Controlled and secure file system operations

For security reasons Qlik Sense does not offer direct access to the file system from load scripts. Using lib:// constructs files can be read and written, but not copied, moved or deleted.

Butler has APIs that enabled file copy/move/delete in a secure, controlled way.

Goal: Copy, move and delete files from Sense load scripts

These steps are needed to achieve the goal:

  1. Install and configure Butler’s general settings.
  2. Add the directories in which file operations should be allowed to Butler’s config file.
    Make sure the account Butler runs under has the appropriate access to those directories.
  3. Make sure the necessary Sense data connections exist.
  4. Call the Butler APIs directly or use the subs included in the GitHub repo to do the desired file operations.

1. Install and configure Butler

Described here.

2. Add approved directories to Butler config file

The general idea is for each file system operation (copy, move and delete) you can specify in which (or between which) directories that operation should be allowed.

For example, let’s assume Butler’s config file includes this settings (note how both Linux and Windows style paths are supported):

    - fromDirectory: /data1/qvd
      toDirectory: /data2/qvd_archive
    - fromDirectory: e:\data3\qvd
      toDirectory: e:\data4\qvd_archive
    - fromDirectory: e:\data5\qvd
      toDirectory: e:\data6\qvd_archive

    - fromDirectory: /data7/qvd
      toDirectory: /data8/qvd_archive
    - fromDirectory: e:\data9\qvd
      toDirectory: e:\data10\qvd_archive

    - /data1/qvd_archive
    - e:\data1\qvd_archive

This configuration (for example) means:

  • Copying can be done from e:\data3\qvd to e:\data4\qvd_archive, but not from e:\data3\qvd to e:\data6\qvd_archive
  • Moving files can be done from /data7/qvd to /data8/qvd_archive, but not from /data7/qvd to e:\data9\qvd
  • Files can be deleted in the directories /data1/qvd_archive and e:\data1\qvd_archive.

3. Create Sense data connections used to call Butler’s REST API

Described here.

4. Call the Butler APIs or use convenience subs

Using the provided subs is easy:

// Where is Butler running?
let vButlerHost = '';
let vButlerPort = 8080;

// Delete files
Call DeleteFile('/data1/qvd_archive/a.txt')
Call DeleteFile('e:\data1\qvd_archive\a.txt')

// Copy files with options overwrite-if-exists=true and keep-source-timestamp=true
Call CopyFile('/data1/qvd/a.txt', '/data2/qvd_archive/a.txt', 'true', 'true')
Call CopyFile('e:\data5\qvd\a.txt', 'e:\data6\qvd_archive\a.txt', 'true', 'true')

// Move files with option overwrite-if-exists=true
Call MoveFile('/data7/qvd/a.txt', '/data8/qvd_archive/a.txt', 'true')
Call MoveFile('e:\data9\qvd\a.txt', 'e:\data10\qvd_archive\a.txt', 'true')

If you prefer to call the REST API directly, the DeleteFile sub might provide some inspiration:

// ------------------------------------------------------------
// ** Delete file **
// Files can only be deleted in folders (and subfolders of) directories that 
// have been approved in the Butler config file.
// Paramaters:
// vFile                : File to be deleted. 
// ------------------------------------------------------------
sub DeleteFile(vFile)
    let vFile = Replace('$(vFile)', '\', '/');
    let vFile = Replace('$(vFile)', '#', '%23');

    let vRequestBody = '{""deleteFile"":""$(vFile)""}';


    FROM JSON (wrap on) "root"
    Url "http://$(vButlerHost):$(vButlerPort)/v4/filedelete",
    BODY "$(vRequestBody)",
    HTTPHEADER "X-HTTP-Method-Override" "DELETE"

    set vFile=;

    DROP TABLE RestConnectorMasterTable;
end sub

Note how the HTTP operation is set using the X-HTTP-Method-Override HTTP header.

This is a way to work around a limitation of Qlik’s REST connector, as it only supports GET and POST operations. The extra HTTP header tells Butler what kind of HTTP operation should really be carried out.

Last modified 2021-04-22: First commit (c105eb7)