Event-driven .NET: use FileSystemWatcher instead of polling for new files

You can use FileSystemWatcher to get notified of file system changes, such as when a file is created.

Here’s an example of reacting to when a JSON file is created:

FileSystemWatcher fileSysWatcher = new FileSystemWatcher(@"C:\Data\", "*.json"); fileSysWatcher.EnableRaisingEvents = true; fileSysWatcher.Created += (sender, e) => { Console.WriteLine($"File created {e.FullPath}"); };
Code language: C# (cs)

Compared to polling, this event-driven approach with FileSystemWatcher is more efficient and simpler.

In the remainder of this article I’ll show an example of how to use FileSystemWatcher to process files enqueued in a filesystem-based message queue.

Example – Processing new message JSON files

I want to implement a filesystem-based message queue.

To enqueue a message, a JSON message file is dropped into C:\Data\MessageQueue\in\.

The message queue processor gets notified when a new file is created, processes it, then dequeues it by moving it to C:\Data\MessageQueue\processed\.

So I only want to get notified when JSON files are added to C:\Data\MessageQueue\in\.

MessageQueueProcessor class

I need to create a FileSystemWatcher that watches the C:\Data\MessageQueue\in\ folder. I can make it only notify me about JSON files by specifying the filter “*.json”. After initializing the FileSystemWatcher, I need to subscribe to the Created event.

public class MessageQueueProcessor : IDisposable { public const string InPath = @"C:\Data\MessageQueue\in"; public const string ProcessedPath = @"C:\Data\MessageQueue\processed"; private FileSystemWatcher fileSystemWatcher; public void Start() { fileSystemWatcher = new FileSystemWatcher(InPath, "*.json"); fileSystemWatcher.EnableRaisingEvents = true; fileSystemWatcher.Created += (sender, e) => { Console.WriteLine($"Processing enqueued file {e.FullPath}"); var destFile = Path.Combine(@"C:\Data\MessageQueue\processed", e.Name); if (File.Exists(e.FullPath)) { File.Move(e.FullPath, destFile); } }; } public void Dispose() { if (fileSystemWatcher != null) { fileSystemWatcher.Dispose(); } } }
Code language: C# (cs)

Using MessageQueueProcessor

I have a console app that uses the MessageQueueProcessor.

static void Main(string[] args) { MessageQueueProcessor messageQueueProcessor = new MessageQueueProcessor(); messageQueueProcessor.Start(); Console.WriteLine("Started message queue processor."); Console.ReadKey(); }
Code language: C# (cs)


As soon as I drop message1234.json into the message queue folder, it gets processed, and then moved into the /processed/ folder.

Console output showing new file (message1234.json) was detected by FileSystemWatcher and then moved to /processed/ folder

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