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Java: Listing the contents of a resource directory

The ClassLoader.getResource() function can be a really handy way to load up your files in Java. The files can be loaded from any folder or JAR file on your classpath. However, the API disappointingly lacks a way to list all the files in the directory. (No, getResources() does not do it.) This utility function comes to the rescue!

   * List directory contents for a resource folder. Not recursive.
   * This is basically a brute-force implementation.
   * Works for regular files and also JARs.
   @author Greg Briggs
   @param clazz Any java class that lives in the same place as the resources you want.
   @param path Should end with "/", but not start with one.
   @return Just the name of each member item, not the full paths.
   @throws URISyntaxException 
   @throws IOException 
  String[] getResourceListing(Class clazz, String paththrows URISyntaxException, IOException {
      URL dirURL = clazz.getClassLoader().getResource(path);
      if (dirURL != null && dirURL.getProtocol().equals("file")) {
        /* A file path: easy enough */
        return new File(dirURL.toURI()).list();

      if (dirURL == null) {
         * In case of a jar file, we can't actually find a directory.
         * Have to assume the same jar as clazz.
        String me = clazz.getName().replace(".""/")+".class";
        dirURL = clazz.getClassLoader().getResource(me);
      if (dirURL.getProtocol().equals("jar")) {
        /* A JAR path */
        String jarPath = dirURL.getPath().substring(5, dirURL.getPath().indexOf("!"))//strip out only the JAR file
        JarFile jar = new JarFile(URLDecoder.decode(jarPath, "UTF-8"));
        Enumeration<JarEntry> entries = jar.entries()//gives ALL entries in jar
        Set<String> result = new HashSet<String>()//avoid duplicates in case it is a subdirectory
        while(entries.hasMoreElements()) {
          String name = entries.nextElement().getName();
          if (name.startsWith(path)) { //filter according to the path
            String entry = name.substring(path.length());
            int checkSubdir = entry.indexOf("/");
            if (checkSubdir >= 0) {
              // if it is a subdirectory, we just return the directory name
              entry = entry.substring(0, checkSubdir);
        return result.toArray(new String[result.size()]);
      throw new UnsupportedOperationException("Cannot list files for URL "+dirURL);

Also see

Change log

  • Added handling of the case where JAR file path contains spaces. (Thanks to a reader tip!)

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© 2002-2009 Greg Briggs except where attributed otherwise