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Lesson: Wrap Filenames and Directory Info around Content
After doing this Lesson you will be able to
- Add a file to IPFS, including its filename, permissions, etc.
- Add directories to IPFS
- Explain how IPFS represents two files that have identical content
- Read content out of IPFS using the hash of a directory that contains the file
You may already have this file from the previous lesson. If you do, make sure the content of the file matches. Otherwise the hashes you get won't match the examples in this lesson.
Create a file called
mytextfile.txtand put the text "version 1 of my text" in it. Here is an easy way to do this on the command line:
$ echo "version 1 of my text" > mytextfile.txt
$ ipfs add -w mytextfile.txt
added QmZtmD2qt6fJot32nabSP3CUjicnypEBz7bHVDhPQt9aAy mytextfile.txt
In the previous lesson, when you ran
ipfs add mytextfile.txtwithout the
-wflag, ipfs only returned one hash. This time it returned two hashes. The first hash
QmZtmD2...is the same as before — it's the hash of the content inside the file. The second hash
QmPvaEQF...is the hash of the directory and filename information that ipfs "wrapped" around our content.
In the next steps, you will use ipfs commands to see what that directory and filename information looks like and how you can use it.
-wflag tells ipfs to include the directory and filename information along with the content — it "wraps the file in a directory". For more info about this, run
ipfs add --helpand read the description there.
To list this directory and filename information, use
ipfs ls. You will use the
-vflag to include header information. To learn more about this command, run
ipfs ls --help
$ ipfs ls -v QmPvaEQFVvuiaYzkSVUp23iHTQeEUpDaJnP8U7C3PqE57w
Hash Size Name
QmZtmD2qt6fJot32nabSP3CUjicnypEBz7bHVDhPQt9aAy 29 mytextfile.txt
ipfs ls QmPvaEQFVvuiaYzkSVUp23iHTQeEUpDaJnP8U7C3PqE57wtranslates to "list the files referenced by the directory whose hash is QmPvaEQFVvuiaYzkSVUp23iHTQeEUpDaJnP8U7C3PqE57w".
The response shows that the directory contains one file — "mytextfile.txt" — and the hash of that file's content is
Note that you had to use
ipfs lsinstead of
ipfs catto read this info because it's a directory. If you try to read the directory using
ipfs catyou will get an error:
$ ipfs cat QmPvaEQFVvuiaYzkSVUp23iHTQeEUpDaJnP8U7C3PqE57w
Error: this dag node is a directory
You can use the directory's hash to read the file's content like this:
$ ipfs cat QmPvaEQFVvuiaYzkSVUp23iHTQeEUpDaJnP8U7C3PqE57w/mytextfile.txt
version 1 of my text
This command translates to "return the content that's referred to as
mytextfile.txtwithin the directory whose hash is QmPvaEQFVvuiaYzkSVUp23iHTQeEUpDaJnP8U7C3PqE57w"
Some things to try:
- 1.Create a directory with multiple files. Tell ipfs to recursively add the directory and all of its files.
- 2.Create two different files with the same content. Add them both to ipfs with
ipfs add -wand confirm that ipfs is re-using the hash of that content when it builds the directory and filename information.
When you add a file to your ipfs repository, ipfs calculates the cryptographic hash of the file's contents and returns that hash to you. You can then use the hash to reference the file's contents and read them back out of the ipfs repository.
In order to keep track of information like filenames and paths, ipfs lets you "wrap" directory and filename information around the file contents you've added. The directory and filename information has its own hashes. This makes it possible to retrieve content from the ipfs repository using "ipfs paths" that are a combination of hashes, filenames and directory names.