Command Line and Quotes: Fun with C#

Most DBAs don’t get to jump into programming often, but I came from a development background, so I try to use some legitimate code every once in a while.  It helps me keep that skill-set fresh.  Recently, in my company, we had a need for a unified solution for dealing with archiving, deleting, compressing, and so forth of various types of files.  Having an application that can be passed a bunch of parameters and can be triggered by a simple scheduled task is very useful in many aspects of IT.

We used to use ABAKT for these sort of operations, but the project was abandoned a long time ago and we wanted something that we could add to as we needed.  So, I had a few hours of downtime one weekend and decided to write one.  Everything went very well with the project and it worked almost flawlessly.  There was just one problem I ran into that stumped me for a couple days.

The problem cropped up when I was trying to pass a UNC to the application that had a space in it.  Such as:

\\someserver.mydomain\theShare\folder\some folder with spaces\anotherFolder\

Initially, I thought, well that’s no problem, just encapsulate the string in double-quotes and we are fine, as so:

"\\someserver.mydomain\theShare\folder\some folder with spaces\anotherFolder\"

However, the command line interface interprets that last \” as an escaped double-quote and NOT a closing double-quote to the beginning of the UNC.  This, in turn, causes my C# argument parser to see the string as 4 parameters, rather than 1 long one.  The parameters passed to my C# application would be:

  • \\someserver.mydomain\theShare\folder\some
  • folder
  • with
  • spaces\anotherFolder”

The way this issue presented really threw me off track several times.  I couldn’t figure out why my parameters were so messed up.  My solution was to escape out the last backslash, this worked perfectly:

"\\someserver.mydomain\theShare\folder\some folder with spaces\anotherFolder\\"

A little deviation from SQL stuff, but some useful information I wish I could have found when i was working on this project.

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