S. companies are desperately trying to recruit and hire skilled software engineers and developers, but there is simply not enough quality talent to go around. Tiempo Development is a nearshore software development company. Our headquarters are in AZ, but we are a pioneer and leader in outsourcing to Mexico, based on our three software development centers there. We have a proven process and we are experts at providing our customers with powerful solutions. We transform ideas into reality.

  • Lenovo recommends Windows 8 Pro. "I dropped my laptop getting out of the taxi." This probably sounds familiar to most IT professionals. If your employees are traveling, you know their devices are in for a rough go. Whether it's a trip to the conference room or a convention out of town, any time equipment leaves a user's desk it is at risk of being put into harm's way. Stay connected at all times, whether at the office or on the go, with agile, durable, and flexible devices like the Lenovo® …

Most Popular Programming Stories

More for Developers

RSS Feeds

Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date