MAKE_DIR subdirectory


Level-2 and Level-3 Drivers, THOR XVI

The command MAKE_DIR creates a sub-directory which allows a group of files to be regarded as one unit when the contents of a medium are listed. Operations other than the standard DIR, WDIR, WSTAT and WDEL, are not affected. A file belongs to a sub-directory if the sub-directory’s name appears as a prefix of the file, whether the file was created before or after the sub-directory.

Sub-directories are only supported on Level-2 (or higher) floppy disks, hard disks and ramdisks.

A sub-directory name can be any name but any underscore at its end will be ignored by MAKE_DIR.

If there is no medium in the given device, or if you do not specify a device name, the current default data device will be used (see DATAD$).

Sub-directories are identified by a “->” in directory listings and programs can identify them by examining their file type (255).

Empty sub-directories can be deleted as normal files, but a sub-directory which is not empty, cannot be deleted: error -9 (in use) will be reported. Actually, sub-directories are normal files which hold a list of the files which are contained within them. The list consists of the standard file headers of these files, each being 64 bytes long.

A sub-directory file never decreases in length if a file in the sub-directory has been deleted, instead, the file header is just marked as deleted by setting the name to a zero string.

All normal operations are allowed on sub-directory files (except RENAME), and they can be accessed using OPEN_DIR and FOP_DIR.


If FLP1_ contains an empty disk and we then save the current SuperBASIC program as flp1_my_prog_bas and a backup as flp1_backup_bas:

SAVE flp1_my_prog_bas
SAVE flp1_backup_bas

a directory of flp1_, produced with WDIR flp1_ (for example), shows the following contents:


Now, we create the sub-directory my (or my_) with:

MAKE_DIR flp1_my_


MAKE_DIR flp1_my

(both forms are equivalent) and look at the directory again:

my ->

MAKE_DIR created a new file “my” (not “my ->”) which is marked as a sub-directory with the “->” sign by the DIR, WDIR and WSTAT commands. The file type of my is 255, PRINT FTYP(\flp1_my) will return that.

But where is my_prog_bas? It was moved into the sub-directory my_ and DIR flp1_my_ will show it again.


The QUBIDE interface does not allow you to use MAKE_DIR to create a sub-directory if any files already exist which would fall into that sub-directory.


The level-2 device drivers introduced a new standard for subdirectories - other methods which were implemented in the past are not recognised in this (e)book.


If a disk with a sub-directory is read by a level-1 device driver, the sub-directory appears as just another file and files which have been added to a sub-directory after its creation cannot be accessed or seen by the system. However, if a file had been created before the sub-directory, the level-1 device driver finds this file just as if the sub-directory did not exist. So, if you prepare a disk which should also be readable on level-1 device drivers, either don’t use sub-directories or create them after everything else.


Sub-directory names longer than 27 characters on Toolkit II may hang up the SuperBASIC interpreter. Since the system does not treat nested sub-directories differently, the above warning applies to long sub-directory prefixes as well. However, this lock up will only occur when creating sub-directories not when using them. This problem is fixed on SMS v2.85.


A filename cannot be longer than 36 characters and as described above, sub-directories are prefixes which reduce the maximum possible length of a filename. If you try to create a file (eg. SAVE) in a sub-directory so that the combined length of the file name and sub-directory are longer than 36 characters, a ‘not found’ error will be returned.


It is possible to create a sub-directory so that it cannot be removed any more (do not try this on a hard disk, you have been warned)

SAVE test_

The file test_ (with an underscore) has been moved into the test directory, but it cannot be deleted to empty test. - This has been fixed in drivers later than version 2.28.


MAKE_DIR "net"

and similar commands lock-up the machine, so if you want you create a sub-directory called ‘net’ in the current directory, use:

MAKE_DIR DATAD$ & "net".


MAKE_DIR flp1__
MAKE_DIR flp1___

and similar commands could create recursive directories until this was fixed in SMS v2.77.


FMAKE_DIR is a syntactical variation of MAKE_DIR. OPEN_DIR and FOP_DIR allow you to read directories of disks as well as sub-directories on level-2 drivers. The DUP, DDOWN, DNEXT and DATA_USE commands are used to move around in a sub-directory tree. See FOP_DIR for a program which lists a sub-directory tree. To enable programs to read sub-directories which have not been written for that purpose, the DEV_ device exists (see DEV_USE). The only legal way of identifying a sub-directory is by examining its file type as returned by FTYP or FILE_TYPE for example.