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To keep its memory profile slim, limits the size of a documents to 1MB. For most documents, this is plenty. However, 1MB is too small for a useful file storage. For this reason, LiteDB implements FileStorage, a custom collection to store files and streams.

FileStorage uses two special collections:

LiteDB uses two special collections to split file content in chunks:

  • The first collection stores file references and metadata only (by default it is called _files)
    _id: "my-photo",
    filename: "my-photo.jpg",
    mimeType: "image/jpg",
    length: { $numberLong: "2340000" },
    chunks: 9,
    uploadDate: { $date: "2020-01-01T00:00:00Z" },
    metadata: { "key1": "value1", "key2": "value2" }
  • The second collection stores binary data in 255kB chunks (by default it is called _chunks)
    _id: { "f": "my-photo", "n": 0 },
    data: { $binary: "VHlwZSAob3Igc ... GUpIGhlcmUuLi4" }
    _id: { "f": "my-photo", "n": 1 },
    data: { $binary: "pGaGhlcmUuLi4 ... VHlwZSAob3Igc" }

Files are identified by an _id string value, with following rules:

  • Starts with a letter, number, _, -, $, @, !, +, %, ; or .
  • If contains a /, must be sequence with chars above

To better organize many files, you can use _id as a directory/file_id. This will be a great solution to quickly find all files in a directory using the Find method.

Example: $/photos/2014/picture-01.jpg

The FileStorage collection contains simple methods like:

  • Upload: Send file or stream to database. Can be used with file or Stream. If file already exists, file content is overwritten.
  • Download: Get your file from database and copy to Stream parameter
  • Delete: Delete a file reference and all data chunks
  • Find: Find one or many files in _files collection. Returns LiteFileInfo class, that can be download data after.
  • SetMetadata: Update stored file metadata. This method doesn’t change the value of the stored file. It updates the value of _files.metadata.
  • OpenRead: Find file by _id and returns a LiteFileStream to read file content as stream
// Gets a FileStorage with the default collections
var fs = db.FileStorage;

// Gets a FileStorage with custom collection name
var fs = db.GetStorage<string>("myFiles", "myChunks");

// Upload a file from file system
fs.Upload("$/photos/2014/picture-01.jpg", @"C:\Temp\picture-01.jpg");

// Upload a file from a Stream
fs.Upload("$/photos/2014/picture-01.jpg", "picture-01.jpg", stream);

// Find file reference only - returns null if not found
LiteFileInfo file = fs.FindById("$/photos/2014/picture-01.jpg");

// Now, load binary data and save to file system

// Or get binary data as Stream and copy to another Stream

// Find all files references in a "directory"
var files = fs.Find("$/photos/2014/");

FileStorage does not support transactions to avoid putting all of the file in memory before storing it on disk. Transactions are used per chunk. Each uploaded chunk is committed in a single transaction.