phoenix_title FileSystem Overview

The wxHTML library uses a virtual file systems mechanism similar to the one used in Midnight Commander, Dos Navigator, FAR or almost any modern file manager.

It allows the user to access data stored in archives as if they were ordinary files. On-the-fly generated files that exist only in memory are also supported.


Three classes are used in order to provide virtual file systems mechanism:


Locations (aka filenames aka addresses) are constructed from four parts:

  • protocol - handler can recognize if it is able to open a file by checking its protocol. Examples are "http", "file" or "ftp".

  • right location - is the name of file within the protocol. In "" the right location is "//".

  • anchor - an anchor is optional and is usually not present. In "index.htm#chapter2" the anchor is "chapter2".

  • left location - this is usually an empty string. It is used by ‘local’ protocols such as ZIP. See the Combined Protocols paragraph for details.

Combined Protocols

The left location precedes the protocol in the URL string.

It is not used by global protocols like HTTP but it becomes handy when nesting protocols - for example you may want to access files in a ZIP archive:


In this example, the protocol is "zip", right location is "reference/fopen.htm", anchor is "syntax" and left location is file:archives/

There are two protocols used in this example: “zip” and “file”.

File Systems Included in wxHTML

The following virtual file system handlers are part of wxPython so far:

  • wx.ArchiveFSHandler: A handler for archives such as zip and tar. URLs examples: "", "archive.tar.gz#gzip:#tar:filename".

  • wx.FilterFSHandler: A handler for compression schemes such as gzip. URLs are in the form, e.g.: "".

  • wx.InternetFSHandler: A handler for accessing documents via HTTP or FTP protocols.

  • wx.MemoryFSHandler: This handler allows you to access data stored in memory (such as bitmaps) as if they were regular files. See wx.MemoryFSHandler for details. URL is prefixed with memory:, e.g. "memory:myfile.htm".

In addition, FileSystem itself can access local files.

Initializing file system handlers

Use wx.FileSystem.AddHandler to initialize a handler, for example:

def OnInit(self):